Sky & Telescope - December 2020 - 7

ever since, but I never lost interest. Now
I have three telescopes. I've looked at
many galaxies, nebulae, and, my personal favorite, open clusters since, but
that eclipse was the first event that really
inspired me to start looking at the sky.
Ed Bailey
Daniels, West Virginia

Remembering Saegmuller's
Refractors
"Navy Gazing" is not how the U.S. Naval
Observatory (USNO) has utilized its
Saegmuller refractor, which was mentioned in Ted Rafferty's "Saegmuller's
Forgotten Refractors" (S&T: Aug. 2020,
p. 26), over its century of noble service.
Until the 1970s, its duties included
observing interesting and difficult
double stars, lunar occultations, and
asteroids. After USNO astronomers
rescued and restored this Saegmuller
in 1980, it has been included in public
tours demonstrating the USNO's long
and continuing mission in national

defense and scientific research, Smithsonian education programs, and observing by staff and authorized visitors.
In 1994, this Saegmuller, along with
the USNO's 26-inch refractor, gave
Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 (D/1993
F2) codiscoverer and long-time S&T
contributor David Levy his first view
of the comet fragments' impressive
impact scars on Jupiter's cloudtops. In
1996, friends of this Saegmuller gave it
a 100th birthday party, complete with a
birthday cake and poetry. So, this Saegmuller has not been forgotten.
Daniel Costanzo
Locust Grove, Virginia

In 1964, I was in fourth grade. That
fall, my science teacher took us to
Chamberlin Observatory on a field trip.
Among other things, the staff showed
us Saturn. I was absolutely floored.

1970

1995

John Gubbins
Littleton, Colorado

FOR THE RECORD

* In the red-plate mosaic depicting V Aquilae (S&T: Aug. 2020, p. 55), the bright star
labeled η (right) is 12 Aquilae.

SUBMISSIONS: Write to Sky & Telescope, One Alewife Center, Suite 300B, Cambridge, MA 02140, USA or email:
letters@skyandtelescope.org. Please limit your comments to 250 words; letters may be edited for brevity and clarity.

75, 50 & 25 YEARS AGO by Roger W. Sinnott
1945

Later in 1965, I ground a 4.25-inch
Edmund Scientific mirror and made a
beautiful f/5 Newtonian. I joined the
Denver Astronomical Society and, while
in high school, was trained along with a
few friends to use the 20-inch Saegmuller refractor. It was a joy to operate.
The sound of that big old dome grinding
around to point at an object and the
ease of moving that monster telescope
with the hand wheels were intoxicating.
The views were amazing. Sometimes, if
the Saegmuller was available and our
parents and school cooperated, we'd
spend all night there observing.

œ December 1945
Meteorite Picker-Upper "Dr.
Lincoln La Paz, president of the
Society for Research on Meteorites, describes an electromagnetic
cane which facilitates discovery
of meteorites near the surface of
the ground and eliminates many a
stoop-over backache.
"A small coil of enameled wire
wound on a brass tube about two
inches long can be made to slide
up and down a light but strong iron
rod. Using the electromagnet connected to a 6-volt Burgess Uniflex
battery, carried in a knapsack, Dr.
La Paz found that his cane could
readily pick up an Odessa iron
meteorite weighing more than a
pound, and caused 'smaller fragments to jump an inch or more to
the collecting tip.'"
œ December 1970
Lunar Magnetism "When Apollo
12 landed on the moon on November 19, 1969, one of the instru-

ments erected by Alan L. Bean and
Charles Conrad, Jr., was a magnetometer . . . It is located on the eastern edge of Oceanus Procellarum,
[and] the first 20 days of operation
revealed a steady magnetic field of
36 ± 5 gammas at the magnetometer site. (One gamma is 0.00001
gauss, and the earth's surface field
is somewhat less than one gauss.)
"By moving the three sensors
of the magnetometer appropriately, it is possible to test for a
horizontal gradient in the measured field. The observed gradient
is negligibly small, demonstrating
that the source of the field cannot
be some magnetized artifact left
by the astronauts.
"[However,] the Explorer 35 satellite . . . detected no dipole field [of
the moon as a whole]. Therefore, the
36-gamma field is due to a localized
source near the Apollo 12 site . . . of
uncertain origin."
œ December 1995
Exoplanets "What may be the
first discovery of a planet orbiting

a normal, Sun-like star other than
our own has been announced by
astronomers studying 51 Pegasi, a
type G5 main-sequence object only
42 light-years away.
"At an early October conference in Florence, Michel Mayor
and Didier Queloz (Geneva
Observatory) explained that they
found 51 Pegasi's line-of-sight
velocity changing periodically
by some 70 meters per second
every 4.2 days. If due to orbital
motion around a center of mass
shared with another body, such
values suggest that a planet lies
some 7 million kilometers from 51
Pegasi . . . and has a mass at least
half that of Jupiter. . . .
"Other astronomers are racing
to confirm the discovery. The only
other planets known to lie beyond
our solar system are two Earth-size
bodies orbiting a pulsar in Virgo."
This decisive find launched the
modern era of exoplanet hunting.
Some 4,200 planets of other stars
are now confirmed, more than half
thanks to NASA's Kepler spacecraft.

sk yandtelescope.org * DECEMBER 2 02 0

7


http://www.skyandtelescope.org

Sky & Telescope - December 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Sky & Telescope - December 2020

Contents
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