Sunday, July 08, 2012

Happy 180th, Alvan Graham Clark!

In the above image, taken in 1896, Alvan Graham Clark (left) and his assistant Carl Lundin (right) are laboring over the 40-inch lens of the great Yerkes Observatory refracting telescope. Image Credit: Yerkes Observatory

Tuesday July 10th, marks the 180th birthday (July 10, 1832) of American astronomer and telescope-maker Alvan Graham Clark (1832 - 1897). Born in Fall River, Massachusetts, this Alvan was the son of THE Alvan Clark (1804 - 1887), who founded optics company Alvan Clark & Sons, maker of the largest refracting telescopes of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Father Alvan and son Alvan worked together with Alvan Graham's brother, George Bassett Clark (1827 - 1891).

On January 31, 1862, while testing a new 18½ inch refracting telescope, Alvan Graham made the first observation of the star Sirius B from Cambridge, Massachusetts. This magnitude 8 companion of Sirius was also the first known white dwarf star. That particular telescope is still in regular use, now at the landmark Dearborn Observatory of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.

To catch postings for all my blogs, subscribe on Twitter to . Like what you see? Let me know! Email: .


No comments: