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Denver Astronomical Society

Astronomy Then and Now

8 Jun 2015, 17:09 UTC
Astronomy Then and Now
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Ron Hranac, DAS President
President’s Message, June 2015
by Ron Hranac, President, Denver Astronomical Society
We live in an exciting time of space exploration and discovery. Ongoing and upcoming missions will add to science, and no doubt challenge some of what we thought we knew. Think about those two sentences for a moment.
I still have my first astronomy book, The ABC’s of Astronomy: An Illustrated Dictionary, by Roy A. Gallant. A bit tattered now, the book was published by Doubleday & Company, Inc., in 1962.
It had been a long time since I perused The ABC’s of Astronomy, so I recently took it down from the bookshelf and thumbed through its pages. Most of the fundamentals of astronomy haven’t changed in the more than 50 years since the book’s publication, but we certainly know a lot more today than we did back then.
I chuckled at a map of the surface of Mars, which shows canals and other features we now know don’t exist. Also included is an illustration of an example of an early artificial satellite, Vanguard I.
To be fair, Gallant penned his book at a time that could be accurately described by this column’s two introductory ...

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