Tuesday, August 11, 2009
In the Year 1940
For my office I just framed one of my eBay purchases from earlier this year. It is a cool piece of Palomar art that (according to the seller) was featured in a magazine or book back in 1937. You can't see it in the image, but below it is this text:
IN THE YEAR 1940
A new universe will greet astronomers when the 200-inch telescope is put into operation in 1940. This fantastic eye will see twice as far as is possible today, will peer at stars one billion light years distant. (A light year is about 6,000,000,000,000 miles). It will increase the observable volume of space eight times, will bring the moon apparently with 25 miles of earth. Thus we may know whether or not our Universe is expanding at terrific speed. By studying the degeneration of stars--events which take millions of years to reach us--we may forecast the future of our solar system.
Above, you see an artist's conception of this greatest and most precise of scientific instruments, which will be housed in a bulging dome on top of Mt. Palomar, 90 miles from Los Angeles. The 60-foot long framework encasing the telescope hangs from a ponderous yoke. Focusing platforms are at both ends of the framework, while the main control boar is on a platform not visible in this picture. The 200-inch mirror lies at the bottom of the framework.
Usually, when I buy old ads with Palomar in it I can identify the publication and date by looking at the back side of the page. Not this time. On the back side is a painting of a total solar eclipse:
It had this caption:
THE MOON SWALLOWS THE SUN DURING TOTALITY. STREAMERS FROM THE SUN'S PEARLY CORONA FLASH FORTH 1,500,000 MILES INTO SPACE
Does anybody out there recognize where these were printed?