Lounsbury. Political By Clarence King. i6mo. French Literature. 161110. they will be found available by upper classes in schools which can not give much time to the subjects. Physics. By Tohnson Department of Yale College Bocher.S.D... Specially Revised for America by Simon Newcomb. may be the work of foreign by some one among the be*t . Packard. By Francis A. Professor of Zoology and Geology in Brown University. S. Zoology of the Vertebrate Animals. By Physical Geography. By By Elisabeth Winthrop Johnson.D. and by mature persons of little leisure who wish to enlarge or revise Messrs..el.S. are as follows : VOLUMES PUBLISHED. Zoology of the Invertebrate Animals. . brief books Henry Holt & Co.. by A. By Chemistry. S. 60c. By Alex. Specially revised ior America by A. Arts.D. S. Jr. University.. M. R. AND HISTORY. ART. By Literature. By Professor in Yale English Literature.. By Thomas R. Jr. Professor of Zoology and Comparative Anatomy in the University of Dublin. Geologist in charge of survey of the 40th Paral. Macalister. Macalistkr. The Studio Astronomy. Packard.. College. Specially revised for America S. The grade of the intermediate between the so-called "primers " and the larger works professing to present quite detailed views. is Handbooks their knowledge. Professor of Zoology and Geology in Brown University. have begun the publication of a Series of in various departments of knowledge. Arcnitecture By Russell Sturgis. M.D. 60c. By Health. M.. F. D. Botany. Walker. Professor in Harvard German T. ByEnglish Language. Astronomer Royal for Ireland. i6mo.. Naval Observatory. in the College of the City of New York. By Economy. subjects The and authors. Professor in Yale College. Ball. M iKi^NB. U.. Professor of the Arts of Design. By A. Professor in the University of Dublin. — Any books authors Will American in the series that be specially revised for America authorities. FORTHCOMING VOLUMES. 60 cents. LITERATURE.R. A. Ph. HANDBOOKSfor Students and General Readers IN SCIENCE. Superintendent American Nautical Almanac formerly Professor at the U. By •Jurisprudence. Architecture.D. Generally.M. By Ferdinand Geology. and Architect. Platt. so far as selected. LL.. Professor in the Law Music.

S.R. BALL. formerly Professor at the U. Superintendent American Nautical Almanac. Naval Observatory NEW YORK HENRY HOLT AND COMPANY 1878 . Astronomer Royal for Ireland Specially Revised for America BY SIMON NEWCOMB.D.. LL. LL.S.D. F.Y HANDBOOKS for Students and General Reado ASTRON OM BY R? S.


taken to bring out whatever educational extracted from each subject without im- Care value is may be . without getting a book covering the whole. Therefore.EXPLANATORY. Such a notion as a person beyond childhood resome subjects. This Series is intended to meet the requirement of brief text-books both for schools and for adult readers who wish to review or expand their knowledge. it will also sometimes enable the reader interested in only a portion of the field covered by a science. While this arthat of the invertebrates. The grade of the books is intermediate between so-called the "primers" and the larger works professing to present quite detailed views of the respective subjects. a falls — for volume and one to rangement supplies a compendious treatment for those who wish. occasionally a volume is given to each of the main quires of departments into which a subject naturally instance. it is difficult and perhaps impossible to convey in one such volume. to the interested in. to study the part he is Zoology of the vertebrates.

practicable. but as full is inquiry and reasoning by which these results have been obtained. Care also taken that each book admitted to the series shall either ity.vl Explanatory. not only are acquired results stated. be the work of a recognized authorselected or bear the unqualified approval of such. and to show the is relation in which they stand to the general conclusions of science. the fundamental and discussed with the fulness needed are stated to place their scientific significance in a clear light. peding the exposition of explanation as possible In the books on the given of the methods of sciences. as authors are As far who combine knowledge of ing them. it. their subjects with experience in teach- . although the treatment is strictly elementary. of each subject facts Consequently.

The present volume is intended for the use of those pupils of the higher classes in schools.AUTHOR'S PREFACE. Co. In selecting the subjects which are treated of in this volume. therefore. gain desire to some information about Astronomy. . BALL. : 1877. are not essential to the object in view. Dublin September I. suppress It has. however teresting. been necessary to in- many descriptive details which. who. ROBERT Observatory. having some elementary knowledge of Mathematics. Duns ink. much pains has been taken to direct the attention of the reader to the fundamental principles of the science. S.





The Measurement

of Angles

Circular Measure

—The Sphere

—Measurement of an Angle in





Explanation of Terms - Stars and Constellations The Pole Star The Great Bear —The Pleiades The Equatorial

Telescope— The Clock Movement— The




The Earth


Sphere— Figure
of the Earth



Rotation of the


Earth— Shape
the Diurnal Rotation

of the Earth connected with




Introduction— The Transit Instrument Adjustment of the Error of Collimation Error of Transit Instrument Level Error of Azimuth— The Astronomical Clock


—Calculation of Refractions — Latitude
The Sun appears
of the Pleiades

— Declination — Lati— Phenomena dependent on Change of Place — The Meridian Circle — Observation of the Nadir— Refraction
Determination of Right Ascensions





move among


the Stars

— Observation








— Setting a Sidereal Clock





Mean Time

Solar Day The Mean Sun — DeMean Time —-The Mean Solar Day Determination of the Sidereal Time at Mean NoonDetermination of Mean Time from Sidereal Time Determination of Mean Time at a given Longitude— The
termination of






Meaning of the word Planet Motion of the Planet Venus Apparent Motion of the Planet Mercury The Earth is really a Planet— The Earth's Orbit is nearly Circular The Orbit of Venus — Telescopic appearance of Venus explained Effect of the Annual Motion of the Earth on the Appearance of Venus — The Orbit of Mercury The Apparent Motions of Mars


— ......



Orbits of the Planets are not Perfect Circles— Kepler's

Law — Kepler's


Law— Kepler's





Gravitation of the Earth


Gravitation towards the


— Explanation of the Motion of a Planet in a Circular Orbit -<-Moticn of a Planet in an Ellipse — Motion
of Comets


Distance of the



Moon from

from the Earth

the Earth — Distance of the Sun .82 — The Transit of Venus



THE PRECESSION OF THE EQUINOXES. Determinations of the Velocity of Light .96 . . CHAPTER The of XV. THE ABERRATION OF LIGHT. of Alterations in the Right Ascensions of Stars— Precession the the Equinoxes— The Ecliptic is at Rest— Motion of Celestial of the Pole Pole—The Obliquity of the Ecliptic—Motion among the Stars —The Pole of the Earth- cession of the Permanency of an Axis of Rotation— Cause of the PreEquinoxes— Illustration of the Pegtop— .X ii Contents. . Aberration of Light— Explanation of the Aberration Light— Determination of the Velocity of Light— Other . Proper Motion of the Stars— Distance of the Stars 9° CHAPTER XIV.107 CHAPTER Changes of the Seasons XVI. PAGH PARALLAX OF THE FIXED STARS. II2 . Precession due to both Sun and Moon . THE SEASONS. CHAPTER The Fixed Stars— Annual XIII. Parallax of a tion of the Difference of the Star— DeterminaParallax of two Stars—The .

SPECTRUM ANALYSIS. —Construction of the Spectroscope . PAGB The Solar System— The Planets u6 CHAPTER XVIII. — Determination of the Mass .TeleProper scopic Appearance of a Star Variable Stars Motion of Stars Motion of the Sun through Space Real proper Motion of the Stars— Double Stars— Castor Dimensions as a Binary Star —Motion of a Binary Star — — — — — — — of the Orbit of a Binary Star of a Binary Star — Colours of Double Stars CHAPTER XIX. THE FIXED STARS. 146 . • . THE SOLAR SYSTEM. Nebulae— Classification of Nebulas • • • • • 142 CHAPTER Composition of Light XX. Numbers of the Stars— The Magnitudes of the Stars Milky Way Clusters of Stars Globular Clusters.120 NEBULAE.— Contents. xiii CHAPTER XVII.


13 minutes. each one of the parts thus obtained is termed a degree. minutes. B . each one of these parts is termed a second. but this will not be indispensable for the reading of this volume. and. If a right angle be divided into ninety equal parts. if necessary. before he begins to learn astronomy. 11 seconds. CHAPTER I. For brevity certain symbols are used : thus 49 13' ii"'4 signifies 49 degrees. The Measurement of Angles. each one of these parts is termed a minute] and if a minute be subdivided into sixty equal parts. INTRODUCTION. § i. If a degree be subdivided into sixty equal parts. An angle is therefore to be expressed in degrees. decimal parts of one second.ASTRONOMY. knows in the much geometry as contained three books of Euclid. which only an intro- duction to the science. and seconds. greatly to his advantage to have be some acquaintance It will also is with trigonometry . and four-tenths of one second. at least as first —We is assume that the pupil.

i. 2 The divio°. (fig. however. no difficulty in finding at number appropriate to any intermediate a glance division. &c. i°. are sometimes marked with a longer line. It is usual to engrave upon the circle only those figures which are appropriate to every tenth division. up to 359°. 20 Fig. by &c. We circle. on the circle are therefore o°. so that they can be instantly recognised.2 Astronomy. The actual numbers found . however. To facilitate this operation the divisions 5°. and not an arc . for convenience. 270° There the is. with this cau- . shall now explain what is meant by a graduated circle Let the circumference of a adb (fig. 15 . which are situated half-way between each of the numbered divisions. carefully remember that the word degree means an angle. sion lines separating these parts are denoted . i) be divided into 360 parts of equal length. The interval between two consecutive divisions on a circle is often. termed a degree. 1).. io°. The reader must. 25 .

sected. the submust be carried much farther than the division into degrees. is The specified . For astronomical instruments the graduated b 2 circles . the interval be attempted. suppose that from a point c in the line a b it is required to draw a line cd so that the angle bcd shall be equal to 43 The centre of the protractor is to be placed at c. and the division marked o° upon the protractor is to be placed upon the line a b then a dot is to be placed on the paper at the division 43 and a line drawn through the dot from the point c is the line c d which is required. no confusion will arise from the occa- sional use of the circle instead word to denote the small arc of the of the angle which this arc subtends at the centre. the divisions are so close together that they cannot be conveniently read without a magnifier a protractor of this size is therefore usually only divided to 30-minute spaces. The most familiar instance of a graduated circle the ordinary drawing instrument termed a protractor. thus in a protractor of 20 If this distance be bibetween two consecutive divisions than one millimetre . The extent of the subdivisions is limited by the protractor size. 3 however. division of the circle For the more refined purposes of science. if any further subdivision is centimetres in diameter the length of the arc of one degree is less 1745 millimetres. . arcs depends The extent of the into smaller subdivision of each arc of one degree upon the is particular purpose for which is the graduated circle intended. size of the instrument.: The Measurement of A ngles. employed for drawing angles of a For example. . tion.

to the tenth part of to alone. and this is clearly impossible with circles of moderate dimensions. of the greatest importance in If many length astronomical calculations. Thus the entire circumference contains 30 x 360 = 10800 divisions. or the radian. We can now see how the magnitude of any given angle may be expressed by the number of radians and fractional parts of one radian to which the given angle . and two consecutive divisions are sometimes only two minutes apart. The circles in this case are nearly a metre in diameter. which termed It will the unit of circular measure.000 distinct marks upon the circumference. are generally divided In the known as the meridian circle. and the divisions are read by microscopes. Mechanical ingenuity has.4 instrument Astronomy. easily be seen that the angle of the radian is the same.960. the divisions of the circles are executed on silver. though unsuited for the graduation of astrono- mical instruments. there by divisions be 12. the circumference of a circle an arc of which the is equal to the radius of the and is if we join the extremities of this arc to the centre. able to ' In the best it circles we are now read off/ as is termed. the join- ing lines include a definite angle. — There an Angle in Circular Meaanother method of measuring angles. however. to a greater extent. obviated the necessity for carrying the subdivisions of the arc to an inconvenient extent. Into the If this were to be effected one second. Measurement is sure. we measure upon circle. whatever be the size of the circle. it is unnecessary to enter. of is still which. would have details of these contrivances § 2.

Hence the angle subtended at the centre by the semicircle must be equal to 3*14159 radians. To illustrate the application of this principle we problem which very often occurs in astronomy. the arc of a semicircle may be taken as equal to 3*14159 radii. the distance o a being equal to d.Measurement is in Circular Measure. It is often necessary to convert the expression for the magnitude of an angle in radians to the equivalent expression in degrees . A distant object a b (fig. and seconds. and if an arc one centimetre in length be marked on its circumference. and this number is called the circular measure of the given angle. It is obvious that the difference between the length of the chord and the length of the arc in such a case as this may for all ordinary purposes be : neglected. very nearly Since the circumference of a circle equal to 3*14159 times its diameter. 2) subtends an angle 0" at o. It is shall state here a . is Perhaps no simpler way of justifying such an assumption than by actually exhibiting the difference in a parIf a circle be drawn with a diameter of ticular case. then the length of the chord of that arc is 0*99996 centimetres so that the arc is only one twenty-five thousandth part longer than the chord. We have often in astroto make use of the assumption that the length is of a very small arc of a circle there practically equal to the length of the chord of the same arc. 5 equivalent. culate the To accomplish this we is first cal- number of seconds in one radian. one metre. minutes. whence by division it will be found that one radian is equal to nomy 206265 seconds very nearly. and hence it appears that 3*14159 radians must be equal to 180 degrees.

required to determine the length a b. If a circle be described around o as centre to pass through the points

A and


the length of the chord a b




considered to be equal to «r
the arc a b.

We may, thereNow,


compute the arc


stead of the chord.

since the angles subtended by arcs are proportional to

the lengths of those arcs,


follows that the required

ab must

bear to the angle 0", subtended by
that the radius

at o, the

same proportion

d bears


the angle 206265

AB =
§ 3.




The Sphere.

—A sphered a surface

such that

every point upon
the interior, which

equidistant from one point in
If a plane


called the centre.


drawn through the centre of the sphere,
sphere in a

cuts the



called a great


plane which cuts the sphere, but which does not pass

through the centre, has also a

circle for the line



intersects the sphere

this is called a

along small


radius of a great circle

of course equal

to the radius of the sphere.


radius of a small

may be

of any length less than the radius of the

by the revolution of a

suppose that a sphere is produced circle about its diameter, and the radius of the sphere is then equal to the radius of the circle from which it has been produced. Let o be the centre of a sphere and a and b any

We may

two points on
three points o


a plane through the




b cuts the sphere in a great circle.

This may, for simplicity, be termed the great circle a b. The length of the arc of the great circle connecting two given points on a sphere of known radius

most conveniently measured by the angle which

the arc subtends at the centre.
If three points a b c be taken upon the surface of a sphere, then the three great circles a b, b c, a c form what is called a spherical triangle. The sides of
this triangle


measured by the angles which they

a, for




spherical triangle has

also angles at


three vertices


the angle at


the angle contained between the two



and o a


the six quantities in-

volved in the consideration of a spherical triangle are all angular magnitudes.


three angles of a plane triangle are together

equal to two right angles, but in the spherical triangle


of the three angles always exceeds two right


Explanation of Terms.


§ 4.

— To an observer


tioned in the middle of a plain where his view


obscured in any way by mountains or other obstructions, or, better still, to an observer stationed on a vessel at sea and out of sight of land, the heavens



appear like a hemispherical vault with a circular base resting upon the earth. This circular base, which seems like the intersection of the heavens with the
earth, is

If a weight be
point, then,

termed the apparent horizon. suspended by a thread from a fixed


the weight


at rest, the thread is

said to be vertical. That point of the heavens to which

the thread points, and which
if it


would appear

to reach

could be prolonged indefinitely upwards,


the zenith

while, if the direction of the thread were

prolonged downwards through the

intersect that portion of the celestial vault

would which is

below the horizon

in a point called the nadir.


straight line



perpendicular to a vertical

line is called a horizontal line



the straight

which can be drawn perpendicular to a vertical line through any one point in it lie in one and the same plane, which is called a horizontal plane. If the face of an observer (in the northern hemisphere) be directed towards that part of the heavens where the sun is at noon, the part of the heavens in front of him is termed the south, that behind him is
the north, while the east


his left

hand and the

west upon his
§ 5.


Stars and Constellations.— To learn anything

of astronomy thoroughly
principal stars


absolutely essential for
that he

the beginner to obtain a knowledge of some of the
able to recognise

and constellations, so them and observe

may be

for himself the

For this purapparent motions now to be described. pose he must have the use either of a celestial globe or of a good set of celestial maps. The beginner will

Stars and Constellations. He is carefully to note the position of the seven stars at an early hour in the evening. nearly for they point p. 3- To identify the it is ne- cessary for the learner to know the constellation of the Great sometimes called the Plough (rig. It is true that with more careful observations this statement would be found to be not literally accurate. serve the Great Bear. The student will next ob§ 7. up to the Pole Star The it first thing to be observed is about the Pole Star that remains constantly in the same position in the heavens. for the Pole Star does really change its position to a small amount. 3). The two stars a and b are commonly called Bear. the pointers. The Great Bear. star —This can be seen on Pole. Fjc. no telescope or other instruments are required. be saved much time if his teacher can actually show him on the heavens the principal constellations and impress their names and appearances on his memory. To make the coarse observations which will be described to begin with. The following are the objects to which the learner should § 6. first direct his attention. every clear night. The Pole Star. At different hours of the night or at different seasons of the year the Pole Star will constantly be seen in the north at about the same elevation above the horizon. and if he then looks at them again a few — .

and as if each of the seven stars were fastened by an invisible rod to the Pole Star. passed will still see the He Pole Star. after ascending from the east. The Pleiades. and somewhat resembles a miniature of the Great Bear. will see a remarkable change. a very great difference between the motion of the Pleiades and that of the Great Bear . but it need not be looked it. This wellknown group is visible at night throughout the greater part of the year. —This is a beautiful cluster of stars in the constellation of the Bull. two pointers directed towards the it was. then down towards the west under the Pole Star in the north. when it reaches its greatest height . for the middle of April to the middle of June. is The relative positions of the seven stars have not changed not altered — the shape of the constellation moved but the whole group has bodily in the heavens. its original position. and round again to the east . If he continued his observations for the whole of the night and the following day (as he could do if he had a suitable telescope). where it will disappear. and thus the idea will be suggested to him that the whole constellation has moved as if all the seven stars were fastened together with invisible rods. is from Winter it it the best season for observing In November . however. will be seen in the east shortly after sunset will then gradually rise until about midnight. There is. it will then gradually descend towards the west. which has remained where over the observer's head. and he would find that in a trifle less than twenty-four hours the constellation had returned exactly to § 8. he would find that the Great Bear.— : IO hours later he inter se Astronomy.

To study this motion with the accuracy which its importance demands we employ the very important astronomical instrument which is called the equatorial telescope. The Equatorial Telescope. to direct the telescope towards any required if To it is necessary to place the polar axis a b so that direction continued would intersect the heavens in a particular point very close to the Pole Star. For an account of the optical construction of the telescope we must refer to books upon Optics we are now merely going to describe the manner in which the equatorial telescope is mounted. It will also be observed that the Pleiades appear to turn round the Pole Star in the same manner as the Great Bear. 4) called the polar the telescope capable of being turned round is the axis passing through o. while the polar axis capable of being turned round the pivots at a and b. for they actually go below the horizon on the west and come up again on the east. — . the interval will be found equal to the time of revolution of the Great Bear. but this is not so with the Pleiades. By the combination of these two motions adjust the instrument. Let us now suppose that the telescope P Q is pointed towards . however. the time be noted which elapses between two consecutive returns of the Pleiades to the same position. This point is called the Pole.1 Pleiades. The motion § 9. equatorial consists of a telescope p q its attached at centre o to an axis is a b. The axis . which we have been describing is called the apparent diumal motion of the heavenly bodies. If. 1 the latter could be followed (with a telescope) through- out its complete revolution. (fig. its it is possible point.

5). Let p denote the Pole (fig.' so that it can no longer turn then is around the axis through o. There is only one point visible in this hemisphere to which the polar axis can be directed so as to fulfil this condition. If we turn the instrument itself. and e s the direction of the telescope If the polar axis of the equatorial exactly to the correct point of the heavens. In this case the angle b oQ is extremely small. . to the Pole Star we failed to indicate in shall now see what itself the coarser observation — namely. be altered until the star is brought into the field of view . If the telescope the angle boq must first be turned to any other star. by simply turning the polar axis slowly round. being about i° 20'. be not pointed it will not be found that a star can be followed from its rising to its setting without altering the angle boq. then be found that. and the star may be followed by simply turning round the polar axis. and that the telescope clamped. that the Pole Star is motion. e p the direction of the polar axis. In the southern hemisphere there is of course a corresponding point. but so that the motion < of the polar axis round It will a b is not interfered with. called the South Pole. the star can be kept in the field of view. then the telescope is clamped again.2 1 Astronomy. although the angle boq remains unaltered. a star shortly after it has risen.


The Equatorial
when pointed
motion of the



to a certain star.
star is


the apparent

such that the angle




since the arc P s

proportional to
p p m, p n,

the angle p e

s, it

follows that the arc p s remains cons,


that therefore the arcs p


drawn from the Pole to different parts of the star's apparent path, must be all equal. Hence we learn the very
important result that the apparent motions of the stars
are in small circles

on the surface of the heavens, and

that all these small circles have


same point for their pole. § 10. The Clock Move-







having been ascer-

tained by the equatorial that the stars appear to small




question to be considered

the rate at which the move-

ment of each
It is

star is effected.

found that to follow the

star the polar axis of the equatorial is to be turned round with perfect uniformity. In fact, a clock-work arrangement is generally adapted to the equatorial, which turns the polar axis round with a perfectly

equable motion, and as the star is then seen to remain constantly in the field of the telescope, it follows that the star moves with uniformity in its apparent path.

Suppose now the clock be adjusted to move the polar axis of the equatorial telescope accurately for


that then the telescope be directed to

another star


likewise follow the

be found that the telescope will second star with perfect regularity.




the very important result follows that the

time occupied in the apparent diurnal motion same for every star.


We may

summarise the

results at

which we have
round a

arrived in the following
(i) All the stars


appear to


in circles

point of the heavens called the Pole.



moves uniformly

in its circle.
star in

The time occupied by each
Celestial Globe.


motion is the same and is equal to 23

n. The



56 min. 4 sec. imagine the

angle of a pair of compasses to be placed at the eye,

while each leg of the compasses


directed towards

a particular star, the angle between the legs of the compasses is said to be the angular distance between By an instrument founded on this the two stars. principle it is possible to measure the angular distance between two stars with great accuracy, and from such measurements a celestial globe can be constructed. Two stars, a and b, suppose, are first to be set down at
the proper distance apart
star s is to

then the distance of a third

b, and the star marked upon the globe so that the two arcs, s is to be s a and s b, shall subtend at the centre of the globe In this way the angles which have been observed. all the principal stars can be marked down on the Now, it is exceedingly remarkable that, notglobe.

be measured from both a and

tions of the stars with respect to

withstanding the incessant diurnal motion, the posione another remain

constant for centuries.


catalogue of Ptolemy enables us to draw the

stars of the

Great Bear as that constellation was seen


Celestial Globe.


nearly 2,000 years ago, and the differences between
the drawing and the present appearance of the Great Bear are so slight that they may perhaps be entirely due to the errors which Ptolemy made. We have spoken of the motion of the stars as apparent, and we have now to explain how we know that the motion is only apparent, and to show to what the apparent motion is really due. To do this we must

consider the figure of the earth.


very useful.

now The

introduce a convention which
stars are


no doubt

at very varied

distances from the earth, but, nevertheless,

we have

seen that the appearance of the heavens can be adequately represented on a globe where
at the

the stars are

Let us now suppose a colossal globe to be described with the earth at its centre and an enormously great radius.

same distance from the




the stars were all bright points stuck

on the

interior of this globe, the

would not be


appearance of the heavens This imaginary globe we call

the celestial sphere.



§ 1 2.

The Earth a Sphere.— To an observer situated

surface of the earth the contrast is very wide indeed between the appearance of the earth and the appearances presented by the sun and moon. The

upon the

We must first underis meant by the figure of the earth. the shadow thrown by the earth then seen on the is moon . and as the edge of circle. the earth appears to have a bulk incomparably greater than that of either the sun or the moon. we could change oitr point of view to a we should form a more just conception of the relation of the earth to the sun and moon. was very It is much less than the sun. we may infer which forms the shadow. must be spherical. earth appears to be a fied . and. It — has been found by very careful measurement . more or to less diversi.6 1 Astronomy. the sun and moon appear however. Suppose that all the large tracts of land on the surface of the earth were intersected by numerous canals which communicated with the sea. while the sun and moon are apparently in constant motion . this shadow that the always a portion of a earth. suitable position in space. § 13. though larger than the moon. Conceive that the dry land was now pared away down to the level of the canals and the sea. and that the earth. Suppose that the sea was perfectly calm and uninfluenced by the tides. be globular the earth appears to be at rest. The shape of the earth is never actually seen except during an eclipse of the is moon . Figure of the Earth. We would then see that each of the three bodies was really spherical. then the figure which would be produced by these operations is called stand clearly what the figure of the earth. If. flat plain. not an easy matter to determine accurately the form and dimensions of the earth. lastly. that each of them was really in motion.

Rotation of the Earth.757 kilometres. the length of the axis a b (fig. that the figure of the earth 17 is such as would be produced by the revolution of the curve called an ellipse about its minor axis.712 kilometres. Which of these two solutions are we to adopt? c . or by the supposition that the earth turns round from west to east.958 miles). thus be seen that the earth does not diifer very much from a sphere of which the radius is 6.370 kilometres (=3. THE ROTATION OF THE EARTH ON § 14. In the case of the earth. —We now revert to the subject of the apparent diurnal motion of the heavens round the This motion may be is ex- plained either by the supposition that there real motion of all the stars. while the axis cd is It will 12. ITS AXIS. results have been ob- CHAPTER IV. and thus produces the apparent motion. round the earth from east to west once every day. moon.Rotation of the Earth. with the sun. earth. 6) of the ellipse is 12. and planets. do not at present enter into the details of the We measurements by which these tained.

— pole of the earth the ellipse. of the surveying operations which have determined the figure of the earth. A remarkable confirmation of this conclusion is presented by the shape of the earth We have already explained what is meant by itself. 56 ra be moving round the earth once every day. Astronow universally admit that the earth really does turn an its axis once every 23 11 4 s . that they are situated at very great distances from the earth. we are enabled to ascertain the point on the earth's surface which is the extremity of the shorter axis of the ellipse by the rotation of which It will be the figure of the earth can be produced. rather than that the vast fabric of the universe should all nomers. tively small able to suppose that the earth. that and some of these distances It therefore are very much greater than others. Shape of the Earth connected with the Diurnal Rotation. therefore. should be in a condition of rotation.8 1 Astronomy. the extremity of the shorter axis Thus we see that the axis about which . so that it is exceedingly remarkable to find that the north § 15. This straight line will cut the surface of the earth in a point which Now by means is called the north pole of the earth. if not actuof ally identical with. is exceedingly close to. shall We see hereafter that many of the celestial bodies are vastly larger than the earth. which seems much more reasonis a compara- body. noticed that the apparent diurnal motion has nothing whatever to do with the surveying operations. the pole of the heavens (§ 10). and we can conceive a straight line drawn from the centre of the earth towards the north pole of the heavens.

Right Ascension and Declination. and the shortest axis of the ellipsoid would coincide with the axis of rotation. Intro ductioi). been originally in a fluid or semifluid condi- then the effect of the centrifugal force would it make bulge out at the equator and flatten it down at the poles. for suppose the earth to have tion. To know such a position we should from the require to know the distance of the body desire sur- and of is this in the great majority of cases we are at present entirely ignorant. RIGHT ASCENSION AND DECLINATION. in space. What we to ascertain now the apparent place upon the . § 16. diurnal motion is really due CHAPTER V. — We now proceed to consider may be determined. 19 the earth actually rotates coincides with the shortest diameter of the earth. how the positions of the stars and other celestial bodies surface of the heavens on the We are not now speaking of the actual position of a celestial body earth. We are thus led to the belief that the observed coincidence between the axis of the apparent diurnal rotation of the heavens and the shortest axis of the earth is a proof that the apparent to the rotation of the earth. In this we have another very remarkable proof of the reality of the earth's rotation. and thus impart to it an ellipsoidal shape.

the image y. An ordinary fixed telescope. The shape of the axis and the method of attachment of the tele- scope cially thereto. a b. is to an axis at right angles to the telescope. so that we may know exactly where to look for the object. § 17. of its the object with reference to the is changing every hour. .20 Astronomy. in — It will be conve- nient at this point to give a description of one of the most important instruments tory. usually spiders' webs these are placed at equal distances apart. help of fig. but of position with reference to the stars and constellations. are stretched a number of fine lines. stood that course. The Transit Instrument. which. are spe- designed so as to secure as possible. 7. ties much rigidity as At the extremi- of the axis are pivots. we are not now speaking of the position of horizon. When the telescope is pointed to a star. close to the eye-piece at a. In the focus of the telescope. Thus the transit instrument can be moved in one plane only. to speak more strictly. and perpendicular to the axis about which the telescope revolves. or. an astronomical observa- The essential principles of the transit instru- ment may be explained by Fig. . 7. that we may be able to point a telescope so as to be It will be undersure of finding the object at once. x which turn in suitable fixed bearings supported on solid masonry piers. face of the heavens.

The central line ab (fig. The scope rotates.The Transit Instrument. there is a horizontal line joining the point c d which is parallel to the axis about which the scope revolves. 8) passes through the optical axis of the telescope. Now. although the instrument-maker can effect this to a high degree of approximation. which elude detection by ordinary measurement. the telescope The imaginary line of intersection o to the centre of the object glass of is called the axis of collimation. § 1 8. shall — We now explain the condifulfilled tions which must be in order that the transit in- strument adjusted. Adjustment of the Transit Instrument. and the axes of these two cylinders are in the same straight line with the axis about which the telepivots are cylindrical. become significant under the high magnifying powers with which the telescope is armed. We therefore require methods not so much for ascertaining is whether each adjustment of the instrument correct. of the star lines. as for . 21 is formed in the same plane as the spider's and as the star moves by the diurnal motion is the image of the star seen to pass across each of the lines in succession. yet the excessive delicacy of astro- nomical observation entirely is such that minute errors. In tele- addition to the vertical lines. may be In the properly first place the line of collimation of the telescope must be at right angles to the axis of the pivots.

then if the axis of collimation be not at right angles to the axis of the pivots the telescope will now occupy the position of the dotted line x'y' and the object p will no longer be seen at the point o of the wires. however. is in one is when the telescope if When the collimation has been adjusted. axis of collimation. Now..— Let a b (fig. and then For the present. lifted out of its bearings and ' replaced with the pivots re- B \ versed i.— 22 measuring Astronomy. and p is let the telescope be directed so that a distant axis of collimation mark on the when this is the case the mark is seen in the telescope to coincide with o the intersection of the central vertical FlG •p \ wire with the 8). The error of colTo limation is then equal to half the angle xcx'. the . horizontal wire (fig. correct this error the frame containing the set of wires is to be moved until it is found that a distant object which coincides with o when the telescope position also coincides with o in the reversed position. 9) be the axis of the pivots and x y the . Error of Collimation. the pivot which to the east is was formerly now at the west —and let the \y telescope be again directed to the distant mark. correcting every observation for the irregularity. it be sufficient to point out the means whereby the instrumental errors (as they are called) can be detected.e. how far each one will is incorrect. suppose the telescope to be x . § 19.

If the position of the bubble be unaltered. the great circle thus defined being called the meridian of the place. Error of Level. and one of the pivots must be raised or lowered accordingly. then the axis of the pivots is If the bubble change its position with horizontal. then the axis of the pivots is not horizontal. For this adjustment we require the assistance of a good clock to enable us to make observations of a . so that the positions of the extremities of the bubble can be read off and thus the position of the centre of the bubble ascertained. is On the tube of the spirit level a scale engraved. The great circle which the axis of collimation traces out must pass through the pole of the heavens as well as the zenith of the place of observation.The Transit Instrument. 23 telescope be turned round the axis of the pivots the axis of collimation moves in a plane which traces out a great circle on the surface of the heavens. level. The next adjustment of § 20. — the transit instrument consists in placing the axis of the pivots horizontal. so that the hook which was formerly on the east pivot is now on the west. This is effected by a spirit which can be hung from the pivots by hooks. Error cf Azimuth. —For the third and last adjustment of the transit instrument. we have to resort to observations of the heavenly bodies. When the level of the pivots has been procircle perly adjusted the great which the axis of collimation traces out on the celestial sphere will pass through the zenith (§4). The level is then reversed. § 21. reference to the scale. and vice versa.

and again twelve hours after we Now. the star moves com- pletelyxound the small circle. Now. take more than half a sidereal day to move from e round by a c and b to f. placing the telescope so that this line e f shall coincide with a b. It would. There will be b but little difficulty in adjusting the transit instrument approximately in the true position. but if these intervals are not . Let d (fig. in a period of 23 11 56 111 4 s which is often called the sidereal day. About twelve hours afterwards we direct the telescope to f and note the time when the star passes the same wire. 10) represent the apparent path of the circumpolar star around the true pole o. then the telescope is correctly adjusted . star near the pole. and less than half a sidereal day to move from f through tions. We therefore make the following observamoment by the clock when the star passes the middle wire of the transit instrument directed to e.24 Astronomy. time as measured by the clock between the first and second observations is equal to the time between the second and the third observations. It would therefore as its motion is uniform take half a sidereal day to move from a through c however. so that we may sup- pose the vertical circle which the axis of collimation describes on the heavens to cut the circle a c b d in the The final adjustment will consist in points e and f. preferably the Pole Star ac itself. We first note the d up to e. to b. if the interval of repeat the observation at e.

be done is to make the clock keep accurate sidereal time. 2$ one of the pivots must be moved north or is south until the adjustment in completed. method of using the and its adjunct point in which the thus the astronomical clock. The three adjustments having been made. and could note the instant by the astronomical clock at which each star crossed. and the moment at which the star passes the central wire of the instrument is — to star is be noted by the clock. then Clock. The next day the same to be observed again. instant Now. The first thing to § 22. We have. the transit instrument is working order. the central wire of the transit instrument really coin- and therefore by noting the the when the instant when stars star passes across the wire we obtain the star crosses the meridian. For this purpose the transit instrument' is to be directed to any bright star.The Astronomical equal. the advantage that the telescope renders minute visible. cides with the meridian. while the points on the horizon which can be seen in the transit instrument are the north point and the south point. The Astronomical Clock. pivots of the transit instrument when properly adjusted point due east and due west. The meridian cuts the horizon on the same side of the zenith as the pole is the northern point . and if the clock be going . If we could imagine the line of the meridian actually drawn upon the surface of the heavens we could then see the stars crossing this line. shall We the now describe the transit instrument in the observatory. too. and by its magnifying power enables the coincidence of the star and the wire to be observed with great precision.

when this star was seen on the central wire of the transit instrument. adjusted perfectly. so that we may suppose is present purposes that the clock going correctly. how are you to choose the instant at which to start it? There is a certain point in the heavens called the vernal equinox. It will not be possible to make the clock go with perfect accuracy. for then its apparent motion is rapid. If the clock do not show an interval of exactly twenty-four hours between the two observations. the importance of which will be explained subsequently (§ 34). but if the clock be going very nearly right. and the moment of its transit across the wire can be observed with accuracy. four hours between the two observations. This clock is called the clock's rate. Now. and the test of a good is that the rate should remain uniform. We star actually situated at the vernal equinox. and that the hands of the clock indicate o h o m o and that you wish to start the clock. have now another point in the adjustment of the Suppose that the pendulum is to. yet we . it Astronomy. When tions can the rate is determined. then the amount which it gains or loses in twenty-four hours is determined. then the length of the pendulum must be altered by screwing up the bob if the clock be too slow. clock to attend s . although there is no clock should be started. if a star were situated exactly at the vernal equinox. or screwing down the bob if the clock be too fast. but however. then. then all the observafor be corrected. convenient to select a star at a considerable distance from the pole. imit material for this purpose what star be chosen is.26 correctly. will show exactly a difference of twentyIt is . the Now.

8) which the star has at one tick of the clock. The observer having pointed the telescope so that the star which he wishes to observe shall shortly be brought into the field by the diurnal the seconds. and he takes the mean of the five observa- tions for the time of transit over the middle wire. takes his seat at the instrument. We now suppose that both the transit instrument — we and the astronomical clock are in perfect order. 27 know the position of this point so accurately that if we can proceed as the clock. it would be found that the same star always returned to the meridian at the same ti??ie (subject only to certain minute differ- ences which need not now be considered). then by the next tick it will have passed across the wire and be found at y. The experienced observer will rapidly estimate to a fraction of a second the instant when the star coincided wiih the wire. be the position (fig. and then at this moment start shall §23. The time . and shall describe the use of them in determining the positions of stars. Let us suppose that the observation of the same star was repeated night after night. and after a glance at the clock If commences counting he be looking towards the south. this By method he obtains the time of transit more accurately than he would have done if he had depended upon the single observation at the middle wire. the star comes in Let x at his right hand and approaches the wires. motion. Determination of Right Ascensions. Without taking his eye the telescope he repeats this operation for each of the five wires. and from he will note this down.Right Ascension. we could actually observe the transit of the vernal equinox.

: this plane cuts the celestial in is sphere a great circle which called the celestial equator. Declination. is When once the time known. as well as with reference to the time of transit. If through the centre of the earth a plane be drawn perpendicular to the line drawn from the centre of the earth to the celestial pole. so that when the astronomical getting near that hour he can take his posi- Suppose. Let p n) represent the celestial pole. (fig.28 at Astronomy. consider the means which astronomers have adopted for specifying this second element of jthe position of a heavenly body. circle pst passing through the position If of a star join o s heavens. draw from p an arc of a great s. meridian is called the right ascension of the star. the angle t s is . then it is clear that the position of We have now to the star is completely specified. and also the height at which the telescope is to be pointed. he must in the first instance know the right ascension of the clock is star. the star were invisible to the unaided eye. we upon the surface of the and o t. equator is Every point of the 90 from the pole. ho7V high the telescope ought to be pointed. however. Fig. star reaches the which the § 24. and atb the celestial equator.— Suppose it was desired to give instructions to a transit observer to observe a parti- cular star. then it is clear that the observer must be furnished with instructions as to tion at the instrument.

and that the latitude of the pole is 90 Suppose an observer at r looks towards the celestial pole. then It will the latitude of the place R. and this let R be a point on the earth's surface through c draw a line c p pointing to the celestial pole. § 25. 29 The angle p o s is called the polar distance of the star. so that the polar distance star is the complement of the i. earth. upon the earth's sur- Let c represent the centre of the . is o°. between the north . declination. to c p.Latitude.e. then cuts the surface of the earth in what are known this North and South Poles Through c draw a plane perpendicular as the respectively. —We 12) must first explain what is meant by the face. then the declination is positive but if the star be south of the equator. then plane cuts the surface of the earth in a great circle is which the angle known r c h at as the earth's equator. latitude of a point (fig. called the declination of the star s. he will see it exactly in the same position with reference to the stars as if he were able to see it . If the be north of the equator. Latitude. The declination of a star and its completely define the position of the star. pole and the equator. be seen equator once that the latitude of a point on the . and they are both independent of the spot on the earth on which the observer may be to explain situated. so that its polar distance is is greater than 90 . is We have now how the declination connected with the angular elevation at which the telescope should be pointed in order to see the star in the centre of the field at its moment of transit. is Join c R. then the declination right ascension negative.

from the centre of the earth. § 26. Phenomena dependent on change of Place. follows that Q right angle.— 30 Astronomy. whence taking away H r c in both cases. 12. so that the angle Q r a excalled the presses what is elevation of the pole above the horizon. Fig. The reason of this is. hrc must together make up a and since rhc is a right angle. that the stars are so enormously distant from the earth that a change in the position of the observer on the surface of the earth produces only in the apparent position of the stars. The line R a drawn pendicular to per- (we are for the present assuming the earth to be spherical) cr denotes the horizon. The Hence we have is the very important pro: position which thus stated elevation of the pole above the horizon is equal the latitude of the place. This proposition will explain the very remarkable changes in the appearance of the heavens which are presented to a traveller who makes a considerable . that qra must be equal to rch. an insensible change The line r q is parallel to c p therefore the direction of the celestial pole viewed from r. Now R a and since it a r c is a right angle. it follows that hrc and h c r must together make up a right angle. it follows.

as the equator constitutes his horizon. visible at We have to consider when the star is one or both of its culminations. 3 In the north the pole appears high up in the heavens. be the heavens. the pole gradually sinks. until when he pole will be in his horizon. consequently by the diurnal rotation of star is visible at a the heavens every star crosses the meridian twice each When a star reaches the meridian it is sidereal day. stars will star will continue be seen to rise above the horizon is on the equator the At the equator all the perpendicularly. which takes place below the pole is the lower culmination. place above the pole and that and the culmination which takes is called the upper culmination. Since the is elevation of the pole place. no circumpolar stars. however. The meridian of a place extends right round the celestial sphere. be to him circumpolar stars that > set. or to what latitude (§ 28). The observer at the pole will only see half the heavens.1 Culmination. but he will have is. We shall now consider more fully the condition under which a given latitude. said to culminate. As the traveller proceeds towards the south. change in his latitude. it follows that is the zenith and the pole equal to the latitude of the angular distance of the equal to the complement of is the latitude of the place. the stars in the northern hemisphere will. and all all objects below the equator will be invisible to him . called the co- . stars will. in fact at the north pole of the earth the celestial pole would be at the zenith. and every for half a sidereal day. The observer at the equator able to see every star in which never however.

32 In s. but zs'= zp Now. the positions of a star at upper nations respectively. z the zenith. but z t=pt— p z =90 + 5-(90-4>) . s' fig. Now suppose a southern is star at t (fig. declination of the star. Let </> and and lower culmibe the latitude and the Then minate is the zenith distance of the star at lower culz s'. Fig 13. it is . Its zenith distance z t. that its = 90 -^ + star to + ps' 90 — 2 = 180 — <p — d. Hence if clination a star be visible at lower culmination its deIf a star be must exceed the colatitude. 13). in order that a star be visible necessary zenith distance be less than 90 Hence for a we must have be visible at lower culmination or 180— — 3<9O° c>go — (j). Astronomy. visible at lower culmination it will a fortiori be visible at upper culmination. 13 let p denote the pole.

of a meridian circle may be ex- plained by 14. 6. mounted with the usual precautions. at 33 be <b visible upper culmination $ + <9o° (p. at the latitude of Greenwich 51 28' 38" -4 the colatitude is 3 8° 31' 2i . but this need not be further considered at present. or l<go — hence the south declination of the than the colatitude. By the aid of the meridian circle we are enabled to determine the declination of a star at the same time as we determine It its right ascension. These circles turn with the axis of the Each circle is divided from o° to 359 . consists primarily of a transit instrument a b. The principle fig. servatories. The Meridian Circle. but only one such circle is shown in the figure./. consequently all stars are visible at upper culmination at Greenwich which have a smaller south declination than ~- 38 3i' 2i"-6 and all stars are visible at both culminations which have a larger declination than + 38 31' 2i"-6 This statement requires a certain modification on account of refraction (§ 29). the transit instrument described in § 17 is — modified into a more useful instrument. D . near each of the pivots.The Meridian Hence for the we must have star to Circle. In most modern ob§ 27. Attached to the axis. telescope. star must be less For example. called the meridian circle. there is a graduated circle.

into spaces of two minutes. of the circles effected In actual use the reading by microscopes. We have already pointed out the use of the vertical wires. 14. For the general purpose of explaining the method of using the meridian circle. we shall suppose that the 111 circles are simply read by the aid of a pointer x is Y. each interval of one degree being again subdivided. the best instruments. §28. we shall not describe In the field of view of the telescope are the system of spider lines proper for a transit instrument and repreFig.— 34 Astronomy. the wire c d immediately over the that. But this one . described. This pointer attached to the solid masonry pier which carries one of the bearings on which the pivots is of the instrument turn. in consequence pears to run behind the wire. sented in fig. and is an operation of such intricacy that it. 10. star so of the diurnal motion. star moves the observer. the star ap- The observer also takes the transits across the five vertical wires in the way already the field. by slow means movement of the places of a tele- scope. and are going to now we As the show the use of the across the field. Observation of the Nadir. horizontal wire CD. When the star has passed from the observer then looks at the circles and observes the pointer degree of the graduation which the xy indicates.

But though we are unable is we can do what equally convenient. There is. Suppose that we were enabled to direct the telescope exactly to the zenith. if we were able to turn the telescope to p and read off the circle again. then when the system of wires are properly illuminated. and downwards precisely to the nadir. or what is called the polar distance of the star. sup- pose in fig. however. If it is also a brightly reflecting we place this basin underneath the teleglass of the telescope scope. but mirror. the difference between the two readings would indicate the angular distance between the pole and the star. Now suppose we take a basin full of clean mercury. again. for we have a means of pointing the nadir. no star exactly at the that it pole. reading of the circle tion of the star. we are able to see not only . 13 the direction in which the telescope was pointed was c t. with the telescope in a Thus. telescope exactly to the The zontal surface of a liquid at rest is a perfectly hori- plane. then the difference between the two readings star. and turn the object down towards the mercury. then. We are therefore obliged to resort to a different process. is 35 we must now not sufficient to define the posiobtain a second reading definite position. A perpendicular to such a surface points upwards precisely to the zenith. of the circle would give the zenith distance of the Here. we meet the same difficulty — how are we to know when the telescope is exactly pointed to to accomplish the zenith? this. so is is impossible to know when the telescope pointed precisely towards the pole. the surface is not only a horizontal plane.Observation of the Nadir.

Let a b be the and p q the surface of the mercury. and emerge scope to the nadir. . Then by 11/ reflection of light after reflection the beam HI cury will tion from the merproceed in a direcso as to r b. To show telescope.36 Astronomy. all. 15. the wires themselves. Now the rays of light diverging from the illuminated cross at o fall on the object-glass at b. make the the angle trc equal to the angle tr It follows that in circumstances depicted in the figure the reflected beam will not return to the telescope at image of the wires be seen. then the reflected image would be visible in the field. and let the small cross at o be the intersection of the wires. Draw r t perpendicular the to the surface of the q. but also their images reflected from the surface of the mercury. that this enables us to direct the tele- fig. thence in a parallel fall beam to on the surface of mercury mercury laws of q. c. nadir. While the telescope is directed towards the nadir. 15. look at \p p Fig. and it would be • possible to move of the cross is Under these circumstances w e may be sure that the the axis of the telescope is pointed exactly down to T the telescope until the reflected image absolutely coincident with the cross itself. nor will the reflected But now suppose that the telescope was placed with its axis very close to the line t r.

hence the angle xoq is equal to the angle t c p. expresses exactly the angle through which the telescope has been turned when it is moved from the star to the nadir.. be moved from the star to the nadir. are to read off the circle again The important distance of a star process of determining the zenith may the to- also be illustrated FiG i6 by fig. Hence when wire its the middle with coincides reflected image. and hence by this plan of observation the zenith distance of the star has been determined. and between the reading now obtained.Zenith Distance. This angle . and the reading when the telescope was pointed to the star. which is the zenith distance of the star. The telescope in position x y points . o q is parallel to the axis of the earth . centre of the earth In the position a b the tele- scope is directed towards a star in order to The angle s o c represents the angle through which the telescope must be turned. 37 we the difference by the pointer. The tangent plane of the to the surface earth at t coincides with the surface of the mercury. the axis of the telescope is directed towards the c. 16. Hence the angle x o s. is known. This angle must evidently be equal to the supplement of the zenith distance of the star.* wards the centre of the earth (supposed spherical).

The r being thus . The difference between the real zenith distance is and the apparent zenith distance due to the presence of the atmosphere surrounding the earth. This effect of the termed atmospheric refraction. 29. Let c (fig. and let us consider what difference will be produced by the presphere. tance which The real zenith distance is the zenith diswe should observe if there were no atmois sphere ally is .38 Astronomy. or the polar being the complement of the called the colatitude. however. distance of the zenith distance star. between the polar distance of the star and 90 the declination. latit de is generally and the angle qos. The apparent zenith distance of the star which we have determined is always somewhat smiller than the real zenith distance. — The actual calculation of the true zenith distance of a star from the two observations is not. is deflected in would go refracting meets the atmosphere. earth's what we actuatmosphere 17) represent the centre of the earth. p is a point upon the earth's surface. the apparent zenith distance do observe. straight to p. were there no atmosphere. being equal to the sum of the The § difference is and the colatitude. Refraction. is therefore known. ltm sence of the atmosphere. The when it ray v r. quite so simple a matter as we have described. which. from its course consequence of the ray y power of the air. which is what we want to know. while the circle is the bounding surface of the earth's atmoSuppose there is a star in such a position that it would be seen in the direction p y by an observer at p if there were no atmosphere.

x then deflected along t that this p. but to coming along the direction t p. refraction increases. deflected. The angle s p y. the observer light is him the at p will see the star with the s. Fig. All the rays of light which reach the earth from so distant a body as a star are practically parallel . that the real zenith distance is z p y.Refraction. and therefore to him the star appears to be in the direction t s. the re- zero. It is however clear. and this what is actually shown with the meridian circle. The ray x t is which impinges the direction x x being t. If the line c p be produced up to the zenith. parallel to y p. is called the refraction. will reach the surface of the earth at Q. As the zenith distance increases the first. by which the real zenith distance exceeds the apparent zenith distance. may be found in works on Optics. For rays coming from a fraction is star at the zenith. nearly uniformly at and after- wards with an increasing rate until at the zenith dis- . let us fix our attention upon the ray upon the atmosphere at t. 17. so ray is visible to the observer at p. A description of the phenomena of refraction exhibited by air in common with all transparent substances. will thus 39 and full not enter the eye of the observer at p. whence we see that the real zenith distance is always zenith distance z p is greater than the apparent.

tails. we do not at present propose to enter. and their thus obtain results nearly though not quite so accurate would obtain were they able to make observations without the disturbance which refraction produces. of great importance to the practical astronomer. however. owing to refraction. Calculation of Refractions. the refraction is 57 seconds. however. Now as the apparent diameter of the sun is less than 35'.— Select a cir- . anticipates sunrise so it retards sunset. and the consequence is that refraction actually increases the length of the day. As the approached. The amount of refraction at a given zenith distance depends to a small extent upon the temperature of the Into these deair and upon its barometric pressure. the refraction increases much it horizon is more rapidly. to have completely risen. If there were no atmosphere the sun would have completely risen when its lower edge was exactly 90 from the zenith . it follows that the sun is really entirely below the horizon at the time when it appears. or upwards of half a degree. until at the horizon amounts to no less than 35 minutes.40 tance of 45 Astronomy. We may here mention a somewhat remarkable consequence of refraction. We shall now show by what kind of observations astronomers have determined the amount of refraction at each zenith distance so accurately that they are able to allow for as they its effect on all observations. in consequence As refraction of refraction. which are. the lower edge will appear to be on the horizon when it is really 90 35 from the zenith. § 30.

—We are now able is to see how the be determined. true colatitude is When the known. and observe its apparent zenith distance upper culmination (fig. whatever be the circumpolar star adopted. § 31. at its apparent zenith distance z s' lower culmination can also be observed. cumpolar z s. the colatitudes determined from each star shall be equal. of course quite independent of the stars. so get the we should same value for z p. 13). and thus we are enabled to determine the true colatitude. Now the quantity z p thus determined the colatitude of the place. we law of refraction has been accurately ascerare able to determine how much the co- latitude obtained star has by the observations of any particular been affected by refraction. . After an interval its of about twelve hours. fractions are determined and the amounts of the reby the condition that when the proper correction is applied to each observation. for when by a multitude of observations of circumpolar latitude of the observatory to stars the tained.Determination of Latitude. Latitude. 41 at its star. Now if to p s' there were no refraction p s would be equal and therefore z p=4 is (z s +z s') whence which that is z'p would be determined. the values for z p obtained different stars differ. then itself. As from a matter of fact. it is of course easy to determine the latitude By observations of this kind the latitude of an observatory can be determined accurately to a small fraction of a second.

the right ascension and declination of the this is sun are continually changing. § 32. We are then led to the conclusion that the sun must be continually changing its place upon the celestial sphere with reference to the The bright light of the sun prevents us stars. The Sun appears to move among the Stars. THE APPARENT MOTION OF THE SUN. while in winter he low. then we should perceive that the sun was slowly moving day by day from west to stars east. or that the declination of the sun continually changing. That the position of the sun with respect to the on the celestial sphere is in a condition of constant change. we may conceive the process to be applied to the observation of the sun. Having now explained how the right ascension and declination of any celestial body can be determined by the meridian circle. CHAPTER VI. from seeing the stars in its vicinity on the celestial sphere. is . We thus see that the polar distance of the sun is greater in winter than in summer. Everyone must have noticed that in summer at noon.42 Astronomy. the sun is is high in the heavens. but if we could see them. When done we find that though the right ascensions and declinations of the stars remain constant (or very nearly so). may be inferred from ordinary observations without any telescope at all. On the other alti- hand every star reaches the meridian at the same tude whatever be the season of the year.

March 1st.Motion of the Sun among the Stars. —We can also somewhat less how it the sun will moves in right ascension. If the weather prevent you from seeing the stars on any of the nights named. I presume of course.m. I shall now describe to you what you will see. On the next 1st of January they will be in the position as they were on the same day It is last year. July 1st. On May they are not visible. September 1st. little On the 1st of March the 1st will be setting a north of west. separated by intervals of perhaps the heavens at a fixed hour two months. and to observe the positions in the sky in which this little group is found. For this purpose only be necessary to look at on a series of nights throughout the year. that jou east. 43 § 33. then you must take the next fine night. On the 1st of January you will see the Pleiades high up in the sky a they of little to the south of west. same and so on through the whole cycle. on the nights of January 1st. Observation of the Pleiades. I imagine you to be placed in the northern hemisphere at about the latitude of the Middle States. see by simple observation. south. know the directions of north. though in a direct manner. and "west from the place where you are stationed. sirable for the pupil actually to exceedingly de- make these very simple observations for himself. visible On the 1st of September they are low in the east. Let us now consider what information we gain . To give definiteness to these instructions you are recommended to look in the heavens for the Pleiades at 11 o'clock p. November 1st. May 1st. On the 1st of little November they are high in the heavens a to the south of east. On the 1st of July they are not visible.

i st Now we March find that at eleven o'clock on the of the Pleiades are farther from meridian than they were at eleven o'clock on January. dian the (at least very nearly. does ii p. We shall now examine somewhat more closely into In the first place what the apparent annual motion. It seems as if the Pleiades were at gradually moving from the east to the west. and after a short time reappeared again in the east. it is hoped. that then they dipped below the horizon. so as to regain at the end of a year the position they ning.e. results. had at the begin- The reader will. By comparing the sun in the same way with any other stars. ist of But as the sun is at the same distance Cm it time) from the meridian in the two cases. plain that the relative position of the sun and the Pleiades on the surface of the heavens must be changing. but his observations must extend over a year. we shall see the difference afterwards). In the apparent diurnal motion the phenomenon is observed by looking out at different hours on the same night. mean? It means that eleven hours have passed since noon i. not confuse the annual motion which we are here considering with the apparent diurnal motion which we considered in § 8. To observe the apparent annual motion the observer should look at the same hour each night. it is found that the stars to the east of the sun are gradually approaching the sun. that the Pleiades follows must be nearer to the sun on the It is.m.44 from the first Astronomy. But we have already noticed that the positions of the . i st of March than on the ist of January. since the sun was on the meri. therefore.

i. firstly. two points The ecliptic intersects the equator when the sun is situated in either of is these points. therefore 45 we are obliged do not change. the length of the day equal to the length of the night These two points are consethe sun passes on quently called the Equinoxes. lie which along its track are The conknown as the Signs of the Zodiac. Each point on celestial the ecliptic corresponds to a certain day in the year. . while the stars remain fixed. or that the sun has an apparent annual motion from west to east.The stars inter se Ecliptic. great This proves that the is apparent annual path of the sun in the heavens circle. either. The equinox through which 2cth March is called the Vernal Equinox. a This great stellations circle is called the eclptic. the day its on which the sun is situated in that point of in annual path.e. equator at an angle of 23 This is called the Obliquity of the Ecliptic. the meridian circle the right ascension and declination of the sun has been determined for a large number of days throughout the year. The Ecliptic. We shall then be able to to to come — plot down upon a celestial globe the actual spot occu- pied by the centre of the sun on the celestial sphere for When each day on which observations have been secured. that all the stars in the universe have an annual motion from east to west relatively to the sun. and at . and one of two conclusions . The ecliptic is inclined to the 27'. We snail now suppose that by § 34. this is done. and that this plane passes through the centre of the globe. it is found that all the points thus lie marked in a plane. which remains fixed.

Now differs it is true that each of these quantities only by an extremely . We have said that the sidereal day is the interval between two successive culminations of the same star. Sidereal Day. when it is on the meridian. Now the interval between the culminations of Sirius on 1st January and 2nd January. . om o s The importance of the CHAPTER VII. The vernal equinox celestial is one of the most important points on the sphere. an sidereal accurately adjusted clock should show o h vernal equinox in astronomy arises from this. If we repeat the observainterval constant or not ? tions on the 1st and 2nd of March we find for the 1877. few references question sidereal which we have hitherto made to to be considered The first what is really meant by a day. SIDEREAL TIME. that the right ascension of any star is equal to 'the interval of sidereal time between the moment of the transit of the vernal equinox and the transit of the star in question.46 Astronomy. this point the sun's declination is zero. to consider the very important subject of sidereal time with more been possible is. and. Is this o m 0*007° of sidereal time. detail than has —We are now going in the it. Let us for the sake of example fix our attention upon the bright star Sirius. § 35. is 24 11 interval 23 h 59 m 59*985 8 .

o m o s *oi3 is there still is terval 1877. for if this were the case the period should obviously be absolutely the same for all stars. . The sidereal day is divided into twenty. but Let us now compare the ina difference. 24 11 The reader will probably here observe that there must surely be something incorrect in the theory that the apparent diurnal motion is really due to the rotation of the earth upon its axis. it is many This constant interval of time the sidereal day. Vega. that if we could see the real culminations of the stars the intervals of the successive culminations would be exactly the for same each star and constant for each one. but that the apparent culminations which are what alone we can see are affected by certain sources of error which are now terval for understood. To this we reply. and each minute into sixty seconds.Sidereal Day. and. possible that the length of the sidereal day may be it increasing. 47 small fraction of a second from twenty-four hours. which is is called Thus the sidereal day really the It period of the revolution of the earth upon is its axis. though with such extreme slowness that need not be considered at present. between two successive culminations of another bright star. with what we have already found. allowing for what is called proper motion.four hours. When due it allowance is made for the effect of these errors is then found that the in- between two successive culminations is the same star. It appears that the interval between the successive culminations of Vega on 1st January and 2nd January. each hour is divided into sixty minutes. that it is constant for each star at least for each centuries.

declinations at the times of the two observations it is easy to calculate the time when the declination was We thus know the time by our sidereal clock zero. 1877. Now as we know the of course. The moment as shown by the clock at which the centre of the sun was on the meridian is also determined. Setting a Sidereal Clock. in other words. when the sun was on the equinox. that is. I shall . we commence our observations. It will be desirable (indeed necessary) to make this determination in or close to the time at which the sun one or other of the equinoxes. and that for example on 19th March.e. The sun is observed at transit with the meridian circle. If the sun happened to be on the equinox at the moment of culminah m s tion.48 Astronomy. then of course the clock should show o o o at the instant of culmination. and the actual time shown by the clock would be the error of the clock. i. we have to show how we can ascertain the time shown by our clock when the vernal equinox is on the meridian. To give suppose that the sun is approaching the vernal equinox. The observation is repeated on the following day when the declination of the sun is found to be + o° d 20 //# 4. the centre of the sun must have passed through the point where it had no declination. the sun passed from having a south declination to having a north declination. explain how the sidereal clock is to be set so that it shall —We show correct sidereal time . have now to § 36. It therefore follows that somewhere between noon on the 19th and noon on the 20th. and the declination found to be — o° 23' 2i/ /# 9. through the equinox. is situated in definiteness. that is. the error of the clock.

It is in fact the interval between the time of culmination of the equinox and . culminations of the sun cannot be very frequently observed.The Sidereal It will. The process we is have described. and further. that on one occasion we have succeeded in determining accurately the error of our way we have described. of the sun's and the consequently the sun will have moved away from which elapses between his passage through the equinox and the next succeeding culmination. clock in the The clock. whence we deduce the error of the clock. tions can only be performed these opera- when the sun is at one of the equinoxes. and we determine the instant of its culmination. Suppose. but we know the rate at which the sun is moving. Hence from having observed the time of culmination of the sun by our clock we are able to compute the time of culmination of the equinox. however. however. 49 of happen that the time culmination. In our climate. though the only absolute method. generally Clock. yet exceedingly inconvenient for ordinary purposes. We have now to explain the practical method by which the operation of determining the error of the equinox in the interval sidereal clock is greatly facilitated. We then observe a bright star with the transit instrument or meridian circle.time when properly corrected is really the right ascension of the star. the sun's passage through the cide with the time equinox does not coin-. The equinox will therefore culminate sooner than the sun. and hence we know how far it will have moved from the equinox at the time of culmination.

on the all sphere remains constant with respect to If then the position of the to all the stars the other equinox with respect remained constant. In the Nautical Almanac each year a list of about 150 stars is given with the ' ' right ascension of each star at intervals of It is every ten days. for it has a slow motion which in the course of years effect of this is is. the right ascension of the star would remain constant. and the process is as c By nomer on the his referring to the will Nautical Almanac the ' astro- always find a star which . If. But as we shall see hereafter that the equinox is not absolutely fixed with respect to the stars. is Now . know at the right ascension of a star at one date calculate what the right ascension of the same star is any other given date.— So Astronomy. star. the time of the culmination of the this interval of time remain constant? star Now does We may celestial assume that the place of the stars. a number of stars be observed when the clock is correct. will shortly come the meridian he then makes an observation with meridian circle transit instrument or of moment clock. we have the means of finding the true right ascension of these stars for any for subsequent date. nomers follows set their : by the aid of these stars that astrosidereal clocks. The star that the right ascension of a slowly but continually altering. therefore. of culmination of this star by his sidereal This * is compared with the right ascension as given in the Nautical Almanac/ and the difference . becomes very perceptible. the amount if we we can of this alteration well ascertained hence.

37. Mean Time. Jan. TIME. We proceed to explain the reason why this distinction must be maintained.— The Sidereal Clock. s. . then the correction which must be applied to s. But for the ordinary purposes of life sidereal time would not answer. h. 5 1 example. . 18 32 32 32 44-85 April 2 . the clock time is i g6. 1877. l8 l8 47*28 49*46 48-13 July 3 • Oct If the sidereal 2 . 1 . the £ 2 . 18 32 clock at any observatory show i8 h of 32™ 5i 42 s. Thus. . m. . for we have for Vega from the Nautical Al' manac ' Right Ascension. The sists great convenience of astronomical time con- that each star culminates every day at same sidereal time (subject only to minute variations). at the instant of culmination Vega on 3rd July. — The reader may perhaps think is that needless complexity introduced by using one kind of time for astronomical purposes and another kind of time for ordinary civil purposes. between the two is the error of the clock. — CHAPTER MEAN § VIII. We are obliged to regulate in this.

. s. when the mean Sun. culminates) speak hereafter our ordinary clocks should show noon or oh o m o nation of the Sun.. § 38 explain a Apparent Solar Day. April 2 to 3 July 3 to 4 . 1877. time by the sun. every day because the Sun is s . m.— 52 civil Astronomy. Oct 2 to 3 . the moment of culmishown by a sidereal clock. so that compared with the stars it comes on the meridian about four minutes later every day. We first is notice that the apparent solar day as thus defined not constant. April. the going o which is regulated by the Sun. obliged to Now. we observe the transit of the Sun across the meridian to-day. as would be different moving from west to east among the stars. viz. 1 to 2 . we have the following apparent solar days or intervals (in mean solar time) between the culmination of the Sun on the days named and on the following days : h.23 . We are. . little more fully what is If — We to have now to be understood by mean solar time. taking four days as nearly as possible equidistant throughout the year.23 O 59 59 28 42 10 41 .24 . clock is regirated by the - stars. while the sidereal fore. and if we make the same observation again to-morrow. therehave a mean time clock. and custom has decreed that at to moment when the Sun culminates (or more accurately.24 . 3rd July. 2nd 2nd October. ist January. For example. to be the explained. Jan. the centre of the interval between the two observations is an apparent solar day.

We now introduce a conis known as the mean Sim. and the difference of the times is called the equation of time. Thus the mean sun and the true § 39. Determination of the Mean Solar Day. 1877. Greenwich at The equation of time on that day is crosses the meridian of 8 the real Sun 4 m o s *32 p. • July Oct. 1877. therefore 4 m *32. J3y observations of the stars the error of the sidereal . 3 2 • • O O II 3372 . m. It will 53 be noticed that the is first of these apparent s 47 longer than the last. We adopt as definition of a mean solar day the average interval the solar days between two successive culminations. 3 55-8i 49 14-53 For example. — The fol- lowing table exhibits (for each of the four dates already referred to) the time which should be shown by a real mean. Suppose that we had an imaginary sun moving uniformly in the equator and completing its revolution in the same time as the true Sun. when the Sun is on the meridian of Greenwich. The Mean Sun. 1 . § 41. • O 4 3 o*32 April 2 . on January 1.time clock which is going correctly. Jan. h.m.Apparent Solar Day. — We shall now consider the very important problem of determining the mean solar day. s. the properly adjusted mean solar clock should show noon. — vention which sun will generally differ slightly in the times at which they arrive on the meridian. Mean Time at Apparent Noon. § 40. . then when this mean sun is on the meridian.

or more accurately of 365 days 23 hours 58 mins. we thus obtain the Let us suppose. for the sake of illustration. 2 1 24 27 1878. It is Jan. 1875. right ascension of the Sun. 365 = 2 4h 3 m 57 When s . 365 apparent solar days have elapsed. and that we observe the transit of the centre of the Sun across the meridian. 1 1 1 l8 18 18 46 45 41 37 59 19 1877. 55 sees. h. 1876. Jan. 18 34 47 54 evident that from the apparent noon on t. to the apparent noon on January 1. 1877. 48 47 50 April 2 o 6 12 July 3 Oct. the average length of each of a great numbei . 55 sees. Suppose that we have rated our sidereal clock to go correctly. s. that these observations have been made upon the dates here given : Apparent Right Ascension of the Sun at Apparent Noon. Jan. clock in the observatory can be determined. m. during this time the sidereal clock shows an interval of 366 January days very nearly. Jan.— 54 Astronomy. 1878. Hence the average length of one of 365 consecutive apparent solar days in sidereal time is 365 days 23 hours 58 mins.

000) of coilsecutive apparent solar days taken. 2 . conform as far imperative restriction will permit with the actual motion of the true sun. it follows that at if A represent the right ascension of the mean sun be day that the right mean noon on a certain ascension of the mean sun at mean noon n days later will A + ascension of the : nd. § 42. The hypothetical mean sun is on the meridian every day at mean noon. 1 . while still moving uniformly in right ascension. We therefore compare the table just given with the table of § 41. 274 Now we as this want to make the sun. Apl. and is M to h 3 m 56'5554 9 . Suppose the mean sun comes to the meridian a seconds — later every day.— Sidereal Time of Mean Noon. 91 d. and we . Determination of the Sidereal Time at Mean Noon. Hence we form the following mean sun table for the right Right Ascension of Mean Sun at 1877. 55 is is (say 100. Jan. the mean length expressed in sidereal time slightly different from the result we have found. d. A A + A + A + mean 183 d. . . July 3 Oct. 2 . The interval between two consecutive returns of the mean sun to the meridian is equal to the length of the mean solar day. This is therefore the equivalent in sidereal time one mean solar day. Mean Noon.

The four values of A 18 Apl. 48 48 48 34 S9 33 55 11 • . — Find the sidereal time at mean. 2 • .56 seek to determine Astronomy. 1878. thus found are Jan. 18 is 9 and the mean of these values i8 h 4S m is 9 . Since 406 is have elapsed since January gained in right ascension 1877. time at and we have as the mean noon on January 1. s As we now know the on one day we are able day. 1877 i8 h true sidereal 44^ 57 72. When large the value of A computed from a very is number of observations. A so that thes£ tables shall coincide as we know d to be 3 m as far as practicable. the value just given slightly modified. mean solar days the mean sun has 406 x 236 s. 18 18 July 3 Oct. hence the sidereal time at Greenwich mean noon on nth February is i8 h 44 m 58 s + 26 h 4o m 42 s -2i h 25 40 s 111 . 56 = 26 11 4o m 42 s . noon on February 11. sidereal time at mean noon any other to compute it for Example. 2 • . 6 s should 5 *5 5 54 we can determine the value which Now A have for each of the four dates so that the two right ascensions should coincide. . i • .

or using Table VI. mean noon. The correct mean time is correi sponding to the given sidereal time P. p. — it is given for two meridians. It is required to determine the mean time at Washington corresponding to 23 i m 18 s of From the Amersidereal time on February 11. 57 § 43. we find that an interval of i h h s s m 34 48 of sidereal time is equal to i 34 32. 111 . ican Ephemeris and Nautical Almanac for 1878.M. ris — 11 324. slightly —The Mean Time at a Given calculation just described must be it modified when is desired to compute the mean time corresponding to a given sidereal time at a place which does not lie upon the meridian of Washington. The quantity which is given in the American Ephemeris* as the sidereal time of mean noon. Example.Determination of Mean Time. but as the mean sun is continually changing its right ascension it follows that the sidereal time of mean noon must depend upon the meridian which is under consideration.5 s solar time. at the end of the Ephemeris.Determination of Mean Time from Sidereal Time. on the day in question is 2i h 26 m 30 s hence the required mean time is i h 34 48 s of diminishing this by sidereal time past mean noon .Determination of therefore h 34 m Longitude. tt&Ws of whole amount. is the right ascension of the mean sun when it is on the meridian of Washington. 1878. 1 . In astronomical "ephemerides " the sidereal time at mean noon on some standard meridian is given In the American Ephemefor each day of the year. § 44. we see that the sidereal time of Washington.5 of its 111 mean 32. that of Greenwich and that of Washington.

Find the sidereal time at mean noon Chicago upon February 11. 1878. It may mean that an interval of 42™ 14 s of sidereal time will elapse between the transit of a fixed star across the meridian of Washington and the transit of the same star across the meridian of Chicago. We may here make a remark with reference method it to the of estimating longitudes : for example. which does in an interval of 42 m 14 s of sidereal time. The meridian of Chicago is 42 14 3 west of Washington.58 Astronomy. or it may equally mean that west of Washington the statement an interval of 42 ra 14 s of mean solar time will elapse between the transit of the mean sun across the meridian of Washington and the transit of the mean sun across the meridian of Chicago. the mean sun has not yet reached the meridian on account of its motion in the interval. when is is stated that the longitude of Chicago 42™ 14 s in may be interpreted two ways. but when it the star reaches the meridian of Chicago. and therefore the is sidereal time at mean noon . at Example. consequently the mean sun will be increasing its right 111 — ascension during the before it mean solar interval of 42™ 14 s sup- gets to the meridian of Chicago. at Chicago not the right ascension of the star but mean sun is on the meridian at Chicago in 42 m s 14 of mean solar time the difference between the sidereal time at mean noon at Washington and at Chicago as the is equal to the interval of sidereal time corresponding . Now pose that a fixed star and the mean sun came on the meridian at the same time at Washington. then the right ascension of the star is the sidereal time at mean noon at Washington . both of which are correct.

the — We have already ascertained that sun appears to move through die stars in a great circle called the the motion being completed in one year. is 2I h 2 6 m 37 s § . THE PLANETS. hence the i. ecliptic. The Year. 45. The sun appears to move from west to east among the stars. CHAPTER IX. mean sun 24 perform one complete re- volution with respect to the equinox in 24 7s m 3 56 5554 s = 3 6 5' 2 42i days. — We is 11 . to 7 s nearly. Meaning of the word Planet. motion might be explained by the supposition that the sun was really at rest while the earth was in motion round the sun. 1878. has been found that the will gain in right ascension in mean sun gains 3 ra 56 -5 5 54 one mean solar day. sun is much nearer to us than the stars. § 46. may here point out how s the length cf the year It to be accurately determined.Length of the Year. Hence and 42 the sidereal time of mean noon at Chicago on February 11. i. but precisely this appearance could be produced by a real motion of the But as the this apparent .e. to the difference 111 59 between 42 14 s of mean solar time m 14 s of sidereal time.e.

are yet of an entirely server of the different nature. however. The planets. might easily confuse the planets with the brighter stars. The observer who is not provided with a globe or maps. they are spherical. however. the class of objects to which The most conspicuous feature of we here refer is their it apparent motion. and suggest immediately to the observer that nearly so. he had the use of a tell tele- scope. If. show a clearly defined disk. Mars. Jupiter. The obheavens will. though closely resembling the brighter fixed stars at a superficial glance. and carefully compare . necessary which of these two explanations of the apparent motion is the correct one. Venus. on the other hand. five easily visible to the Of these objects there are unaided eye at the proper seasons for seeing them. and their movements appear to have attracted attention from the earliest times. earth from east to west. and Saturn. The names of these planets are Mercury. are little more than bright points of light. notice a few objects which. even in the largest and best telescopes. They were all well known to the ancients. for us to enquire therefore. and is for this reason that they have been called planets. Even without a telescope. The stars.60 Astronomy. In connection with this question it will be desir- able for us to consider some of the other celestial bodies which are termed the planets. It is. he would at once be able to the difference between one of these planets and a star. We have already referred to the apparent fixity of the stars in their relative positions in the celestial sphere. and who is unacquainted with the heavens. or if the observer watch a planet for a few nights.

and after some time becomes invisible from its proximity Ere long the same planet may be seen to the sun. in the east. and we — shall inquire more closely into the nature of its mohere To make it the observations which we shall describe. after which commences to return. the phenomenon being known as the Transit . again passes may be seen at evening in the west. On quent evenings. will not be necessary for the observer to use a telescope. and the quesIt tion is how these movements are to be explained. It is further seen by that when Venus is at its greatest disit tance from the sun appears half illuminated. We shall our attention upon the planet Venus. now tion. also on very rare occasions seen to pass actually between the earth and the sun. Venus then begins to return towards the sun. Venus subse- appears like a brilliant star in the west. until again Venus the sun. It thus appears that Venus is continually moving from one side of the sun to the other. at the proper season. its 6 position by alignment with the motion. shortly before sunrise. greatest distance. Shortly after sunset. the distance between Venus and the sun gradually increases until the planet reaches its when it is about 47 from the sun. It gradually rises more and more before the it sun. stars in its vicinity. is noticed that from the sun. he will detect its § 47. fix Motion of the Planet Venus. than when it the telescope its when Venus is at its greatest distance apparent movement is much slower is nearer the sun. like It is the moon at first quarter. and reaches the greatest distance from the sun. as before.1 Motion of Venus.

all dependent upon the sun for light. We thus see two planets. The time in which Mercu revolves round the sun is 87 far days. All three bodies are approximately spherical. though on a smaller scale. are the apparent motions of Mercury. we find § 49. The Earth — that there are some striking points of resemblance.62 Astronomy. From Venus is all these facts it is inferred that the planet a dark globular body. being only 2 8°. When we combine this fact with the presumption afforded by the analogy between the earth and Mercury and Venus. as it is called. of Venus. not at all unreasonable to inquire whether the analogy be- and they are tween the three bodies may not extend further. which moves around the sun in 224 days. Mercury and Venus. is really a Planet. its greatest distance or elongation. which certainly appear to move round the sun. § 48. in which case the planet appears like a dark spot upon the surface of the sun. alternately appearing to the east and the west of the sun. Precisely similar. and that the earth moves round the sun. in an orbit of a shape which we shall presently consider. we are led . It is. Now the ap- we have already seen that the phenomena of parent annual motion of the sun could be explained by supposing that the sun is really at rest. — go so This planet does not from the sun as Venus. Apparent Motion of the Planet Mercury. Now if we compare Mercury or Venus with the earth. As the sun exereally its apparent motion among the stars. and never more than 47 cutes distant therefrom. therefore. the planet seems to accompany it.

all 63 Mercury and Venus. yet that It it is very nearly constant. really the therefore. we admit that it is motion of the earth round the sun which produces the apparent motion of the sun among the stars. The Earth's Orbit is nearly Circular. that the earth must move very nearly in a circle which has the sun at its centre. that the angle This is manifest from the consideration which a diameter of the sun subtends If. therefore follows that the real circular orbit motion of the earth in its approximately must be approximately uniform. and that is that the earth's distance from the sun does not greatly vary.e. that though the rate at which the sun is apparently moving in the ecliptic is not quite constant. § 51. — Whichever explanation of the apparent annual motion of the sun be adopted. The Orbit -of Venus. least. i. to the belief that the earth.— The consideration of the annual motion of the earth suggests to us to try whether the motions of Venus and of Mercury cannot be explained by the supposition that each of them . are and all agree in moving around the sun. remains practically constant. one thing is evident. and to deter- mine. or the apparent size of the sun. the forms of the orbits which the planets revolve. It is also easily established by observation. approximately at in § 50. bodies of the same general character . which is the common source of light and heat to the three bodies.The Earth a Planet. we must admit that the earth in its motion remains pretty much at the same distance from the sun. at the eye. We are now enabled to take a further step in the knowledge of the planetary system.

be produced by the motion of Venus. and that point marked Venus is at the v. Let s (fig. When this attempt is made. the planet will appear to an observer stationed at l to be moving awaj from the sun. represents the orbit of the and the outer earth. From l draw lt to the orbit of Venus. moves nearly uniformly in a nearly circular orbit about the sun as a centre. neglect the motion of the earth. . The planet is there said to be at its greatest elongation and in the case of Venus. inasmuch as the angle creasing. as Venus r moving towards the tangent l t. moving in the tangent is the direction of the arrow. 64 Astronomy. 18. circle elm first We shall. farther vl s is continually int. Then. The inner of the two circles atvb represents the orbit of Venus. and consider the appearances which would Fig. Let us then suppose the earth stationed at the point l.. in the place. We shall then show how these appearances would be modified by taking account of the motion of the earth. 1 8) represent the sun. it is seen that the principal features of the motions of Venus and Mercury can be explained with great facility. the angle tl s is equal from the sun. it As Venus approaches until at gradually gets t it appears to have reached its greatest distance from the sun.

Venus then appears at its greatest distance on the other side of the sun. In fact. able to see the actual disk of the and as the hemisphere of Venus is turned towards the observer somewhat different from the hemisphere turned towards the sun. when is the observer at l looks through a telescope. to . to pass behind to it again appears to draw near at b. consequently. for all the phases of the moon are reproduced in miniature in the revolutions of Venus. which is the point of contact of the second tangent drawn from l. only a portion of the hemisphere seen by the observer is illuminated . that hemisphere of it which is directed towards the sun at s is illuminated is by the sun light. after which the sun. but only as a portion of a circle. moving on. he planet . We the supposition of the circular motion of Venus explains the observed succession of the appearances of Venus as seen by the unaided eye. § 52. 65 As Venus continues its motion it again 47 begins to return towards the sun. and. the observer is immediately reminded of the appearance of the moon. and F . but the other half of the planet in darkness. Venus appears to him not as an entire bright circle. less and less of the illuminated hemisphere is visible to the observer at l. When the planet occupies the position v. We shall now consider how the telescopic appear- ances presented by Venus are to be explained. Telescopic Appearance of Venus explained. Now.Motion of Venus. As Venus approaches t. it reaches the point Q. it and then to return to v recommence the thus see that cycle which we have described. until in the position Still a it passes between the earth and the sun.

On rare occasions. Venus gradually becomes a narrow crescent. Venus would appear quite full if we could see it. When Venus is reaches a. whether sun. it is usually slightly above or below the line drawn from l s. the telescope at once reveals a wide difference between row x and at y.66 so Astronomy. is not seen. consequently. l x y from the same position. the only difference being that at x Venus Venus is moving from the moving towards the sun but . If these two planes did really coincide. Venus We have spoken of the orbit of were exactly in the same plane as the orbit of the earth . cent-shaped appearance. the phenomenon is known as the Transit of Venus. its dark hemisphere it is directed towards and. however. however. if we draw the line point l. In the neighbourhood of b. . Owing it to the fact that the plane of Venus's orbit is not exactly the same as the plane of follows that the earth's orbit. consequently. for the planes of the two orbits are inclined at a small angle. it would be visible to the observer at l as a dark spot against the bright as if it face of the sun. while at y Venus again presents the cresNow. Venus will appear to be in the it be at x is or at y. At x Venus is a narThis is of and at y it is nearly full. When Venus does actually come between the earth and the sun. Venus can be seen even in this position. invisible. only l. then whenever Venus was at a.) After passing a. but the the appearances at crescent. is not quite the case. (§ 68. to when Venus is at a. like the moon as seen in the west shortly after new moon. and. this. course explained by the different aspect which the illuminated hemisphere of Venus turns towards the earth in the two cases.

their relative positions do not in the least depend upon the motion of the ship as a whole. that two pas- sengers are walking on the deck of a ship round the mast. But what f2 will be the effect on . upon the in addition to their carried is own motions in their orbits. we shall suppose that the orbits of the earth and Venus lie in the same plane. conceive also that the earth and Venus.Motion of Venus. Now conceive that the orbits of both the earth and Venus are rotated about the sun. motion of rotation which we have supposed to be imparted to the two orbits takes that the Now imagine place in the same time as the actual rotation of the earth around the sun (365*26 days). as seen by an observer earth. sider —We shall now briefly con- what effect the annual motion of the earth in its orbit round the sun will have upon the apparent motions of Venus which we have been describing. and in the oppo- will The effect upon the relative motion be unaltered. 6? proximity of the bright light of the sun renders Venus invisible in this position. § 53. are round by the rotation of the orbits. the axis of rotation being perpendicular to the plane of the orbits. For simplicity. The effect upon the earth will be it to bring to rest. plain that this rotation will not in the least affect the relative position of Suppose. then it Venus with respect to the sun. site direction. Now it is only the relative positions of Venus and the sun which we are considering \ and the relative position at any time is completely defined by the angular distance between the sun and Venus. Effect ofthe Annual Motion of the Earth on the Appearance of Venus. for the sake of illustration.

in 365*26 — . one day.68 Venus ? plish it Astronomy. but not other- of the earth has upon the apparent motion of Venus increase the time of its wise to alter the general circumstances of the motion. Venus would actually gain on the earth an angle equal to 3 60 360 365-26 in 2247 It follows that the which Venus have accomplished a complete revolution about the sun is number of days would appear. The success which we have found in the attempt to explain their motions by the supposihave described in the case of Venus. to 360° 360 224-7 360 =S83-9 36526 Hence we is to see that the effect which the real motion revolution. Since the time which Venus takes to accomorbit is its 2247 days. it follows that in to ^ one day . The Orbit of Mercury. tion that they move in nearly circular orbits. § 54. would move through an angle equal But 2247 in the hypothetical for motion which we have assumed the purpose of bringing the earth to rest the orbit of Venus would be turned through -? Hence. suggests .in one day. when viewed from the earth. —The orbit of Mer- cury possesses the same general features which we These two planets are the only planets hitherto discovered which circulate round the sun in orbits lying inside the orbit of the earth.

and therefore surrounding it. plane of the earth's § 55. that it —We shall now endeavour to explain the apparent motions of Mars on the supposition moves in a nearly cir- cular orbit about the sun. It is therefore reasonable to suppose that Mars. of the two circles in We fig. which has a greater periodic time than the earth. shall more distant from the suppose that the outer Now.Motion of Mars. must lie in the that their plane of the orbits As the planets never depart far it from the plane of the ecliptic. that all the five prin- be found in or near to that great circle of the celestial sphere which is called the ecliptic* Now as the apparent motion of the sun cipal planets are invariably to in the ecliptic it is really due to the follows that the orbit of the earth ecliptic. The Apparent Motions of Mars. motion of the earth. to us to try whether the 69 apparent motions of the other planets may not equally be explained by the supposition that they revolve around the sun in nearly circular orbits larger than the orbit of the earth. so now we may suppose r Mars. must follow must lie very nearly in the same plane as the orbit. while the inner one being the sun in the centre. is sun than the earth. We should here first observe. s . is at the greater distance from the sun. just as w e showed that the appa?-ent movements of Venus were unaltered by supposing the earth to be at rest and Venus to be moving with a slower motion. As the periodic time of Mercury in its orbit is 87*97 days. 19 represents the orbit of is the orbit of the earth. of Venus 2247 and of the earth 365*26 days. it would appear that of two planets that which has the greater periodic time days.

like that of Mercury or Venus. so that when the earth reaches a Mars will have reached k. is follows that there a presumption that the orbit of Mars. after which towards h. but this motion will gradually become more slow until at the p. moment when Fig. and the earth moving in its orbit with a correspondingly slower motion. which is the point of contact of the tangent drawn from m. then Mars. be at rest at m. and will be referred to the stars in the posi- tion towards the earth moves on in the direction Mars appears to move towards h. very nearly circular. the motion of Mars will apparently cease. gradually to- Mars will move wards k. which situated at m. in another way. will be seen in the direc- x m. have returned to Q . it will gradually return again as We thus see that if the motion of Mars be such we have supposed. the earth reaches b. expect to find that the to planet sometimes appears to be moving in one way. Let us tion first is suppose the earth to be at x. As the earth passes from b Xi towards y. we should sometimes stationary. Mars will begin to move backwards. earth the approaches a. 19.?o Mars to Astronomy. and sometimes is remain Now it as all these varieties are seen in the motion of Mars. As c. so that when Mars as will the earth arrives at y. .

consistent with the When this is on the celestial done it is found the orbits are that although the general features of the motions are supposition that perfect circles. have hitherto only been considering such general features of the movements of the planets as can be observed without the aid of telescopes. Planets are not Perfect Circles. 57. or with merely such optical power as is necessary to reveal the crescent appearances of the interior planets. certain dis- crepancies are brought to light which are too large and too systematic to admit of being explained away as mere § errors of observation. We have now to discuss the more accurate knowledge which has been the reward of a more careful and detailed study of the movements of the planets with suitable measuring § 56. By times. Orbits of the We instruments. —Kepler was the first to discover that the discrepancy between observation and calculation could be removed by the supposition the sun in the curves that the planets moved round called ellipses which. yet that when a more minute compa- rison tion is instituted between the results of this supposi- and the results of actual observation. Kepler's First Law. the aid of the meridian circle it is possible to determine a series of positions of a planet at different and thus to mark these positions sphere with precision. though resembling circles. differ .7i CHAPTER X. kepler's laws.

from them in important respects. The first of the three discoveries which have imin mortalised the name of Kepler is thus stated. Let abp be a loop of thread put over the pins at a and b. the ellipse which would be traced out by the point of the pencil would be less oblong. stretched. and let p be the point of the pencil . thus the pins remained the same as before.72 Astronomy. if the length of the string were shorter the ellipse would become more oblong. and would ap. . the point of the pencil will trace out the curve which called It will an ellipse. an d if the length of the string which made the loop were a little greater. A method of drawing an ellipse is shown in fig. then if the point p be moved so as is to keep the strings pa. which has been designedly exaggerated. The two points a and b of the ellipse are termed its foci. In none of the principal it is the deviation from a circle so great as represented in the figure. Thus let s (fig.pb. In the majority of cases the ellipse approaches very closely to a planets is circle. 21) represent the centre of the sun. The path of a planet round the sun is an ellipse one focus of which the centime of the sun is situated. be seen that if ellipses may be of different shapes. 20. Fix two pins at a and e into a sheet of paper on a drawing board. Fig. then the ellipse abpq denotes the path of the planet. 20. proach more nearly to a circle on the other hand.

We can now see how this will explain the variations in the velocity with which the planet is moving.— apparently circular motion of the planets we also assumed that each planet moved uniformly in its orbit. then the time taken by the planet in moving from a to b is equal to the time taken by the planet in moving from p to q. Now Kepler's second law asserts that if the area a s b be equal to the area psq. for since the planet has to move from p to Q in the same time as it takes to move from a to b. When assumption comes to be rigidly tested by it is also found to be not absoThe planet is found to be moving lutely correct.— Kepler's Second Laiv. and vector sweeps b. centre of the sun to the planet sweeps over equal areas in equal Thus. when to the planet moves from a to area a s b. it follows that the velocity of the planet greater when it is must be moving through p q than when it . 21. . in fig. and his expressed second law which : thus stated In the motion of a planet round the sun. the radius vector drawn from the times. this accurate observations. more rapidly at some of its parts FlG * 2I * path than at others. for example.Kepler's Second Law. and since the distance p q is very much longer than the distance a b. its radius vector sweeps out the in moving from p q the radius out the area psq. of these motions also The law was by discovered is by is Kepler. 73 In speaking of the § 58.

Kepler's three laws are found to be borne out completely. while the mean distances are in the ratio of roooo to 07233. We hence see that the planet the sun must be moving with greater ra- pidity than at a distance from the sun. even to their minutest details. In the two laws of Kepler already discussed we have been considering We have now to conthe motion of only one planet. Third Law.721 ( which verifies the law. To explain this we should first remark that by the mean distance of the planet from the sun is to be understood a length equal to one half that diameter of the ellipse (fig. when proper allowance has been ment. Kepler's — calculation fSfiaVV2247/ and iooo\ 3 ) 2-643 =2-643 . when near § moving through a b. The periodic times of the. earth and Venus are respectively 365*3 days and 2247 days. sider the remarkable law of Kepler which relates to a comparison between two planets. We shall illustrate this law by a comparison between the cases of Venus and the earth. . 21) which passes through the two foci. Now we have by an easy it is when 59. The squares of the periodic times of two planets have the same ratio as the cubes of their mean distances from the sun.74 is Astronomy. made for every disturbing ele- .

Let earth. but if we their directions as indicated by the dotted o. Gravitation of the Earth. will four stones The move in the direction of the arrows. abcd 22) represent a section that 01 the and suppose a p. Fig. and from q to b it moves from right to left. while from s to d it moves from left to right. ble in a It is impossi- book of this subject. blems. to a the stone an opposite direction to the motion from r to c. —We have now to Sir Isaac refer to the splendid discoveries made by to Newton. § 60. d s are towers erected at the corresponding spots. 22. do more than glance at which embraces the most difficult prothis size to (fig. These p moves in movements produce are thus in different directions.75 CHAPTER XL THE LAW OF GRAVITATION. Now. b q. c r. in astronomy. if stones be let drop from the top of the towers at will fall pqrs the they on points abcd From respectively. by which he was able reveal the true cause of those movements of the planets which the laws of Kepler so faithfully expressed. lines they all pass through the centre falling of We it are so accustomed to the a body that does not .

nor does it require any great effort of the imagination to suppose that the earth would still continue to attract bodies towards it even though they w ere at very stupendous distances from its surface. and justly so. planet. though much less frequent is not really more remarkable. . We all look with attention upon the attraction of a piece of iron by a magnet. A clap of thunder. have the power of drawing bodies towards it. and we can show to a certain extent how this will explain the motions of the planets. vastly larger than the earth. may.76 Astronomy. We can then § 6 1. and rarely even provokes our curiosity. this itself still power of drawing bodies towards continues. The question undoubtedly the attraction of the sun. it is known that if a body be once set in motion it will continue to move on for ever uniformly in a straight line unless a force act upon line. for the phenomenon is a very remarkable far is produced by a grander and more important force than the force of magnetism. a planet it is is not moving in a straight and therefore plain that some force must be force in continually acting upon the is. Gravitation towards the Sun. and yet the falling of a stone We near tells its thus see that the earth must possess it some power whereby surface. draws towards itself bodies situated The ballast dropped from a balloon if us that. excite in us any astonishment. Now. even we go to a great height. it. one. In the first place. conceive that the sun being a very great and massive r — body. like the earth. though it is only possible for us here to give the merest outline of the subject. which every one notices.

Illustration. fall into the sun. The difference between the two curves p x and P Y is due entirely to the difference between the initial . instead of simply dropping the stone we throw it horizontally. If the stone had been thrown from p with a greater velocity than in the case we have been considering. however. in which it would otherwise have moved. then the path which it takes may be represented by P y. continue to describe the same orbit for ever. The case is. will In this case the planet never fall into the sun. and not ultimately this point. The understanding 77 beginner will probably find some difficulty in how if a planet were continually being it attracted towards the sun should. however. notwithstanding.Law of Gravitation. and to make it move in a curved line. § 62. thus we learn that the effect of the attraction has been to deflect the stone from the straight line. If it were not for the attraction of the earth. materially altered w hen the planet is oriT ginally started with a velocity in a direction not point- ing exactly towards the sun. If. 22) ground at a. —A pa stone which is simply falls dropped from the top of the tower along the vertical line to the pa (fig. the stone thrown horizontally from p would move in the direction pz in which it was thrown . then it is well known that the stone describes a curved path and falls on the ground at x. and that after a time the planet would fall into the sun. We proceed to explain If a planet were originally at rest there can be no doubt that the attraction of the sun would tend to draw it in directly towards the sun.

and compel in a to move curved line. 23) represent the sun. velocities of the stone. of the planet. We thus see is that the greater the initial velocity the smaller the curvature of the path produced by the attracting force of the earth. and let t be the position Fig. the attraction of the sun at s will deflect the planet from the line tz which it it would otherwise have followed. The particular curve which the planet will adopt depends upon the veloWith a small initial city given to it along t z. 23.78 Astronomy. and though the orbits of the planets — are not exactly circular. velocity it will follow the path t x. Explanation of the Motion of a Planet in a Circular Orbit. of course. if the planet perpendicular to s t. with a greater velocity the path t p. and with a greater still the path TY. Let initial s (fig. Let us now make different suppositions with respect to the initial state of the planet. they are sufficiently nearly so to enable us for the sake of illustration to consider a hypothetical planet moving in a perfect circle of which the sun is the centre. place. In the first be simply released it will immediately begin to fall along t s into If we draw t z the sun. The attraction of the earth was. and if we suppose planet was projected in the direction t that initially the z. We now proceed to explain how it is that a planet can continue to move for ever in an unaltered orbit. . the same in both cases. § 63.

will describe the We the sun's attraction. we suppose that the planet be projected from specific velocity it can easily see that when the planet runs along this arc its velocity remains unThe attraction of the sun always acts along altered. and take p a point Now if upon that circle exceedingly near to t. it is manifest that tion. effect 79 attrac- which the velocity upon the of the It is quite plain that if the planet had been to increase the originally projected directly towards s along the line T s. velocity must be It is therefore plain that for a path some- where between t x and t y the velocity of the planet must be unaltered by the sun's attraction. Let us now consider the tion of the sun will have planet. With centre s and radius s t describe a circle. that the sun's attraction would tend initial velocity. it is when the planet going along t constantly getting nearer to the centre its of the sun. thus going against the sun's attracits and that therefore velocity must be diminishis On x the other hand. that the effect of the sun's attraction diate cases. and hence in describing the arc t p the planet has at every instant been moving perpendicularly to t with a certain small arc t p. for it would be impossible any . When the moves along the curve t y it is at every instant It is leaving t going further away from the sun. ing. It is equally plain that if the planet had been originally shot away from the sun along the would have been to diminish the velocity. the radius. It is manifest that in to assign such a case the sun's attraction cannot have altered the velocity.Planetary Orbits. let us consider planet after them separately. and consequently increasing. But what would have been the effect upon the velocity in the intermeline s t.

80 reason Astronomy. We thus see that the planet reaches p with an unchanged velocity. the curve which a planet projected in any direction would describe must be. is. not differing very widely from a circle. the move in a circular orbit. of the two remain- . Motion of a Planet in an Ellipse. and it is in each case moving perpendicularly to the radius. it has the same velocity in each case. not be difficult to imagine that if the con- ditions that t>r if we have supposed be not rigorously fulfilled. that. that a planet were originally projected with a certain specific velocity in a direction at right angles to the radius connecting the planet and the sun. why it should have accelerated the velocity which could not be rebutted by an equally valid reason why it should have retarded it. It is therefore clear that after passing p the planet will again describe a small portion of the circle which will again be followed by another and so on planet will continue to . one or other. but at p the planet is precisely under the same circumstances as it was at the instant of its projection . if the velocity be not exactly the correct one. if not a circle or an ellipse. that then the planet would continue for ever to describe a circle round the It will sun. be proved by mathematical reasoning w hich we do T — not attempt to explain here. i. attraction is when the force of such that it varies according to the inverse square of the distance. the direction of projection be not exactly per- pendicular to the radius vector that then the orbit may still be a closed curve. if What we have now shown amounts to this.e. It can § 64.

It if can be shown that we imagine one main focus of an ellipse to refixed while the is other focus distance the ellipse will bola. then the point p traces out the curve which is called a parabola. It is moved away to an indefinitely become modified into a in great para- quite possible that a to us to be moving comet which appears a parabolic curve round the sun G . indistinguishable from a The shape fig. Comets are bodies which move around the sun under the influence of its attraction. Motion of Comets. however. Some comets either must be — describe ellipses of greater or less eccentricity. in ellipses but we have examples among the heavenlybodies of motion in the two other curves.Orbits of Comets. and s a fixed point. Now if a point is p move so that the distance p s stantly conperlet equal to the of the length pendicular fall p q from p upon the straight line a b. All the planets move § 65. a b a fixed straight line. It more usually happens. an hyperbola or a parabola. that it 81 is. that the is path in which a comet moves parabola. of the parabola is may be F inferred from is 24. ing forms of the curves called conic sections.

distances necessary for us to ascertain the by which they are separated from the earth. in just as the earth moves round the sun obedience to the attraction of the sun. PARALLAX. CHAPTER XII. We proceed to explain the methods by which some of these distances have been determined. consider the case of the moon. in the focus at s may often be moving in an ellipse which is so extremely long that the part of the orbit which we see near the sun is indistinguishable by our observations from an exact parabola. moon cannot differ obvious that the orbit of the very widely from a circle. however. indeed. § 66.82 Astronomy. In fact. orbit of the would. very easy to observe moon moves round As it the earth once every 27*3 the apparent size of the is moon remains nearly constant. We among days. — To obtain precise knowledge of the movements of the heavenly bodies. in the is first place. That this orbit is not exactly an ellipse is not in any way inconsistent with . which the nearest neighbour of the earth It is the celestial bodies. Distance of the it is Moon from the Earth. . be hardly correct to speak of the moon as an ellipse. the truth of the theory of gravitation it is. that the shall. so the It moon moves round the earth in obedience to the attraction of the earth.

for the purpose of presenting in an elementary form. determine the distance of the r moon from at w e require two observations of the moon made places widely distant on the surface of the earth. from which the moon is observed. Let us now is just visible suppose that the observer at b sees a star at s.Moon's Distance from the Earth. for it S3 can be shown were that it is the attraction of the sun which de- ranges the motion of the this disturbing cause absent. shall simplify the description We of this operation as it much as possible. satellites . which to him beside the edge of the moon. To earth. stars are at We least have now to remark that the fixed some millions of times more distant from us than the moon. and that at this moment the observer at a directs his attenG 2 . moon from what it would be When these disthe laws of gravitation turbances are taken account are found to be fulfilled. attended by one or more moons or this respect. 25) represent two stations on the earth. Some a full of the other planets are. rather a confirmation of this theory. The stars are in fact so distant that the lines drawn from different points of the earth towards the same star are all practically parallel. Let c p be the polar axis of the earth. having the same longtitude. Let a and b (fig. Now. of. reference but for account of the circumstances of each planet in must be made to some work on the descriptive astronomy. we may suppose is that the station b has been so chosen that at the instant of observation the moon m situated in the zenith of the observer at b. like the earth.

the angle a s can be carefully measured. This are is is. by suitable instruments. The angle AMcis termed the moon's parallax. for Fig pur- pose. Now. course. known. because the to b stations known. which is parallel to b s. and from this m measurement the distance of the moon can be determined. and thus the length m c can be determined. We have in the figure greatly exaggerated this angle. the triangle acm we know one side. and observes its position relatively The star is seen in the direction a s. or this length can be computed by the aid of trigonometry. it follows that the angle a angle the In m c is equal to the mas. consequently. It follows that the triangle can be constructed to scale. and. be a sphere. since a s s. to the moon. and therefore angle a m c is known. Let us consider is this triangle acm. which. same star. and two angles. we may suppose to The angle is ac b the excess of the latitude of the station a of over the latitude of the station b. the observer at a sees the moon separated from the star by the angle mas.84 tion to the Astronomy. therefore A c. The side this a c equal to the radius of the earth. parallel Also. . but the moon is seen from a in the direction a m.

and is then seen by an observer upon the earth like a black spot upon the face of the sun. observations. about sixty times the Distance of the Sun from the Earth. § 67. The best if known of these methods. . depends vations of the the upon obserphenomenon called Transit of Venus. distinct The Transit of Venus. even not the most trustworthy. however. 26) to represent the apparent disk of the sun.Transit of Venus. § 68. 85 The distance of the moon from is the earth. The planet Venus on certain rare occasions comes between the earth and the sun. as we shall presently see. which. of knowing the scale the universe is upon which built is so obvious that astronomers have paid a great deal of attention to the determination of the distance from the earth to the sun.— There are several methods by which this problem has been solved. suppose the circle cab (fig. scientific The importance. We shall endeavour to simplify the statement of this method by leaving out several of the details which complicate its application in practice. is the standard of astronomical measurement. the determination of its distance is a much more simple problem than the determination of the — Owing to the distance of any of the other heavenly bodies. the planet Venus appears to enter on the disk of the sun at a. Thus. comparative proximity of the moon to the earth. to which we have already referred. as deter- mined by these earth's radius.

edge of Venus just touches internally the circle expressing the edge of the sun. Venus is said to be at first internal contact. Let is s. of which the centre Fig. A b denote the earth. and also tangent b t. 27.86 Astronomy. denotes the orbit of the earth and the circle through . touching the earth in B to t as to be unThe circle through a b . and the sun in a point so close distinguishable therefrom. first internal contact takes place. the common common Suppose we draw a t a tangent to the sun and the earth. and let x and y denote two posi- tions of the planet Venus. as shown in the figure. pqt Let 27) denote the sun. and then moving across the sun in a direction which is indicated by the dotted line a b. the distance of to the sun from the earth be determined. leaves the sun at b. by is observing the time at which (fig. where the circle expressing the . just completely inside the sun. The time occupied in the passage of Venus across When Venus is the sun may be about four hours. We shall now show how.

then the appearances of Venus with reference to the sun. To the observer at b Venus It is. Let us now suppose that Venus moves on until it In fact.Transit of Venus. and as seen from the earth. Now. and having previously regulated his clock accurately. clear that a is is the spot first the internal contact on the earth at which seen. and Venus in 224 days. at rest. We have already pointed out (§ 53) the which we may suppose the earth to be at orbit. and that Venus is moving with the slower motion just referred to. now be visible at first internal contact. what will be the appearance of Venus when it is at x. and that B is the is spot on the earth where the internal contact last . the position x. as viewed from the station a on the earth ? The observer at a will just be able to see Venus at first internal contact. and if were 584 days. therefore. and thus at a certain tin^e will arrive in (It will be seen that we are assum- Venus same plane.) Now. We shall then suppose that the earth is at rest in its orbit. 87 xy denotes the orbit of Venus. and the arrows in- dicate the directions in which the earth are moving. while the artifice by rest in its movements of Venus relative to the earth remain unaltered. would be the same as they actually are when the earth is moving round the sun in 365 days. if the earth were the periodic time of Venus in its orbit reaches the position will y. it as Venus is than the earth. to lie in the follows that and Venus moving much faster Venus will overtake the earth. he will be able to note the moment at which Venus occuing for the present the orbits of the earth and pies the position x.

for during the time occupied by Venus in passing from x to y the earth will have turned through an angle which quently the real point. We of fact. shall therefore sent to the two stations a and b suppose that expeditions are (of course as a matter they can only be sent to the places nearest A and b which are suitable from geographical consi- derations). a tele- graphic signal is despatched to b. Consewhere is last seen. also suppose that a telegraph wire laid from a to so that at the instant of contact. b. and when he himself sees the contact at a time also marked by his own clock. and first that at each of these internal contact is two stations the moment of observed. on the earth's surface. the internal contact ferent from is quite appreciable. two in passing have thus learned the time which Venus takes from the position x to the position y. upon its axis. Astronomy. as seen at a. however. know how to allow for this difference. he is able with the greatest precision to determine the interval of time between the contacts. Astronomers. But we also know (§ 53) that the entire time which Venus requires for performing a revolution round the sun (relatively to the earth) is 584 days . and we shall not here consider it further. A slight correction will have to be made here on account of the motion of revolution of the earth.88 seen. The observer at b then notes the arrival of this signal on his clock. hence if we assume We . is We may b. will be slightly difwhat it would have been if the earth had not rotated on its axis after the first internal contact had been observed from a.

millions of miles).000 kilometres (92I. The actual distance. and therefore the distance a t from the sun to the earth is known. and the angle a o b. 2. we can by a simple sum the radius of proportion find the angle Now xty t s is small compared with the with sufficient accu- distance s x. however. Distance of the Sun from the Earth. we are enabled to find the distance a b.000 kilometres.Distance of the that Sim from xsy. . varies between 147.000 kilometres in winter and 151. 89 Venus moves uniformly. xsy. the Earth. § 2). most recent determinations make the sun's mean dis- meter of the earth is a tb — tance from the earth equal to 149. for 1.000. therefore. racy for our present purpose suppose that the angle is equal to the angle We may now consider the problem to the distance be solved.000 kilometres in summer. We may. for a b being very nearly equal to the dia- is therefore known. The diameter of the sun as thus determined is the sun.000. Also the angle known.387.000. The § 69. We are hence able to find the true diameter of knowing the distance oa (fig. By means of carefully executed measurements it is found that the average angle which the diameter of the sun subtends as seen from the earth is 1920".

well for us here to glance for a moment rank which the fixed stars occupy among the other bodies which are found in the universe.90 Astronomy. CHAPTER XIII. PARALLAX OF THE FIXED STARS. § 70. among the other bodies of An examination of the countless myriads of those . but there great majority of is good reason to believe that the them are even more distant from us than those of which we do know the distance. of the sun from the earth. yet this imporcance is due rather to the comparative nearness of the sun to the earth than to the real pre-eminence of the sun the universe. Our sun is not only the source of light and heat to the planets. but it is also the centre around which they revolve. the become quite be seen as a belief. that though the sun might brilliant object. know the distances of a very few of these bodies. Astronomers are however 'led to the although the sun is to us on the earth vastly more im- portant than any of the other bodies in the universe. the distances of that we only — Great as it is the distance is small compared with It is true some of the fixed stars. is moons taken together that From merely a minute adjunct to the a distance. and its mass so overwhelmingly exceeds that It may be at the of all the planets and their the planetary system sun. The Fixed Stars. less than the distance of any planets would have still of the fixed invisible stars.

like our sun. is complicated by a number of circumstances which. We shall here only give an outline of the method which has been adopted by astronomers. them from we call the fixed stars. as bright and large as our sun. and that their apparent minuteness only due to the vast distances by which they are separated from us. We thus see that the measurement of the distance is of a fixed star an entirely different the measurement of the distance of the sun. for the actual application of the method. need not be entered upon in a work which aims merely at explaining the principles. — It is easy to conceive that the apparent angular distance between a star and the centre of the sun can In fact if the be measured by suitable observations. to say the least. able in effecting this measurement to problem from We were of the shall make use diameter of the earth as a base celestial line. is We how- ever find that a far larger base line required for the measurements now to be undertaken. § 71. When of proper allowance has been it is made for the effect found that some of these stars are.The Fixed Stars bodies with which the heaven in order to distinguish is 91 bespangled. the planets. right ascension and declination of the centre of the . and which. Annual Parallax of a Star. this distance. has taught us that. they are bodies which shine by their own light is and heat. though highly important for the astronomer. as in the case of the determination of the sun's distance. and thus we are led to the conception that our sun is really only one of the host of stars which are so plentifully found even in the most remote regions of the heavens to which the power of the telescope can penetrate.

we measure the angle sab. s hence in v the two base angles. we can measure the angle s b a. 28) that of the star. sun and the star be determined in the usual way. and a d b be the Fig z8 s represents the position . error in the This being so. or indeed. The mined angle which the radius of the earth's orbit subtends at a star is called the annual parallax of the star. when the earth is at b. The distance a b is double the distance of the sun / / from the earth.92 Astronomy. we should then have the means of rinding the distance of the star. the triangle know the base a b we a b. For suppose (fig. and and hence the triangle is deterand the sides a s and b s are known. then the angle could be calculated by spherical trigonometry.**& //' *r /' / / / /' / 1 / when the earth is at a. Six months afterwards. stars § 72. Impracticability of this Method. a minute measurement of one of the angles might . orbit of the earth then 37 / Y/ / .— The however. Now. and the angle between the two positions measured in the usual way. are. we might suppose the positions of the star and the sun to be plotted upon a globe. so excessively remote from us that the angle sap differs from the angle s b p by only an exceedingly minute quantity. supposing this angle to have been measured at a suitable epoch of the year and the measurement to have been repeated precisely half a year afterwards.

but which very Suppose that there another star which. It is true that we can calculate and allow for the grossest part of this error . is in the direction of this very distant Finally. to —We s. a somewhat is modified method. much moie 28) be this Let ax and by (fig. but if the two stars are apparently very close together on the celestial sphere the effect of refraction on the relative positions of the two stars is insignificant. We now measure the angle x a s between the two stars when the earth is at a . but the two stars being close together (on the celestial sphere) undergo very nearly equal displacements by refraction. but even when this allowance has been made as well as our knowledge will permit. Now there is one source of error which even the greatest care cannot entirely obviate. and that is the refraction of the atmosphere. on the is celestial sphere. resort made with the required precision. there are still outstanding small irregularities which would prevent the measurement of the angles being § 73. and then measure the angle ybs between the two stars when the earth is at B. 93 cause a very large error in the distance of the star concluded from such measurement. Now it is true that both of these angles are also affected by refraction.Parallax of the Fixed Stars. are therefore obliged to Determination of the Difference of the Parallax of two Stars. appears pretty close to distant from us than lines s. drawn from A and B star. and the small difference in the relative . we shall suppose that auxiliary star so exceedingly remote that the lines a x and B y are practically parallel. The apparent place of each star is of course slightly different from the real place on account of refraction.

The question here arises. it effect would produce an inappreciable tance required. which refraction is able to susceptible of being computed with the utmost precision. since triangle known. enable us to compute the distance a parallel to Since ax sum is by. the distance of which is very are much greater.— To termine the distance of a fixed star by this method is it therefore necessary to have another star adjoining on the celestial sphere. There however. The Proper Motion of the Stars.94 position Astronomy. xas if The angle sab can then be measured. distance § We are therefore enabled. to construct the upon the disa b is sab. . and equal to the difference betw een the angles and ybs. shall is distance. some d priori considerations which enable us to make a coarse guess as to whether a star is comparatively near us. and even a minute error in the determination of this angle should arise from the uncertainty of the refraction. and thus the deit sa is determined. It follows that the angle a sb is determined by taking the difference between the two measurements of the angular distance of the stars corrected for refraction. is really no way of making servations have sure of this before the actual ob- been made. As B now show how these observations will s. and the angular produce. the angle but the angle is yos yos is is equal to the angle of therefore the angle r equal to the the angles osb and obs. 74. how we to know which of two apparently adjacent is stars farther off than the other ? There are. We x a s.

This is the presumption which has chiefly guided those astronomers who have hitherto devoted measurement of the distances of If. in the immediate vicinity of a star which has a large proper motion. —The distances of several stars have been determined in this way. it may be presumed that the former of these stars is nearer to us than the latter. Distances of the Stars. lapse These changes. we do not find in the great majority of stars any perceptible change of position from one year to another. however. actually in motion. It is 95 that every most probable. however. Even when the places of the stars have been determined with the utmost accuracy which meridian observations will permit. The relative places of the stars on the heavens are thus gradually changing. Now the our seeing it is this proper motion and being able to measure a presumption that those stars which possess the proper motion are probably neaier to us than others in which no proper motion has been detected. a limited number of stars possessing (as it is an amount of proper motion fact of called) which is quite appreciable in accurate observations. in one of the stars fact is it is practically certain.Proper Motion of the Stars. and that the apparent contiguity of the two stars on the surface of the celestial sphere is only due to one of the stars lying near their attention to the the stars from the earth. that even in the of centuries the and the general appearance of the heavens have not appreciably altered. Of . There are. a minute star be visible which has not that proper motion. § 75. take forms of the constellations place with such extreme slowness. the line of sight directed towards the other.

g6 these distances Astronomy. h m 38 38 39 39 s 1. Alterations in the already explained the general right ascension of a star Right Ascensions of Stars. none are less than 200. . 6 6 Jan.000 times the distance of the earth from the sun. 6 44 We thus see that on the four dates here given.) CHAPTER XIV. the mean right ascensions of the star Sirius have perceptibly It will also be observed that the changes in altered. 1. 6 25 51 17 . 1847 1857 1867 1877 • . THE PRECESSION OF THE EQUINOXES. . 1. 1. Jan. . which are separated by intervals of ten years. to give deflniteness we state here the : mean right ascension of Sirius at four different dates Mean Right Jan. From so vast a distance as this the earth's orbit only appears about the same size as a silver quarter dollar would do at a distance of two and a half kilometres ! (\\ miles. the right ascension take place uniformly at the rate of about 2*65 seconds of time per rnnum. . —We have which the § 76. Jan. Let us suppose that this operation is repeated for the same star at widely separated intervals . . method by may be deter- mined of time (§ 23). Ascension of Sirius. In the course .

that find. If we could see the sun in the heavens. Precession of the Equinoxes. vernal earlier Compared with Sirius the equinox now comes on the meridian a little than it did thirty years ago. We are thus led to § 78. for passed between the H . the vernal equinox crossed the meridian 6 h 39^ Sirius. and thus the phe- nomenon * in question has come to be known as the Precession of the Equinoxes/ We have selected the star Sirius merely as an example had any star been chosen we should have equally found that relatively to that star the vernal equinox was continually changing its position. the belief that the positions of the equinoxes on the celestial sphere are in a state of continual change. 1877. § 77. and consephenomenon was known to the ancient astronomers. the vernal equinox crossed the meridian 6 h 38™ 25 s before the star Sirius.Precession of the Equinoxes. 97 of centuries this change becomes very marked. On January 1. . — Now as the equinoxes are the intersections of the and the equator. 1847. It is. it follows that one if not both of these circles must be continually changing its place upon the surface of the heavens. On January 1. —Now let us state exactly what the phenomenon is. we should every 23rd of May the sun stars surrounding the example. s 44 before It is therefore obvious that the vernal equinox and Sirius are further apart now than they were thirty years ago. The Ecliptic is at rest. however. easy to show that of these two circles the ecliptic at all events has no perceptible ecliptic motion. even to the coarsest quently we find that this methods of observing.

. Mean . that every 21st of August that passed exceedingly close to Regulus (a Leonis). and hence to account for the motion of the vernal equinox we must suppose it on every 15th of October passed a Spica (a Virginis). 106 106 106 106 30' 3i' . The track of the that the ecliptic is at rest and that the equator is in motion. 1. is —By observait tions of a star at widely separated intervals has been found that the polar distance right ascension. it Pleiades and Hyades. and hence we see a relative motion between every star in Now. pole or Sirius must be in motion on the surface of the If we make the same observations for any heavens. § 79. as well as the Thus for the dates already given : we have for the polar distances of Sirius Date. and little above sun among the stars is thus invariable. shall we say the heavens and the north pole. 32' 56" We about 4 thus see that the angular distance from Sirius is to the north pole //# steadily increasing at the rate of It follows that either the north: 6 annually. it is obviously more natural for us to . 1847 1857 1867 1877 . Jan. Polar Distance of Sirius. Motion of the Celestial Pole. .— 98 Astronomy. . . changing. 32' 37" 24" 11" . or the pole moving relatively to the stars ? If we reflect that the stars have next to no relative motion among themselves. „ „ . other star that there we is find a similar change. that the stars are moving relatively to the pole.

. § 80. yet the changes in h 2 . ecliptic as this declination is the required We shall here give the obliquity of the this determined by method in the years already referred to* Date. June „ 21. • . . We are thus led to inquire into the nature of the motion of the pole which will be adequate for the purpose of explaining the changes of right ascension and declination of the heavenly bodies to which we have adverted. though obliquity it would not be correct to say that the was absolutely constant. To as this inclination determine the obliquity of the is called. 27' 26 5i Now. which is merely the point on from the equator. and obliquity. The Obliquity of the Ecliptic. 5 „ 1877 .Precession of the Equinoxes. 1847 . 99 suppose that the pole stars. must be in motion also. Obliquity of Ecliptic. for if the equator be in motion among the is). is actually moving among the To this conclusion also the observations of the changes in right ascension would have conducted us. ecliptic. .— The first point to be considered is the inclination of the ecliptic to the equator. it is only neces- sary to observe the greatest declination of the sun on Midsummer-day. stars (as we have seen it then it is a necessary conse- the celestial sphere 90 quence that the pole. . 23 23 23 27' 27' 3 "-8 /. 23° 27' 23 «56 37''i2 i // 1857 1867 .

In fact the value are extremely small is mean of the four values just given 23 27' 25"*26 this and the difference between quantity and is the greatest or least of the four observed values only about one seven thousandth part of the total amount. and t denote the pole of the ecliptic. pole. — are thus led to the conclusion that whatever be the motion of the equator among the preserves the stars it constantly same inclination to the ecliptic. Motion of the Pole among the Stars. angle of 5o 26 annually. and that therefore p can only move in a small circle on the celestial sphere of which t is the remains constant. let Let p denote the pole of the celestial equator. and from this it is easy to . We § 81. is it evident that the obliquity of the ecliptic equal to the angular distance of the poles p since and t. Then. By a comparison of ancient observations with modern observations the rate at which this motion is performed has been determined with great accuracy. It is found that the arc t p sweeps through an r/. since the remains fixed ecliptic the place of t among among the the stars stars it follows that does not change. is Now. we have seen that the obliquity of the ecliptic it follows that the arc p t must remain constant. since the angle between two planes equal to the angle between the perpendiculars to those planes drawn through a point upon the is line of intersection.IOO its Astronomy. Hence. We have now only to ascertain the velocity with which p moves round in its small circle.

The Pole of the Earth. actual pole . of which a perpendicular to the plane of the ecliptic is the axis. § 82. was not always so near the pole as to be convenient for the many purposes to which it is now applied. or to put the matter more plainly. and the time occupied in the description of this cone is 26. This axis (of course carrying the earth with it) traces out a right circular cone. In observations have hitherto gone).000 years necessary. for p to complete a 101 whole revolution is round t. we might suppose a rigid axis driven through the earth. at of this continual change in the position of the pole are very remarkable. and if the point in which this cuts the surface of the earth were marked each day by a peg.000 years.Precession of the Equinoxes. then the positions of the pegs might not always be the same. calculate that. The consequences star. It can be shown from dynamical principles that the of the earth might be revolving on the earth itself in a small circle in a period of 306 days.— It should be observed that although the pole in the heavens is moving about among the stars in the way we have described. The polar present of such importance to astronomers. if a line were drawn from the centre of the earth to the celestial pole. a period of nearly 26. and the earth to be spinning round this axis once in every sidereal day. Thirteen thousand years ago it was distant from the pole by more than 40 and in thirteen thousand years more it will again be separated by the same . distance. yet that the axis about which the earth rotates appears to fact (so far as be rigidly fixed in the earth.

Permanency of an Axis of Rotation. other. by the symmetry of the figure it is obvious that the centrifugal forces on each all the will parts of the earth neutralise If. If a body (of the same shape as the earth) be set spinning about its polar — axis. then. It follows that the motion of the earth is stable when spinning about its polar axis. 29 let pq represent the axis about which the earth is spinning. the circle which it describes can hardly be a dozen metres in diameter. tinue for ever parallel to In fig. Observations have been specially directed to this point. such that the peg corresponding to the 307th day would be in the same place as that belonging to the first day. We § 83. and it has been shown that even if such a motion of the pole on the earth exists.102 Astronomy. the axis of the earth (subject only to the small . however. then the cenacting trifugal force wiil upon the protuberant portions have the effect of making the axis slowly revolve around its original position. about then the body will continue for ever to spin this axis. shall now consider the mechanical cause of this very remarkable phenomenon. from position any of cause the the earth be slightly deranged so that it occupies the place indicated by the dotted lines. and the direction of the axis will conitself. In the annual path of the earth around the sun. but all the pegs might lie upon a circle.

rest. In fact. Or. in this case also the attraction would be a force . which it will stand up straight when it is spinning. effect itself. so far as the mere rotation of the earth upon its axis is concerned. Now if the earth were a perfect homogeneous sphere. though will § not do so when at 84. the attraction of the sun or the moon would be a force passing through the centre of the sphere. To rem in centre of gravity as a fixed point. or not homogeneous. Cause of the Precession of the Equinoxes. and so would leave the rotation unaffected. at the we have to make use of a theomechanics which we cannot demonstrate in this volume. we might regard the explain this. This disturbing cause is due to the attraction of the sun and the moon upon the protuberant portions earth's equator.Precession of the Equinoxes. still if the attracting body were so far off that all points of the earth might be considered as practically at the same distance from the attracting body. even if the earth were not a perfect sphere. If the earth be rotating round its polar axis. 103 of precession) remains constantly parallel to A familiar illustration of the is same permanency of an axis of rotation presented by the humming top. then that rotation will not be disturbed by any force which passes through the centre of gravity of the earth. There is however a disturbing cause in action which deranges the motion of the earth around its axis from the simple character it would otherwise have. but the truth of which will perhaps be admitted. and then the force which passed through the centre of gravity could be neutralised by the reaction of the fixed point.

it since the attraction varies inversely as the square of the distance. and Let p q (fig. consequently. each of these forces being equal to h t. Thus the effect of the attracting out of view. and let us suppose that equal and opposite forces c x and c y are applied at the centre c. consequently. Let h t represent the magnitude of this force. The sun and the moon. h left gravity. both in intensity and in direction. for as it . To this is due the phenomenon of the Precession of the Equinoxes. make the earth's centre. the total attraction will be directed which passes above the centre of ^gravity of the earth c. follows that the portion of the earth turned towards the attracting body will be acted upon Fig. ^g by a greater force than the portion on the remote side. are both so comparatively near the earth that we are not entitled to and. it acts through the centre of can have no effect upon the rotation of the earth around its axis. neither the attraction of the sun nor of the moon passes through this supposition. Then. 30) represent the axis of the earth. however. passing through the centre of gravity of the earth.104 Astronomy. and. The force c y may now be along the line s. Through the centre c draw a line x y parallel to h t. let s be the position of the attracting body. 30.

Such a pair form what is known in mechanics as a couple. The effect of the couple however. the force of gravity acting along c h would immediately cause it to tumble over. the real effect of the couple is not to move c p in the plane of the paper. if the pegtop when not spinning were placed in the position represented in the figure. ecliptic. rapid rotation. In pc c fig. but to make c p move perpendicularly to the plane of the paper. 31. Now. miniature form every schoolboy already acquainted with a precisely analogous phenomenon in the motion of a common pegtop. the line c p moving in the plane of the But when the pegtop is in a state of very paper. It would seem as if the immediate effect of this couple would be to turn the earth so as to bring its polar axis c p perpendicular to the line c s. and is the centre of gravity of the pegtop. or (sup- posing the sun to be the attracting body under consideration) to bring the plane of the equator to coincide with the plane of the is. the circumstances are entirely different. 105 body upon earth is the earth may.Precession of the Equinoxes. so far as the rotation of the concerned. that paradoxical as may appear. be represented by the pair of equal parallel and opposite forces h t and c x. is the axis of the pegtop. . Illustration of the Pegtop.— In explanation apparent paradox. of is this § 85. we may remark that in a Fig. so entirely modified by the fact that the is earth it in a state of rapid rotation. 3 1 the line p z is vertical.

106 Astronomy. The axis of the earth would then describe a axis is right circular cone of which the perpendicular to the plane of the this is actually the ecliptic. the speed with which the pegtop spins would be undiminished . friction at the point and the resistance of the air. § 86. instead of moving towards s and thus diminishing the obliquity of the ecliptic. we should expect to find that the axis p c. so long would the axis of the pegtop continue to describe the right circular Assuming cone around the line p z. about to the sun one-third is due and the remainder to the moon. Precession due to both Sun and Moon. moon its effect is greater In fact of the total amount. will. and that before long solely the pegtop really does tumble down. — The precession of the equinoxes is of both the sun and the moon. due to the action Owing. viz. axis c P. to the plane of the paper would move perpendicularly and thus not alter the obli- quity of the ecliptic at all. however. and motion which the precession of the equinoxes requires. undoubtedly true that after a time the is angle zpc begins to increase. and fact. commences to move perpendicularly to the plane of the paper. and so long as that speed remained unaltered. to than the proximity of the that of the sun. and that if these forces could be evaded. that what holds good in the case of the pegtop holds good in the colossal case of the earth itself. so far from Every one has observed that the falling in the plane of the paper. but this due to the influence of disturbing forces. in describe a right circular cone around p z as an It is axis. .

Bradley had observed the zenith distance of the star on all available opportunities for an entire year. Th3 Aberration of Light. though exceedingly great. is one of the most interesting episodes in the history of science. thus revealed is called the aberration of This discovery. Bradley found that the ap- parent movements of the stars which he had discovered were an immediate consequence of the fact that the velocity with which light travels. These observations revealed an apparent movement in the star. by Bradley. It was not until after this apparent motion had been detected and examined in several stars. that Bradley was enabled by a happy conjecture to give it a satisfactory explanation. The phenomenon light. THE ABERRATION OF § 87.io7 CHAPTER XV. In the hope of detecting the existence of annual parallax in the star y Draconis. .— The discovery of the aberration of light. LIGHT. though it relates to magnitudes so exceedingly small as to be perceptible only in very accurate measurements. is yet of so delicate and so beautiful a character that it must undoubtedly rank among the very greatest discoveries which have yet been made in astronomy. is still not incomparably greater than the velocity with which the earth moves in its orbit round the sun. entirely different from the movement which would be produced by the annual parallax for which Bradley was in search.

§ 88. Explanation of the Aberration of Light Let s. the motion of the telescope is then sufficient to enable the light to of the telescope without being pass down the tube lost against the sides. the observer. who. The telescope must that therefore scope can come telescope is so placed enter the object glass of the teleout of the eye piece. the telescope be in motion a little consideration will show us that. therefore. when the star is seen. If the telescope be at rest. If. the telescope must be pointed in the way shown in the figure. fig. observes the po- . shares the same motion as the telescope. for us to see star. If. and when the telescope reaches the position x y the light emerges from the eye piece at x.io8 Astronomy. the telescope must generally not be pointed exactly at the star but in a somewhat different direction. For the star can only be seen when rays of light from the star enter the eye of the observer. it obvious that the telescope should be pointed along the ray x s which comes from the star. represent a star to which a telescope is — is to be directed. 32. When the the rays be which in the position A b the light enters the telescope through the object glass at b. the telescope will position Let us suppose that move from the to the position marked a b x y in the same time as the light from the star travels from b to x. of course. and enters the eye of the observer. however. Then the it is plain that.

therefore. and. light and as the latter would be determined. 109 xy he will see the star in the direction which the telescope is pointed.Aberration of Light. therefore. This annual motion takes place at the average rate of 29 kilometres per second. the angle is is known. is Now it is evident that while the telescope carried over the distance the light must travel through the distance bx. sition of the star. for as the earth moving in the ecliptic (for the and drawn from earth to the sun. ax. we should know the ratio which the velocity of light bears to the velocity of the earth in its orbit. and consequently. the earth must at any moment be moving towards that point on the ecliptic which is 90 the orbit to be circular) in a direction perpendicular to the line wc may suppose . It is an exceedingly interesting consequence of the in — discovery of the aberration of light that we are enabled to deduce from astronomical observations the velocky with which light travels through space. and hence we see that the velocity of the earth is to the velocity of light in the ratio which a x bears to bx. we could in any way find the angles of the triangle b a x. he will judge erroneously of the position of the star to an extent which is measured by the angle between the direction s x of the rays which come from the star and the direction x y in which the telescope is pointed. The move- ment of the telescope to which we have referred arises from the annual motion of the earth around the sun. Determination of the Velocity of Light. If. § 89. the velocity of is Of present bax immediately known . 29 kilometres per second is the velocity with which the telescope is carried along. these.

were not for aberration the star would be seen in that point of the ecliptic which was 180 from the sun. which indicates the is determined. is and the telescope again pointed to the same . of the earth in Fig. along the direction cb. of observations. the telescope must be pointed star. of course. The angle bax is therefore known. is therefore directed to a point upon the heavens which is known. however. which is pointed precisely to that point of the heavens earth is towards which the moving and which is. the telescope. and p the position Let p q be the direction of its orbit. for it is merely the angular distance between the point in the heavens to which the telescope is is pointing. and the point on the ecliptic which 90 from the sun. 33) represent the sun. In a quarter of a year after the earth was will have reached the position a. to aberration. direction of the motion of the telescope.no Astronomy. towards which the earth is moving on any given dayThe line ax. Let us suppose that there is a star. The angle a h x can also be determined by means method by which very simple case. a point on the ecliptic 90 from the sun. situated in the direction indicated by the at p it line p s. and to show the principle of the this is obtained we shall suppose a Let c (fig. Therefore the point in the heavens from the sun. if it Now . Owing. 33.

is presented by the phenomena of Jupiter's satellites. is the difference between the real direction is of the star and the direction in which the telescope Of course. it will not generally happen that in the case a star will be so opportunely situated as .Aberration of Light. these observations the From lites movements of the satel- have become so well known that it is possible to predict the occurrence of the eclipses. a b. 32) between the real and apparent direction of the star can be determined. and hence the angle cba is known. he planet Jupiter is attended by a very beautiful system of four moons. These moons are constantly being eclipsed by passing into the shadow of Jupiter. After many comparisons between these predictions and the at actual observations certain discrepancies were brought . Another method by which the velocity oi light may be determined. we have supposed but the illustration will serve to exemplify the statement. that by suitable observations at different seasons of the year the angle abx (fig. Other Determinations of the Velocity oi Light. ba is x are known. Thus two angles of the and thus the species of the triangle triangle known. and which is indeed the way in which that velocity was first discovered. in in a somewhat different direction. and they have consequently been much observed ever since the — J first discovery of the satellites of Jupiter by Galileo. that the angle angle c b a pointed. § 90. It follows cba will be equal to the difference between 180 and the angle which the star makes with This the sun. To see these eclipses only a small telescope is required. and the times which they will commence and terminate. and the velocity of light can be determined.

Let fig. Let us first consider the earth in the position & The north pole of the earth at n will then be turned . the cause of which was. when we were near to Jupiter. THE SEASONS. and the results of these experiments agree in a remarkable way with the results deduced from aberration. was not at first manifest. than was expected when This suggested the explanation that the velocity of light was not indefinitely great. however. CHAPTER XVI. Changes of the Seasons. The velocity of light has also been determined by means of actual experiments on the earth. and that thus. We — do not attempt in this figure to represent the earth and the sun to scale. and from the eclipses of Jupiter's satellites. we received tidings of the occurrence of an eclipse with less delay than when we were further off. Let n s be the direction of the axis about which the earth rotates.400 kilometres per second. city of light Recent elaborate researches indicate that the velois between 298. 34 re§ 91.112 Astronomy. noticed that the eclipses occurred earlier than was expected its when and the earth was in that part of later orbit near Jupiter.000 and 300. present the path of the earth around the sun. It to light. then in each of the four positions in which the earth is shown the direction n s will be parallel. the earth was distant from Jupiter.

e d called the Arctic Circle. (fig. If the centre of the earth be joined of the sun. 35). 114). This circle. When the earth has the position be vertically over head This circle is called the tropic of Cancer. I 1 towards the sun. and consequently at or near the This is north pole there will be continual daylight. and the sun can never be vertically overhead in any place which lies north of the tropic of Cancer. 35 (p. The circle cv will also be of importance. the sun will c. the joining line will cut the surface of the earth in the point c (fig. and it will thus be seen y that during the Arctic summer all places within the to the centre Arctic Circle enjoy perpetual day. All the region inside the small circle e constant daylight because 35) will be the revolution of the d earth about the axis this circle into the is n s cannot bring a place within dark hemisphere. shown a in little more fully in fig.3 The Seasons. shown at the point I . in the figure.

114 Astronomy. night. we draw the circles/^ and gp precisely similar to the Arctic Circle and the tropic of Cancer in the northern these circles are called respectively the Antarctic Circle and the tropic of Capricorn. This plane will cut the surface of the earth in a circle. while at any place between the Antarctic Circle and the south pole there is perpetual night. it follows that the day and night at the equator will be of equal length. but as the portion of the earth which lies between these boundaries is more in the illuminated hemisphere than in the dark hemisphere. Let us now draw a plane through the centre of n s. which is called the equator. At all places between the equator and the Arctic Circle there will be both daylight and darkness in every revolution of the earth. 35. At any place between the equator and Antarctic Circle the night is longer than the day. it follows the earth perpendicular to the polar axis Fig. that the day will be longer than the i.e. On the southern hemisphere of the earth. the hemisphere between the south pole and the equator. We have thus described the way in which the sun's light and heat are received by the different regions . eq. of the earth when the earth is in that part of its orbit . Since half this circle will lie in the illuminated hemisphere and half in the dark hemisphere.

the case when the earth is in the position of 36. 34). while in the Antarctic regions the sun is not seen at all. The warmth received from the sun is also very much greater in the northern hemisphere than in the southern hemisphere. and throughout the whole of the southern hemisphere we have winter. throughout the whole of the northern hemisphere we have summer. Let us now suppose fig. Between the equator and the Arctic Circle the day is longer than the night. 1 1 denoted by c (fig. The Arctic Circle is is in per- petual darkness. while between the equator and the Antarctic Circle the night is longer than the day. 35. Suppose the earth and sun to occupy the relative positions shown in fig.5 The Seasons. the Antarctic Circle in perpetual Winter reigns over the entire northern 1. condition of the two hemispheres sunshine. the sun shines continually in the Arctic regions.2 . Let us now see how this corresponds to the seasons. Hence we have summer in the Arctic regions and winter in the Antarctic regions. is reversed. as we have seen. The Fig. 36. The reason of this is that the sun shines perpendicularly on the earth between e and much more d than it does between e and f. then. Thus.

Astronomy. now. perhaps. 37. summer prevails throughout the southern hemisphere. the planets their satellites. day and night are of equal length all over the globe. and . of the earth's axis to the plane of the the changes of the seasons are produced. To these should. 37. as we see by fig. the axis of the earth is perpendicular to the line joining the centre of the earth to the sun. the earth about its by the revolution of the combined with the rotation of axis and the constant inclination ecliptic. CHAPTER § 92. XVII. positions for when the earth is at the intermediate we have the condition of spring or autumn. THE SOLAR SYSTEM. be added a vast host of minute bodies which. and the comets. —By the expression solar system we are to understand the group of celestial bodies which consists of the sun himself. The Solar System. case. We thus see that earth about the sun.n6 hemisphere. in this Fig. Hence it is evident that. while Finally.

The Solar System.


when they come into our atmosphere, produce the well-known phenomena of the shooting stars. All the bodies we have mentioned form one isolated group in the universe. The most prominent member of the group is, of course, the sun, which far
exceeds in dimensions
all the other bodies of the solar system taken together. In fig. 38 we give a general sketch of the relations
Fig. 38.

of the different members of the solar system. It is, however, not possible to represent conveniently in a
figure the real proportions of the orbits.



§ 93. The Planets.
sun, round which
planet, so far as

— Tn

the centre

we have


the other bodies circulate.
at present,


we know



to the sun


Mercury, to the motions of which
(§ 54).

have already referred


so extremely

close to the sun that the intensity of the radiation of

heat from the sun must be seven times greater on


Mercury than on the earth. The diameter of Meris somewhat less than half the diameter of the


in order

comes Venus

(§ 46)




the same size as the earth.

Then proceeding outwards

from the sun comes the earth, and this is succeeded by Mars, of which the diameter is only about half The earth is accompanied by that of the earth. one moon, and Mars by two very small moons. Next in order to these four planets come the vast group of minor planets which are called asteroids. Of these nearly two hundred have been already disThey are all, with possibly one or two excovered. ceptions, invisible to the naked eye ; the diameters of most of them are probably only a few kilometres. The discovery of these planets, of which the first was discovered on the first day of this century, has given rise to an entirely new department of astro-

Outside the group of asteroids


of the system of planets.

come the colossal The nearest of



the planet




the largest of

The diameter

of Jupiter


more than ten times
while the

as great as the diameter of the



The Planets.


moves around the sun is five times the diameter of the orbit of the earth. The time occupied by Jupiter in completing one revolution about the sun is about twelve years. Notwithstanding the vast size of Jupiter his rotation upon
is performed more rapidly than the corresponding rotation of the earth, the period being scarcely ten hours. Jupiter is attended by no less than four moons or satellites. The nearest of these moons to Jupiter is only distant from him by six times his radius. This satellite moves completely round Jupiter in less than two days. The fourth or the most distant satellite is about four or five times as far from Jupiter as the first satellite, and its time of revotion is about sixteen days.

his axis

We may

thus contrast the circumstances of the

of Jupiter with the circumstances of our


The moon


distant from us

by about

times the earth's radius, and the time of


about 27*3 days.


thus see that our




much more

distant from us than

any of Ju-

piter's satellites are

from him.



also another

very remarkable point of contrast, for while the mass
of the



about one ninetieth part of the mass
the largest satellite of
Jupiter (the





scarcely a ten-thousandth part of the

mass of


Next in distance from the sun comes Saturn. This superb planet, which is second only to Jupiter in size, is in some respects the most remarkable object in the solar system. In addition to a retinue of nc less than eight satellites, Saturn is attended by a ring

probably without a Next after Saturn comes the much fainter object Uranus. however. though a keen eye may see it without a telescope. Mars. clear night Magnitudes of the Stars. while the positions of the planets are (as we have seen) incessantly changing. Venus. This planet is attended by one satellite. The outermost known planet of our system is called Neptune. Jupiter. . which parallel in the solar system. Four satellites revolve around it. was not recognised as a planet before Sir William Herschel's discovery of it in 1 781. The fixed stars maintain their relative positions un- changed from year to year. Astronomers are in the habit of calling these objects the fixed stars. STARS. to be observed that the planets which can be easily seen with the unaided eye are only five in number (viz. XVIII. CHAPTER THE FIXED § 94. Lassell in 1847. These satellites are remarkable for their revolution in orbits nearly perpendicular to the plane of the orbit of the planet. It is.— On a is the heaven seen to be bespangled with a vast mul- titude of minute points of light. for the purpose of distinguishing them from the planets. Mercury.120 Astronomy. Figure 38 also shows a portion of the parabolic orbit of a comet. is or rather series of rings. This. two of which were discovered by Herschelin 1787 and two by Mr.

ness. 121 Uranus can be seen like a very faint star. The first feature connected with the stars to which stars we shall direct attention is their very different degrees of brightness. about twenty of the brightest stars are said to be of the first magnitude. evident that out of the multitude of celestial objects visible unaided eye every clear night by far the largest part consists of what we call the fixed to the stars. 20 4th 425 13.The Fixed Saturn). Numbers of the Stars. Rigel. § 95.100 8th 9th. Thus.000 6th 3. Of these come the stars of the second we may mention as examples the four brightest stars in the constellation of Ursa Major (the Great Bear).000 stars of the ninth magnitude. and one or two of the remaining planets have occaIt is thus sionally been detected by sharp vision. — Argelander 7th has computed the number of stars of each of the magnitudes with the 1st results. though there are but twenty stars of the first magnitude. Spica. Astronomers have divided the into different groups corresponding to their bright- Thus. . Stars. and Next in order to these magnitude. Among these we may mention Betelgueze. there are 142. 40. different here given.000 142.200 be noticed that the numbers of the increase each magnitude with very great rapidity as the brightness diminishes. Aldebaran.000 2nd 65 3rd 190 It will thus stars of 5th 1. Sirius (the brightest star in the heavens). Capella. Vega. Arcturus.

which encircles the whole heavens. — . The stars are very § irregularly distributed over the surface of the heavens. however. magnitude are so faint that only the best eyes can see them. The still smaller stars are stars of the 6th as yet uncounted. however. The Milky Way. produce the appearance with is which. doubtless. familiar. Of these stars. everyone 97. It is hardly possible to estimate the numbers of stars whose magnitudes are lower than the 9th. The telescope shows that this faint luminosity really arises from myriads of minute stars. yet by their countless numbers.000. In fact. The Milky Way is an irregular band of faint luminosity. The number of stars which can be seen with the unaided eye in our latitudes may be estimated as about 3. These maps include all stars from the brightest down to a magnitude intermediate between the 9th and the 10th. Clusters of Stars. though individually so faint as to be invisible to the naked eye. This partly arises from their prodigious numbers. which. and upwards of 300. of the heavens in the smaller classes of stars is well illustrated — by the nature of the Milky Way. published a series of maps of the stars in the Northern Hemisphere. and partly from some uncertainty in the estimation of these magnitudes. while no one can perceive stars of the 7th magnitude without a telescope. every increase in telescopic power serves to render visible countless myriads of stars which an inferior power would not show at all.000 stars are recorded upon these maps. The prodigious richness § 96. Argelander has. only a comparatively small number are visible to the unaided eye the smaller .122 Astronomy.

the With number is very greatly increased. and. that this dullish really an aggregation of perhaps 60 this small stars. Another illustration in the constellation the Beehive. spot is A telescope shows. This is. consequently. the slightest instrumental aid. not well seen unless the night on the very clear. By far the most splendid object of is kind in the northern hemisphere the cluster in the Swordstars handle of Perseus. and it not merely apparent. to make it almost certain that some way connected together.Star. is and confirmed by the telescope. dullish spot is To of such a group is an object Cancer known as the Praesepe. We have here two groups of in a when seen good telescope. appeared to be densely crowded together. they might be at vast dis- tances apart. form a stars. however.Clusters. which we have already mentioned (§ 8). but with unusually acute vision more can be detected. intrinsic the multitudes of these brightness. the aggregation is real. close together. and the group sist is seen to con- of perhaps 100 stars. in reality. . when. consequently. or the unaided eye this is merely a sky. Of such a group we have a very well known example in the group called the Pleiades. however. it 123 indeed. sufficiently obvious to the unaided eye. In certain places we have a dense aggregation of stars of so marked a character as the group must be in and that. really only accidentally near to the same and. Most persons can see six stars in the Pleiades without difficulty. and their most superb spectacle. as might be if the stars were line of sight.

They are not to be reckoned by hundreds. and for the closeness with which they lie together. Declination + 36°43 ). star-clusters are exceedingly § 98. The objects known as numerous. that is to say. because the stars forming them seem to lie within a globular portion of space. .124 Astronomy. and the angular diameter of the would appear that many clusters of this description must contain at least five thousand stars compacted and wedged together in a round space whose angular diameter does not exceed eight or ten minutes. These objects are often known as globular clusters. To the unaided eye or in a small telescope this looks like a dull nebulous spot. is their light blended. As Sir John Herschel to count It would be a vain task to attempt the stars in one of these globular clusters. and it requires a good tele- them at the borders it scope to exhibit it adequately. but for the vast numbers in which the stars are present. 4 stars. at the centre of one of these splendid objects it is in some cases almost impossible to discriminate the individual so closely says. and they frequently appear to be much more densely compacted together to- wards the centre of the globe. not for the brightness (even in the telescope) of the individual stars composing the star cluster. in an area not more than a tenth part of that covered by the moon/ The most remarkable of these objects in the northern hemisphere is the globular cluster in Hercuh les (Right ascension i6 37™. Among them — are several which are remarkable telescopic objects. In fact. and on a rough calculation grounded on the apparent intervals between whole group. Globular Clusters.

let us suppose that our sun were to be moved away from us to a distance comparable with that by which we are separated from those stars which are nearest to us. at the expense of its sesses intrinsic brightness. 125 a Star. is the telescopic appearance of a fixed star. thus proving. of course. By increasing the magpower of the telescope the size of the disk can be increased. the moon. Even the most powerful telescope only shows a star as a little point of light. star in a telescope differs in a marked manner from the appearance of one of the what is called the In the case of the planet we can see disk. In order to form some estimate of the real diameter which the stars do subtend at the eye. of course. though. have already mentioned (§ 52). that the planet pos- nifying an appreciable disk. § 99. is How is this to be explained ? The answer to be sought not in the real minuteness of the stars but in the vast distances at which they are situated. however. as we of which drawings may be made. Widely different.The Fixed Stars. . but no augmentation of the magnifying power has show any appreciable disk in the great majority of the fixed stars which have been exhitherto sufficed to ' ' amined. we can see in the planet Venus changes precisely analogous to the phases of it is globe with an appreciable diameter. Telescopic Appearance of —The most appearance of a larger planets. By increasing the optical power of the telescope the brilliancy of the radiation from this point can be increased.' we can actually observe that * the planet appears circular and that presumably a In most cases too we can discern markings upon the globe of the planet Indeed.

denote the diameter of the sun. therefore. we must have the same in both ab = a'b' and hence the ratio just written becomes e b' e B Hence we infer that the angle which the sun's dia- meter subtends at the eye varies inversely as his distance from the observer. position of the the earth.000 times greater than his pre- . the sun were to be carried away from us to a distance 200.126 For this Astronomy. purpose the sun would have to be trans- ferred to a distance not less than 200. Then as we have already 2). Now suppose the sun be transferred to the position indicated by a' b' then the angle which he would subtend in the new position is a' b' h. as his present distance from the earth. If. Hence the ratio of the angles which the apparent diameter of the sun subtends at the eye at the two different distances is a b E B _^_ a'b' EB' is but as the real diameter of the sun cases. seen (§ circular measure of the angle which the sun subtends at the earth is practically equal toAB-fEB.e b'.000 times as far Let a b (fig. and let e be the 39).

inasmuch as their brightness stant. In other words. Variable Stars We have mentioned the . rough purposes that the sun's apparent diameter is half a degree. It is at present. it follows that the apparent diameter when translated to the distance of a star would be expressed in seconds by the fraction 1800 200000 =o ./# oo9. the sun's diameter would then subtend an angle less than the hundredth part of a. It is. These are called is variable stars. therefore. mode of classifying stars by their magnitudes we have now to add that there are some stars to which this method cannot be applied. the angle which his diameter at present subtends would be diminished to the 200. It would . Even were it ten times as great it would be barely appreciable. quite out of the question to suppose that a quantity so minute as this could be detected even by the best instruments. 127 sent distance. as that of the majority of stars not con- appears to be. single second. clear that we cannot infer from the minute apparent size of the stars in the telescope any- thing with respect to their actual dimensions. at all events.000th part Assuming as we may do for of what it is at present. § 100. There are some hundreds of brightness of which is stars in the heavens the now known to change.Variable Stars. nor unless it were at least fifty times as great would it be possible to measure it with any approach to precision.

128 be difficult Astronomy. At the fourth magnitude the star remains for twenty minutes. and then begins to increase in brightness again until it after another interval of three or four hours regains the it second magnitude. Proper Motion of Stars. so we shall merely give a brief account of a few of the most remarkable. . ' — . Another very remarkable star belonging to the class of variables is o Ceti or Mira (Right ascension 2 h 13™ Declination this star is —3 i 3 V). greatest brightness for some time again gradually sinks down to invisibility. The period of the changes of five it 33 time the star is quite invisible. here to describe in detail the different classes of the variable stars. Owing to the convenient situation of this star it may be seen . or more accurately a period of 2 d 20 h 48 m 5S 8 it goes through a most remarkable cycle of changes. series of changes At the second magnitude con- tinues for a period of about 2 d 13 11. We have hitherto frequently used the expression fixed stars we have now to introduce a qualification which must be made * . Algol in is usually of the second magnitude. These changes commence by a gradual diminution of the brightness of the star from the second magnitude down to the fourth in a period of three or four hours. when the same commences anew. but in a period of between two and three days. d 8h For about it months of this then gradually inits creases in brightness until becomes nearly of the After remaining at it second or third magnitude. In the constellation Perseus is a bright star Algol (Right ascension 3 h o m Declination -f 40 27'). every night in the northern hemisphere. §101.

be termed fixed. as it is undoubtedly together true that they are moving. The most rapidly moving star does not move over an arc on the celestial sphere of 10" per annum. and are therefore naturally tempted to inquire whether the motions of the stars which we have been considering are real. We have tween real already had occasion to discriminate be- motiDn and apparent motion (§ 46). but when accurate observations of the places of the stars made at widely distant intervals of time are it is compared found that to some of the stars the adjective/Lxed cannot be literally applied. move over a space equal to the diameter of the moon on the surface of the heavens would require a couple of centuries even for the most rapidly moving star.Proper Motion of Stars. or whether they can be explained as merely apparent motions. the places of which continually changing upon the surface of the celessphere. no doubt. Now where must we look for the cause of the apparent motion ? It is manifest that the annual motion of the earth around the sun could not . even those which the vast distances move most rapidly. when viewed from by which they are separated from the earth. The moon and has a diameter which subtends at the eye an angle which we may roughly estimate to at half a degree. A motion so slow as this is unappreciable without very refined observations. It is true that the great majority of what are called fixed stars do not appear to have any discernible motion. as to the use of the stars. the stars may. appear to traverse but a very minute arc of the heavens in the course of a year. and. 129 are tial word fixed with reference to the Compared with the planets.

Herschel that a consider- able portion of the observed proper motions of the could be explained by the supposition that the sun was moving towards a point in the heavens near stars to the star \ Herculis. The motions which we have to explain are not nature.130 possibly explain Astronomy. it we know at present) of a periodical character . was actually moving in space. Motion of the Sun through Space. carrying with it its retinue of planets. the appearances which have been observed. It was therefore suggested by Sir W. as It were. § 102. then the apparent place of a star at that point would be unaffected by the motion of the sun . for the stars which possess this motion usually appear to move continually along great circles. from the point towards which your journey was directed. On this supposition. The investigations of other astronomers have tended to confirm this very re- . but all other stars would spread away from that point just as when you it are travelling along a straight road the objects on each side of the road appear to spread away. periodic in The annual motion its of the earth around the sun would have an effect which must be clearly annual parallax which (so far as would be merely the have already considered we (§71). near to us must have an apparent If the motion of the sun were di- rected along a straight line towards a certain point of the heavens. it is clear that those stars which were sufficiently proper motion. In fact. Herschel that possibly a portion of the proper motions of the stars could be — explained by the supposition that the sun. was found by Sir W. and all the other bodies forming the solar system.

is Nor. Herschel. 131 markable deduction as to the sun's motion in space. the earth partakes of the motion of the solar system in space.Proper Motion of Stars. but the same series of observations serve to determine the velocity of the motion. if we reflect for a moment. and partly arising from the fact that as a member of the solar system. be observed that after every possible allowance has been of the solar made for the effect of the motion system there remain still outstanding certain portions of the proper motions of the stars. § 103. and its declination is -\- 35°. It is found that in one year the sun probably moves through a space equal to 1*623 racm of the orbit of the earth around the sun. and consequently the real motion of the earth is a composite movement. Real Proper Motion of the Stars. which are only to be explained by the fact that the stars in question really are in actual movement. and have led them to conclude that the sun is moving towards a point of the heavens which (considering the difficulty of the investigation) is exceedingly close to the point determined by Sir W. Not only has the direction in which the sun moves been determined. yet the sun is itself in constant motion. We thus see that the real motion of the earth in space is of a very complicated character . for though it describes an ellipse about the sun in the focus. — It should. The is right ascension of the point thus determined 17 11 8m. partly arising from its own proper motion around the sun. however. ? there much in the last conclusion to cause surprise The first law of motion combined with the most elementary notions K 2 .

of probabilities will show us probable city rest really is. and from each other. Hence even if there were no causes tending to produce change from an initial state of things it would be infinitely improbable that any body in the universe was absolutely at rest. But even if a body were originally at rest it could not remain so. Distant as the stars are from the sun. the birth of accuis rate astronomical observation so recent that we have no means of making this comparison. there is not h priori just as probable as another . viewed from this distance. It can we compare the places of stars now with the places of the same stars 1. how all exceedingly im- Among the possible kinds ©f motion. they must still. infinitely various both in regard to velo- and in regard to direction. with incompaand hence we may be assured that universe (with. act upon each other. It is true that these forces acting across such vast distances may be tible slender. Unfortunately. but great or small they are rest. so far as we know at present. it every particle in the is is conceivable. the motions appear so small hardly be doubted that could been detected. however. but rather to the circumstance that the stars are so exceedingly far off that.000 years ago most of them would be found to have that they have not hitherto changed. for the ancient observations which have been handed down .132 Astronomy. not to the actual absence of proper motion. We tively are thus led to believe that the fact that proper motion has only been detected in comparafew stars is to be attributed. one exception) in motion. no one which is there is no one which is not d priori just as probable as rest.

+ 32 Viewed by the unaided eye the two stars together resemble but a single rately star. which. Castor as stars in a Binary Star. and the other is somewhat less. We shall here briefly describe a few of the most remarkable of these very interesting objects. About 10. In many cases we have the phenomenon which is known as a double star. would appear 104. is — One of the Declination finest double rum). 17'. The angular distance at which these two stars are separated is One of the stars is of the third about five seconds.) the heavens 7 Castor (a Gemino- (Right ascension h 26 m . not nearly so closp together. that the angular distance by which the stars are separated is less than one second of arc. to us are not sufficiently 133 to accurate afford trust- worthy § results. Stars.Double Stars. and an exceedingly good telescope is" required to 'divide' such an object. Two stars are frequently found which appear to be so exceedingly close together. though it must be added that the components of many of these are at a considerable distance apart. Double —We to the occasional close proximity in to consist only of a single star. § 105. but in a modegood telescope it is seen that what appears like one star is really two separate stars. The great majority of double stars known at present are. when viewed in an inferior instrument.000 objects have now been discovered which are included under the term double stars. The magnitude. however. have already alluded which stars are found on the celestial sphere. reason why the unaided eye cannot distinguish the .

But true that. Many double stars of this description exhibit a If phenomenon of imagine a great the greatest possible interest. the two stars are really at about the same distance from us. and is therefore quite angle of five seconds inappreciable without instrumental aid. when projected on the surface of the heavens. many of the double among those belonging to the class which includes Castor. they It seemed to be close together. is is separate components their great proximity. The question whether the propinquity of the two stars forming Castor is apparent or real. yet appeared so nearly in the same line of vision that. By an ingenious instrument called a micrometer.200 metres. circle to we be drawn from one of the two component stars to the north pole of the celestial sphere. and therefore. they are really close together. distance by which they are separated from us. which is attached to . it could equally be explained by supposing that the two stars. then the angle between this great circle and the great circle which joins the two stars is termed the position angle of the double star. in the case of very especially it is also undoubtedly stars. especially those in which the components appear tolerably distant. An about the same angle as that which is subtended by the diameter of a penny at a distance of about 1. the propinquity is only apparent and arises from the two stars being near the same line of vision. many of the double cannot be doubted that in the case of stars. as compared with that distance. This propinquity might be explained by the supposition that the two arises stars now were really close together compared with the Or. though really far apart.134 Astronomy.

also the distance of the two stars expressed in seconds of arc. made an interval of some years. l — gravitation affords us the explanation of these changes. however. and Kepler's laws must be stated somewhat differently before they can be applied with strict generality to the motion of a binary star (as one of the moving double stars is termed).end of a telescope 1 35 mounted and equatorially.Double Stars. with the sun in one focus. at present under consideracases that there it is tion. it is possible to measure both the position angle of the two components of a double observations star. The circumstances presented by the sun and a planet (the earth. as the mass of the sun is more than 1 The periods assigned for the time of revolution of Castor vary from 232 years (Madler) to 996 years (Thiele). In the case of the sun and the earth we have a comparatively minute body moving around a very large body. while the law according to which the velocity changes is defined by the fact that equal areas must be swept out in equal times. When made in this similar observations of the after way are compared with same double star. it is found in many is a decided change both in the In the case of distance and in the angle of position. In fact. The theory of § 106. for example) are somewhat peculiar. We have seen how in the case of the sun and the planets each planet describes around the sun an orbit of which the figure is an ellipse. the eye. . Motion of a Binary Star. undoubted that in the course of some centuries one of the components will revolve completely around the other. It is. true that the movement is very slow. the double star Castor.

It is manifest. may laws as applied to the motion of a planet around the sun. The fact of the is. however. in the proportions of the masses of the two stars. us suppose the case of a binary star so far removed from the influence of other stars or celestial bodies that their attraction may be regarded as insensible. 300. It would lead us beyond the limits of this book to endeavour to prove the more generalised conception Let of Kepler's laws which we shall now enunciate. each under the influence of the attraction of the other. though the two In the case of components are not exactly equal.000 times greater than the mass of the earth.parts. we often regard the centre of the sun as a fixed attribute all the point. Then each of the two components of the binary star matter is acted upon by the attraction of the other compo- by no other force. in speaking of Kepler's the mass of the sun. and that what we actually observe and measure is only the relative motion of the components. and motion which is observed to the planet.1 36 Astronomy. we neglect the mass of the earth in comparison with Thus. AG and b g. that both the components are in motion. but line . so that the point of division g lies between the nent. and we divide this line into two. the case of most of the binary Castor. We suppose a straight a b to be drawn connecting the centres of the stars. that some modification of Kepler's laws is necessary before we can apply them to stars. yet they are so nearly so that it would obviously be absurd to regard even the larger of them as a fixed point while the whole orbital motion was performed round it by the other.

We reason to expect that to we shall actually see have no motions we have described. the morion of the star b about the star a as it would be seen by an observer who It stars are in was stationed on a. the of gravity of the two Now. greater mass. can also be shown that. and as if a were then at rest and b moved round it just as a planet does around the sun. is precisely the same as if the mass of the star a were augmented by the mass of the star B.«. The orbit of b is an ellipse of which a is one of the foci. although both of the motion. It be recollected that the plane in which the orbit is described may be inclined in any way to the surface Consequently the orbit which of the celestial sphere. Kepler's laws will strictly apply. we shall see will only be the projection of the real orbit upon a plane which is perpendicular to the line of the simple character which is . /. two stars 137 which has the is and nearer to that star. and that each star will describe equal areas in equal times. It is natural to inquire whether these theoretical anticipations with respect to the motions of the binary stars are borne out by observation.Double Stars.. a. and the radius vector drawn from a to b will sweep out equal areas in equal times. It can be shown that each of the stars a and b will move in an elliptic orbit around the point g as the focus. To this apparent motion of b around a. yet the relative motion of one star about the other. the point G will either remain at rest or will move uniformly in a straight line. centre The point g thus determined stars. it can be proved that however the stars a and b may move in consequence of their mutual attractions.

but it also appears that though the star a was the focus of the original orbit. by a consideration of the position ellipse. The law of the description of equal areas in equal times would hold equally true both in the original orbit and in the projoining the binary star to the eye. The two com- ponents of this star are greatest distance exceedingly close together. it would not be the focus of the projected orbit. to of the point a in this of the true orbit with reference to the celestial sphere and the various circumstances connected with the motion. There is very great difficulty in making accurate measurements of a double star so close as this one. It is several binary stars the orbit thus found that in the case of formed is elliptic. Of these stars the most rapid in its movements appears to be 42 Comae Berenices. It can be shown that if the original orbit be elliptic. the components of which are farther apart than those of . fore to consider jected orbit. at the corresponding dates. By a comparison of ferent times it observations is possible to plot made down the at dif- actual position of the star b with respect to the star a. the being about one second of arc. Consequently more reliance may be placed upon the determination of the orbits of other binary stars. We have therewhat modifications the orbit may undergo by projection.138 Astronomy. determine the position and it is possible. the projected orbit will be elliptic also . which accomplishes its revolution in a period of 257 years. In this way the true orbits of several of the most remarkable among the binary stars have been determined.

it would be further necessary is is. Herschel in 1781. Dimensions of the Orbit of a Binary Star. Of we mention Early in the present century the proper motion of was found to be affected by an irregularity which showed that an unseen body must be moving around it and disturbing its motion by its attraction. Among these we may mention a very remarkable binary star £ Ursae Majoris. this star After a hundred years of observation the orbit of this body was calculated. Actually to de- termine the number of kilometres in the diameter of the orbit. one shall two exceptions. however. for us to know earth. and since that it has been repeatedly observed. star has Thus this been observed through more than one entire revolution. 1 39 42 Comae Berenices. § 107. — In the determination of the we can generally ascertain is. The first recorded observation of the distance and position angle of this was by Sir W. and it is exceedingly improbable that this could be star date erroneous to the extent of a single year. size of a binary star all of course. the diameter of the orbit as measured in seconds of arc. There these are. and it was shown that the irregular motion of Sirius could be accounted for by sup- . entirely unknown or Sirius. the distance at which the binary star from the This distance in the great majority of cases.Double Stars. The distance of the two components of this star varies from one second of arc to three seconds. to us at present. From a comparison of all the measurements which have been made it appears that the periodic time of the revolution of one component of £ Ursae about the other is 60 years.

According to Kepler's third law. that is. as far as mass is concerned.e. Let us first consider what the periodic time of a planet would be if it revolved round the sun in an orbit of which the radius were 28 times that of the earth's orbit. to 148 According to the latest results it would appeal . it is 28 times as great. satellite had a period o! about 50 years. volve around the sun in a period of time which was equal to the square root of the cube of 28 years very nearly.140 Astronomy. that is to say the radius of the earth's orbit viewed from the distance of Sirius subtends an angle of o"*2 5. and found to be moving around Sirius at a mean angular distance of about posing that the disturbing seven seconds. —When Mass of a Binary we know its the diameter of the orbit of a binary star and periodic time we are able to compute the sum of the masses of the two component stars. It therefore follows that the real distance of the companion of Sirius must exceed the distance of the earth from the sun in the ratio that 7" exceeds o"*25. since the it earth revolves around the sun in one year. is proportional to follows re- the cube of the distance that a planet such as consequently. is Now the annual parallax of Sirius found to be o"*2 5. the square of the periodic time . Determination of the Star. This satellite was actually discovered by Alvan Clark. This is an exceedingly interesting subject. in 1862. we have supposed would i. inasmuch as it affords us a method of comparing the importance of the stars. with the importance of our sun. § 108.

which has not yet . We the sun shall now show how it the ratio of the mass of (augmented. and its For this we If require the following principle. supposing the mean distance of A and B is to remain unaltered. which for the present we shall take for granted. two bodies. The most uncertain is the annual par- been certainly determined.. of its amount. or more. a and b. and may deviate from o". the mass of Sirius we regard the mass and its satellite of is about 9 times that of the sun. allax of Sirius. though it is true that subsequent observations yet may necessitate corrections we may be pretty confident part of the data in these results. 141 that the periodic time of the revolution of the satellite of Sirius is 49*3 years. the mass of that Sirius is several times as great as that of our sun. i. the velocity with which the motion takes place is greater than it would be if the mass of Sirius equalled the mass of the sun.25 by 50 per cent. should in strictness be said. appears that the following proportion It therefore true : Mass of Sun and Earth Mass of Sirius and Satellite It follows / 49*3 V / ~~ \ 148 from this that if our sun as 1. by the mass of the satellite. can be ascertained. earth) to that of Sirius taken together. Now.e. then the sum of the masses is inversely proportional to the square of the periodic time. are revolving in consequence of their mutual attractions.Double Stars.

less Stars of a greenish or bluish it is hue are much common. and very remarkable that.142 Astronomy.' number and known The great ma* . with very few exceptions. most pleasing and remarkable phenomena presented by double stars are the beautiful colours which they often present. Nebulae. The two components blue. XIX. but always occurs as one of the two components of a ' double star. —There ' are a great variety of objects in the heavens which are under the general term of Nebulae. a star of this colour is not found isolated. — The effect is occasionally heightened by the circumstance that the colours of the two comtrasted in a ponents are frequently not only different but are conmarked manner. a very beautiful double star y Androof this star are orange Attentive examination with a and greenish powerful telescope shows also that the greenish blue component consists of two exceedingly small stars close While considering this subject it should be remarked that isolated stars of a more or less reddish hue are tolerably common in the heavens. eye perhaps the most conspicuous is the bright star a together. Orionis. Conspicuous among these objects is medae. the catalogues containing some four or five hundred stars of Among those visible to the naked this character. NEBULAE. Among the § 109. Colours of Double Stars.' CHAPTER § no.

of the different objects. according to their brightness and size. Stellar nebulae.— Nebula. which again have been subdivided into subordinate ones. jority of these objects are invisible to the 143 naked eye. Planetary nebulae. . 5. as yet. crease of the optical and which any inpower of the telescope may be stars. Nebulae. nebulae is 1. tolerably certain that many real of the objects termed nebulae are not to be as considered mere clusters of stars. though their nature has. Sir John Herschel's Outlines of Astronomy. account. analysis The following § in. 2. properly so called. been only partially deter- mined. -. Clusters of stars. which for convenience are grouped many are undoubtedly mere clusters of stars such as those of which we have already given some together. but with the aid of powerful telescopes some thousands of such objects have been already discovered. which are generally } — classed under the Sir name of nebulae. in which there no appearance whatever of stars. Of these objects. Classification of Nebulae. has been made by William Herschel. to whom due : the discovery of a vast number of . Nebulous 1 stars. nevertheless. 4. Resolvable nebulae. or such as excite a sus- picion that they consist of stars. is expected to resolve into distinct 3. in which the stars are clearly distinguishable these are again divided into globular and irregular clusters. It is. 6.

which are either too remote from us. while others are so elon' gated as to form what have been called finest object of this class is the rays. and i° in breadth. or the individual stars of which are too faint to enable them to be distinguished. Among the rarest.' . first The of these classes is that which we have already described (§§ 97. Among all the most remark- able objects at present under consideration are the oval nebulae. but (as Sir John Herschel remarks) the central vacuity filled in is not quite dark. it would be completely resolved.' The well-known nebula in This object is just visible the girdle of Andromeda. some being nearly circular. brightness gradually increases towards the which consists of a bright nucleus. 98) . though it is seen to contain such a multitude of minute stars that there can be little doubt that with suitable instrumental power. and indeed the most remarkable. They are of degrees of eccentricity. but is with faint nebulae 'like a gauze stretched over a hoop.144 Astronomy. which form the second class.' these is to be found in the constellation Lyra . to the naked eye as a dullish spot on the heavens. This nebula has never actually been resolved. The marginal portions are faint. nebulae are those which are known under the name of The most conspicuous of the 'Annular Nebulae. it consists of a luminous ring . the resolvable nebulae. Viewed in a powerful telescope it is seen to be a nebula about 2^° in length. It thus occupies a region on the heavens five times as long and twice as broad as the diameter of the full moon. are to be regarded as clusters of stars. but the centre.

Still the intrinsic dimensions of If it were situated the object must be great indeed. visible. Planetary Nebulae are very curious objects derive their 5 145 they name from the fact that. while in a at least good telescope two others are this star. The star 6 Orionis consists of four pretty bright stars close together. as we shall L . The most a slightly remarkable feature of of detail which bluish hue. at a distance from us not greater than that of 61 Cygni. The object to w hich we T refer is the great nebula in the Sword-handle of the constellation of Orion. The light is of and under the great power of Lord Rosse's it telescope portions of are seen to be undoubtedly it composed of stars.Nebula. immediately suggesting the appear- rally ance presented by a planet. the largest of them is situated in Ursa Major. to say that portions of contain stars for. These objects are geneof a bluish or greenish hue. But around all and extending this to vast distances on sides of it is the great nebula in Orion. the diameter of the globe which it occupies would be seven times greater than the diameter of the orbit of the outermost planet of our system. Among the class of Stellar Nebulae one of the most superb objects visible in the heavens must be included. and the area it occupies on the heavens is less than one hundredth part of the area occupied by the full moon. Perhaps it would be more correct . viewed in a good telescope they appear to have a sharply defined more or less circular disk. it nebula is the complexity exhibits. the the almost unique spectacle of a sextuple whole presenting star. Their apparent diameter is small .

analysis is. CHAPTER XX. generally so faint as only to be visible in powerful instruments. By a ' nebulous star ' known as nebuwe are to underis. spectrum analysis. stand a star surrounded by a luminous haze. however. We have. good reason to believe that in some others. is number of rays white ' colour of ordinary sunlight due to the joint effect of the several different rays. there this nebula. This method is termed it The peculiar feature of spectrum that with the assistance of a telescope actually gives us information as to the nature of the elementary substances which are present in some of the celestial bodies. which however.146 Astronomy. plished it To explain how this is accom- will be necessary for us to describe briefly some properties of light. Composition of Light. A ray of The ' ordinary sunlight consists in reality of a of different colours blended together. SPECTRUM ANALYSIS. is presently show. § 112. a part of the which we receive is due to glowing gas. as well as in light The last of the different kinds of nebulae to which is we shall allude the class of objects lous stars. —We shall now give some account of a very remarkable method which has recently been applied with great success to the exami- nation of the heavenly bodies. the means of separating the constituent rays .

until meets the second surface of the prism at direction R it is then again bent at emergence. Construction of the Spectroscope. to represent a prism of flint glass. red. green. viz. it trait vels along (let us suppose) the direction q r . r have blended together the seven well-known prismatic colours. c. We last. it is it bent by traverses refraction so that the direction in which the prism is different was moving when it first from the direction in which it encountered the prism. 147 of a beam of light and examining them individually. If a ray of ordinary white light travelling along the direction p q falls upon the prism at Q. indigo. shall trace the course of the first of these and the The red light is the least bent . violet. and finally travels along the r s. — Sup- pose a b 40. orange. the violet portion cf the incident beam. § 113. This is due to the circumstance that the amount of bending which a ray of light undergoes when it passes through a prism varies with the colour of the light. dependent upon In a beam of white light we is. blue. which originally travelled along L2 . On the other hand..Spectrum Analysis. yellow. The amount of the bending the colour of the light. how ever. fig.

the direction r' The intermediate rays of orange. is more bent at each refraction than Consequently after the first refraction assumes the direction Q r'. Through it it this slit a thin line of light passes. troscope. and less refracted than the violet rays are. in the prism. and after the second res'. it Astronomy. fraction. At s is a narrow which is supposed to be perpendicular to the plane of the paper.. red rays. pass- ing through diverges the light it until falls upon an achromatic lens This lens is to be so placed that the equal to the focal length of the lens it therefore follows that the beam diverging from s. are found to and indigo. . 41. now show how known as the spectrosco/e. the red rays. We have tituents of therefore. slit. green. after refraction through the lens a. 148 the direction p q. yellow. We shall this is practically applied in the instrument 41. therefore. a means of decom- posing a ray of light and examining the different cons- which it is made. distance a s is a beam of which all the constituent rays are parallel. after passing be more refracted than the . emerge as placed at a. be explained by reference to Fig. will. The principle of this instrument mayfig. they lines found in the interval between the r s and r' s'. blue. is and this thin line of light which is to be examined in the specAfter s. the prism.

and therefore. Now. fall be In upon the achromatic lens «r. which where we will bring them to a focus at a point shall suppose a suitable screen to be slit placed. which will make it converge so as to form an image let t near to the red image at r. be the case with the violet constiwhich passes through s? The violet rays will fall upon the lens a. and us suppose that the s beam of light originally passed through contained rays of every degree oi refrangibility from the extreme red to the . It will.Spectrum Analysis. Now which us suppose the let slit at s to be exceedingly narrow. since each of these rays has the same colour. the only difference will being that the entire system of parallel rays this bent from the direction which they had before. be more detuents of the light flected But what than the beam of red it rays. it will. Suppose. the parallel violet beam will then fall upon p. slit Thus the red rays which pass through the at s will form a red image of the will upon the screen at r. but somewhat below it. condition the rays will b. the beam which consisted of parallel rays before in- cidence upon the prism will "consist of parallel rays after refraction through the prism. and will emerge as a parallel beam (for we have supposed the lenses a and b to be both achromatic). and it will emerge from p also as a beam of parallel rays. but still not so at much so as to prevent falling upon the lens b. Let us now rays of for a 149 moment parallel fix our attention upon the some particular colour. for example. on passing through the prism. The beam upon the prism p. be deflected through the same angle. however. of red rays will fall the red rays.

For the more is delicate pur- poses of spectrum analysis this plan always adopted. and these images would be so exceedingly close together that the appearance presented would be a band of light equal in width to the length of the image of the slit. now. receive the light which is emerges from the lens so that the spectrum im- pressed upon the retina. that the light which was being ex- amined consisted only of rays of certain special refrangibilities. Suppose. We should then have on the screen an indefinitely great number of images of the slit in different hues. the spectrum would be interrupted/ and the character of the spectrum would reveal the nature of the light of which the beam was composed. is known as the prismatic spectrum. extreme violet. self Instead of the screen the eye to it- may be employed b. Consequently. and extending from R to T. the spectrum which would be produced would then only show images of the slit corresponding to the particular rays which were present in the beam. the colour of which gradually changes from red at R to violet at t. When it the light from some of the nebulae (especially those of a bluish hue) was examined in the was found by Huggins that by far the greater portion of the light is concentrated into two spectroscope or three bright lines. This proves that a great portion of the light from nebulae of this particular character . This band.J So Astronomy. We do not here attempt to enter into the matter further than is necessary to show how the method can be applied astrono- mically. This may be made to give us most valuable in* formation with reference to the nature of the source from which the light emanates.

found that each different kind of gas yields light which in the spectrum forms lines of so marked a character as to make the spectrum characteristic ot the gas. To consider this application it more extensively admits. and if a galvanic current be passed through the tube (we do not here attempt to enter into details) the gas inside the tube may be it raised to a temperature so exceedingly high that will become luminous. It has thus been discovered by Huggins that the light from several of the nebulae brings evidence that in some of these distant objects substances are present with which we are familiar is on the earth. and that among their constituents are to be found hydrogen and nitrogen. We have thus an accurate means of comparing the light which light comes from the nebulae with the from other sources. He com has thus found that there excellent reason to believe that several of the nebulae are at least partially posed of glowing gaseous material. be necessary for us to enter into the subject than our space it to say. that it has been ascertained. Spectrum analysis has also been applied with success to the examination of the light from the sun as well as from the fixed stars. which are both elements of much importance on the earth. 151 consists of rays possessing the special refrangibilities corresponding to the observed rays. of the fixed stars are probably bodies of the same .Spectrum A nalysis. If a glass tube contain a small quantity of gas. however. Suffice would. and the light which emanates from It is it can be examined by means of the spectroscope. that the majority by the aid of spectrum analysis.

the earth. character as our sun. but with individual and that in the sun and in several of the stars we have been able to ascertain the existence of several elementary substances which are present c.u peculiarities.152 general Astronomy. .

103 Ellipses. 29 figure of. 48 Clusters. distance of from Earth. 6 Gravitation. 29 Meridian. the law of. error of. FIXED stars. 13 26 sidereal. Milky Way. 8 LATITUDE. apparent solar. error of. 62 of. 7 apparent diurnal of heavenly bodies. 76 Great Bear. 8 of. 17 obliquity of. permanency of an. rate of. globular. setting of. graduated. 102 Azimuth. 107 composition of. in. 6 small. 63 really a planet. 4 Arc. 14 Graduated circle. 23 Light. connected with the diurnal rotation. 6 meridian. 46 Degree. apparent motion of. 81 Constellations. 122 Minute. KEPLER'S apparent. 15 equator of. mean mean solar. 75 towards the sun. 114 Capricorn. tropic of. 2 GLOBE. 75 Earth. shape of. 1 Moon. 23 circle. determination 53 orbit of. 69 Mercury. 133 Castor Circle. a sphere. of. 68 sidereal. parallax of. vernal. 8 laws. 25 HORIZON. 72 tropic of. 18 real. 52 first. 21 error of. 21 great. 1 145 Equator. 9 Circle. 38 Collimation. ANDROMEDA. 71 to draw. 121 DAY. 22 Comets. 45 precession precession of. 28 Earth's. 45 to determine.INDEX. 28 Distance. motion of. 82 EARTH. 113 antarctic. astronomical. 11 Earth. 1. arctic. 31 lower. axis of. 114 measurement of in circular meas- ure. solar. 29 Culmination. 29. 124 Colatitude. 96 cause of the. celestial. nearly circular. 17 apparent annual. 23 Equinox. 97 Motion. upper. 45 is at rest. 16 gravitation of. apparent motion of. 8 . apparent diurnal. 41 Level. aberration of. 114 as a binary star. nebula Angles. 31 determination of. 146 determination of velocity Line. measurement of. 33 Clock. 33 Declination. 53 Mars. horizontal. 90 celestial. 6 Axis of rotation. 17 Ecliptic. 44 of the heavens. 31. 45 Equinoxes. 62 rotation of. 24. orbit of. polar. apparent. 7 i movement. 2 19. 109 MAGNITUDE. 99 NADIR. 114 CANCER.

parallax of. 25. 143 in Andromeda. 150 Sphere. 120 fixed. in a circular orbit. of stars. 26 Refraction. 67 motion of the planet. determination alterations in. 65 147 Vernal equinox. changes of. construction Spectrum. 145 Neptune. 53 motion of through space. 46 determination of at sidereal. 145 planetary. 71 Pleiades. 9. 38 atmospheric. 38 distance. analysis. 143. 120 mass 140 PARALLAX. 144 stellar. 37 distance. 121 motion of. of a star. 42 distance of from earth. 123 TELESCOPE. 112 Second. adjustment of. mean noon. mean. apparent. 85. 145 resolvable. 101 south. 57 mean solar. clock's. 40 calculation of. 100 of the Earth. 19 Right ascensions.154 NADIR. 10 observation Pointers. binary. 94. 96 determination of mean at a given longitude. 146 prismatic. 119 Seasons. 130 celestial. 8 alterations in right ascensions 96 \ 8 distance. 143. 6 of. 7 orbit of. 34 Nebulae. 122. motion of. 90. 11 Prismatic spectrum. 128 real proper motion of. real. 55 Transit instrument. Solar system. 61 effect of Small circle. 150 Protractor. Time. apparent motion of. 127 of. 38 amount of. 26 YEAR. dimensions of the orbit . 95 double. 78 binary. 59. observation of. 125 variable. 143. 3 RADIAN. Stars. 91 determination of difference ofj of two stars. 45 motion of earth on appearance of. colors of. determination of from sidereal time. 9 Pole. 131 right ascension of. 28 distance of. T43 declination of. 6 Spherical triangle. 12 Prsesepe. 59 ZENITH. determination of of. 43 Sun. 142 the fixed. 27 URANUS. 144 in Sword Handle of Orion. 90 magnitudes of. 146 numbers of. horizontal. 38 T 61? . 1 Signs of the Zodiac. 20 instrument. 142 annular. 8 Planets. Stars. motion of. 4 Rate. 98 motion of among the stars. 123 clusters of. 85 telescopic appearance of. 116 Spectroscope. 40 Right ascension. 51 equatorial.of. 63 transit of. to determine length of. 144 classification of. 118 explanation of motion of. 135 circumpolar. 93 Plane. 120 nebulous. 139 binary. 53 mean. 31 cluster of in Sword Handle of Perseus. of. in an ellipse. 28 telescopic appearance of. Index. 120 SATURN. 57 mean at apparent noon. 11' _ proper motion of. 52 sidereal. 133 double. 89 the mean. 12 star. 82 annual. 80 orbits of. 21 of. 143. VENUS.

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