Dave and Sue Ann Do Not Hit it Off

Some of you may remember David Heeschen. He was the first astronomer to be hired by the brand-new National Radio Astronomy Observatory, in about 1956. He was NRAO director 1962-1978. He facilitated the building of the VLA and is sometimes called the “father of the VLA”, which was completed in 1980. But before that, in about 1962 he was interested in finding if the radio sources that were known at the time varied in brightness. So he had the observatory buy a small off-the-shelf radio dish and had it automated to observe a list of sources every day. After a few years, apparently none of those sources were varying appreciably in brightness, and the project was abandoned and the 40-Foot was idle for many years.