National Geographic : 1956 Dec
790 J. Baylor Roberts, National Geographic Staff Shipping Addresses of the Sky Atlas Cover the World The 1,758 photographs encompass three-quarters of the heavens and would form a map the size of a tennis court. Nearly 100 universities and observatories will receive sets. These men at California Institute of Technology address the fourth shipment in a series of nine. Five others will go out in the next two years. tiny traveler was subsequently found to be following an orbit crossing that of the earth (page 789). Very few other such asteroids are known in the entire solar system. The new celestial object is of great scientific interest because it can help astronomers measure distances in the solar system more accurately. Dr. Samuel Herrick and Mr. Charles Hilton, of the University of California at Los An geles, whose determination of the orbit of the new asteroid predicted its first return in 1954, report that in 1969 it will swing within four million miles of the earth, closer than the ap proach of any other asteroid of known orbit. Drs. Wilson and Minkowski have named it Geographos, "the geographer." The name is appropriate, not only because of the National Geographic Society's asso ciation with the Sky Survey, but also because Geographos may be of aid in future cartog raphy of the skies. Comets, loose swarms of small solid particles and thin gases, likewise travel around the sun, but in highly elongated orbits. In the seven years of Sky Survey observations, eleven new comets have been found, all quite by accident. One was remarkable in having two tails, nearly at right angles to each other. A comet has been aptly described as the "nearest thing to nothing that anything can be, and still be something." It would take perhaps a trillion such bodies to match the amount of material in the earth. New Frontiers in the Universe With this report to the members of the National Geographic Society, the astronomers who have worked on the Sky Survey have sought to show some of the fields in which this gigantic map of the heavens has con tributed-and will continue contributing to our knowledge of the universe. Over the next two and a half years, as fast as we can reproduce them, copies of the Sky Atlas will be distributed to observatories throughout the world. Astronomers every where will have the opportunity to delve into its treasures. Their discoveries will in turn yield new problems and avenues of research. The way to the distant frontiers of the uni verse has only just been opened.