Charles S. Hastings

Last updated
Charles Sheldon Hastings
Born(1848-11-27)November 27, 1848
Clinton, New York
DiedJanuary 31, 1932(1932-01-31) (aged 83)
Greenwich, Connecticut
Alma mater Yale University
Known for Geometrical optics
Awards Elliott Cresson Medal (1926)
Scientific career
Fields Physics
Institutions Sheffield Scientific School at Yale University, Johns Hopkins University
Influences Hermann von Helmholtz, Gustav Kirchhoff

Charles Sheldon Hastings (November 27, 1848 – January 31, 1932) was an American physicist known for his work in optics. [1] His father was Panet Marshall Hastings and his mother was Jane Sheldon Hastings. The father was a physician and anatomy teacher at Hamilton College, New York, where Charles was born. At the age of six the family moved to Hartford, Connecticut, where Charles received his early education. Hastings entered Yale University's Sheffield School of Science in 1867 and received his bachelor's degree in 1870. His early interest in astronomy and telescopes were likely due to Chester Lyman, Chair of Physics and Astronomy at the Sheffield School. [2] He then earned a PhD from Yale in 1873, and immediately was made an instructor in physics. In 1875 he resigned to study in Germany and France until being named an associate at the new Johns Hopkins University in 1876. [3] He became an associate professor of physics at Johns Hopkins University and the first Chair of Professor of Physics of Sheffield Scientific School at Yale University. [4] He collaborated with John A. Brashear on the optical design of large telescopes including the 72-inch (180 cm) reflector at Dominion Astrophysical Observatory and the 30-inch (76 cm) photographic refractor at Allegheny Observatory. [5] His optical designs enabled much progress in astronomy at U.S. observatories. [6] The Hastings Triplet magnifying glass design is based on his optical formulae. [7] He was awarded the Elliott Cresson Medal in 1926. [8]

In 1878 Hastings married Elizabeth Tracy Smith and they remained together for more than fifty years, until Elizabeth died in 1930 after a long illness. After the death of his wife, Hastings himself declined rapidly and died in January 1932. [3] He was a member of the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 1898, Hastings co-authored, with Frederick E. Beach, a textbook entitled A Text-Book of General Physics, which has been characterized as "difficult." It was considered an excellent text for those already enamored with physics but a bad one for those not so enthusiastic about the subject. One copy of this book, apparently once owned by a less enthusiastic student, reportedly contains the inscribed verse, "If we should have another flood | For safety hither fly | Although the earth would be submerged | This book would still be dry." [9]

See also

Related Research Articles

Observatory Location used for observing terrestrial or celestial events

An observatory is a location used for observing terrestrial or celestial events. Astronomy, climatology/meteorology, geophysical, oceanography and volcanology are examples of disciplines for which observatories have been constructed. Historically, observatories were as simple as containing an astronomical sextant or Stonehenge.

The Astrophysical Journal, often abbreviated ApJ in references and speech, is a peer-reviewed scientific journal of astrophysics and astronomy, established in 1895 by American astronomers George Ellery Hale and James Edward Keeler. The journal discontinued its print edition and became an electronic-only journal in 2015.

Refracting telescope

A refracting telescope is a type of optical telescope that uses a lens as its objective to form an image. The refracting telescope design was originally used in spy glasses and astronomical telescopes but is also used for long focus camera lenses. Although large refracting telescopes were very popular in the second half of the 19th century, for most research purposes, the refracting telescope has been superseded by the reflecting telescope, which allows larger apertures. A refractor's magnification is calculated by dividing the focal length of the objective lens by that of the eyepiece.

Astrophysics is a science that employs the methods and principles of physics in the study of astronomical objects and phenomena. Among the subjects studied are the Sun, other stars, galaxies, extrasolar planets, the interstellar medium and the cosmic microwave background. Emissions from these objects are examined across all parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, and the properties examined include luminosity, density, temperature, and chemical composition. Because astrophysics is a very broad subject, astrophysicists apply concepts and methods from many disciplines of physics, including classical mechanics, electromagnetism, statistical mechanics, thermodynamics, quantum mechanics, relativity, nuclear and particle physics, and atomic and molecular physics.

National Optical Astronomy Observatory

The National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) is the United States national observatory for ground-based nighttime ultraviolet-optical-infrared (OUVIR) astronomy. The National Science Foundation (NSF) funds NOAO to provide forefront astronomical research facilities for US astronomers. However, professional astronomers from any country in the world may apply to use the telescopes operated by NOAO under the NSF's "open skies" policy. Astronomers submit proposals for peer review to gain access to the telescopes which are scheduled every night of the year for observations. The combination of truly open access and the merit based science proposal process makes NOAO unique in the world.

William Lassell

William Lassell was an English merchant and astronomer. He is remembered for his improvements to the reflecting telescope and his ensuing discoveries of four planetary satellites.

Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory

The Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) is an astronomical observatory located on Cerro Tololo in the Coquimbo Region of northern Chile, with additional facilities located on Cerro Pachón about 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) to the southeast. It is within the Coquimbo Region and approximately 80 kilometres (50 mi) east of La Serena, where support facilities are located. The site was identified by a team of scientists from Chile and the United States in 1959, and it was selected in 1962. Construction began in 1963 and regular astronomical observations commenced in 1965. Construction of large buildings on Cerro Tololo ended with the completion of the Víctor Blanco Telescope in 1974, but smaller facilities have been built since then. Cerro Pachón is still under development, with two large telescopes inaugurated since 2000, and one in the early stages of construction.

Abell 1835 IR1916

Abell 1835 IR1916 was a candidate for being the most distant galaxy ever observed, although that claim has not been verified by additional observations. It was claimed to lie behind the galaxy cluster Abell 1835, in the Virgo constellation.

Frank Schlesinger

Frank Schlesinger was an American astronomer. His work concentrated on using photographic plates rather than direct visual studies for astronomical research.

Harvard–Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics Astronomical observatory in Massachusetts, US

The Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian (CfA) is an astrophysics research institute jointly operated by the Harvard College Observatory and Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Founded in 1973 and headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the CfA leads a broad program of research in astronomy, astrophysics, Earth and space sciences, as well as science education. The CfA either leads or participates in the development and operations of more than fifteen ground- and space-based astronomical research observatories across the electromagnetic spectrum, including the forthcoming Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) and the Chandra X-ray Observatory, one of NASA's Great Observatories.

Leuschner Observatory

Leuschner Observatory, originally called the Students' Observatory, is an observatory jointly operated by the University of California, Berkeley and San Francisco State University. The observatory was built in 1886 on the Berkeley campus. For many years, it was directed by Armin Otto Leuschner, for whom the observatory was renamed in 1951. In 1965, it was relocated to its present home in Lafayette, California, approximately 10 miles (16 km) east of the Berkeley campus. In 2012, the physics and astronomy department of San Francisco State University became a partner.

Yale University Observatory

The Yale University Observatory, also known as the Leitner Family Observatory and Planetarium, is an astronomical observatory owned and operated by Yale University, and maintained for student use. It is located in Farnham Memorial Gardens near the corner of Edwards and Prospect Streets, New Haven, Connecticut.

Tod R. Lauer is an American astronomer on the research staff of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory. He was a member of the Hubble Space Telescope Wide Field and Planetary Camera team, and is a founding member of the Nuker Team. His research interests includes observational searches for massive black holes in the centers of galaxies, the structure of elliptical galaxies, stellar populations, large-scale structure of the universe, and astronomical image processing. He was the Principal Investigator of the Destiny JDEM concept study, one of the precursors to the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope mission. Asteroid 3135 Lauer is named for him. He appears in an episode of the documentary series Naked Science. He joined the New Horizons Pluto team in order to apply his extensive experience with deep space imaging to the New Horizons data, yielding significantly clearer and mathematically accurate images of Pluto and Charon.

The Orion space telescopes were a series of two instruments flown aboard Soviet spacecraft during the 1970s to conduct ultraviolet spectroscopy of stars.

Nicholas B. Suntzeff

Nicholas B. Suntzeff is an American University Distinguished Professor and holds the Mitchell/Heep/Munnerlyn Chair of Observational Astronomy in the Department of Physics & Astronomy at Texas A&M University where he is Director of the Astronomy Program. He is an observational astronomer specializing in cosmology, supernovae, stellar populations, and astronomical instrumentation. With Brian Schmidt he founded the High-z Supernova Search Team, which was honored with the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2011 to Schmidt and Adam Riess.

Chester Lyman

Chester Smith Lyman was an American teacher, clergyman and astronomer.

PSR J0108−1431 is a solitary pulsar located at a distance of about 130 parsecs (424 light-years) in the constellation Cetus. This pulsar was discovered in 1994 during the Parkes Southern Pulsar Survey. It is considered a very old pulsar with an estimated age of 166 million years and a rotation period of 0.8 seconds. The rotational energy being generated by the spin-down of this pulsar is 5.8 × 1023 W and the surface magnetic field is 2.5 × 107 T. As of 2008, it is the second faintest known pulsar.

Event Horizon Telescope Global radio telescope array to image supermassive black holes

The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) is a large telescope array consisting of a global network of radio telescopes. The EHT project combines data from several very-long-baseline interferometry (VLBI) stations around Earth, which form a combined array with an angular resolution sufficient to observe objects the size of a supermassive black hole's event horizon. The project's observational targets include the two black holes with the largest angular diameter as observed from Earth: the black hole at the center of the supergiant elliptical galaxy Messier 87 (M87), and Sagittarius A* at the center of the Milky Way.

Radio Objects with Continuous Optical Spectra, is a group of about 80 astrophysical objects characterized by optical spectra anomalously devoid of emission or absorption features, which makes it impossible to determine their distances and locations in relation to our galaxy. They are considered to be a subclass of blazars, and are similar in their spectral characteristics to DC-dwarfs and single stellar-mass black holes.

Multi-messenger astronomy is astronomy based on the coordinated observation and interpretation of disparate "messenger" signals. Interplanetary probes can visit objects within the Solar System, but beyond that, information must rely on "extrasolar messengers". The four extrasolar messengers are electromagnetic radiation, gravitational waves, neutrinos, and cosmic rays. They are created by different astrophysical processes, and thus reveal different information about their sources.


  1. Beach, Frederick E. (April 22, 1932). "Charles Sheldon Hastings". Science. 75 (1947): 428–430. Bibcode:1932Sci....75..428B. doi:10.1126/science.75.1947.428. PMID   17780155.
  2. Cameron, Gary L. (2014). "Hastings, Charles Sheldon". Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers. pp. 916–918. doi:10.1007/978-1-4419-9917-7_9288. ISBN   978-1-4419-9916-0.
  3. 1 2 Schlesinger, Frank (1932). "Charles Sheldon Hastings". The Astrophysical Journal. 76: 155. Bibcode:1932ApJ....76..149S. doi:10.1086/143411.
  4. Uhler, Horace S. (1938). Charles Sheldon Hastings (PDF). Biographical Memoirs. 20. National Academy of Sciences. pp. 273–291. Retrieved 25 October 2013.
  5. Schlesinger, Frank (October 1932). "Charles Sheldon Hastings". Astrophysical Journal. 76 (3): 149–155. Bibcode:1932ApJ....76..149S. doi:10.1086/143411.
  6. "Charles S. Hastings". OSA History. The Optical Society. Retrieved 25 October 2013.
  7. Microscopes, Microtomes, Colorimeters, Optical Measuring Instruments and Accessories. Bausch & Lomb. 1922. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
  8. "Guide to the Charles S. Hastings Papers". Yale Finding Aid Database. Yale University Library. Retrieved 25 October 2013.
  9. Uhler, Horace S., "Biographical Memoir of Charles Sheldon Hastings, 1848-1932," National Academy of Sciences, 1938