National Geographic : 1955 Aug
190 Mount Wilson and Palomar Observatories Palomar Astronomers Inspect Each Page of the Finished Atlas for World-wide Distribution Dr. Bowen (pointing) and Dr. Rudolph Minkowski view the plates on a light box. James McClanahan and Hendrik Rubingh file approved prints. Unlike most volumes, the atlas is not bound. termine how the stars, nebulae, and galaxies are distributed in space. We have known for some time that stars by the billion congre gate in great disk-shaped structures like our Milky Way. The Survey records many mil lions of such stellar systems, known as gal axies. We still need much further informa tion on how these galaxies group themselves to form clusters of galaxies, which are the largest known structures in the universe. Fourth, the Survey is proving its value in the new science of radio astronomy-investi gating those strange radio noises reaching the earth from unaccountable distances. Often the noise seems to come from an invisible object. But sometimes the sources can be determined and photographed. These are per manently recorded in the Survey. Now we have all but finished what is surely the most extensive map of the sky ever con ceived by the mind of man. It will be sent to purchasers wherever astronomy is studied. As director of the Mount Wilson and Palo mar Observatories, I want to thank my col leagues for their work on the Survey and for their wholehearted support of the monumental project-Dr. DuBridge, Dr. Humason, Dr. Minkowski, Dr. Walter Baade, Dr. Wilson, Mr. Harrington, and Mr. Abell. The intricate and skillful task of printing each plate separately many times, for the mas sive copies of each volume, was the respon sibility of Mr. James McClanahan and Mr. Hendrik Rubingh. The National Geographic Society was the prime mover and the mainstay of us all in the production of the Sky Survey. We are grateful for the unflagging support of Dr. Gilbert Grosvenor, Dr. John Oliver La Gorce, Dr. Melville Bell Grosvenor, Dr. Thomas W. McKnew, Dr. Lyman J. Briggs, chairman of The Society's Research Committee, and the late Assistant Editor of the NATIONAL GEO GRAPHIC MAGAZINE, Mr. F. Barrows Colton, whose death on August 10, 1954, saddened all who were associated with the Survey. The National Geographic Society-Palomar Observatory Sky Atlas is now launched, but the celestial wonders locked within its plates have scarcely been touched. Over the next two years astronomers at Palomar and at observatories around the world will examine the plates meticulously. As soon as possible thereafter, their find ings will appear in The Magazine for the benefit of the 2,150,000 member-families of the National Geographic Society, whose sup port made the Sky Survey a reality.