Volume 29, Number 4
December 4, 1998

The Doings of the Department of Astronomy
and the David Dunlap Observatory

COVER PICTURE: Subaru Telescope 8.2m Primary Mirror

Close view of the Subaru Telescope 8.2m primary mirror in its cell, with the mirror cell actuators clearly visible through the uncoated mirror's upper surface. See Ian Shelton's letter to the editor.

Printed with permission of Ian Shelton

ISSN 1209-0182
Editors: Brian Beattie & R.F. Garrison
Associate Editor: Tracy Clarke
© Governing Council, University of Toronto, 1998


The Long Range Planning Panel is holding a Town Hall meeting in Toronto on Saturday, 5 December. It is part of a series of Town Hall meetings being held at major centres across the country. The purpose of the meetings is to find out what Canadian astronomers think about their future.

So far, most of the discussion I've heard has been about which major (expensive) projects Canada should initiate or join. It is clearly very important that Canadian astronomers have access to large projects, and the case is being made vigorously and successfully. It is equally important that modest funding be provided for projects not involving the largest and most expensive facilities.

Not much has been said about support for astronomy in general, but this should not be neglected. Canada needs access to a variety of sizes and types of telescopes. For the very modest amount of money needed to equip existing telescopes in Canada with good instrumentation, a great deal of important science can be done. Innovative ideas and experiments, surveys and long-term projects, most of which may be too risky for the largest and most expensive facilities, can be tested and carried out on existing medium- and small-sized telescopes in Canada. The chronic underfunding (or non-funding) of these telescopes is a waste of good people and resources.

Some of the many reasons for modest funding of existing telescopes in Canada is that the pressure for big telescope time has become so intense that increasing percentages of students are refused time on the largest telescopes at the best sites. This often has nothing to do with the quality of the project or the elegance of the arguments in the proposal, but is due to the large oversubscription rates combined with the interests of the Time Assigment Committees. It is human nature that, given two equally exciting proposals, only one of which can be given time, it is difficult to choose objectively.

I know that when I was on the CFHT TAC during the first few years of operation, we had to turn down many proposals which were first class, simply because there wasn't enough time available. Usually 25% of the proposals were accepted, but only about 25% were of obviously lower quality. The remaining 50% would have produced just as good science as those accepted, so it was very difficult to choose among them. This situation is likely to get worse, especially on the largest and most expensive telescopes, and we need to ensure that we can give students a secure alternative. Applications must be made more than six months ahead of time; if the student's application fails, progress on the thesis is delayed and the student may run out of support before finishing a thesis project.

Another potentially valuable result of the funding of moderate-sized telescopes in Canada is the experience of being involved in the operation and maintenance of the telescope. Large telescopes are run by well-trained telescope operators and are maintained by a large crew of specialist technicians and engineers. There is not much chance for students to get experience operating and maintaining equipment when all they do is sit in a warm room watching a monitor and waiting for the T.O. to set the telescope or the technician to fix something. As a result, fewer students are familiar with instrumentation at a time when Canada needs more instrumentalists.

The 60cm telescope of UTSO in Chile is a case in point. Observers were responsible for doing their own observing after a night or so of training by the Resident. Students would learn from direct experience how to operate a telescope. The Resident was responsible for maintaining the telescope without the aid of technicians and engineers in addition to carrying out all kinds of service observing for absentee astronomers. From these experiences, the Residents learned a tremendous amount about instruments of all kinds: optical, electronic, mechanical, computer and more. As a result, they are now in great demand and are making extremely valuable contributions to astronomy. Only 3 of the 17 Residents have left astronomy and that is a much smaller percentage than for PhD students. As pointed out in the note from Ian Shelton in this issue, several of the former UTSO Residents are in key positions with the largest telescopes in the world: Salmon at CFHT, Wizinowich at KECK, Filhaber at GEMINI, Crowe at UH, and Shelton at SUBARU - all in Hawaii. Others are contributing elsewhere: Grieve at UBC, Prado at ESO, Garcia at U. of CHILE (and last I heard he was headed for one of the large telescopes in Chile) and the list continues.

I am in favor of Canadian participation in large, expensive projects. Astronomy is a multi-dimensional field, however, and we need to keep a balance in the availability of various sizes and access formats of telescopes. I am convinced that the contribution of very modest telescopes is complementary and that it would be a big mistake to neglect the equally valuable contributions to astronomy that could be made by existing telescopes with adequate funding. When the small cost of the latter is factored in, it is obvious that existing small- to medium-sized telescopes in Canada could be very cost effective for certain kinds of exciting projects, such as those proposed by John Lester for the DDO 1.88m telescope, by David Gray for the UWO telescope and by Rene Racine for the MM 1.5m telescope.

Bob Garrison

Comings and Goings


Mark Brodwin, Patrick Carey, Jason Clark, Bryan Lamb and Rosemary McNaughton received their Astronomy MSc's November 26th. Mark and Rosemary are continuing on for their PhDs in this department, Jason has returned to UManitoba for a PhD in Physics and Bryan has moved to the Math department at this university.


Architecture- Robarts Library

Marlene Cummins

I attended a Library Architecture seminar the evening of November 12. It was sponsored by the University of Toronto Library as part of its celebrations of the 25th Anniversary of Robarts Library. I won't bore you with a summary of the whole thing but I will tell you some bits I think you might find interesting-- about Robarts Library.

One of the Architects, Andrew Mathers, talked about building it. He said that there are three questions which he is most often asked at parties, and gave his answers.

Why is it so imposing? Well, one million square feet would always be imposing. But Robarts is one million square feet that is not very tall (compared to the 55 floors of the TD centre, say, which is also about 1 million square feet). Robarts is the largest academic library building anywhere.

Furthemore, the intention was never to be "warm and fuzzy" but rather to give the impression that it is a place of scholarly pursuit and that to use it is a privilege.

Access through the second floor rather than the ground floor was a result of the provincial government demanding that 3 floors be added for its own use, near the end of the design process when it was too late to incorporate them effectively. Adding one to the bottom was the easiest way at the time and we have been paying for it ever since. Furthermore, the proposed budget was higher than the lowest estimate for the building and cutting out several approaches was one way to save some money.

Why is it triangular? There are 1000 study carrels in the library, EVERY ONE of which has a window. These carrels were an important priority in the design of the building and the triangular shape helps accomodate them.

At the time, there had recently been a lot of criticism of the "row of rectangles" marching up St. George St. A triangle means that there is less inequality between the "front" and the "back" of a building. The building is more dynamic from the outside and furthermore allows the optical illusion of being less massive in appearance than it really is.

Why is it made of concrete? Architects love concrete- it is malleable to a variety of forms, requires no cladding, finish or insulation etc. It is honest- it looks like what it is. Brick on the other hand, in a building of that scale, would be pretentious- it would NOT be doing the job of wall support that it normally does. Furthermore, the size of bricks is not in proper scale to a building of that size. Stone is the same. Glass is expensive and high maintenance. UofT did not then, and does not now, want to wash windows.

Another interesting tidbit- the building cost about $41 mil. About 4 years earlier, a proposed extension to the original library on King's College Circle was rejected as too expensive at $4 mil.!


[The tea messages, originated in the department by Dan Hudon several years ago, are often humorous or informative (rarely both). We have reproduced a few samples in the past and continue with this issue.]

Tea Message: The NEW Adventures of The Ironic Man

Mike Allen

Today - Ironic Man speaks of Food Safety

Butcher: Hello Little Timmy.
Little Timmy: Hello Mr Cleaver. Any strange disappearances today?
Butcher: Er, no. Everyone who has entered my shop has left safely.
Little Timmy: Boy, those missing people are a real mystery. I see you have a sale on roast beef today.
Butcher: Yes. Say, how would you like to see the inside of the meat locker?
Little Timmy: Oh boy, would I!!
Ironic Man: This looks like a job for IRONIC MAN! Stop, Little Timmy! Do not go into the meat locker! Cannot you hear the screams of the audience? Mr Cleaver is bad.
Butcher: But we're all alone here, Ironic Man. There is no audience. You are a crazy fool.
Little Timmy: Yeah! You tell him, Mr Cleaver!
Ironic Man: Think, Timmy - is it not suspicious that Mr Cleaver is a horrible hunchback? Whose first name is Igor? Who lives in that big creepy house on the hill? And he has a roast beef sale every time someone disappears?
Little Timmy: No, it all seems quite innocent and natural to me.
Butcher: Atta boy, Timmy. Now come along. Ha-ha-haaaaa!
Little Timmy: Bye, Ironic Man.
Ironic Man: ARGH! My life is so frustrating!

Tea, cookies in the lounge, 1422.

Tea Message: A Garden

Mike Allen

I had never had an audience with a Conqueror before, and those few who did never spoke of it. The invitation came by mechdrone, and since the appointed hour was after curfew, I also received a Night Pass. I put on my best grey suit.

Rain threatened that night, and I stumbled through the wreckage of Old London in the near-blackness. Great jumbles of concrete blocks loomed about me, looking as if a giant child had only just left them. At one point I hesitated as, turning a corner, I spotted a sentinel, but it ignored me. Without a Pass, one cannot ordinarily get so close to them, and I saw the odd, fibrous scenters and sniffers they used for detection.

The Conqueror's dwelling was large, dark, and surrounded by a rusting iron fence. I knocked on the door, and was ushered in by a servant, who took my Pass and then immediately withdrew at the appearance of its master.

This Conqueror was taller than most, being at least a metre in height. He, or "she" perhaps, wore the plain, functional apparatus that was supposed to keep her skin isolated from the air. I was offered a plump, red tomato, only the second one I had ever seen, and I accepted it.

I was directed to the garden; it was hardly worth the name. Weeds had engulfed it, and large, fallen pieces of building materials were strewn randomly about the yard. The rain had begun to fall in earnest. I peered into the darkness for any signs of the edge of the estate.

She addressed me: "You are a gardener, yes."

It was a statement, more than a query. I replied affirmatively.

"Gardening gives humans pleasure, yes." she said.

Cautiously, I nodded.

This time she took a step towards me, and said, "My garden gives you pleasure. Yes. Yes. You tend my garden. You give me pleasure. Yes."

I searched the darkness in vain for the edge of the estate.

Tea, cookies at 3:30 in 1422.

General Interest

The Education Discussion Group in the Department has been meeting every two weeks this term. Presentations have included: a discussion of instructional development for faculty and graduate students, led by Professor Marty Wall (Provostial Advisor on Undergraduate Education); a discussion of the departmental Open Houses organized by the graduate students, led by Wayne Barkhouse; and a presentation on "Let's Talk Science" - an outreach program linking graduate students and school teachers, led by LTS staffers Clare McCurley and Neala MacDonald.


Dear Bob,

I will publish some photographs this week in our WEB : http://www.casleo.secyt.gov.ar showing the 5 km of road that we have already opened. We need 2 km more to reach the top of the mountain.

Concerning the building: it is similar to the Polish dome at Las Campanas. Casagrande copied some of the details and we plan to use a metal cylinder with the diameter of the dome.

Things are somewhat slow because we had to make a study of the environmental impact of the new construction and road to satisfy the requirements of the Agency that takes care of such things in Argentina. If it is not ready for the end of this summer it will be for the next but it will be.


HUGO (Levato)


Hi Bob,

Life here in Hawaii is a bit lonely, with Tuba and Victoria in Istanbul, where Tuba is finishing her thesis. But so much is happening at work that I generally don't have time to think about it. I've just opened the "new" public web pages for Subaru (www.naoj.org), though I'm still struggling to get all the planned content into it. Photos of the marathon "mirror week" when the primary mirror arrived in Hawaii, was taken up to the summit, inspected, washed and aluminized - all in just four days! - will be added to the "News" text shortly. We're actually looking like we might achieve our scheduled Engineering First-Light on December 30th of this year. Formal Science observations are planned for the month of January with five different instruments (both at visual and infrared wavelenghths) and results presented to the public at the end of January. Two weeks later, we'll be having live broadcasts from the summit and from Hilo to Japan, celebrating the success (we hope!). Shortly afterwards, I plan to finally take a break (with my wife and daughter I hope !!!).

I had the opportunity of giving a talk about Subaru to people at CFHT last week. Slavek was there and gave me a quick tour of the facilities (in Waimea). I finally met Rick Salmon and re-acquainted myself with Peter Wizinowich. With Rick Crowe (whom I have yet to meet) and John Filhaber all here on the Island, I guess it's time for a Las Campanas Resident's reunion! ...there's one of us at each of the major optical telescopes (assuming R.C. is involved with the UH telescopes)... not bad at all!

Slavek also invited me to visit the CFHT, so I took some time off from work at the Subaru telescope to go over to the other ridge and finally go inside. I have had many years to create a vivid image in my mind of what the CFHT looks like - how it has figured so prominently on Mauna Kea for so long. Finally walking out onto the observing floor to stand underneath the 3.6-m was not disappointing; it looked exactly as I had envisioned it, but with much more details than my mental picture could provide. Still, like all fabrications based solely on carefully planned photographs and magazine articles, reality seemed somewhat in miniature compared to the grand myth residing within my head. And working eight months at Subaru certainly didn't help either; had I just arrived from Las Campanas and the U of T 24-inch, then I'm sure the dimesions would have seemed enormous. But having actually *walked* on an 8-meter mirror and exhausted myself climbing about the ~140-foot high telescope enclosure, it will be hard for any other telescope to seem big!

Anyway, there's lots to tell you about the new telescope and the people at Subaru. I'm very grateful to have this opportunity to be involved with the project and look forward to actually doing science with it (after I catch my breath during the first-light phase!).

I hope everything is well with you. I'm not sure when I'll next be in Canada, but I hope to be able to see Toronto and my friends at the DDO in the not too distant future.

Very best regards (and thanks!).

Ian (Shelton)


Dear Ms Wachtel,

Your question to Dr Garrison as to when the sun was first referred to as a star was forwarded to me, since I have an interest in the history of astronomy. I in turn put it out to an internet group of some 500 astronomy historians, which includes most of the world's authorities on the subject.

No very definite answer emerged. The best bet seemed to be Giordano Bruno, who in his 'Cena de le Ceneri' of 1584 not only reaffirmed the reality of the heliocentric theory, but also suggested that the universe is infinite, constituted of innumerable worlds substantially similar to the solar system.

Another answer, from Steven Dick of the U.S. Naval Observatory, was the following:

Bruno is important, and there are probably a few who espoused the belief even earlier, but the first sustained physical system that held the stars were Suns and the Sun a star was the Cartesian vortex cosmology (1644), from which follows Fontenelle's famous Conversations on the Plurality of Worlds, etc. The Newtonians rejected the vortex cosmology, but kept the idea of numerous planetary systems, not for physical reasons, but for reasons of natural theology. So it was ingrained in European consciousness during the 17th century, long before spectroscopy showed it to be true in the 19th century.

I hope this will satisfy your listener.

-- J. Donald Fernie
Professor Emeritus of Astronomy
University of Toronto


See http://www.astro.utoronto.ca/colloquia.html


Submitted by: Don Fernie

As some of you know, I have a project going to index the DDDoings back to its beginnings thirty years ago. It's affording me many a smile and the occasional twinge of nostalgia going through issue by issue. The piece below was written by Jack Heard as the editorial for the September 1973 issue, and seemed a propos recent events at DDO. Since I also recently acquired a scanner and am in need of practice with it, I thought I'd scan Jack's editorial and pass it on to you for a smile.


Telephones: Then and Now

Nothing reminds me more forcibly of the expansion of Observatory activity over the past 38 years than the contrast between our telephone usage now and in 1935. Now we have three lines and 13 instruments; and it frequently happens that we have to wait for a free line.

In 1935 the Observatory was served by one instrument and half a line. That is to say, our single telephone (in the secretary's office) had an extension phone in Observatory House serving Dr. and Mrs. Chant. The instrument itself was an old-style upright desk phone with a wall-mounted box with crank connected to a magneto for signalling to "central".

We hardly needed more service, to tell the truth, because to call the city cost 15 cents and in the depression era that was enough to discourage any call short of an emergency. As for local calls, there were few enough people to call. All the Richmond Hill subscribers were listed on one 8 x 11 inch card. Not that we needed the card very badly, because most users just asked the operator, Ella Burns, for the party by name. She knew all the numbers and she also recognized most of our voices.

This informality had its advantages. When my wife and I were going out for an evening we would "ring" Ella and say "We're going over to the Hoggs'. Will you put our calls through on their line?" Ella didn't mind; I think it added a little interest for her to know who was visiting whom.

Sometime in the 1940's the Chants got their own line (shared with the caretaker), but it wasn't until the 1950's that the Director succeeded in getting an extension phone in his office. About at that time the old-style hand-crank instruments were replaced by something approaching the modern version. (We were "wired for sound" as Frank Hogg put it.) Then in the 1960's we acquired gradually two additional lines and phones in most offices, and Gerry and Frank spent days fishing wires through the partitions to install the calling system.

During all this time perhaps our happiest interval was the few years during which there was a toll charge to call Richmond Hill from Toronto but no charge the other way. We then had a built-in "Don't call us, we'll call you".

J. F. H.

-- I might add one note to Jack's final paragraph. When Yvonne and I first arrived here we lived then, as now, in Thornhill, and it turned out that Toronto could call Thornhill without a toll, and, of course, Thornhill could call Richmond Hill likewise. So for years, when Yvonne happened to be home during the day she was forever getting calls from DA asking her to call DDO and have Jack or Joan call DA. Unlike Jack, we didn't see it as "our happiest interval."
- Don


I recently circulated a copy of an editorial written for the Doings by Jack Heard on DDO telephones. In casual response Ernie remarked at coffee that he had often enjoyed Jack's editorials, and he particularly rememberd one on Professor Malmquist. By chance that one happened to be among the next few I turned up in my indexing. It is indeed a charming piece, written in January 1974, and I thought I'd share it with you. You'll notice he refers to the northwest area of our property as being treeless in 1947, and in case you wonder how we came to have so many trees now, I've added another of Jack's editorials from July 1973 on that subject.

Professor Malmquist from Sweden

The date was January 6, 1947 and the weather was similar to that of the early part of January 1974. At that time there were no trees and no road on the windswept upslope from the corner of Hillsview (then Hunt's Lane) and the tracks. Frank Hogg and I were standing chatting in his office and looking out across the bleak drifts of deep snow when we noticed intermittently between the gusts of blowing snow, the figure of a man trudging up the field from the tracks. As he approached it became clear that he was coming to the building. When we met him at the door Frank recognized him as Gunnar Malmquist, then aged about 50 and Director of the Uppsala Observatory, whom Frank and Helen had met at the IAU General Assembly in Sweden in 1938.

Visiting astronomers, especially from abroad, were rare in those days, before air travel, either domestic or transatlantic, had become commonplace. Prof. Malmquist, it turned out, was enroute across the continent from some eastern seaport and had realized that he could stop over for 12 hours in Toronto and resume his westward journey in the evening. So, on the spur of the moment, he decided to visit the DDO, unannounced and unexpected. It seemed natural to him to come from Toronto by train, so he became the only person, to my knowledge, ever to arrive by train and walk the two miles back along the tracks and across the field. No doubt quite accustomed to deep snow in Sweden, he appeared more exhilarated than exhausted by his walk and was amused at our awed attitude towards his feat of endurance.

Prof. Malmquist was a well-known photometrist and we talked a good deal about photoelectric photometry which just then Frank was trying to get established at our Observatory. We shared our sandwiches with him at lunch time because the road was drifted in and we were all car-less. Towards mid-afternoon I invited him to take the "radial" with me back to our place in North Toronto, have dinner with us and leave in time for his evening train. I tried, dutifully, to warn my wife but right up to five o'clock I was unable to reach her. When we arrived at the North Yonge terminal at 6 o'clock I excused myself to try phoning again, only to find the line busy. So there was nothing to do but surprise her ten minutes before dinner. As we came into the vestibule I called out a warning in a cheerful voice, "Hello, dear, I've brought Professor Malmquist from Sweden!" My wife, thinking this another of my practical jokes, came from the kitchen followed by three little girls, but her "Ho, ho, ho" died on her lips as she realized that there, indeed, was Professor Malmquist, quite believably from Sweden. Her consternation, only partly disguised, was, it turned out, understandable. Having been out until late afternoon, she had hurriedly "cleaned out the refrigerator", and prepared the hash-like conglomerate which every frugal housewife inflicts upon her family about once a fortnight. After a little delay to prepare a salad by way of garnish for the hash we all sat down to what might have been a painful dinner. Instead, Professor Malmquist turned out to be one of those rare individuals who combine a genuine love for children with a talent for entertaining them. He told them about his own children and the toys they had in Sweden and the games they played. He recited little Swedish verses and sang little Swedish songs. They in turn, brought him their toys and eagerly answered all his questions. When finally we stood up from the table Professor Malmquist signalled for silence, made a little bow and said a few solemn Swedish words. What was he doing, cried the children in delight. He was "thanking the table", Professor Malmquist replied - an old Swedish custom used only when that meal had been a particularly memorable one. When it was time for the children to go to bed nothing would do but for Professor Malmquist to tuck them in and tell them a Swedish story in charmingly accented English translation, and then it was time for him to leave, apparently reluctantly, for his train.

"Bringing Professor Malmquist from Sweden" has ever since been our family expression for a last-minute guest for a meal; and that particular dinner has remained as one of the happiest memories of our family life.

J. F. H.


The Mulock Oaks and other Observatory Trees

Walking down the Observatory drive the other day, I identified the four half-grown oak trees at the corners of a large rectangle directly in front of the administration building, and recalled the circumstances of their planting.

A few years after the opening of the Observatory, Dr. Chant, thinking then in terms of an approach leading directly up from Yonge Street, decided that it would be nice to plant four young oak trees at the top of the knoll as a beginning of the fine tree-bordered avenue which he proposed to call Donalda Drive in honour of Mrs. Dunlap. And who better to invite to plant the trees than Sir William Mulock? The former Postmaster General, former Chief Justice of Ontario, and Chancellor of the University since 1923 was a great lover of trees, having planted out thousands of walnuts on his farm near Newmarket. So a small party was arranged for April 26, 1938, including Mrs. Dunlap, Sir William, a few other notables and the Observatory Staff.

Sir William, then 94, was a magnificent figure of a patriarch. A huge man and still erect, he had a snow-white beard that covered not only all of his face but half of his enormous chest. He arrived, chauffeur driven, at the appointed time suitably attired in director's suit: striped pants, black jacket, fancy vest and no doubt a tie. He tossed a shovelful of earth onto one of the trees and muttered a few appropriate words (probably "admitto te in gradum" out of force of habit) and so also did three of the other notables, and then we repaired to the library for tea while Tom McKenzie the caretaker, finished the planting. I had a distinct feeling that Sir William would have preferred a glass of whiskey - in fact I am not sure that he didn't say so. Nevertheless he was articulate enough and regaled us with some very funny but rather earthy stores. At five o'clock we all went home and left the little oaks to begin their slow growth to maturity.

It would be nice to be able to say that those four are now the sturdy oaks that we see today. In point of fact only three of them are. The one at the north-east corner (the one that Sir William himself "planted") died and had to be replaced a few years later; it is now noticeably smaller than the other three.

There are several other stories about Observatory trees. For example, the plantation at the Bayview end of the property. In 1935 the Superintendent's Department planted about ten acres in seedlings of all kinds, proposing to transplant them after a few years in more appropriate locations. But the few years took us into the wartime manpower shortage and by the time the war was over the trees were too big to move economically, though Tom McKenzie, on his own initiative, brought up, by wheelbarrow, one at a time, enough spruces to plant the crescent which now half-circles the dome.

Dr. Frank Hogg was always concerned about the relative bareness of the knoll, thinking that a tree cover would improve the seeing. In 1949 he succeeded in persuading the superintendent to begin a mixed planting, starting with a screen at the tracks. But it was one of the driest summers of the century and they nearly all died and the "Sup." would have no more to do with trees.

Frank then began talking about an "arbor day" when we would all go out and plant government seedlings. He didn't get around to it though, but after he died I felt it incumbent upon me to carry out his plan. It was in 1953, if I remember correctly, that I cajoled the staff into an arbor day which stretched out into a weekend, and we planted 3000 Norway spruce to the north of the dome. The next year, remembering our blistered hands and sore backs, we accepted the offer of a teacher to bring his class for another planting of 3000. That was rather a disaster; some of the seedlings were nearly buried, others lying prone, a few upside down. Nevertheless we went at it again in 1955 and planted 3000 more. A few years later Professor Hosie of Forestry, inspecting our efforts, glumly predicted that in five years time there wouldn't be a spruce left alive. Prof. Hosie has since gone to his arboreal reward, but he was wrong; the gallant survivors of our 9000 now constitute the forest between the dome and Hillsview Drive.

And then there are the Faculty of Forestry plantations, the so-called David Dunlap Arboretum. I think they were planted partly for experimental purposes and partly to quieten our repeated clamourings to have the grounds properly developed as a botanical garden and arboretum. But in the same breath let me admit that the knoll itself is being beautifully cared for now - which it wasn't always.



The Great TV Dinner Robbery
[DDD Editorial, Oct. 1974]

Tom Bolton has recently taken up the refrain long sung by Don MacRae and me when he pleaded at Countdown with everyone to please close the front door firmly whenever leaving the building after lock-up time. The door for nearly forty years has defied every effort by the best locksmiths and engineers to make it self-closing. Meanwhile it stands unlatched many evenings and week-ends in open invitation to vandals and fire-bugs, of which Richmond Hill has always had its share.

Over the years I can recall three break-ins, none with very serious consequences and one with elements of entertainment.

No one can recall the date exactly, but I think it was a February night in 1961 or 1962. Frank Hawker had just finished a last-half observing session at about 6 a.m. Going to the cat-walk door to lock it, he noticed a driver trying to back his car out of a snow-bank in front of the administration building. Frank, always ready to play the Good Samaritan, hurried over to lend a hand. The young fellow in the car was most appreciative, but both their efforts were to no avail. Finally Frank offered to go in and get a shovel. It was only then that Frank did a double-take and began to wonder why a strange youth should be driving away at 6 a.m. He finally decided to phone the police and then engaged in delaying tactics by explaining to the youth that he was having trouble finding a shovel.

When the police officer arrived he began to question the youth, and in a most ingenuous manner the latter admitted that he had stolen a neighbour's car from the garage, driven up to the Observatory at about 1 a.m., broken in the rear basement door, found Frank's pants in the locker room and stole a silver dollar from their pocket, found a TV dinner belonging to David Sher in the refrigerator and cooked it and ate it. Altogether he seemed to have spent a pleasant night in a place which he said he always enjoyed visiting, and with minimal inconvenience to anyone (including the owner of the car who, when phoned by the police, hadn't yet missed it).

The boy's father came with the police to see me the next morning and explained that his son, who was somewhat retarded, had engaged in similar escapades before and that he was having psychiatric treatment. We all agreed that nothing was to be gained by further action. Frank recovered his silver dollar, but I can't remember whether or not David Sher was compensated for his TV dinner.

The next incident might not be so harmless and amusing; so, for Goodness' sake, at least please keep the front door locked.

J. F.H .

Library News

The library has given up room 1309 (needed to accomodate new staff) and has moved all the Observatory Publications into room 1505.

Papers Submitted

1-July-1998 to 30-Nov-1998

Allen, Michael L.; Kronberg, Philipp P. Separation of thermal and non-thermal emission in the nucleus of M82. 23-Sep-1998. Preprint No. 98-0733

Basu, Shantanu. Constraints on the formation and evolution of circumstellar disks in rotating magnetized cloud cores. 20-Oct-1998. Preprint No. 98-0806

Birk, G. T.; Wiechen, H. Radio activity in young stellar objects. 19-Aug-1998. Preprint No. 98-0668

Bolton, C. Thomas; Lyons, R. W.; et al. HD 37017 = V1046 Ori : a double-lined spectroscopic binary with a B2e he-strong magnetic primary. 7-Jul-1998. Preprint No. 98-0542

Fischer, P.; Schade, D.; Barrientos, L. F. Discovery of a new quadruple lens hst 1411+5211 . 15-Sep-1998. Preprint No. 98-0728

Gladders, Michael D.; et al. The distance to the Draco Cloud. 23-Sep-1998. Preprint No. 98-0734

Kronberg, P. P.; Lesch, H.; Hopp, U. Magnetization of the intergalactic medium. 17-Sep-1998. Preprint No. 98-0732

Percy, John R.; et al. The photometric variability of the be star nw serpentis. 13-Oct-1998. Preprint No. 98-0784

Percy, John R.; Au, Winnie W. -Y. Long-term changes in mira stars. II. A search for evolutionary period changes in mira stars. 13-Oct-1998. Preprint No. 98-0786

Percy, John R.; Bagby, Dalia H. Long-term changes in mira stars : III. multiperiodicity in mira stars. 13-Oct-1998. Preprint No. 98-0785

Percy, John R.; Colivas, Ted. Long-term changes in Mira Stars : I. Period fluctuations in Mira Stars. 25-Sep-1998. Preprint No. 98-0738S

Percy, John R.; Guler, Metin. The onset of pulsation in red giants. 13-Oct-1998. Preprint No. 98-0783

Percy, John R.; Hale, Jonathan. Period changes, evolution, and multiperiodicity in the peculiar population II Cepheid RU Cam. 25-Sep-1998. Preprint No. 98-0740

Percy, John R.; Parkes, Michael. Pulsation modes in small-amplitude red variable stars. 25-Sep-1998. Preprint No. 98-0739

Van Waerbeke, L; Bernardeau, F.; Mellier, Y. Efficiency of weak lensing surveys to probe cosmological models. 21-Jul-1998. Preprint No. 98-0576

Wiechen, H.; Birk, G. T.; Lesch, H. Self-generation of magnetic fields in weakly ionized astrophysical plasmas. 19-Aug-1998. Preprint No. 98-0667

Wiechen, H.; Birk, G. T.; Lesch, H. Current filamentation in astrophysical magnetohydrodynamic jets. 19-Aug-1998. Preprint No. 98-0666

Zukowski, E.L.H.; Kronberg, P. P.; et al. Linear polarization measurements of extragalactic radio sources at lambda 6.3 cm. 5-Aug-1998. Preprint No. 98-0626

Revisionist's Corner

Submitted by John Percy:

From a student's essay: "... the X-rated part of the spectrum".