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Q: Biographical info on Gail E. Moreton ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   4 Comments )
Subject: Biographical info on Gail E. Moreton
Category: Science > Astronomy
Asked by: sybersitizen-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 05 Dec 2003 13:16 PST
Expires: 04 Jan 2004 13:16 PST
Question ID: 283931
I'm seeking biographical info regarding Gail E. Moreton, the solar
scientist. My primary questions are:

What was his date of birth (and death if he is not still living)?
With what research/academic institutions was he associated, and when?
Can you suggest any books or other sources that might provide further
biographical info?

Request for Question Clarification by juggler-ga on 05 Dec 2003 21:10 PST
I can give you the name of the institution where Gail E. Moreton
worked.  I can also give you the birth and death dates for a Gail E.
Moreton who lived in the same state where that institution was
located. Would that information (and nothing else) be acceptable to
you as an answer?

Clarification of Question by sybersitizen-ga on 06 Dec 2003 08:55 PST

Yes, that would be acceptable.
Subject: Re: Biographical info on Gail E. Moreton
Answered By: juggler-ga on 06 Dec 2003 10:45 PST
Rated:4 out of 5 stars

Gail Moreton worked (and made his famous discovery) at the Lockheed
Solar Observatory.

This is reported in a NASA document called  "The Sun & Heliosphere in
Three Dimensions."  The document misspells Moreton's first name as

'Coronal Magnetic Fields
"Moreton waves," once also known as flare blast waves, were discovered
by Gale Moreton, an observer at the Lockheed Solar Observatory in the
"The Sun & Heliosphere in Three Dimensions," page 15, from NASA:
(The document is in PDF format, so the Adobe Acrobat Reader is
required. If you don't have that, visit: )

The Lockheed Solar Observatory was/is in California.

"Lockheed Solar Observatory at Rye Canyon, California."

Various other web pages also mention a Lockheed Solar Observatory in
Palo Alto, California.
See the results of this Google search:
"lockheed solar observatory"

Since there doesn't seem to be any reference of any Lockheed Solar
Observatory outside of California, it is highly likely that Gail
Moreton made his discovery while residing in California.

I did a search for Gail Moreton on the Social Security Death Index
Interactive Search:

Birth: 27 Jun 1930 
Death: Oct 1982 
...(Social Security #) 
Issued: California


Thus, there's only one Gail Moreton in the more than 70 million Social
Security death records archived by, and that Gail Moreton
was issued a Social Security number in California, the same state as
the Lockheed Solar Observatory. Also, the 1930 birth date is
consistent with someone who was working as a scientist in the 1960s
(making him 30-ish at the time of his discovery). As a result, it's
likely that this is the Gail Moreton whom you're researching.


search strategy:
"gail e morton", "gail moreton", "gale moreton"
"lockheed solar observatory"
"california death"

I hope this helps.  Good luck with your research.
sybersitizen-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars
I was hoping to uncover something beyond the Lockheed connection. The
"Contact Us" page at Lockheed's website says, rather discouragingly:

"Specific questions about the corporation: Resources do not permit
response to questions regarding our history, requests to locate
employees, or requests for detailed information on business unit

Thanks for the responses, though. I didn't know about the SSDI site,
so that alone was worth the price.

Subject: Re: Biographical info on Gail E. Moreton
From: luciaphile-ga on 06 Dec 2003 17:49 PST
He's not listed in Biography and Genealogy Master Index. I also did a
couple of searches in some newspaper indexes and got zip. He might be
listed in some science and engineering sources. I did find his name
listed as an author in a couple of bibliographic databases (as GE

My suggestion is to contact an academic library, preferably one that
services a physics or engineering department. Another bet would be to
contact Lockheed. They must have some kind of library and/or archives.
Good luck!

Subject: Re: Biographical info on Gail E. Moreton
From: moreton-ga on 01 Jul 2004 03:54 PDT

Just thought I would let you know that Gail E Moreton was my father. 
It is correct that he passed away in 1982.  However, if you require
any further biolographical information just post your questions.  I
have limited documents relating to his work at Lockheed but do have a
variety of people who I could ask.  I do have a variety of information
pertaining to job postings.  My father moved to Sydney, Australia in
the late 60's and that is where he died. Let me know what information
you would like.


C Moreton
Subject: Re: Biographical info on Gail E. Moreton
From: sybersitizen-ga on 01 Jul 2004 09:54 PDT

What a nice surprise to receive a response from a member of the
Moreton family! I appreciate your offer to provide more information.
But first, my interest in your father requires some explanation...

I worked at the Redondo Beach, California campus of TRW, Inc. in the
1980's and 90's. The main business of the facility at that time was
defense systems and satellite construction.

TRW maintained an on-campus technical library. Periodically, the
library management would clean house and make publications that had
presumably outlived their usefulness available free to employees. I
was fortuntate enough to pick up some amazing books in this way in

The most important of these were a set of three volumes of The Annals
of the Lowell Observatory and another Lowell publication, Memoir on a
Trans-Neptunian Planet. These books were published between 1898 and
1915. Though they were probably of little value to engineers designing
high tech space systems, they were certainly interesting to anyone
with a more romantic take on space studies.

Each book in the three volume set contained the handwritten
inscription, "Presented to Gail E. Moreton by the Lowell Observatory
Jan. 1, 1947". The fourth book contained a stamp with the name "G. E.
Moreton" and a small card reading "With the Compliments of the
Writer". I can only speculate that your father, or a family member,
had donated the books to the library at some point.

The books stayed in my humble little collection over the years, and I
had almost forgotten about them. When interest in Percival Lowell
picked up during the Mars opposition and the recent probe missions, I
got them out again and saw that they had deteriorated quite a bit. I
realized that they really needed restoration and belonged where they
could be maintained and appreciated.

I decided to sell them, and as I started researching the best way to
do that, I became curious about their history and your father's
activities. This led me to some concentrated web research and finally
here to Google Answers.

The three volume set of the Annals was purchased by the Sharpe
Planetarium (part of the Pink Palace Museum in Memphis, Tennesee). The
other book was purchased by a private collector.

So you see, my connection to your father is clearly minor and
accidental. But it would be great to know anything you might like to
share about his career, his interests, and the story behind those

Thanks again,

R. Lemieux
Subject: Re: Biographical info on Gail E. Moreton
From: moreton-ga on 05 Sep 2004 20:08 PDT
re: Belated answer

Thank you for your response ? what an amazing connection!  In order to
link up your information I have been conducting some research of my
own.  At the date of the inscription of those books  (Jan 1 1947) my
father would have been 16 and a half.  I am pretty sure that at this
time he was volunteering at the Palomar Observatory.  I have also seen
a promotional photograph of my father at that age standing in the
observatory with a ?starlett?.  This would have coincided with the
launch of the new 200 inch telescope at Palomar which occurred in
1947.  I can only assume that the books were a gift for his volunteer
work??  My brother thinks that our father may have volunteered at the
Griffith Observatory as it was closest to where he lived, being North

I have found a brief biography of my father?s employment and thought
it would be of interest to you:

Prior to 1955:

?	Worked in the fields of infrared spectroscopy and properties of
photoconductive detectors at the National Bureau of Standards
Laboratory in Corona California.
?	During this time also conducted laboratory courses in astronomy at
Pomona College in Claremont California.


?	Initiated and directed the Convair Solar Radio Astronomy Project, a
program of swept frequency solar observations conducted jointly with
California Institute of Technology,
?	Conducted research in galactic radio astronomy using the Cal Tech radio facility.


?	Director of the Lockheed Solar Observatory, Burbank California ?
responsible for the initiation and supervision of all solar research
?	Principal Investigator for three grants from the National Science
Foundation as well as other support from the National Bureau of
Standards, Office of Naval Research and Airforce.

1964:	    Held several posts in the US and Europe:

Jan-March: Visiting Scientist at the High Altitude Observatory and the
Sacramento Peak Observatory, mainly concentrating on research of flare

March-June: Senior Research Scientist at California Institute of
Technology continuing research on flare associated bremsstralung

July-August: Supported jointly by the High Altitude Observatory and
the Osservatorio Astronomico di Roma, instrumented the Rome
Observatory for H-alpha and K-line cinetography.

During 1964, was also the visiting scientist at the Osservatorio
Astrofisico di Arcetri, engaged in fine structure studies of the

**There is a gap in my research here until about 1969-70 where my
father had moved to Australia and became Director, Remote Sensing at
Technical and Field Surveys.  He stayed in this position until his
death in 1982.

Other principal posts included:

-	Director, Remote Sensing Group, University of Newcastle
-	Geophysical Consultant, Canadian Aeroservices
-	Visiting Professor, University of Sydney
-	Scientific Consultant, Harvard University and NASA (USA and Brazil)
-	Scientific Consultant CSIRO Division of Mineral Physics
-	Scientific Officer i/c CSIRO Solar Observatory
-	Visiting Professor, University of Colorado
-	USA-USSR Exchange Scientist, Crimean Astrophysical Observatory
-	Senior Research Scientist, California Institute of Technology
-	Member of the International Astronomical Union, American
Astronomical Society, American Geophysical Union and the Astronomical
Society of the Pacific.

Hope this is of interest.  Thank you for sharing your connection with my father.


C Moreton

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