From 1837 until 1886, Theophilus Wylie taught astronomy to generations of IU students.
The eminent American astronomer Daniel Kirkwood came to Indiana University as a Professor of Mathematics in 1856 after studying at several colleges.
In 1893, Joseph Swain (who studied under Daniel Kirkwood) returned after two years on the original Stanford University faculty to become the ninth president of IU.
The first observatory and transit house were located at the western end of Dunn Meadow. In 1910 or 1911 they were moved to where Woodburn Hall is located today.
Kirkwood Observatory houses a 12” refracting telescope built by the Warner and Swasey Company in Cleveland. The optics were ground and polished by the renowned American optician Simon Brashear.
Frank K. Edmondson
Frank K. Edmondson enrolled as a freshman in the fall semester in 1929. Cogshall recommended that he be appointed Observatory Assistant, and this was approved “beginning with October 15, 1929 at a compensation of five dollars per week."
Dr. Goethe Link and his Observatory
Dr. Link was a well-known Indianapolis surgeon, who continued to practice until he was well into his 80’s. He was also an unusual amateur astronomer and a pioneering aeronaut who won the National Balloon Race in 1909!
IU Asteroid Program Begins
Many asteroids were “lost” during World War II due to the worldwide interruption of regular astronomical observations. To fill this need, Professor Frank K. Edmondson, in collaboration with the Cincinnati Observatory, initiated a program to recover the lost asteroids.
Observations began in 1949 and continued until 1966. These observations led the recovery of the lost asteroids, but also the discovery of many new minor planets.