Horace Welcome Babcock (September 13, 1912 – August 29, 2003) was an American astronomer. He was the son of Harold D. Babcock.

He invented and built a number of astronomical instruments, and in 1953 was the first to propose the idea of adaptive optics. He specialized in spectroscopy and the study of magnetic fields of stars. He proposed the Babcock Model, a theory for the magnetism of sunspots.

During World War II, he was engaged in radiation work at MIT and Caltech. After the war he began a productive collaboration with his father.



Henry Draper Medal of the National Academy of Sciences (1957)[1]
Eddington Medal (1958)
Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1959)[2]
Bruce Medal (1969)[3]
Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society (1970)[4]
George Ellery Hale Prize of the American Astronomical Society Solar Physics Division (1992)

Named after him

Asteroid 3167 Babcock (jointly with his father)
Babcock crater on the Moon is named only for his father


^ "Henry Draper Medal". National Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 24 February 2011.
^ "Book of Members, 1780-2010: Chapter B". American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 14 April 2011.
^ "Past Winners of the Catherine Wolfe Bruce Gold Medal". Astronomical Society of the Pacific. Retrieved 24 February 2011.
^ "Winners of the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society". Royal Astronomical Society. Retrieved 24 February 2011.

External links

Bruce Medal page
Awarding of Bruce Medal
Awarding of RAS gold medal

H.W. Babcock, "The Possibility of Compensating Astronomical Seeing", PASP 65 (1953) 229
Oral History interview transcript with Horace Babcock 25 July 1977, American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library and Archives


PASP 116 (2004) 290 (not available online yet, see [1])
Preston, George W. (2004). "Obituary: Horace Welcome Babcock (1912–2003)". Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific 116 (817): 290–294. Bibcode 2004PASP..116..290P. doi:10.1086/382664.

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