Classics: Bulletin of the astronomical institutes of the Netherlands

Nityananda, Rajaram (2015) Classics: Bulletin of the astronomical institutes of the Netherlands. Resonance : Journal of Science Education, 20 (10). pp. 945-950. ISSN 0973-712X

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We have chosen extracts from two of Oort’s most famous papers for the Classics section of this issue. The earlier one, published in 1927, is on determining the rotation of stars around the centre of our galaxy, and its variation with distance. The principle of this method is explained in some detail in the article, ‘Discovering the Rotation of our own Galaxy’ (this issue, p. 869). You can see that Oort just writes down the corresponding formulae in his paper. What is worth learning from this paper is the rather confused situation at that time, with many ideas floating around, proposed by famous astronomers like Kapetyn, Jeans, Lindblad and Shapley. Oort is meticulous in citing his sources, but he also quickly disposes of untenable ideas, though in rather mild language. This leads him to his model, of a differentially rotating disc embedded in a large sphericallysymmetric and non-rotating system – pretty much the model today! What we have not reproduced is the detailed discussion which follows the observational material analysis of errors, and fitting of the model

Item Type: Article
Authors: Nityananda, Rajaram
Subjects: Natural Sciences > Astronomy & allied sciences
Divisions: Azim Premji University > School of Arts and Sciences
Full Text Status: Public
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