Ritchey, George Willis

Ritchey, George Willis,

1864–1945, American astronomer, b. Meigs co., Ohio, studied at the Univ. of Cincinnati (1883–84, 1886–87). He was superintendent of instrument construction (1899–1904) at Yerkes Observatory and then (1905–9) was associated with the Solar Observatory of Carnegie Institution. From 1901 to 1905 he taught astronomy at the Univ. of Chicago. Ritchey was in charge of the designing and construction of the 60-in. (152-cm) and 100-in. (254-cm) reflecting telescopes at Mt. Wilson Observatory. Later he went to the Paris Observatory as director (1924–30) of the astrophotographic laboratory. He is coinventor of the Ritchey-Chrétien reflecting telescope, and he supervised (1931) the construction of a 40-in. (102-cm) telescope of that type for the U.S. Naval Observatory. The cellular type of optical mirror was also his invention.
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Ritchey, George Willis

(1864–1945) optical instrument maker, astronomer; born in Tupper's Plains, Ohio. A onetime teacher of woodworking, he became an optical innovator and oversaw the construction of instruments at Chicago's Yerkes Observatory, where he adapted a 40-inch telescope to photography for George Ellery Hale (1896). After working with Hale in constructing the Mt. Wilson Observatory (1904–09), he headed its optical shop (1909–19); in 1917 he photographed a nova that helped establish the existence of galaxies far from the Milky Way. In later years he worked with the major observatory in Paris, France, where he solved a common mirror-distortion problem by collaborating on the design of the Ritchey-Chretien telescope with the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.