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Records

Creator::
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Moonwatch Division  Search this
Extent:
24 cu. ft. (24 record storage boxes)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Motion pictures (visual works)
Audiotapes
Manuscripts
Black-and-white photographs
Clippings
Black-and-white transparencies
Date:
1956-1975
Introduction:
This finding aid was digitized with funds generously provided by the Smithsonian Institution Women's Committee.
Descriptive Entry:
These records document the history of the Moonwatch Division and the volunteer Flight Officer Network. They include the outgoing correspondence of Albert Werner, 1968-1975; general correspondence of the Moonwatch Division, 1957-1975; Moonwatch station files, 1956-1975, including correspondence and other data from American and foreign Moonwatch teams; Moonwatch administrative files, 1956-1975; Moonwatch project files, 1962-1973, including correspondence and reports on various comets, satellites, and other projects assigned to Moonwatch to track; the incoming and outgoing correspondence of Herbert E. Roth, 1966-1975; general correspondence of the VFON, 1969-1975; VFON airline files, 1963-1975, containing correspondence and sighting reports from member airlines; VFON administrative files, 1963-1975; Moonwatch and VFON newsletters and bulletins, 1956-1975; and a small number of slides, tapes, and movies.
Historical Note:
The Moonwatch Division of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory was created in 1956 as part of the Satellite Tracking Program established to track and photograph the artificial earth satellites to be launched during the International Geophysical Year, 1957-1958. The surprise launch of Sputnik in 1957 generated much enthusiasm for the satellite program. Amateur astronomers, often supported by local businesses and schools, formed groups of volunteers who manned rows of telescopes searching for satellites. The Moonwatch Division directed and instructed the observers, loaned them equipment, and tabulated the data collected. Scientists were named in other parts of the world to help establish Moonwatch teams in many foreign countries. Gradually many "teams" came to be composed of a single observer, highly skilled in satellite tracking and often affiliated with a local observatory or university. Until its termination in 1975, the Moonwatch Division coordinated this network of volunteers and amassed a total of nearly 400,000 observations of satellites. Directors of the Division included Armand N. Spitz, 1956-1957; Leon Campbell, Jr., 1957-1962; Richard C. Vanderburgh, 1962-1964; William P. Hirst, 1964-1968; and Albert Werner, 1968-1975.

The Volunteer Flight Officer Network (VFON) was established in 1963 by Denver Moonwatch team leader Herbert E. Roth to collect eyewitness reports of satellites and meteor sightings from airline pilots and other flight personnel. Roth was employed by United Air Lines, which agreed to support the project by providing printing and mailing funds. In 1965 the VFON became affiliated with Moonwatch, which advised Roth and assumed a part of the mailing expenses. In 1969 Moonwatch assumed complete administrative control of the VFON under a contract with the United States Air Force. Before its termination in 1975, the VFON had grown to include the employees of 118 airlines in 57 countries and had collected approximately 4200 observations. Roth was its sole director.
Topic:
International Geophysical Year, 1957-1958  Search this
Astrophysical observatories  Search this
Genre/Form:
Motion pictures (visual works)
Audiotapes
Manuscripts
Black-and-white photographs
Clippings
Black-and-white transparencies
Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 255, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Moonwatch Division, Records
Identifier:
Record Unit 255
See more items in:
Records
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-sia-faru0255

SUFOI: Skandinavisk UFO Information, 1965-1973.

Collection Creator::
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Moonwatch Division  Search this
Container:
Box 21 of 24
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 255, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Moonwatch Division, Records
See more items in:
Records
Records / Series 8: VFON AIRLINE FILES, 1963-1975. ARRANGED ALPHABETICALLY. / Box 21
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru0255-refidd1e10003

South African Airways, 1967, 1969, 1972-1975.

Collection Creator::
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Moonwatch Division  Search this
Container:
Box 21 of 24
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 255, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Moonwatch Division, Records
See more items in:
Records
Records / Series 8: VFON AIRLINE FILES, 1963-1975. ARRANGED ALPHABETICALLY. / Box 21
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru0255-refidd1e10015

Sterling Airways, 1966-1971, 1973-1974.

Collection Creator::
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Moonwatch Division  Search this
Container:
Box 21 of 24
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 255, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Moonwatch Division, Records
See more items in:
Records
Records / Series 8: VFON AIRLINE FILES, 1963-1975. ARRANGED ALPHABETICALLY. / Box 21
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru0255-refidd1e10026

Sudan Airways, 1966-1968.

Collection Creator::
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Moonwatch Division  Search this
Container:
Box 21 of 24
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 255, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Moonwatch Division, Records
See more items in:
Records
Records / Series 8: VFON AIRLINE FILES, 1963-1975. ARRANGED ALPHABETICALLY. / Box 21
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru0255-refidd1e10037

Chattanooga, Tennessee, 1956-1964.

Collection Creator::
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Moonwatch Division  Search this
Container:
Box 3 of 24
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 255, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Moonwatch Division, Records
See more items in:
Records
Records / Series 3: MOONWATCH STATION FILES, 1956-1975. ARRANGED ALPHABETICALLY. / Box 3
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru0255-refidd1e1004

Surinam Airways, Ltd., 1967.

Collection Creator::
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Moonwatch Division  Search this
Container:
Box 21 of 24
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 255, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Moonwatch Division, Records
See more items in:
Records
Records / Series 8: VFON AIRLINE FILES, 1963-1975. ARRANGED ALPHABETICALLY. / Box 21
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru0255-refidd1e10048

Swissair, 1966-1968, 1971-1975.

Collection Creator::
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Moonwatch Division  Search this
Container:
Box 21 of 24
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 255, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Moonwatch Division, Records
See more items in:
Records
Records / Series 8: VFON AIRLINE FILES, 1963-1975. ARRANGED ALPHABETICALLY. / Box 21
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru0255-refidd1e10059

Taca International Airlines, 1967.

Collection Creator::
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Moonwatch Division  Search this
Container:
Box 21 of 24
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 255, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Moonwatch Division, Records
See more items in:
Records
Records / Series 8: VFON AIRLINE FILES, 1963-1975. ARRANGED ALPHABETICALLY. / Box 21
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru0255-refidd1e10070

Territory Airlines Pty., Limited, 1967.

Collection Creator::
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Moonwatch Division  Search this
Container:
Box 21 of 24
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 255, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Moonwatch Division, Records
See more items in:
Records
Records / Series 8: VFON AIRLINE FILES, 1963-1975. ARRANGED ALPHABETICALLY. / Box 21
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru0255-refidd1e10082

Transair, Limited, 1967.

Collection Creator::
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Moonwatch Division  Search this
Container:
Box 21 of 24
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 255, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Moonwatch Division, Records
See more items in:
Records
Records / Series 8: VFON AIRLINE FILES, 1963-1975. ARRANGED ALPHABETICALLY. / Box 21
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru0255-refidd1e10093

Trans Australia Airlines, 1966-1975.

Collection Creator::
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Moonwatch Division  Search this
Container:
Box 21 of 24
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 255, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Moonwatch Division, Records
See more items in:
Records
Records / Series 8: VFON AIRLINE FILES, 1963-1975. ARRANGED ALPHABETICALLY. / Box 21
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru0255-refidd1e10104

Transportes Aereos de Cabo Verde, 1967.

Collection Creator::
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Moonwatch Division  Search this
Container:
Box 21 of 24
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 255, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Moonwatch Division, Records
See more items in:
Records
Records / Series 8: VFON AIRLINE FILES, 1963-1975. ARRANGED ALPHABETICALLY. / Box 21
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru0255-refidd1e10115

Transportes Aereos Portugueses, 1967-1968, 1971-1974.

Collection Creator::
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Moonwatch Division  Search this
Container:
Box 21 of 24
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 255, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Moonwatch Division, Records
See more items in:
Records
Records / Series 8: VFON AIRLINE FILES, 1963-1975. ARRANGED ALPHABETICALLY. / Box 21
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru0255-refidd1e10126

Trans World Airlines, 1967-1970, 1973-1974.

Collection Creator::
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Moonwatch Division  Search this
Container:
Box 21 of 24
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 255, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Moonwatch Division, Records
See more items in:
Records
Records / Series 8: VFON AIRLINE FILES, 1963-1975. ARRANGED ALPHABETICALLY. / Box 21
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru0255-refidd1e10137

Trek Airways, 1967.

Collection Creator::
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Moonwatch Division  Search this
Container:
Box 21 of 24
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 255, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Moonwatch Division, Records
See more items in:
Records
Records / Series 8: VFON AIRLINE FILES, 1963-1975. ARRANGED ALPHABETICALLY. / Box 21
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru0255-refidd1e10149

Chattanooga, Tennessee, 1965-1970, 1972-1974.

Collection Creator::
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Moonwatch Division  Search this
Container:
Box 3 of 24
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 255, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Moonwatch Division, Records
See more items in:
Records
Records / Series 3: MOONWATCH STATION FILES, 1956-1975. ARRANGED ALPHABETICALLY. / Box 3
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru0255-refidd1e1015

Tunis Air, 1967.

Collection Creator::
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Moonwatch Division  Search this
Container:
Box 21 of 24
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 255, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Moonwatch Division, Records
See more items in:
Records
Records / Series 8: VFON AIRLINE FILES, 1963-1975. ARRANGED ALPHABETICALLY. / Box 21
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru0255-refidd1e10160

United Air Lines: meteor sightings, January 1969-June 1969.

Collection Creator::
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Moonwatch Division  Search this
Container:
Box 21 of 24
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 255, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Moonwatch Division, Records
See more items in:
Records
Records / Series 8: VFON AIRLINE FILES, 1963-1975. ARRANGED ALPHABETICALLY. / Box 21
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru0255-refidd1e10171

United Air Lines: meteor sightings, July 1969-December 1969.

Collection Creator::
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Moonwatch Division  Search this
Container:
Box 21 of 24
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 255, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Moonwatch Division, Records
See more items in:
Records
Records / Series 8: VFON AIRLINE FILES, 1963-1975. ARRANGED ALPHABETICALLY. / Box 21
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru0255-refidd1e10182

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