Astronomical equipment, minor planet guider, metal / wood / plastic, designed by Harley Wood, made by H F Pinnock, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1954, used by Sydney Observatory, New South Wales, Australia, 1954-1964
This minor planet guider was used in conjunction with a guide telescope and a Taylor, Taylor & Hobson lens mounted on the Melbourne astrograph for the observation of minor planets. One use for these observations was to help establish the coordinate system used by astronomers to refer the positions of stars and other celestial bodies. The device was designed and built in Sydney Observatory's workshop and is an example of unique Australian design and innovation.
This minor planet guider remains of national significance due to its pioneering role in Australian science and its association with an important Australian astronomer. Its use, in conjunction with a guiding telescope, for one of the earliest astrographs in Australia means it has national significance.
Russell, H. C., Description of the Star Camera at The Sydney Observatory, Alfred James Kent, Government Printer, 1923, p.4
King, H., C., The History of the Telescope, Dover Publications, New York, 1955, p.300
Glass, I. S., Victorian Telescope Makers; the Lives and Letters of Thomas and Howard Grubb, Institute of Physics Publishing, Bristol and Philadelphia, 1997
Wood, Harley, Astrographic Catalogue 1900.0, Sydney Section, Dec. -51° to -65°,
Wood, Harley, Sydney Observatory, 1858 to 1958, Sydney Observatory Papers No 31, 1958, p28
Written by Erika Dicker
Assistant Curator, November 2007.
This minor planet guider was constructed at Sydney Observatory between 1951 and 1954. It was built by H F Pinnock, who was the Observatory's instrument builder at the time.
It was designed by Government Astronomer Harley Wood for use at the observatory for minor planet observations, which was one of the main areas of research at the observatory.
The minor planet guider was used by Harley Wood at Sydney Observatory, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia between 1954 and 1964.
Harley Wood was the appointed Government Astronomer at Sydney Observatory from 1943 to 1974. The main focus of his work was on the Astrographic telescope and contributing to the Astrographic Catalogue. Sydney Observatory's contribution to the Astrographic Catalogue began in 1890, and was completed under Wood's leadership with the publication of volume 52 in 1964.
Harley Wood is credited with making the subject of astronomy more popular with the Australian public and was also responsible for the formation of the Astronomical Society of Australia, which drew together Australian astronomers into a professional organisation.