The Development of a New Observatory

G. E. Hale
1905 Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific  
The editor of the Popular Science Monthly, in the last issue of that journal, questions the wisdom of the Carnegie Institution in transferring a portion of the staff of the Yerkes Observatory to California for the purpose of establishing a new observatory. He believes that observatories should be situated where the seeing is best, and that good results may be obtained* on Mt. Wilson, but doubts the necessity of providing for more astronomical work in a region already so well represented by the
more » ... represented by the Lick Observatory. The criticism, which is made in perfect fairness, is doubtless one that will independently present itself to others. It deserves an answer, which I shall endeavor in this paper to supply. Let me say at the very outset that we yield to no one in our admiration for the splendidly effective work of our good friends on Mt. Hamilton. If it had been a question of duplicating the work of the Lick Observatory, or of occupying a similar field, the Solar Observatory would not have been founded. It is easy to believe that one who has but recently closed a long period of preparation, which involved not only the ordinary discomforts of building, but also the details of construction of an extensive instrumental equipment, would not lightly embark upon another similar enterprise. A mountain summit, reached only by a narrow trail, and with no immediate prospect of better means of approach, does not appear to one engaged in quiet research as an ideal place for building operations. Furthermore, the great Yerkes telescope, thoroughly tested by investigations in many fields, appeals more
doi:10.1086/121622 fatcat:uzjv6i2qtbbapgfpgcvze4zymu