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GEORGE ELLERY HALE
GEORGE ELLERY HALE
USA (1868 - 1938)
George Ellery Hale was an American solar astronomer, born in Chicago. He was educated at MIT, at the Observatory of Harvard College, (1889-90), and at Berlin (1893-94). As an undergraduate at MIT, he invented the spectroheliograph, with which he made his discoveries of the solar vortices and magnetic fields of sun spots.
 

Enjoy these insightful and educational video clips drawn from over 70 hours of interviews with the world's leading figures in astronomy, shot during the filming of 400 Years of the Telescope.

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Robert Iliffe

Newton's recreational activities
Robert Iliffe - University of Sussex

I don’t think there were punts until the 19th century, but he did pay an annual sub for something called “bowls and barges” though we don’t know what they are.

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Robert Iliffe

Newton's work with light
Robert Iliffe - University of Sussex

Newton seems to be very interested in light in about the second or third year of his time at Cambridge. He does experiments with his eyes which famously involve him putting objects underneath his eyeball to try and deform the shape of his eye. But he also starts looking through prisms, and one of the things he notices one day looking through a prism at a piece of thread that’s colored red at the top and blue at the bottom, is that when you look through a prism at this thread, the two parts of the thread are disaggregated – they’re separated from each other. And that observation is the basis of some of his great discoveries in light.

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Robert Iliffe

Newton publishes his work on light in 1672
Robert Iliffe - University of Sussex

When Newton publishes his work on light and colors in early 1672, he argues something that nobody, even the ancient Greeks and certainly not his contemporaries had believed possible, which is that white light is composed of all these different rays.

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George Jacoby

Light spectra
George Jacoby - WIYN Observatory

A spectrum is the light from a star that has been broken down into its component colors.

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George Jacoby

Spectrograph
George Jacoby - WIYN Observatory

The most powerful tool an astronomer can use is a spectrograph. A spectrograph breaks the light from star or galaxy, or from anything else into its component colors.

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John Joyce

Lord Rosse's Birr telescope
John Joyce - Birr Historical Science Center

I’m standing in the observation car of the great telescope of Birr, called the Leviathan of Birr. It was the largest telescope in the world for 75 years. From 1845 until 1919 it was the world’s largest telescope, and it was built by the third Earl of Rosse.

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John Joyce

Construction of the Birr telescope
John Joyce - Birr Historical Science Center

Lord Rosse had to spend four years working on the mirror. And it was only when he finally had a mirror that he thought suitable for a telescope he began the construction of this great telescope.

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John Joyce

Lord Rosse's background
John Joyce - Birr Historical Science Center

The extraordinary thing about the Parsons is that in the nineteenth century - and this is a key to their interest in science - they were not sent away to primary school as such. They were tutored at home.

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John Joyce

Lord Rosse's inspiration
John Joyce - Birr Historical Science Center

The reason why Lord Rosse built this telescope, was that two astronomers in particular, Sir William Herschel and Messier, in the late 18th century and early 19th century, had mapped approximately 7,000 areas in the northern hemisphere sky where there appeared to be some glowing illumination.

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John Joyce

Specifications of Lord Rosse's Birr telescope
John Joyce - Birr Historical Science Center

When this telescope was built in 1845, it was by far the largest telescope in the world. It remained the largest in the world for seventy-five years. It wasn’t until the Wilson telescope on Mount Wilson in 1919 that a larger telescope was built.

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