A Photographic Atlas of Selected Regions of the Milky Way

A Photographic Atlas of Selected Regions of the Milky Way


Description: FIRST EDITION, one of only 700 copies, of Barnard’s magnificent star atlas, containing the first photographs to show the structure of the Milky Way. Complete with 51 mounted silver prints (as issued) and 50 charts and tables. RARE. "The greatest photographic legacy of Barnard was his magnum opus: A Photographic Atlas of Selected Regions of the Milky Way? To capture the Milky Way in all its glory, Edward Barnard used the Bruce photographic telescope of the Yerkes Observatory, Chicago. Finance for the telescope had been given to the University of Chicago by Miss Catherine W. Bruce. The Bruce telescope actually consisted of three individual tubes bound rigidly on the same mounting: two photographic telescopes of 10-inch and 6 1/4-inch aperture, and a 5-inch aperture visual telescope used for tracking (guiding) of the stars as the Earth rotates. The great importance of the photographic telescopes lay in their wide-field coverage; the 10-inch had a 50-inch focal length and, to quote Barnard, gave 'exquisite definition' over a field of about 7 degrees (or 14 full moons). The plate-holder for the 10-inch carried glass negative 12 inches square, while that for the 6 1/4-inch carried glass plates measuring 8 x 10 inches. "The scale of the photographs secured with the 10-inch was exceptionally well adapted to revealing the structure of the Milky Way; every inch covered just over one degree of sky. George Ellery Hale, director of the Mount Wilson Solar Observatory owned by the Carnegie Institute of Washington, invited Barnard to Mount Wilson in 1905. A generous grant from Mr. J.D. Hooker of Los Angeles allowed Barnard to transport the Bruce telescope to the Mount Wilson site. Barnard secured forty of his fifty photographs for his Atlas, from one of the world's premier observing sites, in a period spanning February to September, 1905? "The Atlas was completed by Edwin Frost, Director of the Yerkes Observatory in Chicago, and by Barnard's niece, Mary Calvert. Barnard had, however, personally examined 35 700 photographic prints to select only the best to feature in his Atlas, of which seven hundred were produced. The two volume Barnard Atlas is today an exceedingly rare jewel?" (Block and Freeman, Shrouds of the Night). Provenance: With presentation inscription in each volume, ?To my friend Gust. Soderberg / With Compliments of John C. Deagan / Chicago December 16 1929 / [signed] John C. Deagan". John Calhoun Deagan (1851-1934), the founder of the J.C. Deagan Company, was, in addition to being an amateur astronomer, a noted musician and manufacturer who became a pioneer in developing scientific tuning mechanisms. Washington DC: Carnegie Institution, 1927. Oblong quarto (Vol 1: 11x11x1.25 inches; Vol 2: 11x10 x1.75 inches), original cloth; housed in custom box. Two volumes. With portrait frontispiece, plate of the Bruce Photographic Telescope, 51 mounted silver prints, 50 charts and tables. A few scratches and stray marks of soiling to cloth; a little rubbing to extremities. Offsetting from portrait (as always, even with the tissue guard). An outstanding copy of a book usually found ex-libris and in terrible condition.
Artist or Maker: BARNARD, EDWARD EMERSON
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