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Astronomers Will Travel to South Africa for View


Three University astronomers will fly to South Africa next month to get a better view of the sky.

The group will spend a year and a half photographing the center of the Milky Way galaxy, near the constellations of Sagittarius and Scorpio. These star groups lie too close to the horizon for good photography when seen from the United States.

Primary purpose of the expedition is to gather new knowledge on the central star clouds of these southern constellations. Another aim is to study interstellar dust and gases with the hope of finding clues to how stars are born.

A Million Stars

To do this, the astronomers will explore 30,000 light years of space between the Earth and the center of the Milky Way, photographing over one million stars and other celestial bodies. When the group returns in the fall of 1951 they will spend several months studying their photographs.

The expedition will use a new type of telescope for the job, a large Baker-Schmidt model that sees three times further than any present wide-range instrument. Part of the telescope is the largest prism in the world, almost a yard wide.

The group includes Bart J. Bok, associate director of the College Observatory. Ivan R. King, a junior fellow, and Uco van Wyck, a Sheldon Fellow.

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