Old mother Hubble

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Old mother Hubble

Post by neufer » Mon Dec 31, 2018 2:56 am

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nancy_Roman wrote: <<Nancy Grace Roman (May 16, 1925 – December 25, 2018) was an American astronomer and was one of the first female executives at NASA. She is known to many as the "Mother of Hubble" for her role in planning the Hubble Space Telescope. Like most other women, Roman faced the problems of being a woman in the sciences in the mid-twentieth century. She was discouraged from going into astronomy by people around her and was one of very few women in NASA at the time, being the only female with an executive position. Roman was an active public speaker and educator, and an advocate for women in the sciences.

Nancy G. Roman was born in Nashville, Tennessee, to music teacher Georgia Smith Roman and geophysicist Irwin Roman. Because of her father’s work, the family relocated to Oklahoma soon after Roman's birth. When Roman was eleven years old, she showed interest in astronomy by forming an astronomy club among her classmates in Nevada. She and her classmates got together and learned about constellations from books once a week.

Roman attended Swarthmore College in 1946 where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Astronomy. While she studied there, she worked at the Sproul Observatory. After this she went on to receive her PhD in the same field at the University of Chicago in 1949. She stayed at the university for six more years working at the Yerkes Observatory. Roman observed the star AG Draconis and serendipitously discovered that its emission spectrum had completely changed since earlier observations. She later credited the publication of that discovery as a stroke of luck that substantially raised her profile within the astronomical community, contributing to her career progression.

One of Nancy Roman’s earliest publications was in 1955, after her work in the Yerkes and McDonald Observatories, in the Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series and was a catalog of high velocity stars. She documented new “spectral types photoelectric magnitudes and colors and spectroscopic parallaxes for about 600 high-velocity stars.” Then in 1959, Roman wrote a paper on the detection of extraterrestrial planets. Roman discovered that stars made of hydrogen and helium move faster than stars composed of other heavier elements. One of her other discoveries was finding that not all stars that were common were the same age. This was proven by comparing hydrogen lines of the low dispersion spectra in the stars. Roman noticed that the stars with the stronger lines moved closer to the center of the Milky Way and the others moved in more elliptical patterns off of the plane of the galaxy.

After leaving the University of Chicago, Roman went to the Naval Research Laboratory and entered the radio astronomy program. Roman’s work at the NRL included using nonthermal radio source spectra and doing geodetic work. In the program she became the head of the microwave spectroscopy section. At a lecture by Harold Urey, Roman was approached by Jack Clark who asked whether she knew someone interested in creating a program for space astronomy at NASA. Roman was the first Chief of Astronomy in NASA's Office of Space Science, setting up the initial program; she was the first woman to hold an executive position at the space agency. Part of her job was traveling the country and speaking at astronomy departments. She was chief of astronomy and solar physics at NASA from 1961 to 1963. She held various other positions in NASA, including Chief of Astronomy and Relativity.

During her employment at NASA, Roman developed and budgeted various programs and organized their scientific participation. She was involved in launching three Orbiting Solar Observatories and three Small Astronomical Satellites. These satellites used ultraviolet and x-ray technology for observing the sun, space and sky. She also oversaw the launches of other Orbiting Astronomical Observatories that used optical and ultraviolet Orbiting Astronomical Observatory.

The last program in which she set up the committee and with which she was highly involved was the Hubble Telescope. Roman was very involved with the early planning and specifically the setting up of the program's structure. NASA’s current chief astronomer, who worked with Roman at the agency, calls her “the mother of the Hubble Space Telescope.” “Which is often forgotten by our younger generation of astronomers who make their careers by using Hubble Space Telescope," says Ed Weiler. "Regretfully, history has forgotten a lot in today’s Internet age, but it was Nancy in the old days before the Internet and before Google and e-mail and all that stuff, who really helped to sell the Hubble Space Telescope, organize the astronomers, who eventually convinced Congress to fund it.”>>>>
Art Neuendorffer