The Journal of Astronomical Data

Contents and Abstracts of Volume 7 (2001)

[1] Observations of selected cataclysmic cariables. I. Time-resolved spectroscopy of WX Cet, TU Men, CU Vel and HS Vir

R.E. Mennickent, C. Sterken, J. Arenas, M. Diaz and K. Matsumoto

[2] BV photometry of stars in the field of HV2543

P.G. Ostrov

[3] Photoelectric observations of southern cepheids in 2000

L.N. Berdnikov and J.A.R. Caldwell

[4] Photometry and radial velocities of cepheids and other variable stars in the Galaxy and the LMC

J.A.R. Caldwell, I.M. Coulson, J.F.Dean and L.N. Berdnikov

[5] Stellar and circumstellar variability of the Be star mu Cen

Th. Rivinius, S. Stefl, O. Stahl, B. Wolf, A. Kaufer, D. Baade, Th. Dumm, Th. Gaeng, J. Gracia, C. Gummersbach, I. Jankovics, L. Kaper, J. Kovacs, H. Lehmann, H. Mandel, J. Peitz, D. Schafer, J. Schweickhardt, W. Schmutz, Th. Szeifert and S. Tubbesing

[6] Luminosities of OIII and Hydrogen Balmer lines in nova shells years and decades after outburst

Ronald A. Downes and Hilmar W. Duerbeck (with the collaboration of Catherine E. Delahodde)

[7]MIKLOS KONKOLY THEGE (1842-1916). 100 Years of Observational Astronomy and Astrophysics.

A collection of papers on the history of Observational Astrophysics. Edited by C. STERKEN and J. B. Hearnshaw . 2001 ISBN 90 805538 3 2 (paperback)

[8] First COROT/MONS/MOST Ground-based Support Workshop

C. Sterken (Ed.)


D.E. Osterbrock

[10] The Role of Visual Representations in Astronomy (Book Review)

Klaus Hentschel and Axel D. Wittmann (Eds.)

[11] Beitrage zur Astronomiegeschichte - Band 3. (Book Review)

Wolfgang R. Dick and Jiirgen Hamel (Eds.)

[JAD 7, 1]

Observations of selected cataclysmic cariables. I. Time-resolved spectroscopy of WX Cet, TU Men, CU Vel and HS Vir

We present time-resolved optical spectroscopy of the dwarf novae WX Cet, TU Men, CU Vel and HS Vir. The spectra show prominent Balmer emission lines which can be used as testers of the physical conditions inside the accretion disk. These digital spectra are made available to the astronomical community as a first step in the formation of a digital database in support of spectroscopic studies related, for instance, to the long-term evolution of dwarf novae.

[JAD 7, 2]

BV photometry of stars in the field of HV2543

BV profile fitting photometry in the surroundings of the LMC-eclipsing binary HV2543 is presented here, together with time resolved V aperture photometry for the 100 brightest stars in the field. The data were obtained with the 2.15-m telescope at CASLEO, during three observing runs in 1995, 1997 and 1998.

[JAD 7, 3]

Photoelectric observations of southern cepheids in 2000

A total of 4006 photoelectric brightness measurements were obtained for 136 cepheids using the SAAO 0.8-m and 0.5-m reflectors. New V and V-I(c) light curves are presented.

[JAD 7, 4]

Photometry and radial velocities of cepheids and other variable stars in the Galaxy and the LMC

UBVRIc and radial velocity measurements are presented for Galactic and LMC Cepheids, and for several variables of other type. The photometry comprises 168 objects with 1790 phases, and the speedometry 15 objects with 97 phases.

[JAD 7, 5]

Stellar and circumstellar variability of the Be star mu Cen

For the bright southern Be star mu Cen, we publish all spectra that have been used in the previous papers of this series. An overview of the data is given and the published results obtained with these data are summarized. All data have been obtained from La Silla. In detail, these are 28 spectra taken with Flash at the ESO 50-cm (400 nm to 670 nm), 426 blue and 443 red spectra taken with Heros using the ESO 50-cm and the ESO 1.52-m (350 nm to 860 nm), 47 spectra taken with Feros at the ESO 1.5-m (370 nm to 920 nm), 2 x 348 spectra taken with the Boller & Chivens at the ESO 1.52-m (345 nm to 510 nm), and 310 spectra of He i 6678 and 27 spectra of Si iii 4553 taken with the CAT/CES. mu Cen was found to be a multiperiodic non-radially pulsating star, with indications for a coupling between the multiperiodic beating and the star-to-disk mass transfer.

[JAD 7, 6]

Luminosities of OIII and Hydrogen Balmer lines in nova shells years and decades after outburst

The evolution of the luminosity of nova shells in the century following the nova outburst is studied for the lines Hza, Hzb, and OzIII. About 1200 flux measurements from 96 objects have been collected from the literature, from unpublished observations, from the HST archive, or from new narrow-band filter imaging. For most objects, the distance and reddening is known (or newly determined), and luminosities were calculated from the observed fluxes. The luminosity data were combined in five groups, according to nova light curve type (very fast, fast, moderately fast, slow, recurrent); some objects were re-assigned to other groups for a better fit of the luminosity data to the general trend. For very fast, fast and moderately fast novae, the slope of the OIII decline is very similar, leading to a basic `switchoff' of OIII emission after 11, 23 and 24 years, respectively. For the same speed classes, the slope of the Balmer luminosity is quite similar. In contrast to all types of fast novae, the decline in Balmer luminosity is more rapid in slow novae. However, the slope in OIII is more gentle; slow novae still show OIII emission after 100 years. Thus shells of slow novae are still hot after one century; the same applies for the shells of the very fast nova GK Per and the recurrent nova T Pyx, which interact with circumstellar material. In recurrent novae, OIII is usually inconspicuous or absent. In objects with giant companions, the Balmer luminosity decreases very slowly after an outburst, which may be an effect of blending of line emission from the ejecta and the giant wind. On the other hand, objects with dwarf companions show a very rapid decline in Balmer luminosity.

[JAD 7, 7]


This book results from presentations and discussions by a group of astronomers and historians during a three-day workshop held at Tihany (Hungary), on 13-15 August 1999. This meeting - the second forum dedicated to the rise of observational astrophysics in the nineteenth and early twentieth century - coincided with the centenary of Hungary's national observatory.

The basic principle of this series of meetings is to reflect on the work and personality of a single individual or of a group of persons, at the same time avoiding the really dominant figures that typify the age. The series focuses on key people who epitomize a way of thinking and working, that has in turn formed many of the ideas by which we do astrophysical research today. Hence the evocation of the scientific spirit of the era under consideration is attempted.

Such a leading key person undoubtedly was Mikl\'os Konkoly Thege. A superb instrumentalist and observer, Konkoly became the founding father of Hungarian astronomy through the establishment of his private observatory that later became the Royal Hungarian Ogyalla Observatory, the precursor of the modern Konkoly Observatory. The workshop was organized at the occasion of the centennial anniversary of Konkoly Observatory.

The book outlines five major themes. The first part describes the birth of observational astrophysics in Hungary and focuses on historical aspects of 19th-century Hungarian astronomy from three different viewpoints: the historical narrative based on historical facts, the perspective as seen by an expert in historical instrumentation, and a discussion of the socio-political consequences of nineteenth-century developments for our present times. The second part analyses the birth of observational astrophysics in countries with which Konkoly and his collaborators had close contacts: Japan, South Africa and France. The third part of the book discusses the establishment of the discipline of photometry worldwide. An important aspect of 19th-century science - and of observational astrophysics in particular - is the role played by female scientists. This aspect is profoundly reviewed in the fourth part of the book. The last part analyses interpretations of early observations, with emphasis on early research on the expansion of the universe.

[JAD 7, 8]

First COROT/MONS/MOST Ground-based Support Workshop

The First COROT/MONS/MOST Ground-based Support Workshop aims at initiating contacts between the ground-support teams of three current astereismology space projects, viz. COnvection, ROtation and planetary Transits (COROT), Measuring Oscillations in Nearby Stars (MONS) and Microvariability and Oscillations of STars (MOST). In the context of a small workshop, approximately two dozen participants from several contributing aspects of ground-based support convened and exchanged their views on how and when to organise the most important elements of ground support for the space experiments.

The workshop format consisted of a series of invited papers on different aspects of the COROT and MONS/MOST ground-support actions, supplemented by a number of contributed papers and by ample time for discussion. Topics included status reports on the MONS and COROT missions and their respective ground-support programmes, as well as diverse presentations of potential ground-support stations with automatic or semi-automatic telescopes. The development of procedures for automatic extraction of accurate atmospheric parameters from spectral data was discussed, and broad attention was assigned to critical evaluations of stellar-atmosphere models and to libraries of reference spectra (observed or synthetic).

The ground support is a commitment over several years with participations that change in time and with members of the COROT/MONS/MOST ground support that are geographically widely spread. Therefore, ground-support workshops will be organised on a regular basis, and these workshops will log their activities in proceedings that will serve as archives for the space-asteroseismology community at large.

[JAD 7, 9]


"Arguably the most influential observational astronomer of the twentieth century" - such are the publisher's words on the book jacket. This statement may come as a surprise not only to those whose knowledge of the astronomical past is restricted to the hagiographical textbook statements about Hubble, but also to those who have a better knowledge of the past. If we want to prepare a list of the most influential observational astronomers of the past century - who deserves first rank: Hale, Hubble, Oort, Sandage, Struve, or even Zwicky? Not an easy decision! The author of the present biography successfully persuades us that a somewhat easy-going person, who liked to talk, but did not like to write about his ongoing studies, has in the long run influenced observational astrophysics more than anyone else. Walter Baade thus stands in a row among other "centennial observational giants'' such as Herschel or Bessel (I just realize that all three were born in towns which are situated within a circle of less than 100 km diameter - is this an accident?). Walter Baade, born in the little Westphalian town of Schroettinghausen in 1893, studied in Muenster and Goettingen. In 1919 he finished his studies with a Ph.D. thesis on the spectroscopic orbit of beta Lyrae, which was based on spectra taken earlier by his supervisor, Johannes Hartmann. While the results of his thesis remained essentially unpublished, Baade received so much praise from his teachers at Goettingen that he was offered a job as assistant at Hamburg Observatory. Its director, Richard Schorr, was a somewhat old-fashioned astronomer. Baade became a very active observer, pleased his boss by observing minor planets and by discovering comets, but also observed variable stars and nebulae. His wish to observe at the very best observatories became true when he obtained a one-year grant from the International Education Board to work at various North American observatories, at Cambridge, Victoria, Mt. Hamilton, and Mt. Wilson. He used his 1926 visit to establish good relations, especially with F. H. Seares, who was responsible for photometric studies at Mt. Wilson. This finally lead to his employment, as a replacement of retiring Seares, in 1931. But Baade not only focussed his interest on precision photometry at faint magnitudes, as Seares had done, but on many more topics, from clusters of galaxies to supernovae.

It is remarkable that, while Baade highly estimated the incomparable working conditions at Mt. Wilson (and later Mt. Palomar), he was not willing to give up his nationality, while the activities in Nazi Germany certainly were repugnant to him. He declined an offer to become director of Hamburg observatory after Schorr's retirement, in spite of the fact that his request for a big Schmidt telescope for Hamburg was favorably considered.

His most fundamental discovery is certainly the existence of two stellar populations, a concept that he could verify by observations which he carried out at Mt. Wilson when the lights of Los Angeles were dimmed during World War II. He was in a position to use the Mt. Wilson telescopes almost single-handedly (even as an enemy citizen, who had never bothered to apply for a US-american citizenship), while his colleagues were occupied with war-related research in other places. Many of his former studies were focussed on the topic of stellar populations, and the revision of the extragalactic distance scale, made public on the early 1950s, was a logical consequence of the population concept.

Cooperation with colleagues was rare these days - Hubble had his `observer' Humason for the tiring work of obtaining redshifts of faint galaxies. Baade, in later years, when observations were pouring in from Mt. Palomar, secured the help of dedicated Henrietta Swope for data analysis. He had only two Ph.D. students: Allan Sandage and Halton Arp. And he had many friends and colleagues in the US and other countries, who asked for his advice, and valuated his opinions highly. One of Baade's ideas, a large telescope for European astronomy, fell on fertile soil in these post-WW II-days, and it was mainly Baade's friend Oort, who was instrumental in focusing the interest of his colleagues all over Europe to turn this dream into reality.

Baade's biographer Donald E. Osterbrock, to whom we owe a series of biographical studies of 19th and 20th century astronomers, has again employed the whole apparatus of biographic research: books, publications, annual reports, letters, sketch books, and photographs in remarkable numbers, which form the basis of his studies. He has worked for several years at the same institution as Baade, and knew him personally. This authoritative biography shows the figure of an outstanding scientist: hard working and perseverant, but also addicted to a good pipe and a glass of whisky; less interested in administrative work and influence; open to presenting his knowledge in talks and lectures, but strangely reluctant to pen down his results in final form. Baade clearly saw his knowledge as an ongoing process, which whould make any written account soon obsolete - why bother to write a paper if you don't need it (since you have a permanent position, and a well-deserved one for that!). Sometimes other colleagues, fascinated by his accounts, undertook the effort in converting his lectures and sketches into versions which were ready for the press - his only, posthumous book "Evolution of Stars and Galaxies'' was based on lectures given at Harvard College Observatory.

Osterbrock's book presents more than an account of Baade's life - it permits a glimpse into a research institution which was more than any other place instrumental for progress in observational astrophysics and cosmology. The reader learns that its director Adams had a low opinion of the `showman' Hubble, who, after his war-time work at a military institution, had quite some problems picking up the thread of his extragalactic research again. The reader experiences that Shapley, whose astronomical work had been more and more dwarfed by his activities as observatory director and leader of many international organizations, either ignored or blocked astronomical progress, or, when progress became obvious to all, tried to put himself at the forefront of research with a large PR effort. Such behaviour is certainly also found in astronomical specimens of our times, but I suppose that the modern system of peer-review publication, promotion and funding puts some constraints on the existence of exotic characters.

The eminent names of 20th century astronomy step from the spotlights and shadows of hagiography, and turn into people with foibles and vigours. It is good to see that Baade, one of the most important, and at the same time most elusive representatives of observational astronomy, has become the topic of an authoritative, well-written book. Baade's discovery of the two stellar populations, in combination with almost simultaneous theoretical work on stellar nucleosynthesis and stellar structure by Hoyle, Fowler, Schwarzschild and others, formes the basis of our understanding of stellar evolution, and thus of galaxy evolution and the evolution of the Universe. Baade really deserves to be called the most influential observational astronomer of the 20th century.

[JAD 7,10]

The Role of Visual Representations in Astronomy (Book Review)

On 20 September 1999, the working group for the history of astronomy in the Astronomische Gesellschaft organized a workshop on the role of visual representations in astronomy in the historical setting of the early 19th-century Observatory at Gottingen. The workshop showed that disciplines as far apart in today's curricula and university faculties as astronomy and history of science have much to say to each other and may greatly benefit from mutual cooperation. Astronomy has a particularly rich legacy of nonverbal representations (sketches, drawings, diagrams, photographs, histograms, spectrograms etc.) going back to prehistoric times. In our day it remains at the forefront of new developments in such rapidly developing areas as scientific photography and CCD imaging.

This volume contains 8 papers on historical aspects of visual representations in astronomy. These papers emphasize the value of drawings, paintings, engravings, woodcuts, globes, maps, photographs, plots and prints not only from the point of view of their artistic and cultural value, but also as data in their own right. Large projects, like the Carte du Ciel launched in 1887 by Paris Observatory, are discussed and their impetus to the institutionalisation of photographic astrometry, together with the unsuspected social and material changes to society, is stressed. Early maps of the infrared region, extending from 1.1 to 5.3 micron, made by Samuel Pierpont Langley are used to address the question why exactly were these forms of graphical presentation used. An annotated reproduction of On Astronomical Drawing by Charles Piazzi Smyth, reprinted from the Memoirs of the Royal Astronomical Society, is a very interesting text.

[JAD 7,11]

Beitrage zur Astronomiegeschichte (Book Review)

This volume contains 7 main papers and 5 short contributions, with additional discussions, obituaries and book reviews. The principal papers deal with hitherto unknown details about the foundation of the Gotha and Königsberg observatories, the trigonometric survey of Mecklenburg, the work of Leipzig astronomer Gustav Adolph Jahn, the international activities of the Astronomische Gesellschaft, and early research on the expansion of the universe. In addition, there is also a description of a collection of sundails in the Museum of Astronomy and History of Technology of the State Museum of Kassel.

Summaries of the 7 main papers:

  1. Letters and notes from Franz Xaver von Zach to the Dukes of Gotha (1786-1805)
    A compilation of notes and letters written in French by Franz Xaver von Zach and sent to Duke Ernst II of Saxony, Gotha and Altenburg, as well as one letter to Duke August, Ernst's successor. These writings contain Zach's first plan for an observatory in Gotha, reports about the rediscovering of the minor planet Ceres, discussions about astronomical instruments, observations and methods of calculation The letters show the Duke's lifelong interest in astronomy.
  2. The foundation of Königsberg Observatory in connection with general considerations by the Prussian State 3: the construction history of the observatory
    This paper deals with Bessel's first plan of the Königsberg observatory, in connection with general considerations about the terms of reference for an astronomical observatory, the plans for its instruments and its practical arrangement. The realization met some difficulties due to a lack of finances and conflicts of powers between Königsberg and Berlin. Several original documents by Bessel, Tralles and others are reproduced.
  3. Friedrich Paschen and the trigonometric survey of Mecklenburg from 1853 to 1873
    At the suggestion of the Prussian military geodesist Johann Jacob Baeyer, the government of Mecklenburg decided in 1853 to undertake an ordnance survey on a trigonometric basis. It appointed Friedrich Paschen (1804-1873) as the scientific and technical head of this survey Paschen was a lawyer, but visited Gauss' lectures on mathematics, astronomy and geodesy during his student years in Göttingen. This paper gives an account of the astronomical-geodetic works, and also includes unpublished parts of Paschen's correspondence with Gauss and other scientists.
  4. Gustav Adolph Jahn, a 19th-century Leipzig astronomer
    Gustav Adolph Jahn, a private scholar in Leipzig, knew the most outstanding German astronomers of the first half of the 19th century personally, or corresponded with them. He saw his main duty in the popularisation of astronomical and meteorological knowledge among all classes of people. He chaired the Leipzig Astronomical Society, edited a journal and supported the cooperation of professionals and amateurs.
  5. In Hubble's shadow: early research on the expansion of the universe
    An overview on the progress on theoretical and observational cosmology in the first half of the 20th century is given We outline the Einstein, de Sitter and Friedmann-Lemaitre models, and describe the quest for the observational confirmation of the de Sitter universe, as well as the first theoretical and observational work on the Friedmann-Lemaitre universe We analyze the attempts to determine the expansion parameter from the databases of Lundmark, Stromberg, Lemaitre, Hubble, Hubble and Humason and de Sitter, and we trace early research on the deceleration parameter by Silberstein. An elaborated version in English is available in the last chapter of JAD7_7.
  6. The Astronomische Gesellschaft between international activities and national barriers (1863-1933)
    The Astronomische Gesellschaft (AG), founded in 1863, was always intended to be an international society of astronomers, but it was at the same time always dominated by German astronomers. This expresses in the national background of the members and in the usage of German as the business language, as well as in other facts. It is shown that this polarity between international activities and national barriers originated in the circumstances of the foundation. Using examples from publications and archival sources, the international activities of the AG and the relation of some members to it are being traced between 1863 and 1933. To this end, the regulations in the statutes, the activities and the relation to the International Astronomical Union have been analysed.
  7. The sundials in the Kassel Museum of Astronomy and History of Technology
    This paper describes the 117 sundials in the collection of the Staatliche Museum Kassel, Museum für Astronomie und Technikgeschichte (State Museum of Kassel, Museum of Astronomy and History of Technology), 55 of which are also depicted in photographs.