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Sky and Ocean Joined

Sky and Ocean Joined
The US Naval Observatory 1830–2000

$319.00 (P)

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  • Date Published: December 2002
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521815994

$ 319.00 (P)

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About the Authors
  • This volume is, first and foremost, a story of the relations between space, time and navigation, from the rise of the chronometer in the U.S. to the Global Positioning System of satellites, for which the Naval Observatory provides the time to a billionth of a second per day. It is a story of the history of technology, in the form of telescopes, lenses, detectors, calculators, clocks and computers over 170 years. It describes how one scientific institution under government and military patronage has contributed, through all the vagaries of history, to almost two centuries of unparalleled progress in astronomy.

    • An authoritative history of one of the oldest scientific institutions in the United States
    • Includes many colourful discoveries and adventures, such as the moons of Mars
    • Ideal for academics and enthusiasts interested in naval history, positional astronomy and celestial mechanics
    Read more


    • Sky and Ocean Joined has been named the winner of the Society for History in the Federal Government's George Pendleton Prize for 2003

    Reviews & endorsements

    " historical tour-de-force, and I thoroughly recommend it to everyone interested in U.S. astronomical history, positional astronomy, national observatories, naval history, navigation, time-keeping, or the conflict involving civilian and military control of science." Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage

    "It provides insight for scholars and general readers interested in naval history and navigation, timekeeping, positional astronomy, and celestial mechanics, and it charts the relationship between astronomy and astrophysics, the rise of national observatories and military patronage." Bulletin of Science Technology and Society

    "An amazingly comprehensive and detailed history of the oldest major astronomical observatory in the United States, this excellent book offers mature readers fascinating stories of scientific discoveries (e.g. of the moons of Mars and Pluto), technological developments (e.g. from mechanical clocks working before there were any time zones to today's satellites that provide nanaosecond accuracies worldwide), and personal and political struggles (both governmental and institutional)." Science Books & Films

    "Sky and Ocean Joined is quite well written and will certainly appeal to historians of science and technology, as well as naval enthusiasts, physicists, and anyone generally interested in astronomy." Stardust

    "Extensively researched over 15 years, this book is well written and well documented with footnotes, select bibliographic essays, appendixes, and indexes. Recommended." Choice

    "Sky and Ocean Joined is an outstanding book." Technology and Culture, Robert W. Smith

    See more reviews

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    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2002
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521815994
    • length: 624 pages
    • dimensions: 244 x 170 x 33 mm
    • weight: 1.45kg
    • contains: 223 b/w illus. 31 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Prelude: perspectives and problems: the nation, the navy, the stars
    Part I. The Founding Era, 1830–65:
    1. From depot to national observatory, 1830–46
    2. A choice of roles: the Maury years, 1844–61
    3. Foundations of the American Nautical Almanac Office, 1849–65
    4. Gilliss and the Civil War years
    Part II. The Golden Era, 1866–93:
    5. Scientific life and work
    6. Asaph Hall, the great refractor and the moons of Mars
    7. William Harkness and the transits of Venus of 1874 and 1882
    8. Simon Newcomb and his work
    Part III. The Twentieth Century:
    9. Observatory circle: a new site and administrative challenges for the twentieth century
    10. Space: the astronomy of position and its uses
    11. Time: a service for the world
    12. Navigation: from stars to satellites
    Select bibliographical essay

  • Author

    Steven J. Dick, United States Naval Observatory
    Steven J. Dick has worked as an astronomer and historian of science at the US Naval Observatory since 1979.


    • Sky and Ocean Joined has been named the winner of the Society for History in the Federal Government's George Pendleton Prize for 2003
    • Winner of the John Lyman Award of the North American Society for Oceanic History for best book in 2002 in Science & Technology
    • Winner of the Naval Observatory's Captain James Melville Gilliss Award for extraordinary dedication and exemplary service

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