astronomy at the VanderBilt University, Nashville and remained there for four years; the University had a modest 6-inch telescope, of which Barnard was soon placed in charge. He graduated in 1887. The year following, Barnard became an astronomer at the Lick Observatory, California, where he remained until 1895. The Lick Observatory boasted the great 36-inch refracting telescope, and his appointment to the Lick Observatory would seemed to have offered Barnard unparalleled opportunities to regularly use this giant "eye of the sky." Not so. His relationship with the Director of the Lick Observatory deteriorated, and although Barnard went to Lick in the summer of 1888, he was not allocated a night through the eyes of the 36-inch refractor until July 1892. On the eleventh night of his observations with the 36-inch, Barnard discovered the fifth satellite of Jupiter, known as Amalthea, on September 9, 1892, adding one more moon to Galileo's Medicean stars (the four moons of Jupiter which were discovered by Galileo in January 1610).
At the Lick Observatory, Barnard loved to "sweep" the Milky Way Galaxy with the Crocker telescope constructed using the famous "six-inch Willard lens" originally used by a commercial photographer, Mr. Wm. Shew, in San Francisco. The lens was made in 1849 and had been sold by a dealer named Willard & Co. (An interesting historical aside: although the lens was called the "Willard lens," it was not made by Willard & Co., but by Charles Usner in New York City, who supplied stock dealers such as Willard & Co. and Holmes, Booth & Hayden with these lenses, which were used in the making of portraits during the wet-plate era of photography. The portrait lens was eventually purchased for the Lick Observatory from Mr. Shew with funds provided by C.F. Crocker - hence the name "Crocker Telescope.") The marvel was that the Willard lens had a short focal length, allowing photons from a wide-angle field to hit the photographic plate; the wide-field views secured by Barnard with the six-inch Willard lens and Crocker telescope (Figure 77) were absolutely breathtaking; every inch on the original plates spanned nearly two degrees, the equivalent of almost four full moons. Barnard's photographs of the Milky Way with the Willard lens were published in 1913, almost twenty years after Barnard had left the Lick Observatory. The volume was entitled: "Photographs of the Milky Way and Comets Made with The Six-inch Willard Lens and Crocker Telescope during the Years 1892-1895" (Publications of the Lick Observatory, Volume XI).
Was this article helpful?