The University of Chicago News Office
Nov. 20, 2006 Press Contact: Steve Koppes
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New documentary on father of astrophysics to be screened Dec. 4 at University of Chicago

    Photo:

George Ellery Hale (inset) and the Palomar Observatory in California. Hale founded the University of Chicago's Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics in the 1890s and was the first director of the Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay, Wisc.

The University of Chicago Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics will host a special screening of a soon-to-be-released television documentary on the epic 20th century story of the birth of American astrophysics and the discovery of the expansion of the universe.

The feature-length documentary, titled “The Journey to Palomar,” will be screened for University faculty and staff and for Adler Planetarium staff at 9:30 a.m. Monday Dec. 4. The screening will take place on the University campus in the library of Max Ida Noyes Hall, 1212 E. 59th St. The event is free and open to the public.

The documentary is the result of more than five years’ work by Los Angeles filmmakers Todd and Robin Mason. The film traces the story of Chicago-born astronomer George Ellery Hale, considered the father of astrophysics, as he struggles to build the greatest telescopes of the 20th century at the Yerkes and Mount Wilson Observatories. These included the 20-year effort to build the million-pound telescope on Palomar mountain beginning in the 1930s.

Hale’s observatories revolutionized our understanding of the universe, making headlines throughout the 20th century with revelations such as University of Chicago alumnus Edwin Hubble’s 1929 discovery of the expansion of the universe. Hale founded the University of Chicago’s Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics in the 1890s and was the first director of the Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay, Wisc.

The documentary includes interviews with some of America’s top scientists and historians and rare archival footage. The film premiered at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif., on May 19 to a standing ovation and will soon be screened in Seattle and Washington D.C. The filmmakers anticipate a PBS release some time in 2007. More information on the film at http://www.journeytopalomar.org.

 

http://www-news.uchicago.edu/releases/06/061130.palomar.shtml
Last modified at 02:09 PM CST on Thursday, November 30, 2006.

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