A Night in a Balloon. An Astronomer's Trip from Paris to the Sea in Observation of Leonids

A Night in a Balloon. An Astronomer's Trip from Paris to the Sea in Observation of Leonids. Dorothea Klumpke.
A Night in a Balloon. An Astronomer's Trip from Paris to the Sea in Observation of Leonids
A Night in a Balloon. An Astronomer's Trip from Paris to the Sea in Observation of Leonids
A Night in a Balloon. An Astronomer's Trip from Paris to the Sea in Observation of Leonids
A Night in a Balloon. An Astronomer's Trip from Paris to the Sea in Observation of Leonids
A Night in a Balloon. An Astronomer's Trip from Paris to the Sea in Observation of Leonids
An autobiographical account of an an astronomy expedition, by the first woman PhD in astronomy, Director of the Paris Observatory
A Night in a Balloon. An Astronomer's Trip from Paris to the Sea in Observation of Leonids

New York: 1900. First edition. Extracted from The Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine (Volume LX, Number 2), pages 276-284. A clean, complete, and unmarked copy with modern staples to the left margin. With no other copies on the market and none held by institutions according to OCLC, this first-hand account of aeronautical astronomical study by a key female scientist has become incredibly scarce.

"Dorothea Klumpke was the first woman to earn a PhD in astronomy -- a feat she accomplished in 1893 at the University of Paris, with a dissertation about the rings of Saturn...She began working at the Paris Observatory in 1887, just as the international all-sky charting project known as the Carte du Ciel was getting underway, and she contributed mightily to that effort" (Linda Hall). The American scientist's French career was a success from the get-go. In 1889, she became the first recipient of the Prix de Dame from the Societie des Astronomique as well as the first woman to become an officer of the Paris Academy of Scientists. Not satisfied there, she broke through yet another glass ceiling in 1891, when she was appointed the first female Director of the Observatory's Bureau of Measurements. Among her peers she was recognized as a keen scientific observer. "Hopes for a brilliant Leonid meteor shower in November of 1899 prompted French astronomers to propose observing the display at altitude, from a hot air balloon. Jules Janssen, director of the Meudon Observatory, chose Klumpke to make the ascent" (Linda Hall). The present account, which appeared in New York one year later, documents Klumpke's first-hand experiences on the Leonid expedition. In addition to her scientific observations, several images and a map of the balloon trajectory, Klumpke reveals her excitement to readers. Skilfully she takes a scientific expedition and transforms it into an accessible journey akin to something from Jules Verne, wherein she and her crew launch into the sky to observe extreme celestial beauty. "Never before had nature seemed so grand to me, so beautiful." A scarce firsthand narrative about aeronautical astronomical study, from a woman who broke through every barrier she could.
Fine (Item #2782)

Price: $750