| History of weather observing at the Naval Observatory, Washington, D.C. 1838-1913 - :1219 | National Environmental Satellite and Data Information Service (NESDIS)
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History of weather observing at the Naval Observatory, Washington, D.C. 1838-1913
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    Climate Database Modernization Program (U.S.)
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    "The Naval Observatory was founded on Dec 6, 1830 as the Depot of Charts and Instruments. It is one of the oldest scientific organizations in the nation. The Observatory originated as a result of the U.S. Navy's need to improve navigation on the high seas, especially in the determination of longitude. The link from navigation to astronomy was natural. The significant step from depository of navigation materials to scientific investigation occurred in 1834 when the Depot moved from its original location (near the White House) to a site north of the Capitol. The higher ground at this location provided a prime opportunitye for the construction of an observatory, allowing the natural transition from navigational observation to astronomical examination. Routine weather observing also began at this location. The step into weather observing was initiated in 1838 by Officer in Charge Lt James Melville Gilliss, based on a broad interpretation of a directive from the Secretary of the Navy. Consequently, the Depot and Observatory began taking weather and magnetic observations as part of a process to better understand the physical science of astronomy. The program was taken to an even higher level of quality by Lt Matthew Fontaine Maury, first Superintendent of the Naval Observatory. The weather observations were published in Observatory documents and made widely available"--P. 2.

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