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Anderson, John Augustus (Astronomer)



  • Existence: 1876 - 1959


Background: Executive Officer, Caltech Observatory Council, 1928-1948; Staff, Mount Wilson Observatory, 1916-1956.


Description: Anderson, an authority on optics, spectroscopy, and seismology, helped supervise construction of the 200-inch telescope at Palomar Observatory. Anderson joined the staff of the Mount Wilson Observatory in 1916. His contributions were particularly significant in the area of instrumentation. He had direct supervision of all optical work for the 200-inch telescope and contributed to many of the solutions for the mechanical and optical problems faced by the project. Additionally, he collaborated with Harry O. Wood in the development of a torsion seismograph, with Russell Porter in an investigation of the Ronchi test for optical surfaces, and with Harold D. Babcock on measurements of ultraviolet light. He was an expert on solar observation and participated in solar eclipse expeditions in 1905, 1918, and 1923.


Collection Notes: Papers, 1914-1951. Correspondence, calculations, drawings, and photos, relating chiefly to Palomar Observatory and to Anderson's work on the instrumental and optical design of the telescope. Correspondents include George E. Hale and the Rockefeller Foundation.

Collection size: 7 boxes, 3 linear ft.

Finding aid available at the Archives.

Found in 7 Collections and/or Records:

John Anderson’s pocket watch

 Unprocessed Material
Identifier: 1998-00008

Walter S. Adams, 1904–1937

 File — Box 2: Series 1, Folder: 1
Identifier: HaleGE_01_00_002_01
Scope and Contents From the Collection:

This collection provides a thorough record of George Ellery Hale’s activities. A prolific correspondent, Hale kept copies of most of his letters. The collections contains significant material relating to the theoretical and instrumental development of astrophysics, the history of the Mount Wilson and Palomar Observatories, and the early history of the California Institute of Technology. It also documents Hale’s work with the National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council.

Dates: 1904–1937

Additional filters:

Unprocessed Material 4
Archival Object 2
Collection 1
Astronomy 6
Manuscript Collection 2
Photo Archive 2
Earthquakes 1
Engineering 1