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1. 1. Short History of Solar Radio Astronomy Since its birth in the forties of our century, solar radio astronomy has grown into an extensive scientific branch comprising a number of quite different topics covering technical sciences, astrophysics, plasma physics, solar-terrestrial physics, and other disciplines. Historically, the story of radio astronomy goes back to the times of James Clerk Maxwell, whose well known phenomenological electromagnetic field equations have become the basis of present-time radio physics. As a direct consequence of these equations, Maxwell was able to prognosticate the existence of radio waves which fifteen years later were experimentally detected by the famous work of Heinrich Hertz (1887/88). However, all attempts to detect radio waves from cosmic objects failed until 1932, which was mainly due to the early stage of development of receiving techniques and the as yet missing knowledge of the existence of a screening ionosphere (which was detected in 1925). Therefore, famous inventors like Thomas Edison and A. E. Kennelly, as well as Sir Oliver Lodge, were unsuccessful in receiving any radio emission from the Sun or other extraterrestrial sources. Another hindering point was that nobody could a priori expect that solar radio emission should have something to do with solar activity so that unfortunately by chance some experiments were carried out just at periods of low solar activity. This was also why Karl Guthe Jansky at the birth of radio astronomy detected galactic radio waves but no emission from the Sun.
This book contains papers from a conference held to celebrate the 70th birthday of one of the world's foremost astronomical historians, Professor F. Richard Stephenson, the latest recipient of the American Astronomical Society's highest award for research in astronomical history, the LeRoy Doggett Prize. Reflecting Professor Stephenson's extensive research portfolio, this book brings together under one cover papers on four different areas of scholarship: applied historical astronomy (which Stephenson founded); Islamic astronomy; Oriental astronomy and amateur astronomy. These papers are penned by astronomers from Canada, China, England, France, Georgia, Iran, Japan, Lebanon, the Netherlands, Portugal, Thailand and the USA. Its diverse coverage represents a wide cross-section of the history of astronomy community. Under discussion are ways in which recent research using historical data has provided new insights into auroral and solar activity, supernovae and changes in the rotation rate of the Earth. It also presents readers with results of recent research on leading historical figures in Islamic and Oriental astronomy, and aspects of eighteenth and nineteenth century Australian, British, German and Portuguese amateur astronomy, including the fascinating 'amateur-turned-professional syndrome'.
After the same pattern as the XIII th General Assembly of the International Astronom- ical Union the present Volume of the Highlights in Astronomy contains the texts of the invited discourses given at the XIVth General Assembly held in Brighton, England, August 1970. It contains further the papers and discussion remarks presented at the six joint discussions, as well as the invited papers given at the special session on the Moon. In addition this Volume contains the papers given at the joint meeting of Commissions 24, 27, 30, 33 and 37 on RR Lyrae Stars. It goes without saying that the nearly hundred papers printed in this Volume represent only a minor part of all matter dealt with at the XIVth General Assembly of the Union; the many important discussions that took place in a few hundred commission meetings are not included. For short abstracts and reviews of these the reader is referred to Transactions of the International Astronomical Union XIVB. I wish to thank those who contributed to this Volume for the speed in submitting the manuscripts of their papers. This, together with the efficiency of the Publishers allowed for a rapid publication.
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