Reading Nature, Observing Science: Examining Material Practices in the Lick Observatory Archives and Kenneth S. Norris PapersMain MenuIntroduction to the Lick Observatory ArchivesThe Lick Observatory: Imaging the CosmosThe Lick Observatory: Eclipse ExpeditionsEclipse Intro page (first in a path)Introduction to Kenneth S. Norris PapersKenneth S. Norris Papers: Natural History in PracticeKenneth S. Norris Papers: Pedagogy and ConservationConnections: In Relation to NatureThese images demonstrate the different constructions of nature in the two archivesConnections: Materials of ObservationVisualization of the ConnectionsVisualizes the connections between all the contentReading Nature, Observing ScienceCaptions and information for the cases of objects on display at UCSC Special CollectionsAlex Moore6cd84a9f7efd71803c15562e48a509db9e0bb5a6Christine Turkb279a3dcf419860f915007f04f08e6fc0f8662ceDanielle Crawford22ce6a14f83c9ff73c3545a665951a092258f08e
Group of Sun Spots and Veiled Spots, E.L. Trouvelot, 1875
12016-06-02T21:09:51-07:00Alex Moore6cd84a9f7efd71803c15562e48a509db9e0bb5a691844Illustration of Sun Spots by E.L. Trouvelot, 1875plain2016-06-07T11:48:32-07:00Alex Moore6cd84a9f7efd71803c15562e48a509db9e0bb5a6
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12016-06-01T17:54:20-07:00Alex Moore6cd84a9f7efd71803c15562e48a509db9e0bb5a6Case 4: Eclipse Expeditions in ContextAlex Moore36The photographs and prints gathered in this case pertain to the eclipse expedition program that the Lick astronomers undertook between 1889 and 1932. For the majority of these journeys, the astronomers used a 40ft portable camera designed by J. M. Schaeberle. The images displayed here foreground three themes suggested by the archive: understanding the sun, onsite labour, and the importance of framing.gallery2016-06-07T15:39:30-07:00Alex Moore6cd84a9f7efd71803c15562e48a509db9e0bb5a6
12016-06-07T19:48:23-07:00Christine Turkb279a3dcf419860f915007f04f08e6fc0f8662ceÉtienne Trouvelot and the Lick ObservatoryChristine Turk13gallery2016-06-17T10:08:46-07:00Christine Turkb279a3dcf419860f915007f04f08e6fc0f8662ce
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12016-06-07T13:46:02-07:00Alex Moore6cd84a9f7efd71803c15562e48a509db9e0bb5a6Case 4: Understanding the SunAlex Moore7Key theme in Case 4gallery2016-06-07T15:27:06-07:00Alex Moore6cd84a9f7efd71803c15562e48a509db9e0bb5a6
As an artist and a scientist, Trouvelot occupies an interesting position within the nineteenth-century discussion of objectivity. In one letter to Holden, he suggests that a good observer must possess both "fire and ice." It seems that for Trouvelot, interfacing with the cosmos was both an aesthetic experience and an act of cool judgement; we can perhaps sense this tension between sensation and sensibility in his illustrations. Trouvelot's illustrations speak to an effort, we suggest, to account for the motion of celestial bodies in ways that photographic images cannot, as in his images of meteors and comets. They even speak to an effort to bestow celestial bodies with "vitality," as in the illustrations of the Orion Nebula and of sun spots featured here. In another letter to Holden, he urges Holden to consider the capacities of the eye and the advantages of observing the cosmos directly through the telescope, rather than relying secondarily on the images produced by the camera. He writes that the eye can detect more detail than the photographic lens, and challenges Holden to compare the detail in his drawings of the moon with the photographs of the moon produced at the Lick. Indeed, as indicated in the next section of this exhibit, astronomers were often frustrated with the camera's inability to capture the details of celestial bodies, especially gradations of light and the richness of shadows.
An oversized set of prints of Trouvelot's drawings (approximately 2' by 3'), two of which are displayed in case 3 and case 4, was gifted to the Lick Observatory by John R. Jarboe in 1887. The set originally consisted of 15 plates, but five have been lost. W.H. Wright, a later director of the Lick, wrote in 1937 that the illustrations "were of little scientific value and were finally relegated to a store room." The remaining prints are accessible through UCSC Special Collections, or they can be viewed online through the digital collections of the New York Public Library. The prints in the above slideshow and found elsewhere on the site are from the digital collections of the NYPL.
12016-06-07T13:46:02-07:00Case 4: Understanding the Sun6Key theme in Case 4gallery2016-06-07T14:46:36-07:00The Lick Observatory eclipse expeditions strove to answer the following questions:
What is the solar corona?
Why does the sun have a corona?
Can General Relativity be proved?
Are there other planets or unknown bodies revolving around the sun?
Astrophysicists today understand sun spots to be magnetic areas of the sun's surface that appear dark because they are cooler than their surroundings (but still approximately 4500 degrees Celsius). The number and location of sun spots varies over an eleven year cycle, which coincides with magnetic activity and solar brightness. The Solar Corona is the sun's outer atmosphere and is understood to be made up of super-heated gasses that are formed into loops, plumes, and streamers by the sun's magnetic field.
Though sun spots were first observed by Galileo in 1610, the nature of both sunspots and the solar corona fascinated and mystified astronomers through the early nineteenth century. With the advent of astrophotography, astronomers could carefully observe and record these phenomena. In the carefully observed drawing by Langley the sun spot looks like a dark opening in a dense set of fibers. In Trouvelot's illustration, the sun spots resemble holes surrounded by muscle tissues. In both images we see careful observation of the visually available information: an interruption of the surface; a darker center surrounded by areas of movement. These images reflected and informed Edward Holden's thinking about the sun: both Trouvelot and Langley were in correspondence with the astronomers at the Lick, sharing sketches of their observations, and Holden pasted a copy of Langley's Sun Spot engraving into his scrapbook.
Similarly, the sketches astronomers made of the corona at this point in time accurately record the shapes of the corona, but fail to understand the forces behind it. Edward Holden, the founding Director of the Lick, hypothesized that the "coronal filaments were produced by streams of meteorites falling into the sun." John Schaeberle, the astronomer who designed the 40ft camera used on the majority of the eclipse expeditions, proposed that the coronal forms were "produced by volcanic forces emanating from the sun spots."