Since its founding in 1891, many people have passed through the doors of the Vatican Observatory. A quick perusal of our guestbook reveals several Names, including Popes, Nobel laureates, astronauts, actors, and saints.
For the past few weeks, we have been highlighting visitors who came on the occasion of the first General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union. Today’s visitors all came on May 10, 1922. They are George Dodwell, Jean Bosler, Jules Jaumotte, Henri Deslandres, and Joaquín Gallo.
George F. Dodwell
Next to his name, George Frederick Dodwell FRAS (1879-1963) wrote, “Adelaide S. Australia.”
Dodwell, an Australian state astronomer from the Adelaide Astronomical Observatory, was accompanied by his wife, Annie Dodwell (also an astronomer), who also signed the guestbook.
Dodwell is credited with using radio time signals to establish the 141st and 129th meridian lines that mark the borders between various states in Australia.
He also photographed the 1922 eclipse that helped confirm Einstein’s general theory of relativity. (This was the subject of another Specola Guestbook column, for William Wallace Campbell’s visit in 1914.)
He also surveyed the magnetic field throughout South Australia.
I (a meteoriticist) should also take note that Dodwell participated in documenting the fall of the Karooonda meteorite (the prototype of CK carbonaceous chondrites) in 1930, and collected specimens.
Dodwell served on the IAU commission for meridian astronomy and the commission on time. He also served on the IUGG commission on longitudes.
Jean Bosler (1878-1973) wrote, “Paris, France”
Bosler was an astronomer at the Paris Observatory. In 1923 he would become the director of the Marseille Observatory.
His scientific work largely involved cometary orbits and physical properties. He observed the spectral lines of nitrogen in the halo of the comet Morehouse.
He also studied solar physics and observed bands due to ionized iron in the solar corona.
In 1916, he hypothesized that lunar craters are round because they result from meteoric impacts.
Bosler served on the IAU commission on analysis of works and bibliography.
Jean Bosler appears to have been accompanied by an “Adelaid Bosler,” for whom I have found no information.
Capt. Jules Maurice Charles Jaumotte (1887-1940) wrote, “Bruxelles Belgique”.
He was Belgian aviator during the first World War, and pioneered aerial photography. In 1919 he became the director of the Belgian Royal Meteorological Institute, a post he maintained until 1940.
As director of the meteorological institute, he introduced new methods of weather reporting and forecasting, which greatly improved forecasts for Belgium. He also invented several instruments for aerial observations of weather.
He discovered the stratospheric thermal inversion.
From 1919 until his death, he was a member of the International Meteorological Committee.
He does not appear to have been a registered participant at the IAU meeting. He was a member of the Belgian National Committee of Geodesy and Geophysics, so was likely to have been a participant in the IUGG meeting.
Next to his name, Henri-Alexandre Deslandres FRS (1853-1948) wrote “Dir’r de l’observatoire de Meudon” (“Director of the Meudon Observatory”).
Deslandres was originally a spectroscopist who got into astrophysics through spectroscopy. He inventend (simultaneously with but independently of George Hale) the spectroheliograph.
He directed the Meudon Observatory in Paris from 1907 until it merged with the Paris Observatory in 1926, at which point he became director of both.
He was president of the French Astronomical Society 1907-1909.
During World War I, he served the French army as an engineering officer.
The crater Deslandres on the Moon is named for him, as is the asteroid 11763 Deslandres.
The French Academy of Sciences awards the Deslandres Prize in his honor.
Deslandres chaired the French national committee of the IAU. He presided over the commission on spectral determination of velocities. He sat on the commission on the solar atmosphere; the commission on notation, units, and economy of publications; the commission on astronomical expeditions, eclipses, etc; the commission on solar rotation; the commission on physical observations of planets; the commission on comets; the commission on shooting stars; the commission on nebulae; the commission on stellar radial velocities; and the commission on the reform of the calendar.
Joaquín Gallo Monterrubio (1882-1965) wrote, “Tacubaya, Mexique”
Gallo was director of the Tacubaya Observatory (the Mexican National Observatory) from 1914-1946. As director of the observatory, he was in charge of Mexico’s role in the Carte du Ciel project.
His astronomical work focused on solar physics and spectroscopy.
He was also involved in the observatory’s work of establishing and regularizing Mexico’s time zones.
Gallo was a member of the IAU commission on the Carte du Ciel and the commission on time.