Bryn Athyn College Alumni Magazine Fall/Winter 2017-18 - Page 11

Mathematics teacher Kenneth Rose and moonwatch team leader Wertha Cole review some events of the watch and discuss the orbits of the man-made moons. Bryn Athyn “Moonwatchers” Professor Wertha Cole’s Historic Team By Sasha Silverman O ver our heads, thousands of satellites fly through space. They beam back music, news, pictures of weath- er patterns, cell phone texts and voice messages, and YouTube videos of cats. In the early 1950s, however, this would have seemed preposterous. In fact, no one had seen a single pic- ture of the earth from space. Getting just one satellite to stay in orbit seemed unlikely. As Bryn Athyn mathematician Ken- neth Rose (BA ’51) said, “If initial conditions of position and velocity were slightly in error, I thought, the would-be satellite would spiral into earth or out into space … I foresaw no success- ful launchings.” One woman, however, Wertha Pendleton Cole, had a more optimistic view. As a professor of astronomy and former dean B RY N AT H Y N A LU M N I M AG A Z I N E | 11