Existing National Historic Landmarks
The 1987 edition of History and Prehistory in the National Park System and the National Historic Landmarks Program lists only two sites as National Historic Landmarks because of their significance in the history of astronomy--the Edwin P. Hubble House and the Lowell Observatory.
Astronomical research here has contributed greatly to the knowledge of the universe. First evidence of expansion of the universe was obtained at Lowell in 1912. In 1930 astronomer Clyde Tombaugh used a special wide-angle 13-inch astrographic telescope to discover the planet Pluto. NHL designated December 21, 1965.
Hubble (Edwin) House
Home of one of America's greatest 20th century astronomers who, among other accomplishments, discovered extragalactic nebulae and their recession from each other. NHL designated December 8, 1976.
The National Historic Landmarks listed below were all identified as significant in other themes. These sites should also be listed for astronomy in addition to their primary themes.
Administration Building, Carnegie Institution of Washington
Built with funds donated by Andrew Carnegie, the Institution operates the Mount Wilson Observatory and conducts research in the physical and biological sciences. NHL designated June 23, 1965.
Old Naval Observatory
The Old Naval Observatory originally housed a 26-inch refracting telescope built by Alvan Clark and Sons in 1870. Astronomer Asaph Hall used this telescope to discover the two Martian satellites, Deimos and Phobos, in 1877. This discovery greatly enchanced Clark's reputation as a master telescope builder. The Old Naval Observatory is also associated with the work of Simon Newcomb (1835-1909), Canadian-born American astronomer, who was one of the foremost of all mathematical astronomers. Starting in 1875 Newcomb began a series of observations to prepare more accurate tables of observations of lunar and planetary motions. The results, published in the Nautical Almanac, were used through the first half of the 20th century. In 1893 the U.S. Naval Observatory moved from this location to Massachusetts Avenue at 34th St., NW. NHL designated January 12, 1965.
Millikan (Robert A.) House
One of America's best known 20th-century scientists, Millikan received the 1923 Nobel Prize in physics for his work in demonstrating the existence of electrons. In Millikan's later years he investigated the origin and nature of cosmic rays. NHL designated May 11, 1976.
Salem, Essex County
Bowditch effected great advances in navigation and helped bring European mathematics to America. (Bowditch was also an important early American astronomer who was elected to the Royal Astronomical Society in 1829, the first American to be so honored.) NHL designated January 12, 1965.
Draper (John W.) House
Home of the well-known mid-19th-century scientist who, in addition to significant contributions to physics and chemistry, also wrote important works in intellectual history. Draper was the first person to succeed in photographing a stellar spectrum. NHL designated May 15, 1975.
Banneker (Benjamin) SW-9 Intermediate Boundary Stone
This boundary stone commemorates the accomplishments of Benjamin Banneker, a gifted mathematician, (and astronomer), who helped survey the District of Columbia and who was at that time the most famous Black man in America. NHL designated May 11, 1976.
15 miles northeast of Kane
Big Horn County
Made of loose, irregularly shaped, whitish flat stones placed in a circle. Twenty-eight linear spokes, 70-75 feet in length, radiate from the hub. The National Historic Landmark form states that its intended purpose is unknown. (This site is often referred to as the "Stonehenge of the West." It has been found to be aligned to the rising and setting positions of the summer solstice sun, and the rising of three bright stars of the summer sky on that longest day of the year. Significant in Archeoastronomy.) NHL designated August 29, 1970.