Below is a short article about a great astronomical observers of the 19th-20th centuries,
Created on 03/31/2005, 12:58:00, by Thomas J. Teters (Astro101_FRCC)

              The Man- Edward Emerson Barnard

,   ,.  ..

#1  Young E. E.                     #2                  E.E. at Lick                               #3         E.E. at Yerkes

 

   Born, December 16, 1857 in Nashville, Tenn., to a life of poverty and hardship. His father died before he was born. .

In young years he experienced the Civil War, and survived a cholera attack. With his mother having to support herself
and her two sons. He spent only two months of his early life in school, receiving all of his education from his mother.
Forced to help support her, Barnard took a job in Nashville at a photography gallery when he was nine years old!
In charge of the solar enlarger, a device that tracked the sun to make photographic prints, he became an expert
specializing in wide-field photography.
   Barnard's first telescope was a 1” simple lens in a cardboard tube made for him by one of his coworkers from the small
objective of a broken spyglass found in the street. With it he began observing the stars, but was unable to identify any
of them. In exchange for a favor, a friend gave him a copy of Thomas Dick's book, the Practical Astronomer, in 1876.
Barnard purchased a 5-inch refracting telescope, ‘with a proper mounting in 1877 from John Byrne of New York for $380,
two-thirds of his annual earnings, and did extensive reading on astronomy. Finding a star map in the book, Barnard was
able to learn the conventional names of the objects with which he was already so familiar. In January, 1881, still employed
at the photo studio, he married Rhoda Calvert, an England-born lady whom he knew from his work in the studio. From these
humble beginnings, his skill with the telescope and his keen eyesight combined to make him the greatest astronomical
observer of the time, some say of all times (Brahe?)
   When a scientific meeting was held in Nashville in 1887, Barnard met Simon Newcomb, the dean of American astronomers &
the first recipient of the Bruce Award. Newcomb, an expert in celestial mechanics, advised the eager young man to improve
his mathematical skills and search for comets. With the help of a tutor, and sheer hard work, he overcame the handicaps of
an impoverished family life and virtually no formal education.
   Taking Newcomb’s advice to heart, Barnard came to prominence as an astronomer through the discovery of numerous comet(16).
During the 1880s, a wealthy patron of astronomy in Rochester, New York, awarded $200 each time a new comet was found.
Barnard discovered (?)eight comets, earning enough to build a "Comet House" for his bride. His discoveries brought him to
the attention of other amateur astronomers in Nashville who raised enough money to earn Barnard a fellowship to Vanderbilt
University. On May 12, 1881, Barnard discovered his first comet, which however he did not announce. He found his second
comet on September 17 of the same year, and another one on September 13, 1882.
   Barnard graduated from Vanderbilt Univ., 1887. From 1887 to 1895 he was astronomer at (James) Lick Observatory located in
the Diablo Range east of San Jose, California, site of the 36-inch refracting telescope using a Alvan Clark lens, one of the
premier lens makers of all time, completed in 1888. One of his greatest achievement was the introduction of wide-field photographic
methods, when in 1889 he began to photograph the Milky Way with large-aperture lenses, revealing exciting new detail and gave
us a better understanding the internal structure of the Milky Way.
#4 At Lick
   His achievements at Lick included pioneering celestial photography, discovering 16  comets, the first photographic
discovery of a comet, the gegenschein, he discovered Amalthea, Jupiter's fifth satellite (1892).
From 1895 as professor of practical astronomy at the Univ. of Chicago and astronomer at the not-yet-completed Yerkes Observatory
he helped to test the great 40-inch (the largest lens in the world) refractor following its installation.
#5 Yerkes Observatory
   On May 29, 1897, Barnard narrowly  escaped death when, just hours after he had left the observatory’s dome, the 37-ton elevating floor,
used to lift observers to the level of the telescope’s eyepiece, collapsed after a supporting cable broke.
In 1916, he discovered the star with the largest proper motion, a 9.5 magnitude star known as Munich 15040 or LFT 1385 in Ophiuchus,
from then on known as Barnard's Runaway Star or just Barnard’s Star.
   Barnard spent 28 years as an astronomer at Yerkes , using the giant refractor as well as the 10-inch Bruce wide-field telescope,
built specially for him, to measure star positions and to pioneer wide-field photography. He made many studies, both visual and photographic
of comets, planets, numerous dark nebulae, globular clusters. These discoveries made Barnard internationally famous and attested to
his exceptional observational and photographic ability.
   Barnard also played a prominent role, at the turn of the twentieth century, in denouncing the existence of Martian canals and insisting t
hat they could be broken down into more diffuse detail.   Much to Sir Percival Lovell’s disgust.
   His Photographic Atlas of Selected Regions of the Milky Way, published posthumously in 1927, identifies 349 dark nebulae north of
declination -35° that are still known by their Barnard (B) numbers.  Edward Emerson Bernard died 6 February 1923 at William’s Bay, Wisconsin.


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Awards
Named after him:
Biographical materials
References