ARlogo Annu. Rev. Astron. Astrophys. 1999. 37: 445-486
Copyright © 1999 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved

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As a balanced account, this review is dreadfully incomplete concerning all that was accomplished at Palomar in its first 50 years. It has been organized in large measure by showing how the plans for research with the 200-inch telescope that were set out by Baade (1948), Hubble (1951) were eventually completed - slowed, to be sure, by the discovery of new subjects not even known when these giants walked the earth. Baade's prediction and final dictum in his prescient 1948 paper came to pass. He wrote:

"We expect, therefore, that [the program outlined here] will spread over quite a number of years. At times it may even look as if it had been forgotten entirely because everyone is in hot pursuit of a new lead which opened up suddenly. But it will be carried out, because without a secure base we will go astray, and finally become lost."

Clearly, new leads were opened up, and the astronomers at Palomar and elsewhere were in hot pursuit. The result, seen in hindsight in these last months of the old century, is one of wonder, spectacular new understanding, and a knowledge of great accomplishment, made a reality by the insight of dreamers in the 1930s that made the great telescope possible.


This review has been greatly improved by the scientific comments and detailed editing by G.R. Burbidge. However, I claim ownership of the errors that remain. I am also grateful to J.B. Oke for an important conversation concerning the discovery of the redshift in the spectrum of 3C 273.

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