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Lisa Yount - Modern Astronomy

Lisa Yount - Modern Astronomy

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Published by: harcaian_cristina on Mar 30, 2011
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08/20/2013

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As the 19th century faded and the 20th began, one man gave astron-
omers telescopes with the greater light-gathering power they needed.
This man, George Ellery Hale, made significant advances in his own
astronomical field, the study of the Sun. He is most remembered,
however, for having brought into existence three telescopes that, in
his time, were the largest in the world. They are still among Earth’s
biggest optical telescopes, or telescopes that view the universe by
means of visible light.
Hale was born in Chicago on June 29, 1868, to William E. and
Mary Hale. William Hale was a struggling engineer and salesman
at the time George was born. During George’s childhood, however,
William made a fortune building elevators for the new skyscrapers
that replaced buildings destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.
George was a sickly child, and his worried parents lavished him
with attention and care. When he showed an interest in science,
his father bought him any scientific instrument that took the boy’s
fancy. George wanted microscopes at first, but when a neighbor
introduced him to astronomy during his teenage years, telescopes
and spectroscopes took over. William Hale bought George a used
four-inch (10-cm) refracting telescope (the measurement refers to
the diameter of the opening at the telescope’s light-gathering end).
George mounted it on the roof of his family’s home and used it to
study the Sun.

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