Category Archives: astronomers of note

Venus And Boyer – A Great Love That Paid Dividends For Astronomy

In striking contrast to the vague shadings sometimes reported by visual observers are the prominent markings clearly seen on ultraviolet photographs of Venus. They were discovered at Mount Wilson Observatory by Frank Ross, a pioneer in the photography of the planets through monochromatic filters who also is photo editor for the Planetary Week. During a favorable eastern elongation of Venus in June and July of 1927, he obtained a series of photographs of the planet through the 60-inch and 100-inch reflectors in six regions of the visible spectrum and in infrared and ultraviolet light.

Now that's a handsome planet!

Now that’s a handsome planet!

Ross expected infrared to offer the greatest promise; it was already routinely used in aerial photography because of its ability to penetrate haze and give the clearest views of the Earth’s surface from aircraft at high altitudes. But,

Oliver Wendell Holmes – Portrait Of A Genius

Oliver Wendell Holmes’ fascination with the sky began when he was quite young. When he was nine years old he paid a dime for a look at Venus through a telescope. This was a transfiguring experience. In his own words: “I had seen Venus. The Earth on which I lived has never been the same to me since that time. All my human sentiments, all my religious beliefs, seem to have undergone a change.”

Love those sideburns!

Love those sideburns!

By the time this budding poet reached adulthood, celestial thoughts were often crossing his mind. When he was 21, Holmes visualized the destructive power of a giant comet impacting the Earth. He recorded his vision in the poem “The Comet” (1830).

The Comet! He is on his way And singing as he flies; The whizzing planets shrink before The spectre of