IAU Commission 41 : Newsletters




1997-2000 Triennium -- February 2000 -- Issue # 5

Commission 41 Activities in Manchester

Steven J. Dick, President, Commission 41

Commission 41 will sponsor and participate in a variety of activities at the upcoming XXIV General Assembly in Manchester, 7-18 August, 2000. The Commission is sponsoring Joint Discussion 6 on "Applied Historical Astronomy". It will take place Friday, August 11 from 0900-1730; the detailed program is given below. Participating Commissions include Commissions 4 (Ephemerides), 19 (Rotation of the Earth), and 20 (Positions and Motions of Minor Planets, Comets and Satellites), while Divisions I (Fundamental Astronomy), II (The Sun and Heliosphere) and III (Planetary System Sciences) are supporting Divisions.

The C 41 business meeting is scheduled for the morning of August 15, and a special session on the inventory and preservation of archives and artifacts will take place on August 16. This has been a long-standing concern of our Commission.

This is the only call for your participation at all these events. The oral papers for JD6 are already set by invitation, but there is still room for poster papers. Requests for poster papers should be sent to the JD6 SOC Chair, F. Richard Stephenson, at f.r.stephenson@durham.ac.uk. Oral papers are invited for the special session on archives on August 16. Please send me a brief abstract. We would like participation from your country. Any items for the Business session should also be sent to me by July 15, 2000. These items should preferably be sent via e-mail to dick.steve@usno.navy.mil.

It is my hope that we will have good participation from both inside and outside the Commission for these events. Details on registration and accommodations are available in IB 85, and at the IAU web site http://www.iau.org. See you there!

C 41 Elections -- Call for Nominations - Call for Resolutions

Election of new members and officers of C41 will be held during the business meeting on the morning of August 15. Please send me any nominations for the office of Vice President or Organizing Committee. Our current Vice President, F. Richard Stephenson, will rise to President at this meeting. Any resolutions C41 members would like to bring before the business meeting should be sent to me by July 15, 2000.

Joint Discussion 6 Program - August 11, 2000

MANCHESTER-2000 PROGRAM Joint Discussion "Applied Historical Astronomy"

Proposing Commission: C 41 (History of Astronomy)
Participating Commissions: 4 (Ephemerides), 19 (Rotation of the Earth), 20 (Positions and Motions of Minor Planets, Comets and Satellites)
Supporting Divisions: Division I (Fundamental Astronomy), Division II (The Sun and Heliosphere), Division III (Planetary System Sciences)
Scientific Organizing Committee: Richard Stephenson (UK, Chair), S. Ansari (India), S. Dick (USA), O. Gingerich (USA), Nha Il-Seong (South Korea), W. Orchiston (New Zealand), M. Standish (USA), W. T. Sullivan III (USA), D. Yeomans (USA)

a.m. Chair: Steven J. Dick

9.00. Richard Stephenson (University of Durham). Overview.
9.20. David Brown. "Babylonian observations".
9.40. Richard Stephenson (University of Durham). "East Asian observations".
10.00. Louay Fatoohi (University of Durham). "Arab observations".
10.20. Discussion
10.40. Coffee
11.00. "European observations".
11.20. Wayne Orchiston (New Zealand). "Southern Hemisphere Observations."
11.40. S.M. Razaullah Ansari (India). "Practical astronomy in Indo-Persian sources".
12.00. Myles Standish (JPL). "Early observations and modern ephemerides".
12.20. Discussion
12.40. Lunch

p.m. Chair: F. Richard Stephenson.
14.00. Leslie Morrison (Former RGO). "Ancient eclipses and Earth's rotation".
14.20. Dennis McCarthy (USNO). "Earth orientation since AD 1600".
14.40. Donald Yeomans (JPL). "Ancient Chinese observations and modern cometary models".
15.00. Mark Bailey (Armagh Observatory). "Historical variability of the interplanetary complex".
15.20. Discussion.
15.40. Tea
16.00. David Hughes (University of Sheffield). "Frequency of ancient cometary meteoroid observations".
16.20. Kenneth Schatten (Goddard SC). "Early telescopic sunspot records".
16.40. David Willis (Rutherford Appleton). "The historical record of aurorae".
17.00. David Green (University of Cambridge). "Historical supernovae and their remnants".
17.20. Discussion
17.30. Close

IAU Colloquium 178 in Italy A Success

Commission 41 sponsored a very successful meeting, IAU Colloquium 178 on "Polar Motion: Historical and Scientific Problems," held in Sardinia, Italy September 27-30, 1999. The meeting was also supported by IAU Commissions 19 (Earth Rotation) and 31 (Time), by the International Association of Geodesy (IAG), the International Earth Rotation Service (IERS), and the International GPS Service.

The year 1999 marked the centennial of the first observations of the International Latitude Service (ILS), forerunner of both the IAG and the IERS. The meeting featured and excellent mix of historical and scientific papers, a trip to the Carloforte Latitude Station (one of the original ILS stations), and excellent local arrangements on the part of our Italian hosts. The Proceedings will be published in the Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific series.

The following resolutions were adopted at the meeting. Commission 41 will take up Resolution 1 in Manchester. Resolutions 2-6 will be debated at length at Colloquium 180, at JD 2 in Manchester, and forwarded to the General Assembly for action.

Resolution #1.

Recommends that concerted efforts be made to preserve the buildings and instruments associated with the observatories of the International Latitude Service and predecessor observatories especially the associated geodetic monuments or pillars.

Resolution # 2.

Recommends that the International Earth Rotation Service (IERS) coordinate the establishment of a series of high-frequency polar motion estimates consistent with the current IERS reference systems in cooperation with the International GPS Service, International Laser Ranging Service, and the International VLBI Service.

Resolution # 3.

Recommends that

1. the International Astronomical Union form a working group to consider the possible redefinition of UTC, particularly the requirement for leap seconds, and

2. that this study be under taken in cooperation with the appropriate groups of International Union of Radio Science (URSI), the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), and the International Committee for Weights and Measures (CIPM).

Resolution # 4

Encourages both

1. high - frequency astronomical & geophysical
2. observations of high precision, and further studies
3. to establish the nature of polar motion on time scales from hours to centuries.

Resolution # 5.

1. that the appropriate working group of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) study the definition of the most appropriate parameters to accomplish this transformation, the definition of the Celestial Ephemeris Pole, and the definition of the rotational time scale UTI; and
2. that this working group prepare its recommendations regarding these definitions for the IAU General Assembly in 2000, and
3. that this work be carried out in consultation with the IAG.

Resolution # 6

Recommends that the International Astronomical Union undertake additional efforts to
1. collect further historical data, and
2. reduce these data in the International Celestial and Terrestrial Reference Systems.

Resolution # 7

Thanks the members of the LOC, the Stazione Astronomica di Cagliari-Carloforte, Universita degli Studi di Cagliari, the Ministero dell Universita e Ricera, Regione Autonoma della Sardegna, and the Comune di Monserrato for their efforts to make IAU Colloquium 178 a success.

Time Balls Drop, Cannons Fire, Around the World

The Commission 41/U. S. Naval Observatory project to drop time balls and fire "time guns" around the world for New Year's Eve was very successful. As the New Year swept around the world time balls were dropped at some 20 sites in 8 countries on 6 continents. Most sites have agreed to participate again next New Year's Eve, when the real millennium begins! Many of the events were coordinated via GPS, tying together the old and new methods of time dissemination. The project gained considerable media interest for an event that was once an important mission for observatories around the world. Participating sites are listed below.

(In Order of Time Zone from International Date Line)

SiteTime Diff
From GMT
Including DST
Midnight Occurs
At This Time EST
New Zealand Lyttelton (Christchurch) +13 6 am
Antarctica McMurdo +13 6 am
Scott Station +13 6 am
Australia Sydney Observatory +11 8 am
Melbourne - Parks Victoria +11 8 am
Adelaide - Town Council +10.5 8:30 am
Cape Borda Light Station
(Kangaroo Island; cannon)
+10.5 8:30 am
Fremantle +8 11 am
India National Physical Laboratory
New Delhi
+5.5 1:30 pm
South Africa Cape Town +2 5 pm
Sweden Goteborg +1 6 pm
Karlskrona Naval Base +1 6 pm
UK Greenwich - National Maritime 0 7 pm
Edinburgh (ball and cannon) 0 7 pm
Antarctica Palmer Station -3 10 pm
USA New York Times Square -5 midnight
South Street Seaport Museum -5 midnight
Washington, DC - USNO -5 midnight
Miami (raising an orange) -5 midnight
Doane College, Crete NE -6 1 am Sat
La Jolla, CA -8 3 am Sat

Other Commission 41 News

A report to IAU Commission 41 on the Nha Il-Seong Museum of Astronomy

Kwan-Yu Chen

Celebration for the dedication of Nha Il-Seong Museum of Astronomy and the naming of minor planet (8895) Nha was held on June 4, 1999 at Yechon, Korea, where the Museum-Observatory complex is located. There were more than 200 guests attended the ceremony. Well wishers included Minister Seo Jung-Uck of the Korean Ministry of Science and Technology, Governor Lee Eui-Geun of Kyongbuk Province, and foreign astronomers from China, Japan, Poland and U. S.

The official name of (8895) Nha was presented by Prof. Dr. Hasegawa Ichiro, who, together with Prof. Dr. Hurukawa Kiichiro, nominated the name to the International Astronomical Union. Mr. Watanabe Kazuo, discoverer of the minor planet 1995 QN, was also present.

The museum-observatory complex was constructed on two levels. The building of the observatory and living quarters is at the higher ground, and the museum is to the south at the lower level. The name of the museum is "Humgyong-Gak", after the buildings respectively erected by King Sejong in 1437 for housing a special clepsydra, and by King Yonjo in 1770 for housing two star maps engraved on stone slabs. In Dr. Nha's museum, star maps, including a replica of the stone star map of 1395, are exhibited intwo sections; the sundials are displayed on the roof section, which is connected to the upper ground by a stone bridge.

The museum, as a historical heritage of astronomy, is dedicated to young astronomers for generations to come.

Reports on Astronomy

Thanks to everyone who submitted information for the Reports on Astronomy, to be published as Transactions of the IAU, vol. XXIVA. It is always a challenge to abridge these for the small space we are allotted. This year we have more space, but it was still a challenge. The complete report is posted on the Commission 41 Web site at http://www.astro.uni-bonn.de/~pbrosche/iaucomm41/

Reminders for Manchester General Assembly

HTML version: Wolfgang R. Dick, 3 Mar 2000