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$1200.

A TEXT-BOOK
OF

FIELD

ASTRONOMY

FOR ENGINEERS.

GEORGE

C.

COMSTOCK,

Director of the Washburn Observatory, Professor of Astronomy in the University of Wisconsin.

FIRST ED TTTON
FIRST THOUSAND.

.

NEW YORK

JOHN WILEY &
London
:

SONS.

CHAPMAN &
1902.

HALL, Limited.

Copyright, 1902,

BY

GEORGE

C.

COMSTOCK.

/fsfroHM

.

ROBKRT DRUMMOND. PRINTER, NEW YORK.

PREFACE.

The

present work

is

not designed for professional

students of astronomy, but for another and larger class

found in technical
the author's

colleges.

For

many

years

it

has been

duty to teach to students

of engineering

the elements of practical astronomy, and the experience

thus acquired has gradually produced the unconventional

views that find expression in the present text and which,
to the author's mind, are
justified

by the following

considerations

In the engineering curriculum, work in astronomy

is

a part of a course of technical and professional training
of students

who have no purpose
it

to

become astronomers.
those
parts
of

Under these circumstances
instructor
to
select

seems the duty of the

for

presentation

astronomical practice most closely related to the work
of the future engineer and,

with reference to the narrow

limits of time allotted the subject, to

keep

in the

backin-

ground
terest

many

collateral matters that are of

primary

and importance to the student
of astronomical practice

of

astronomy as a

science.

The parts

most pertinent to

PREFACE.

engineering instruction seem to the author to be
ing in the art of numerical computation
;

(a)

Train-

(6)

Training in

the accurate use of such typical instruments of precision
as

the sextant and the theodolite, with special refer-

ence to the elimination of their errors from the results of
observation;
(c)

Determinations of time, latitude, and

azimuth, with portable instruments, as furnishing subject-matter through which a and b
realized.
If this

may

be conveniently

work

is

to be done during the single

semester usually allowed for the subject, the time given
to
its

theoretical side,

spherical astronomy,

must be
the
formulae,

reduced to the

minimum amount compatible with
and

student's intelligent use of his apparatus

and in the present work this pruning of the theoretical side has been carried to an extent that would be unpardonable in the training of an astronomer, but which appears

necessary and proper in this case.
Since

many

engineering students acquire from the
little
its
is

mathematical curriculum
spherical trigonometry

or

no knowledge

of

and

numerical applications,

the

first

chapter of

the work

devoted to a brief presenwith special refer-

tation of the elements of this subject

ence to

its

astronomical uses and to the student's acquiin the

sition of

good habits

conduct of numerical work.
in

The astronomical problems presented
as best adapted to the author's

the following

chapters are those that have been indicated by experience

own

pupils,

and while

many

of the

methods given

for their solution arc not

contained in the current text-books, in every case these
are either

methods

in use in the best geodetic surveys,

PREFACE.

V

or such as have been repeatedly tested with students and

found well suited to their use.
fied in the text as rough,

These methods are

classi-

approximate, and precise, with

respect to their precision and the corresponding
of time

amount
and the

and labor required
is

for their application,

student

advised not to use the refined and laborious
result
is

methods when only a rough

required.

As a

rule, in

the development of formulas no attempt
to deal with the general case

has been

made

when the
the probis

solution of a particular case

would

suffice for

lem

in

hand;

e.g.,

the earth's compression

ignored

in treating of the effect of parallax, since its influence
is

vanishingly small in the great majority of cases that

the student will ever encounter, and cases in which this
influence
is

of sensible

amount should be avoided by the
is

instructor.

A

more

serious omission, but one required

by the
of

general plan of the work,
transit

found

in the

theory

the

instrument, Chapter IX, where broken

transits,

thread intervals, curvature of a star's apparent

path, flexure, etc., are passed

by without treatment

or

even suggestion.

They

are not required for the begin-

nings of work with a transit instrument, and therefore
constitute a part of

more advanced study than

is

here

contemplated.
is

As a

partial guide to such study there
list

given upon a subsequent page a

of references to

works that

may

be consulted with profit by the student
of the processes

who

seeks a

more complete knowledge
follows,

of practical astronomy.

The adopted notation
tions,

with only slight devia-

that of Chauvenet, to whose elaborate treatise

vi

PREFACE.
is

upon Spherical and Practical Astronomy the author
under obligations that are
writer
to
S.

common
and

to every present-day

upon those

subjects.

His thanks are also due
in particular to Dr.

many

of his former pupils,

D. Townley and

Mr. Joel Stebbins,
manuscript.

who have read

and

criticised portions of his

TABLE OF SYMBOLS.
The

following table contains a brief explanation of the

principal symbols

employed

in the text,

with references

to the page at which they are respectively defined.

There
of

are omitted from the table a considerable

number

symbols employed only
their definition.

in

immediate connection with

Mathematical.

2
h

p.

154
11

Summation symbol. The enclosed number
Altitude.

is

a logarithm.

Coordinates, etc.

Zenith distance.

Complement

of h.

Azimuth, reckoned from south. Azimuth,, reckoned from north.

Hour

angle.

Declination

Right ascension.
Latitude.

Longitude. Sun's semi-diameter. Horizontal parallax.
Time.
Sidereal time.

44

Mean solar time. Time shown by a chronometer, whether right or wrong.
Chronometer correction. Chronometer rate. Equation of time. Date of an observation. Date of conjunction, mean sun with vernal equinox,
vii

a

TABLE OF CONTENTS.

CHAPTER
Introductory
Spherical trigonometry.
cal

I.

PAGE
i

Approximate formula?. NumeriLimits of accuracy.

computations.

Logarithmic tables.

CHAPTER
Coordinates
Fundamental concepts.
coordinates.

II.

22

Notation. Transformation of coordinates.
Definitions.

Table of

CHAPTER
TlME

III.

35

Longitude. Three time systems. Conversion of time. Chronometer corrections. The almanac.

CHAPTER
Corrections to Coordinates
Dip
of horizon.

IV.

49

Refraction.

Semi-diameter.

Parallax.

Diurnal aberration.

CHAPTER
Rough Determinations

V.

59

Latitude from meridian altitude. Time and azimuth from single altitude. Meridian transits for time. Orientation and
latitude

by

Polaris.

TABLE OF CONTENTS.

CHAPTER
Approximate Determinations

VI.
PAGH

79

Circum-meridian altitudes for latitude.
altitude.

Azimuth observations
stars.

at

Time from single Time and elongation.

azimuth from two

CHAPTER
Instruments
The
spirit-level.

VII.
99

Value

of half a level divis-ion.

Theory

of

the theodolite. nometers.

Repetition of angles.

The sextant.

Chro-

CHAPTER
Accurate Determinations
Time by equal
altitudes.

VIII.
141

Precise azimuth with theodolite.

Zenith-telescope latitudes.

CHAPTER
The Transit Instrument
Preliminary adjustments.

IX.
16S

Theory

of the transit.

Ordinary

method for time determinations. Personal equation. Methods Time determination with and accuracy of observation. Azimuth of terrestrial mark. reversal on each star.
Bibliography
196

Orientation Tables

197

FIELD ASTRONOMY.

CHAPTER

I.

INTRODUCTORY.
i.

Spherical Trigonometry.

—Any three points

on the

surface of a sphere determine a spherical triangle, whose
sides are the arcs of great circles joining these points,

and whose angles are the spherical angles included between these arcs; e.g., on the surface of the earth,
assumed
to

be spherical

in shape, the

north pole, the city

of St. Louis,

and the borough

of Greenwich, England, are

three points

making a

spherical triangle,

two

of

whose

sides are the arcs of meridians joining St. Louis

and Green-

wich to the pole
circle

;

the third side being the arc of a great
St.

connecting
its

Louis and Greenwich, and measur-

ing

by

length the distance of one place from the other.

The
is

spherical angle at the pole between the

two meridians

the longitude of St. Louis, while the angle at St. Louis
its

between

meridian and the third side of the triangle

represents the direction of Greenwich from St. Louis, a
certain

number

of degrees east of north.
is

The

particular

number

of degrees in this angle

to be found

by

solving

2

FIELD ASTRONOMY.
i.e.,

the triangle,

determining the magnitude of

its

un-

known parts by means of the known parts, and in this case we may suppose these known parts to be the difference of longitude between the two places, and the distance
of each place of its latitude.

from the north

pole,

i.e.,

the complement

The formulae required
triangle are best derived

for the solution of a spherical

by the methods

of analytical

geometry, and in Fig.

i

we assume

a spherical triangle,

ABC,
at 0,

situated on the surface of a sphere whose centre

is

and we adopt

as the origin of a system of rect-

angular coordinates, in which the axis
the vertex, A, of the triangle,

OX passes through
the plane

OY

lies in

AOB,

and

OZ

is

perpendicular to that plane.

From

the vertex

C

let fall

upon the plane

0.4 B the perpendicular
to

CP, and

from

P

draw

PS perpendicular

OX and

join the points

C, S, thus obtaining the right-angled plane triangle

CPS.

INTRODUCTORY.

6

The
sent

lines

OS, SP,

PC
r, is

are respectively the x, y,

and

z

coordinates of the point C, and OC, which

we

shall repre-

by the symbol
A, and

the radius of the sphere.

It is

evident from the construction that the points.

0, S,

C

all lie in

the same plane.

Also, 0, S, A,

B, and

P lie in another plane,
is

and the angle between these

two planes

measured both by the spherical angle

BAC

and by the plane angle CSP, and these angles must therefore

be equal each to the other.

We may now

express
a, b, c,

the coordinates of the point

C in terms of the sides,

and

angles, A, B, C, of the spherical triangle as follows i

OS = x = r cos

b,

SP=y = r sin b cos A, PC = z = r sin b sin A
.

(i)

If

the axis of

x,

instead of passing through
is

made
had

to pass through B, as

A had been shown by the broken line
,

OX', the axis of

Z

remaining unchanged, we should have

for the coordinates of

C

in this system,

= r y' = — r r z' =
x'

cos

a,

sin a cos B, sin a sin

(2)

B.

For the sake of simplicity each angle of the triangle
has been made
falls

ABC
y'

less

than 90

,

and the point P,
,

therefore,

between the axes OX, OX'
from the

thus giving y and

opposite signs, as shown above.
It is evident
x, x', y, y', are

figure that the relations

between
for the-

those furnished

by the formulas

:

.

,

4

FIELD ASTRONOMY.

transformation of coordinates in a plane,

when the

origin

remains unchanged and
angle,

the axes are revolved through an

which

in this case is

measured by the

side c of the

spherical triangle.
„i
/J

We

have, therefore,

„ — 6, y' =y cose — x sine, x' = y sin c + x cos c

(3)

;

and introducing

into these equations the values of the

coordinates above determined and dividing through
r,

we obtain the

following relations

among the

sides

by and

angles of the triangle

B = sin b sin A sin a cos B = cos b sin c — sin b cos c cos A cos a = cos b cos c + sin b sin c cos A
sin a sin
,

(4)

These are the fundamental equations of spherical
trigonometry and hold true not only for the particular
triangle for

which they have been derived, but
whatever
its

for every

spherical triangle,
2.

shape or

size.
4.

Numerical Applications of Equations

— We proceed
must be
parts

to apply these equations to the logarithmic solution of

the triangle above described, premising that in this solution the signs of all the trigonometric functions
carefully heeded, since
first,

upon them depend the quadrants,

second, third, or fourth, in which the
,

unknown

of the triangle are to be found.
shall reserve the signs

In this connection

we

+ and —

for natural

numbers and

place after a logarithm the letter

n whenever the number
negative.

corresponding to the logarithm

is

The student

:

:

4

INTRODUCTORY.
should accustom himself to this practice, since
it
is

the

one

in general use.

The assumed data

of the problem are
. . .

Angular distance, Greenwich to Pole. Angular distance, St. Louis to Pole Spherical angle at North Pole

b
£

= 38°. 5, = 51°. 4.
=90°.

A

and these data we

treat as follows

SOLUTION.
Logarithms.

sin sin

A

=0.000 6=9.794

Numbers. cos b sin c =4-0.613 sin b cos c cos A = —0.003

Logarithms.

sin a sin
sin a

B =9.794
9-854

cos .4 =7.84472 cos c =9.795 sin 6 cos .4 =7.638^ cos 6=9.894
sin c

cos b cos c= 4-0.489 sin b sin c cos A = —0.003
log cos

cosB =9.785 B=45°-6
sin

a

= 9.940

=9.893

0=

9.686

a=6o°.a*

In the solution printed above, the student should

examine the orderly manner

of the arrangement.

Each

number is labelled to show what it is, and from these labels we see that the first column contains the logarithms
of the several trigonometric functions that appear in the

second members of Equations

4.

The second column
These

contains natural numbers representing the values of the
several terms contained in these second members.

are obtained

the

first

by adding the proper logarithms shown in column, and looking out the corresponding num-

bers in the tables.

"in

his

An expert computer will do this work head" without writing down a figure that is not

shown

in the printed solution.

At the bottom of the second column is given log cos a, obtained by looking out the logarithm of the sum of the two numbers that stand just above it. This sum being
positive

shows that the side a

lies in

either the first or

6

FIELD ASTRONOMY.
it

fourth quadrant, but

alone cannot decide between these

two

possibilities.

We

must now have recourse
from the

to the

third column,
sin a sin

which gives the logarithms of the products,
sin a cos B, as derived
first

B

and

and

second columns, and indicates that these products are
positive quantities, since no

n

is

appended to either

of the

logarithms.
sin a, sin B,
ing,

The products being positive, the factors
and cos

B must all have like signs,
is

and assum-

temporarily, that sin a

a positive quantity

we
and

find that

B

must

lie

in the first quadrant, since sin

B

cos

B

are positive numbers.

To obtain

its

numerical
(subtract

value

we

divide

sin a sin

B by

sin a cos

B

mentally the corresponding logarithms) and
result of the division, log tan

find, as

the

B = 0.009.

This furnishes

the value of

B

given in the solution, and fixes as the

direction of Greenwich

from

St. Louis,

N. 45°.6 E.

Now, looking up
of sin

in the logarithmic tables the value

B

(log sin

B = 9.854),

and dividing

it

out from

sin a sin B,

tion for

we obtain the value, 9.940, given in the solusin a. This number might equally have been

obtained by looking up in the tables the value of cos
(

B

= 9.845) and

dividing

it

out from sin a cos B, and with

reference to this double possibility the label for the line

between

sin a sin

B

and

sin sin

a cos

B

is

omitted,

it

being
is

understood that either

B

or cos B, whichever

the

greater of the two, will be entered here

and used

in

the

proper manner to obtain sin
is

a.

The value

of log cos a

given in the middle column, and both sin a and cos a
is

being positive numbers, a
rant.

to be taken in the first quadof a

The agreement between the numerical values

.

INTRODUCTORY.
furnished

7

by the

sine

and

cosine, is a

check upon the accu-

racy of the computation, and an asterisk or check-mark
is

placed after the value of a to show that this check has

been applied and found satisfactory.
In determining the quadrant of B, sin a was assumed
to be a positive number.
It

might equally well have been

assumed a negative number, which would have made
sin

B

and cos

B

both negative, and would have furnished
triangle
if

as the solution of the

B = 225°. 6,

a

= 2gg°.i.
circle
it.

This

is

also a correct result, for
2 2 5°.6 E.,

we

travel from St. Louis

in the direction N.
299°.i long,

over an arc of a great

we

shall find

Greenwich at the end of

The

first

solution represents the least distance, the second

solution the greatest distance, on the surface of the sphere,

between the two
it is

points,

and as a matter
first

of convenience to

customary to use the
is

solution

and

assume that

sin a
3.

a positive number.
Applications of Equations
4.

Analytical

—Equations
tri-

4 suffice for the solution of any triangle in which there
are given two sides

and the included

angle,

but they are

not immediately applicable when other parts of the
angle are the data of the problem,
sides are given
e.g.,

when

the three
large part

and the angles are required.

A

of spherical trigonometry,

therefore, consists in purely

analytical transformations of these equations into forms

adapted to different data.
suggested,
a,
b,

For the particular case above

and

c given,

we

find

from the

last of

Equations 4
cos

A=
.

cos a — cos b cos c
.

sin b sin c

— ,—

,

(5) VJ/

:

:

8

FIELD ASTRONOMY.
of

by means

which the angle

A may

be computed with

the given data, and similar equations
the other angles.

may be

written for

By

transformations more tedious than

difficult,

and

involving the introduction of two auxiliary quantities,
defined below
into a

we may change Equation form more convenient for computation when all
by Equations
6,

5.

three of the angles are to be determined (see any treatise

on spherical trigonometry for the analytical processes
involved)
.

As a

result of these transformations

the following auxiliaries and the solution

we have involving them

s

= ±(a + b + c),

k

= ±yj-r-

sm

s

'sm(s-a) sin(s-b) sm(s— c)'

cot

\A=k

sin {s— a),

(7)

with corresponding expressions for the other angles,

cot cot

\B=k
\C = k

sin (s
sin

— b), (s — c).

Right-angled Spherical Triangles.

— Since
We

Equations 4

hold true for

all

spherical triangles,

we may apply them
i.e.,

to the special case of a triangle right-angled at A,
in

one

which the angle
cos

A

equals 90

.

shall

then have

sin A = i, obtain by

A

=0, and with these special values we

substitution the following equations, which

should be compared with the corresponding formulae
of plane trigonometry

INTRODUCTORY.

From
From

the

first

equation,

sin

B=

sin a

first

and second equations, tan
third equations, cos

B = sin
B

tan b
c c
'

(8)

From second and

tan

tan a
b cos
c.

From

the third equation,

cos a

= cos

These equations together with those derived in the
preceding sections, while far from covering the whole
field

of spherical trigonometry, will be found sufficient for the

purposes of this work.
4.

Approximate

Formulae.

— In
It is

an important

class of

cases all the preceding formulas
for numerical use as follows
:

may

be greatly simplified

shown, in treatises on

the differential calculus, that the trigonometric functions

may

be developed in

series; e.g.,

sin

x—x — -7-H 6
x
3
;

etc.,

120

tanx=x + —

+—r + etc,
J

2%

(9)

5

2 x4 x< --7-7-— etc., cosx = i— - +
9
,

2

24

where x

is

expressed

in

radians

(one

radian

= 57°. 3,

= 3437'-75> =206264". 8).
exceed a few minutes of
arc,

When
are
still

the angle x does not
is

x radians

a small fraction,

and

its

powers, x

2
,

x

3
,

etc.,

smaller quantities, so
all

that in these series
first,

we may suppress
first

terms save the

or all terms save the

two, and the error pro-

duced by neglecting these terms of a higher order, as

:

10

FIELD ASTRONOMY.
is

they are called,

approximately measured by the

first

term thus neglected.

For

illustration

we assume x=i°,
shown
in

and turning

this into radians find the results

the following short table
Radians.
Arc.

X=o. 0174533+ = £* 2 =o. 0001523+ =

31". 42

^
It in a million
itself in

\x z =0.0000009

+ = 4 =o.ooooooo+ =

o".i8

^
if

o".oo

appears from the value of %x 3 here given, that
,

we

are prepared to tolerate in our

work an
of
i°,

error of one part

we may,

for

an arc

substitute the arc
latter

place of

its sine, in

any formula where the
2

occurs

;

and

similarly (from the value of hx

stitute unity in place of the cosine of

an arc

we may subof 1 °, if we are
)

willing to admit an error of one part

in seven thousand.

Expressed in arc these errors are as shown in the table,
o".2

and 31". 4

respectively,

and with reference

to these

numbers we may

establish the approximate relations:

the square of a degree equals a minute; the cube of a

degree equals a second
tions, the

;

and

find readily,

from these

rela-

square and cube of any small arc, and thus

decide whether, in a given case, these quantities

may

or

may

not be neglected.
r
,

For example:

if

x = 2°, we

find

x 2 = 4 x 3 = &", and for any work in which the data can be depended upon to the nearest minute only, we may

assume

sin x

= x, but we cannot assume
in

cos x

=

1

without

sacrificing
It

some

of the accuracy contained in the data.

mind that the series given above are expressed in radians, and that when applied numerically, x and its powers must be transmust be constantly borne

:

-

)

INTRODUCTORY.

11

formed from arc into radians by dividing by the appropriate factors given above;
e.g.,

x (radians) =

%" —— — 206264.8
is

(1 1

The

divisor given

above
,

numerically equal to the
in place of the preceding

reciprocal of the sine of 1"

and

equation

it is

customary to write
x (radians) =x"
sin 1".

(12)

As these numerical
here their values

factors are of frequent use,

we

record

log sin 1"

=4.6855749-10,

206264. 8

= [5.3144251].
last
line.

Observe the peculiar notation of the

The
is

brackets indicate that the number placed within them

a logarithm, and the equation asserts that this bracketed

number
tion.

is

the logarithm of the

first

This

use of the brackets

is

member of the equavery common and

should be remembered.

We may
nometry the
the sides,
triangle

apply to the equations of spherical trigoprinciples here developed,

and assuming that
i°, i.e.,

a, b, c,

do not much exceed

that for a

on the surface of the earth the
Equations 8 become

vertices of the

angles are not more than sixty or seventy miles apart, we
shall find that

sm.B =

b
-,

a

cos

B = -, a

c

tan

.£>

= -,
c

b

a2

= b + c2
2

.

12

FIELD ASTRONOMY.

These are the formulae of plane trigonometry, and indicate
that small spherical triangles

may

be treated as

if

they

were plane.

The use

of these

approximate relations

is

not limited

to the solution of triangles, but they

may

be applied to

the trigonometric functions of any small angle wherever
found, and

we

shall

have frequent occasion to use them

in the following pages.
5.

Numerical Computations.

—Engineer and astronomer
and correct compuwill

alike should acquire the art of rapid
tation,

and as a means to that end there

be found

on subsequent pages examples

of numerical

work which

should be studied with reference to their arrangement and
the order in which the several processes were executed.

Often the order in which this work was done

is

not the

order in which the numbers appear upon the printed
page, although their arrangement

upon the page always
and
in

follows exactly the original computation,
is

no case

to be regarded as a

mere summary

of results, picked

out and rearranged after the actual ciphering had been
performed.
of §
2,

For

illustration
sin

we
the

revert to the example
first

and note that

A

is

number written

in

the solution and sin b stands second.

But the second
computation was
in

number

actually written
b,

down
for,
it is

in the

cos A, instead of sin

having found the place

which to look up

sin

A,

more convenient and more
than to turn away
for

economical to look up cos

A

at once, while the tables are

open at the right

place, rather

something else and then have again to find the page

and place corresponding

to the angle A.

Having

finished

INTRODUCTORY.
with the required functions of
out and was followed by cos

13

A
b,

,

sin 6

was next looked

although this required

the computer to skip two intervening lines of the com-

putation and, temporarily, to leave them blank.

The general
is

principle here observed

is:

When

a table
it,

open at a given place, look up, before leaving
is

all

that
it is

to be taken

from that

place.

In order to do this

necessary to block out the computation in advance,
this

and

was done

in the case

under consideration, every
of the first

label,

from the

initial sin

A

column to the
its

concluding a of the last column, being written in
appropriate place before a
logarithmic
table

number was
The form

set

down
it
is

or the

opened.
is

of

computation
to be

thus prearranged
strongly urged

called a schedule,

and

upon the student as a measure

of econ-

omy and good

practice, that he should draft, at

the

beginning of each computation, a complete schedule, in

which every number to be employed
the place most convenient for
its

shall

be assigned

use.

In general the

beginner will not be able to do this without assistance

from an instructor, or from models suitably chosen, and
for the purposes of the present

work the numerous examtaken as such models.

ples contained in the text

may be

Some
(A)

cardinal points in the arrangement of a good

schedule are as follows:

Make

it

short but complete.

Do

as

much

of the

work "in your head"

as can be done without unduly

burdening the mind, and write upon paper only the
things that are necessary.

But

all

things that are to be

written should have places assigned

them

in the schedule.

,

14

FIELD ASTRONOMY.
side

No

computations, upon another piece of paper,

should be allowed, and the entire work should be so

arranged and labelled that a stranger can follow
tell

it

and

what has been done. (B) When the same quantity

is

to be used several

times in a computation (sin b appears as a factor in three
different terms of the preceding example) the schedule

should be so arranged that the

only once,
sin

e.g.,

since sin b

is

number need be written to be multiplied by both

A

and cos

A

it

is

placed between these numbers

in the schedule,
sin b cos

and

for a similar reason the product
c

A

is

placed between cos

and

sin

c.

In adding

the logarithms to form the product

sin b sin c cos

A

cover cos b with a pencil or penholder and the addition
will

be as easily made as

if

the intervening

number were

not present.
(C)

Frequently, several similar computations are to
slightly different data, e.g.,
it

be made with

may

be

re-

quired to find the direction and distance of half a dozen

American

cities

from Greenwich.

A

single

schedule

should then be prepared and the several computations
should be carried on simultaneously, in parallel columns,
all

placed opposite the same schedule;

e.g.,

look out

sin

A

and cos and cos

A
any

for all six places before proceeding to

find sin b for
sin b

of them, etc.

In this particular case

b,

depending on the latitude of Greenwich,

are the

same

for all the solutions,

and instead

of writing

their values in each column, they should be written

upon

the edge of a slip of paper and
to

moved along from column
for future

column as needed.

As a memorandum

4

:

INTRODUCTORY.
reference they should also be written in one

15

column of

the

computation.
is

Practise

this

device whenever the

same number

to be used in several different places.

See §§36 and 40 for examples of two computations de-

pending upon a single schedule.
6.

The

Trigonometric

Functions.

—There
first

is

opened to

the inexperienced computer an abundant opportunity for
error in looking out from the tables the trigonometric

functions of angles not lying in the

quadrant.
is

The

best

mode

of guarding against such errors

the acqui-

sition of fixed habits of procedure, so that the

same thing

shall

always be done in the same way, and to this end

the following simple rules
(1)

may

be adopted
first,

For any odd-numbered quadrant,
first

third, etc.

Reduce the given angle to the
out the nines from
its

quadrant by casting
of degrees (add

tens

and hundreds

these digits together and repeat the addition until the

sum

is

reduced to a single

digit, less

than nine), and look

up the required function of the reduced arc. (2) For any even-numbered quadrant, second,
etc.

fourth,

Reduce the angle

to the first quadrant, as above, to the one of course,

and look out the function complementary
given.

The

algebraic sign of the function

is,

in all cases

determined by
falls.

the quadrant in which the

original angle

See the following applications of these rules:
Quadrant. 2d, Even 3d, Odd 4th, Even 5th, Odd 6th, Even
etc.

Required. 29' tan 264 33' 51' sin 316 18' cot 4 1

cos 144

tan 499
etc.

49'

= = = = =

Equivalent.

Process

-sin S4
84 46 +cot 54 —cot 49

+tan

— cos

29 33
51

i+4=S 2+6=8
3

18

4

+ I= 4 + i=5

49

Reject the 9
etc.

etc.

:

16

FIELD ASTRONOMY

We may

readily formulate a corresponding rule for

the converse process, of passing from the function to the angle, as follows:
(i)

When

the arc

lies

in

an odd quadrant.

Look

out,

in the first quadrant, the angle that corresponds to the

given function and add to
of 90
,

it

the required even multiple

i.e.,

o° or 180

.

(2)

When

the arc

lies in

an even quadrant.

Change

the
cot,

name
etc.).

of the function (for cos read sin, for tan read

Look

out, in the first quadrant, the correit

sponding angle and add to
of 90
,

the required odd multiple

i.e.,

90 or 270

.

See the following examples, in which
the required angle

we

represent
is

by

z

and suppose that there
tangent,
e.g.,

given

the numerical value of

its

log tan 2

= 9.654.

The process

of looking out in the several quadrants the
is

angle corresponding to this tangent
Quadrant.

as follows

INTRODUCTORY.
z

17

= o°

33'

1

7".

The

difficulty

comes from the rapid variadiffer-

tion of the function, large
ences.

and changing tabular
z

On

the other hand, log cos

changes slowly and
If

may

be readily and accurately interpolated.

we take

the converse case and suppose the logarithmic function
to be given

and the corresponding angle required, we

shall obtain the opposite result.

The angle

will

be accu-

rately determined

by the

sine or tangent
e.g.,

and very poorly
o° 36'

determined by the cosine,

log cos o° 33' 17" =9.99998

and every angle between
in the value of the angle

o° 29'

and

has this

cosine, thus leaving a possible error of several

minutes

determined from this function,

while the log
will

sin, if

correctly given to five decimal places,

determine the same angle within a small fraction of

a second.
In the interest of precision an angle should always be

determined from a function that changes rapidly (large
tabular differences), while a quantity that
is

to be found

from a given angle

is

best determined through a function

that changes slowly.

In the example of §
sin

2,

sin

a might

have been determined through

B

or cos B,
it

and the

former was used for this purpose because

varied the

more

slowly.

In cases of this kind, and they are very

common, use the function that stands on the right-hand
side of the page, in the tables,

and subtract

it

from the

larger of the
it

two numbers,
employed.
in this

sin a sin

B

or sin a cos B, and
it is

will

be then unnecessary to consider whether
is

sine

or cosine that

The angle
its

a,

example, was determined through
,

tangent (log tan a = log sin a — log cos a) since the

18

FIELD ASTRONOMY.

tangent always varies more rapidly than either sine or
cosine

and should generally be preferred

for this purpose.

After obtaining a, its sine

and cosine were looked out

from the tables and compared with the numbers obtained
in the solution, for the sake of the

"check" thus

fur-

nished upon the accuracy of the numerical work.

In

subsequent pages other checks will be shown, and these
should be applied to test the accuracy of numerical work

whenever they are

available.
is,

The mental

strain

accom-

panying a long computation
stances,

under the best of circumsatisfied

considerable,

and a check properly

serves to relieve this tension

and

facilitate the subse-

quent work.
8.

Accuracy
2

of Logarithmic

Computation.

—The examto to this use of

ple of §

was solved with logarithms extending only
and corresponding

three places of decimals,

a three-place table the results are given to the nearest

tenth of a degree.

If it

were required to obtain results

correct to the nearest minute or nearest second, a greater

number

of decimals

must be employed

(four-, five-, or six-

place tables).

The labor of using these tables increases very rapidly as the number of decimals is increased, and
a compromise
is

always to be made between extra labor

on the one hand and limited accuracy on the other.

As the choice
is

of a proper

number

of decimal places
is

usually an embarrassing one for the beginner, there

given below for his guidance a formula intended to repre-

approximately, the limit of error to be expected in the results of computation on account of the
sent, at least

inherent imperfections of logarithms

(neglected

deci-

INTRODUCTORY.
mals,
etc.).

19
fall
it

The actual

error

may

considerably
little.

short of this limit or

may

overstep

a

It

is

evident that the limit will be greater for a long compu-

and if we measure the length by the number, n, of logarithms that of a computation enter into it and represent by m the number of decimal
tation than for a short one,

places to which these logarithms are carried, there

may

be derived from the theory of probabilities the following
expression, in minutes of arc, for the limit of probable
error:

Limit

= 2800'

.

s/~n

.

\o~ m

.

Applying
put w =

this

formula to the example of

§ 2

we may

i6,

^ = 3,

and

find 10' as the limit of unavoid-

able error; corresponding well with the one-tenth of a

degree to which the results were carried.

If

the data

were given to the nearest minute and

it

were required

to preserve this degree of accuracy in the results,

we

should write,
.i
/

= 28oo'

.

4.10-'*,

and

solving, find

^ = 4.0,

i.e.,

a four-place table

is

re-

quired for this purpose.

Let the student verify by means of the above equations the following precepts:

To obtain

Use

Tenths of degrees
Minutes Seconds

Three-place tables.

Four-place tables.
Five- or six-place tables.

Tenths of seconds

Seven-place tables.

20
If

FIELD ASTRONOMY.
the results are to be expressed in linear instead of

angular measure, the limit of error must be represented
as a fractional part of the quantity,
x,

that

is

to be

determined, and corresponding to this case

we have

Limit

=o

.

8

x y/n io~™.
.
.

Corollary.

Do

not attempt to obtain from a table
e.g.,

more than
and

it is

capable of furnishing;

do not

inter2,

polate hundredths of

a degree in the example of §

in connection with linear quantities

do not, as a

rule,

interpolate

more than three

significant figures

from a

three-place table, four
9.

from a four-place

table, etc.

Logarithmic Tables.

— There

exists

a great variety

of logarithmic tables of different degrees of accuracy,

from three to ten places of decimals, and having deter-

mined the number

of decimal places required in a given

computation, the choice
is

among

the corresponding tables

largely a matter of personal taste.

The beginner,

however, will do well to observe the following rules for
distinguishing good tables from
(A)

bad ones:
differences

Wherever the tabular

exceed
parts,

10,

a

good table should furnish proportional

PP,

in the

margin of each page, so that the logarithms

may

be interpolated "in the head."
(B)

The

tables should be

accompanied by tables of
For an explanais

addition and subtraction logarithms.
tion of these, their purpose

and

use, the student

re-

ferred to the tables themselves, but

we note

here that

by

their aid the

example

of § 2

might have been

much

:

INTRODUCTORY.
more conveniently
problem
in § 15.

21

solved, as

is

illustrated in a similar

The most generally
to have

useful tables are those of five
it

decimal places, but computers find

to their

advantage

and

use at least one table of each kind,

from three

to six or seven places.

In the examples solved in the

present work the following tables have been used
Three-place,

Johnson.
Slichter.

Four-place,
Five-place,
Six-place,

New York. New York.
Berlin.

Gauss.

Berlin.

Albrecht.

Albrecht's

Bremiker.

Berlin.

As a very
a
slide-rule

useful supplement to the logarithmic tables

and the extended multiplication
are highly esteemed.

tables of

Crelle

and Zimmermann

CHAPTER

II.

COORDINATES.
10.

Fundamental Concepts.

— For
may

most purposes of
be considered as

practical

astronomy the
i.e.,

stars

attached to the sky,

to the blue vault of the heavens,

which

is

technically called the celestial sphere,

and

is

re-

garded as of indefinitely great radius but having the
earth at
its centre, so

that a plane passing through

any

terrestrial point intersects this sphere in a great circle,

and

parallel planes passing

through any two

terrestrial

points intersect the sphere in the same great circle.
If

the axis about which the earth rotates be produced
it

in each direction,

will intersect the celestial sphere in

two
If

points, called respectively the north

and south

poles.

a plumb-line be suspended at any place, P, on the

earth's surface,
will intersect

and be produced

in

both directions,

it

the celestial sphere, above and below, in

the zenith and nadir of the place.

The

direction thus

determined by the plumb-line
place.

is

called the vertical of the

The
of

figure (shape) of the earth place,

is

such that the vertical
intersects the

any

when produced downward,

rotation axis,

and a plane may therefore be passed through
22

COORDINATES.
this axis

23
its

and the

vertical.

This plane, by

intersection
circle

with the

celestial sphere,

produces a great

which
is

passes through the poles, the zenith and nadir, and
called the meridian of the place, P.

A

plane passed through

P perpendicular to
by
its

the direc-

tion of the vertical produces

intersection with the

sphere the horizon of P.
vertical
is

Any

plane passing through the

called a vertical plane

and produces by
circle.

its inter-

section with the sphere, a vertical
circle

That

vertical
is

whose plane

is

perpendicular to the meridian

called the prime vertical.

With exception
defined depend

of the poles, all of the terms

above

upon the

direction of the vertical,

and

as this direction varies from place to place
earth's surface each such place has its

upon the
meridian,

own

horizon,

zenith,

etc.,

while the poles of the celestial
all places.

sphere are the same for

A

plane passed through the centre of the earth perits

pendicular to the rotation axis produces by
section with the earth's surface the

inter-

terrestrial equator,
it

and by

its

intersection with the celestial sphere
celestial

pro-

duces the

equator.
in its orbit

Owing

to the

motion of the earth

we

see

anything within the orbit from different points of view
at different seasons of the year,

and by the

earth's

motion

the sun

is

thus

made
is

to describe

an apparent path among

the stars, making the complete circuit of the sky in a
year.

This path

a great circle intersecting the celestial

equator in two points diametrically opposite to each
other,

and that one

of these points through

which the

-

24

FIELD ASTRONOMY.
22

sun passes on or about March
the vernal equinox.
11.

of each year,

is

called

Systems of Coordinates.

— Most

of

the problems

of practical

astronomy require us to deal with the appar-

ent positions and motions of the heavenly bodies as
seen projected against the sky, and for this purpose
there are employed several systems of coordinates based

upon the concepts above
of polar coordinates
in

defined,

and three
all

of these

systems we proceed to consider.

These are

systems

having the following characteristics

common:
(1)

The

origin of each system

is

at the centre of the

celestial sphere.
(2)
sists of

Each system has a fundamental plane and conan angle measured
in the

fundamental plane;

an angle measured perpendicular to the fundamental
plane; and a radius vector.
is

The

first

of these angles

frequently called the horizontal coordinate, and the

second the vertical coordinate, of the system.

Latitudes
of

and longitudes on the earth furnish such a system
coordinates.

coordinate)

is

The longitude of St. measured by an angle
which
is

Louis

(horizontal

lying in the plane

of the equator,

the fundamental plane of this

system.
is

The

latitude of St. Louis (vertical coordinate)
in a plane perpendicular

measured by an angle lying

to the equator,

and the radius vector

of St. Louis

is its

distance from the centre of the earth, which latter point
is

taken as the origin of coordinates.
(3)

In

each

system the horizontal
in

coordinate

is

measured from a fixed direction

the fundamental

:

COORDINATES.
plane, called the prime radius, through 360
tical
.

25

The

ver-

coordinate

is

measured on each side of the fundato 90
.

mental plane from o°
(4)

Those vertical coordinates are called positive

that

lie

upon the same

side of the

fundamental plane

with the zenith of an observer in the northern hemisphere of the earth.
side of the
(5)

Those that

lie

upon the opposite

fundamental plane are negative.
frequently convenient to measure a vertical

It is

coordinate from the positive half of a line perpendicular
to the fundamental plane instead of

from the fundaas the vertical

mental plane

itself,

(e.g.,

in § 2

we take

coordinate of St. Louis
of

its

distance from the pole instead
is

from the equator)

.

In such cases this coordinate

always positive and

is

included between the limits o°

and 180

.

If

h represent any vertical coordinate measfirst

ured in the manner

described and z be the corre-

sponding coordinate measured in the second way, we
shall obviously

have the

relation, z

= go° —

li.

The
differ

several

systems

of

astronomical

coordinates

among themselves

in the following respects

(a)
(b)

Different fundamental planes for the systems.
Different positions of the prime radii in the fun-

damental planes.
(c)

Different directions in which the horizontal co-

ordinates increase.

The data which completely

define each system of

coordinates are given in the following table

together
letters

with the names of the several coordinates, the

by which

these are usually represented, and the point

. .

26

FIELD ASTRONOMY.
toward

of the heavens, called the pole of the system,

which the positive half of the normal to the fundamental plane is directed. The terms east and west are used
in this table

with their

common

meaning, to indicate

the

direction toward

which

the horizontal coordinate

increases.

The
are

letters associated

with the several cothat

ordinates

conventional

symbols

should

be

committed to memory.
SYSTEMS OF COORDINATES.
System
Horizon Meridian
III.

Fundamental plane Prime radius points toward
Horizontal
coordinates increase

Equator Meridian

Equator Vernal Equinox
East North Pole Right Ascension = c
Declination = 8

toward

West
Zenith
.
.

West
North Pole

Normal points toward

Name Name

of horizontal coordinate. of vertical coordinate

Azimuth=/2
,

Hour angle=^
Declination = S

Altitude=/i

Exercises.

— Let the student define
by the

in his

own language
t,

the several

quantities above represented
i
.

letters

A,
?

a, h,

and

8.

2.

What is the azimuth of the north pole What do the hour angle and altitude of

the zenith respectively

equal?
3
4.

What What

are the azimuths of the prime vertical

?

are the declinations of the points in which the horizon

cuts the prime vertical? Does S in the second system differ in any 5

way from

S in the third

system ?

The

directions of the prime radius as above defined
I

for systems

and

II,

are ambiguous, since the meridian

cuts the fundamental plane of
in

each of those systems

two

points.

Either of these points

may
lies

be used

to determine the direction of the prime radius, but in

general that one

is

to be

employed which

south of

the zenith.

COORDINATES.

27

in

Let the student show the relation between the coordinates furnished System I by adopting each of the possible positions for the prime

radius.

12.

Uses of the Three Systems.

It is well to consider

here, very briefly, the reasons for using

more than one

system of coordinates, and the relative advantages and
disadvantages of these systems.

The coordinates
transit, since the

of

System

I

are well adapted to
e.g.,

observation with portable instruments,

an engineer's

horizon

is is

more

easily identified with

such an instrument than

any other reference

plane,

and the
defined

circles of

the instrument

may

be made to read,

directly, altitudes

and azimuths.

The horizon has been

by

reference to the direction of a plumb-line,
spirit-level,

but in practice a
liquid at rest, are
its position.

or the level surface of a
to determine

more frequently used

System

I

possesses the disadvantage that, through
its axis,

the earth's rotation about

both the altitude and
in a compli-

azimuth of a star are constantly changing
a marked advantage.

cated manner, and in this respect System II possesses
Since the normal to
its

funda-

mental plane coincides with the earth's axis, rotation

about

this axis has

no

effect

upon the

vertical coordi-

nates, declinations,

which remain unchanged, while the
per hour, and are therefore easily

horizontal coordinates, hour angles, increase uniformly

with the time, 15

taken into account and measured by means of a clock.
Suppose a watch to have its dial divided into twenty- four hours, instead of the customary twelve. If this watch be held with its dial parallel to the plane of the equator, the hour hand, in its motion around


28
the
dial, will follow

FIELD ASTRONOMY.

and keep up with the sun as it moves across the the watch be turned in its own plane until the hour hand points toward the sun, the time indicated upon the dial by this hand will be approximately the hour angle of the sun, and the zero of the dial will point toward the meridian, i.e., sotith. Let the student compare the ideal case above considered with the following rough rule sometimes given for determining the direction of the meridian by means of a watch with an ordinary, twelve-hour, dial: Hold the watch with its dial as nearly parallel to the plane of the
sky.
If

(See § 13 for the position of this plane.) equator as can be estimated. Revolve the watch in this plane until the hour hand points toward the sun, and the south half of the meridian will then cut the dial midway between the hour hand and the figure XII.

A

further advantage

is

gained in the third system

of coordinates,

since here the prime radius shares in

the apparent rotation of the celestial sphere about the
earth's axis,

and both the horizontal and

vertical coor-

dinates are therefore unaffected

by

this

motion.

In-

struments have been devised for the measurement of
the coordinates in each of these systems, but

we

shall
first

be mainly concerned with those that relate to the
system,

and

shall

consider

System

III

as

employed

chiefly to furnish a set of coordinates

independent of the

earth's rotation

and

of the particular place

upon the
These

earth

at

which the observer chances to

be.

features

make

it

suited to furnish a

permanent record
so used in the

of a star's position in the sky,

and

it is

American Ephemeris
nacs,

(see

§21) and other nautical alma-

where there

may

be found, tabulated, the right

ascensions and declinations of the sun, moon, planets,

and

several

hundred of the brighter
between the

stars.

13. Relations

Systems of Coordinates.
is

A

problem of frequent recurrence

the transformation

of the coordinates of a star

from one system to another;

COORDINATES.

29

indeed most of the problems of spherical astronomy are,
analytically,

nothing more than cases of such trans-

formation, and as an introduction to these problems

we

shall

examine the

relative positions of the funda-

mental planes and prime radii of the several systems.

The plane

of the equator intersects the plane of the
line,

horizon in the east and west
the two planes
is

and the angle between
it

called the colatitude, since

is

the

complement

of the geographical latitude of the place

30

FIELD ASTRONOMY.
its

and planes passed through
that the latitude,
<p,

centre,

it

is

apparent

equals the declination of the zenith

and

also equals the altitude of the pole.
is

The angular

distance of the zenith from the pole
latitude, 90

equal to the co-

<p.

The second and third systems of coordinates have the same fundamental plane, and their relation to each other is therefore determined by the angle, 6, between
their

prime

radii.

Since one of these prime radii

is

directed toward a fixed point of the heavens, while the

other

lies in

a meridian of the rotating earth,
is

it is

evident

that the angle

continuously and uniformly variable,
in

at the rate of 360

twenty -four hours.

Methods

of

determining, for any instant, the value of this angle,

which

is

called the sidereal time, will be given hereafter.

For the present we note that

may be

regarded as the

horizontal coordinate of the vernal equinox in the second

system, or as the horizontal coordinate of the meridian
in the third system,

and correspondingly we may

define

the sidereal time as either the hour angle of the vernal

equinox or the right ascension of the meridian.
14.

Transformation

of

Coordinates.
first

—The

transforma-

tion of coordinates
is

from the

to the second system
of the "astronomical

conveniently made by means
i.e.,

triangle,"
zenith,

the

spherical

triangle

formed by the

the pole, and the star whose coordinates are

to be transformed.

In Fig.

3 this

triangle

is

marked
the

by the
celestial

letters

PZS,

P

indicating the position of the
observer's
zenith;

pole;

Z, the

and

5,

apparent place of the star as seen against the sky.

Imag-

COORDINATES.
ine the triangle projected against the sky

31

and the three

points to be visible in their true positions.

PZ

is

an arc

of a great circle passing through the pole
of the observer's

and zenith and must therefore be a part
celestial meridian,

and

in Fig.

2
is

we have already

seen

that this arc of the meridian

equal in length to the

complement

of the latitude, 90

— 0.

The broken

line

Fig.

3.

— The

Astronomical Triangle.

HH'
of

in the figure, is
is

an arc

of a great circle, every part

which

90

distant from Z.
is

But the great

circle

90 distant from the zenith

the horizon, and the arc

HS

that measures the distance of
h,

the star's altitude,
ical triangle,

and the

side

5 from A A' must be SZ of the astronomis

being the complement of this arc,
In like manner,

equal

to

go° —

h.
is

EE', drawn 90

distant

from P,

an arc of the

celestial equator; the a-x

SE,

that measures the distance of
declination,
d,

5 from EE'

,

is

the star's

and the

side

PS

of the triangle equals

9o°-d.

:

32

FIELD ASTRONOMY.

The
this arc,
ically

star's

hour angle,
is

i.e.,

horizontal

coordinate
',

lying in the equator,

measured by the arc EE' and
is

by

a theorem of spherical geometry,
t,

numer-

equal to the spherical angle,
is

included between

EP

and E'P, which

therefore the star's hour angle.

In like

manner the

spherical angle

SZE'

is

shown

to be
of

equal to the star's azimuth, A, and the angle
the astronomical triangle
third angle of the triangle,
called the parallactic angle.
is

SZP

equal to

i8o° — A.

The
is

marked

q in the figure,

To apply
replace the

to the astronomical triangle the fundamental

formulas of spherical trigonometry

derived in

§

i,

general symbols

used in Equations 4

we by

the particular values which they have in the astronomical
triangle, as follows

a = go°-h

= 9 o°-d = 90 — c
b

A=t B = i8o°-A
into Equations 4

and introducing these values
the

we obtain

required formulas

for

transforming altitudes and

azimuths into declinations and hour angles, as follows:
cos h sin cos h

A = + cos d sin cos A = — cos <p sin d + sin sin d + cos sin h = + sin
t,

<p
<P

cos d cos

t,

(14)

cos d cos t

The transformation formulas between the second and
third systems are

much

simpler.

In Fig. 3

if

I7

repre-

sent the position of the vernal equinox,

we

shall

have

the arc

VE'

,

or the corresponding spherical .angle at P,
6,

equal to the sidereal time,

since the sidereal time

is

the

COORDINATES.
hour angle of the vernal equinox.

33

Similarly the arc

VE

and

its

corresponding angle at

P

are equal to the
figure

right ascension of the star,

and from the

we then

obtain the required relations, a + t = 0,
d

=d
first

(i 4 a)

The transformation between the
is

and third systems
i.e.,

best

made through
Problem
in

the second system;
14a.
of

by using

both groups of formulae 14 and
15.

Transformation
11

Coordinates.

— At

the sidereal time 13
of a star

m 22

49

s
.

3

the altitude and azimuth

were measured at a place in latitude 43 4' 36", as follows: h = 6 1° 19' 36", A =253° 9' 42". Required
the right ascension and declination of the star.

The required transformation formulas may be obtained
from the astronomical triangle
Equations
14,

in the

same manner as

and
t

are:

cos d sin cos

= + cos h sin A d cos = + cos h cos A sin d = — cos h cos A a = d-t.
t

,

sin

d>

+ sin
sin

h cos 0,
h sin
<t>

cos

<P -f

Note that

6,

which occurs only

in the last equation,

is

expressed in hours, minutes,
that
15°
it is
ih
,

and seconds
t

of time,

and

customary to express both a and
etc.

in these units,

=

A

convenient

form

for

the

numerical operations
is

involved in solving these equations
the student should trace
it

given below, and

through, verifying each
the

numit is.

ber and ascertaining

why

work

is

arranged as

34

FIELD ASTRONOMY.

Compare and contrast this solution with the one contained in § 2. The difference of arrangement is largely
due to the introduction here of addition and subtraction
logarithms.

These are indicated in the schedule by the
it
is

words Add, Subtract, and

to be especially borne in

mind that the addition indicated by the word Add requires a subtraction logarithm when one of the given terms is itself a negative quantity, etc. The schedule
shows the algebraic operation required by the formula,
but the arithmetical character of the operation
is

altered

by the presence

of

an odd number

of negative signs.

:

CHAPTER
TIME.
1 6.

III.

In astronomical practice, time
differ in

is

measured by

watches and clocks that

no essential respect
astronomers employ

from those in

common

use,

but in addition to the com-

mon

system of time reckoning,

several others, of which

we

shall

have to consider the

following
Sidereal Time, already referred to in § 13.

True Solar Time, which
ent Solar Time.

is

frequently called Appar-

Mean
e very-day

Solar Time, which
life.

is

the

common system

of

These three systems possess the following features
in

common

:

In each system that

common

phrase

' '

the

time of day" means the hour angle of a particular point
in the heavens,

which we
of time

shall call the zero point of the
is

system.
case,

The unit

called a

day and

is,

in

every

the interval between consecutive returns of the
i.e.,

zero point to a given meridian;
of a given meridian past the
is

consecutive transits
point.

same zero

This unit

subdivided into aliquot parts called hours, minutes,

and seconds.
zero point
is

Each day begins at the instant when the on the meridian; i.e., on the upper half of
35

36

FIELD ASTRONOMY.

the meridian (noon) in astronomical practice, on the

lower half of the meridian (midnight) in

civil affairs.

In

astronomical practice the hours from the beginning of
the day are reckoned consecutively, from o to 24; in
civil practice

from o to

12,

and then repeated

to 12 again,

with the distinguishing symbols a.m. and p.m.

In con-

sequence of the different epochs at which the day begins,
the astronomical date in the a.m. hours
is

one day be-

hind the

civil date; e.g.,

Civil

Time

Astronomical

May Time May

10,
9,

5

h
11
.

a.m.

equals

17

In the p.m. hours the dates agree.
Since an hour angle

must be reckoned from a

deter-

minate meridian, this meridian must be specified in order
to

make "the time"

a determinate quantity, and this

specification of the meridian should be included in the

name

assigned to the time;

e.g.,

Local Time denotes the

hour angle of the zero point reckoned from the observer's own (local) meridian. Greenwich Time is the hour angle
of the zero point reckoned

from the meridian

of Green-

wich.

Standard Time

is

the hour angle of the zero point

reckoned from
e.g.,

qo°,

some meridian assumed as standard; meridians 75 in the United States and Canada the and 120 west of Greenwich are called standard, 105
,
,

Standard and Eastern, Central, Mountain, and Pacific meridians. Times are hour angles reckoned from these Alike practice is followed in the use of the term Noon;
e.g.,

Washington Noon
is

is

the instant at which the zero

point

in the act of crossing the

meridian of Washington.

TIME.
17.

'

37

Longitude and Time.

—We have
' '

introduced above

a reference to the time at different meridians, and we have

now

to note that since
it is

'

'

the time

is

defined as an hour
of hours, minutes,

angle,

evident that the

number

and seconds expressing
ured.

either time or hour angle will
latter is

depend upon the meridian from which the

meas-

The

difference

between the hour angles reckoned

from two

different meridians will equal the angle
i.e.,

between

the meridians,
if

their difference of longitude, so that

T'

and T" represent the times

of

any event (whether

sidereal,

mean
have

solar, or true solar

time) referred to two
is
X,

different meridians

whose
k.

difference of longitude
It is

we

shall

T — T" =

customary in astronom-

ical practice to

express differences of longitude in hours

rather than in degrees, since both

members

of the pre-

ceding equation should be given in terms of the same
units.

By
tion

transposition of one term in the preceding equa-

we obtain

V = T" + A
and
this

(16)

extremely simple equation indicates that any

given time referred to the second meridian

may

be

re-

duced to the corresponding time of the

first

meridian
this dif-

by addition
ference,
A, is

of the difference of longitude,

where

to be counted a positive quantity
is

when the

second meridian

west of the

first.

A

very

common
Beware

blunder

is

to omit this reduction to the prime meridian

when
of
it,

interpolating from the almanac (see §21).

and note that the hour and minute

for

which a quan-

38
tity
is

FIELD ASTRONOMY.
required to be interpolated are usually given in

the time of some meridian other than that of Greenwich
or Washington, for which the almanac
is

constructed,

and must therefore be reduced to one
meridians,

of these standard

by addition

of the longitude, before they can

serve as the argument for the tabular quantity sought.
18.

The Three Time Systems.

— The

several time

sys-

tems

differ

one from another chiefly in respect of their

zero points,

and these we have now

to consider.

Sidereal Time.
of this system
is

—As already indicated,
it

the zero point
is

the vernal equinox, and since this

a

point of the heavens whose position with respect to the
fixed stars changes very slowly,

measures well their

diurnal motion.

In colloquial language, "the stars run

on

sidereal time,"

and

this

system is chiefly used in con-

nection with their apparent diurnal motion.
Solar Time.
Solar

— As

their

names

indicate,

both True

Time and Mean

Solar

Time have

zero points that

depend upon the sun, and before drawing any distinction
between the two systems we
earth's annual
recall that,

owing to the

motion

in its orbit,

the sun's position
it

among

the stars changes from day to day (we see

from

different standpoints).

While

this

change

in the sun's

position

is

not an altogether uniform one and takes place

in a plane inclined to that of the earth's rotation (ecliptic,

and equator),

its

net result

is

that in each year the sun

makes one
less transit

entire circuit of the sky, so that

any given
over the
is

meridian of the earth, in the course of a year, makes one
over the sun than over a
star, or

vernal equinox. The number

of solar days in a year

TIME.
therefore one less than the

39

number

of sidereal days; e.g.,

for the epoch 1900, (according to Harkness,)

One

(tropical)

year

= 366.242197 = 365.242197

sidereal days

solar days.

.

(17)

It

appears from this relation that a sidereal unit of time
hour, minute)

(day,

must be shorter than the

corre-

sponding solar unit, a relation that we shall have to consider hereafter.

Apparent, or True, Solar Time.
its

—This system has for
is,

zero point the centre of the sun, and the hour angle

of the sun's centre at
solar time.

any moment
is

therefore, the true

This system

very convenient for use in

connection with observations of the sun, but owing to
the
irregularities
in

the

sun's
etc.,

motion,

above noted,

apparent solar days, hours,

are of variable length,

a day in December being nearly a minute longer than one
in

September.

When

time

is

to be kept

by an accurately
is

constructed clock or watch such irregularities are intolerable,

and

for the sake of clocks

and watches there
viz.,

employed

for

most purposes the third system,

Mean
mean
time.

Solar Time.

— In

this

system the days and other
equal, respectively, to the

units are of uniform length

and

length of the corresponding units of apparent solar

The

zero point of the system
is

is

an imaginary

body, called the mean sun, that

supposed to move

uniformly along the ecmator, keeping as nearly in the

same

right ascension with the true sun as

is

consistent

with perfect uniformity of motion.
time at any

moment

is

The mean solar the hour angle of the mean sun

6 1

:

,

40

FIELD ASTRONOMY.
it

and, numerically,
solar time

differs

from the corresponding true

by the

difference

between the hour angles,

or right ascensions, of the true
difference
is

and mean

suns.

This
fast"

called the equation of time (the
' '

"sun

and
and

' '

sun slow

of the

common almanacs and

calendars)

its

value for each day of the year, at Greenwich noon

and at Washington noon, is given in the American Ephemeris (see § 21) and other almanacs.

To change local solar time from one system to the other

we have

therefore to interpolate the equation of time

from the almanac, with the argument the given local time, reduced to the Greenwich or Washington meridian

by addition
with
its

of the longitude,

and apply

this difference

proper sign to the given local time.

For exam-

ple, let it

be required to find for the meridian of Denver,

and

for the date

May

10,

1905, the local apparent solar

time corresponding to the
below.
A.

mean

solar time,
is

M,

given

The course of the computation
of

as follows

Denver west

Greenwich
Solar

6 h 59™ 47 s
3
5

>
.

M, Denver Mean

Greenwich Mean Solar Equation of Time Denver Apparent Solar Time

Time Time

10.5
58
I
.

2

10

4
8

+
3

2

+3 44-2
3

54

.7

2

+

3

19.

Relation of

Sidereal to

Mean

Solar

Time.

— Since

the sun
in

makes the complete
it

circuit of the

heavens once

each year

must, once in each year, have the same

right ascension,

and therefore the same hour angle, as the vernal equinox. At this particular moment, which we shall represent by the symbol V, sidereal and mean
solar time will agree,

but at any other moment they

will

,

,

TIME.
differ, since,

41

the sidereal units of time being shorter than

the solar ones, sidereal time gains continuously and uni-

formly upon mean solar time, with a daily rate that we

may
given

represent

by the

letter a.

Let

D

represent any

moment

of the year,

and

let

and

M be the corre-

sponding sidereal and mean solar times; we shall then
have, at the instant D,

0-M = a{D-V),
where the interval
since a
is

(18)
in days,

D-V

must be expressed
is

a daily gain.

This daily gain

clearly equal
solar day,

to the difference of length of the sidereal

and

and putting
i
i

Sidereal

Solar

Day = i =i Day

Day — a" Sidereal Day -\-a'"
Solar

where a" and a'" are the values of a expressed respectively
in solar seconds

and

in sidereal seconds,

we

readily find,

from Equation

17,

a" = 2353.910,

a'" =2363.556.

(19)

Where only
assume
in

a rough determination of the difference
is

between sidereal and mean solar time
Equation
18,

required

we may

V = March
and obtain,

22.6,

a = a"'

=4 m [i- TVl,

d=M + 4 m (D- March
two minutes.

22.6)

[i- TVl

(20)

This formula will furnish a result correct within one or

42
If

FIELD ASTRONOMY.
greater precision than the above
is

required

we

must use more accurate values of V and a, and to this end there is given in the American Ephemeris, for Wash-

Mean Noon of every day of the year, the value of the term a(D-V), which is there We shall reprecalled the Sidereal Time of Mean Noon. we note that for sent this quantity by the symbol Q, and
ington (and Greenwich)

any other time than noon, or any other meridian than that of Washington, the difference between sidereal
and mean
solar time,

and

M respectively,

is

equal to

Q, plus the gain of

one time upon the other

in the interval

from Washington mean noon to the given d or a place whose longitude west of Washington
sented by X

M

;

e.g., for

is

repre-

we

have,

0-M = Q+(M+X)ar".
In this equation, for any given place, the term Xa'"
constant, whose value
is

a

may

be determined once for
of the

all

and written
for

in the

margin

page containing the

values of Q, so that

we may take out from the almanac
glance,

any given day, at a

and without

interpola-

tion, instead of 0, the

sum,
(21)
is

Q+Xa'"=Q v
where

Q

x

is

for the local meridian

what Q

for the

Wash-

ington meridian.

We

shall

then have as the relation

between the

local

and M,

d=M + Q
which
is

l

+ Ma'",

(22)

to

be used

for the accurate conversion of

mean

solar into sidereal time.

TIME.

43

For the converse process, converting sidereal into mean solar time, we have the corresponding relation

M = {d-Q )-{d-Q )a",
l
l

(23)

where the

last

term

is

the equivalent of the
is

Ma'"
are

of the

preceding equation, but

expressed in sidereal units.

The numerical values

of {0

—Q

x

)a" and

Ma'"

most

conveniently to be obtained from Tables II and
the end of the almanac.

III, at

They

give the values of these

terms for each minute and second of the twenty-four
hours,

with the arguments

—Q

t

and M, expressed,

respectively, in sidereal

and mean

solar time.

Take

Xa'",

the constant correction to Q, from Table III, with A as the argument.

To

illustrate

the actual process of changing time
shall, for

from one system to the other we

an assumed

date given below, convert the Boston mean solar time, h m 26 s .6;, into the corresponding sidereal time, and 9 i9

then reconvert this sidereal time into

mean

solar time.

The

final result should,

of course, be the

same
h

as the

initial

value of

M.

The
is

difference of longitude

between
i
s
.

Boston and Washington

assumed

to

be

X

= — o 24™

44

FIELD ASTRONOMY.
It

parison only.
of

forms no part of the actual conversion

M into
20.

d.

Chronometer Corrections.

— As

already indicated,
is

in actual practice the measurement of time

made by
from an

clocks or chronometers.

A
upon

chronometer does not

differ essentially
is

ordinary watch, and like the latter
its face,

designed to show
solar time (or

at each

moment, the mean

sidereal time) of

some

definite meridian, e.g., the merid-

ian 90

west of Greenwich.

Since the time indicated

by such an instrument is seldom correct, the error of the timepiece must usually be taken into account, and in
astronomical practice this
6
is

done through the equation,

= T + JT,

or

M = T + AT,
by the chronometer

(24)
(or

where

T

is

the time shown

watch) and
i.e.,

AT

is

the

correction of the

chronometer,

the quantity which must be added, algebraically,

to the

watch time

in order to obtain true

time of the
too slow

given meridian.
is less

When

the chronometer

is

T

than the true time at any moment, and

AT

is

there-

fore positive in this case

and negative when the chro-

nometer

is

too fast.

While the symbol

AT

always repre-

sents a chronometer correction its numerical value in a

given case depends upon the particular use required,
i.e.,

whether the chronometer time

is

to be reduced to

sidereal, or solar, local, or

standard time.

In the two

Equations

24,

therefore,

AT

represents quite different

quantities, since

and

M are usually different one from
memorandum

the other, and in every case a special

.

5

TIME.

45
relates to

must be made showing whether the given AT
sidereal,
If

mean

solar,

o~:

apparent solar time.
it is

the chronometer gains or loses,
will

said to

have a
If

rate

and AT

then change from day to day.
rate, the relation

we
6

assume a uniform

between

T and

becomes

= T + AT o +p(T-T o),
where the subscript
°

(25)

denotes the particular value of

AT

belonging to the chronometer time
of the chronometer per

T and
,

p

is

the rate

day or per hour, positive when
time.

the chronometer

is

losing

The

interval
for

T—T
which
p

must be expressed
is

in the

same unit as that
rate, etc.

given, hours for

an hourly

A

similar equap

tion represents the relation

between

T and M,. but

and

AT
in

will

be numerically different from the values required
25

Equation

A

sidereal

chronometer,
differs

i.e.,

one intended to keep

sidereal time,

from a mean solar chronometer
its

only in the more rapid motion of
in fact

mechanism, and

is
s
.

an ordinary timepiece
Similarly a
for
is

for

which

p=—3 m
hour.

56

per day.

sidereal timepiece

may be which jO= + io
watch

regarded as a
per

s

A

sidereal

chronometer

most convenient

for use in obser-

vations of stars, since their diurnal motion in hour angle
is

proportional to the lapse of sidereal time, but these

observations
or other

may

perfectly well be

made with
is

a watch
treated
if

mean

solar timepiece, provided this

as a sidereal chronometer with a large rate;

e.g.,

p

denote the hourly rate of the watch relative to

mean

solar

46

FIELD ASTRONOMY.

time, its hourly rate

upon

sidereal time will be

p'

=p+

10 s

.

Use Equation 25
to determine from of J7.
21.

in

connection with this value of

p'

minute to minute the varying value

The Almanac.
is

— The

American Ephemeris and

Nautical Almanac

an annual volume issued by the
for the use of navigators, astron-

U.

S.

Navy Department

omers, and others concerned with astronomical data.

These data are for the most part quantities that vary

from day to day and whose numerical values are given
at

convenient intervals of Greenwich or Washington

solar time, e.g., the

and the
moon,

right

and Q of the preceding sections, ascensions and declinations of the sun, and principal
fixed stars.

E

planets,

The

varia-

tions of these quantities are due to

many

causes, orbital
etc.,

motion, precession, nutation, aberration,
general,
lie

that, in

beyond the scope

of the present work, but
in §§ 18

we
ties

shall

have frequent occasion, as

and

19, to

take from the almanac numerical values of the quanti-

above indicated, and these values are to be

inter-

polated for some particular instant of time, usually that
of

an observation

in connection

with which they are

required, as logarithms are interpolated to correspond
to

some particular value

of the

argument

of the table.

Since quantities are tabulated in the almanac for selected
instants of Greenwich or as the

Washington time, the time used

argument

for their interpolation
§ 17).

must be

referred

to one of these meridians (see

For a detailed account
is

of the

way in which the almanac
end
of

to be used, consult the explanations given at the

TIME.

47

each volume, under the

title,

Use of the Tables.
it

In

addition to those explanations

should be noted that

under the heading Fixed

Stars,

pages 304-399, there

are given three separate tables, from the last of which,

bearing

the

subtitle

Apparent Places

for

the Upper

Transit at Washington, accurate coordinates of most of

the stars

may

be obtained for use in the reduction of

observations.

For the remaining

stars, five in

number

and
this

all

very near the
is

celestial pole, special provision of

kind

made

in the

second table, which bears the

subtitle

Circumpolar

Stars.

Look here

for the coor-

dinates of Polaris.

The

first table,

under the subtitle
for all

Mean
and
that

Places, etc., gives in very

compact form,

stars contained in the other

two

tables, right ascensions

declinations, together with their

Annual Variations,
only approxe.g.,

may be consulted with advantage when

imate values of these quantities are required,

in the

preliminary selection of stars suitable to be observed.
In this connection the second column of the table
of

Mean

Places, entitled
it

Magnitude, deserves especial

notice, since

furnishes an index to the brightness of
is

the stars, which

an important element
for
is

in deciding

upon

their

availability

a given instrument.
represented
scale,

The

brightness of each star

by a number

adapted, upon an arbitrary
so that a very bright star
o,
is

to that brightness,

represented

one

at

the

limit

of

naked eye

visibility

by the number by 6,
mag-

and intermediate degrees

of brightness are represented

by

the intermediate numbers, carried to tenths of a
Polaris
is

nitude.

of the

magnitude

2.2,

and

is

a con-

48

FIELD ASTRONOMY.

spicuous object in even a very small telescope, provided
the telescope
is

properly focussed.

In the telescope

of an engineer's transit, stars of the

magnitude

4.0 or

even

5.0

may be

readily observed, while with a sextant,

under ordinary conditions, the third magnitude
be taken as the limit of availability.

may

CHAPTER

IV.

CORRECTIONS TO OBSERVED COORDINATES.
It has already been pointed out that the problems
of practical

astronomy are

in great part cases of the

transformation of coordinates between systems having
a

common

origin

but different axes, and

it

should be

noted that the observed data for these transformations
frequently require some correction before they can be

introduced into the equations furnished by the astro-

nomical triangle.

Aside from errors arising from de-

fective adjustment or other purely instrumental causes,

the observed coordinates of a celestial

body may
is

require

any or
22.

all of

the following corrections.

Dip of the Horizon.
altitude
is

— This

correction

required

when an
Owing

to be derived

from a measurement
sea horizon.

of the angle of elevation of a

body above the

to the spherical shape of the earth the visible
lies

sea horizon always

below the plane of the observer's
of this depression

true horizon,
easily

and the amount

might

be determined from the geometrical conditions
it

involved, were

not that the rays of light coming to

the observer from near the horizon are bent

by the
49

at-

mosphere

(refraction), in a

manner that does not admit

50

FIELD ASTRONOMY.

of accurate estimation in

any given

case,

although

its

average amount

is

fairly

well known.

We

therefore

abstain from any formal investigation
tion,

of this correc-

and expressing by£,

in feet, the observer's elevation
sufficient

above the water, we adopt as a
to the observed

approximation

amount

of the depression, either of the

following formulas,

IT-y/e—TlW*,
The values
in

#" = [I.7738V*-

(26)

of

D

given by these equations are expressed

minutes and seconds, respectively, but owing to variain

tions

the

amount

of

the refraction the numerical

values furnished in a given case
several per cent.

may

be

in error

by

As a

correction

D

must always be

so applied as to diminish the observed elevation above

the horizon.

Note that

if

the depression of the visible horizon

be measured with a theodolite or other suitable instrument, Equation 26
will furnish

an approximate value

of the elevation of the instrument above the water.
23. Refraction.

— In

general

the

apparent direction

of a star

is

not

its

true direction from the observer, since
sees
it

the light

by which he

has been bent from

its

original course in passing through the earth's atmos-

phere.

The

resulting displacement of the star
is

from

its

true position
effect

called

refraction,

and, like the
its

similar

noted in the previous section,

analytical treat-

ment presents mathematical and physical problems whose solution must be sought in more advanced works than the present. Some of the results of that solution

5


51

CORRECTIONS TO OBSERVED COORDINATES.
which we
follows:
shall

have occasion to use hereafter are as
altitudes, less

Save at very low
whole

than

io°,

the

refraction does not sensibly change the
star,

azimuth of a

but

its

effect

is

to increase the altitude, so
it

that every star appears nearer to the zenith than

would
of this

appear

if

there

w ere no
r

refraction.

The amount
in

displacement depends chiefly upon the star's distance

from the

zenith,

but

is

also

dependent

some measure:
its

upon the temperature
pressure.
If

of

the air and

barometric

we

represent

tance, as affected

true zenith

by z' the star's apparent zenith disby refraction, by z the corresponding distance, by t the temperature, in degrees
and by

Fahr., of the air surrounding the observer,

B

the barometric pressure in inches, the
refraction, in seconds of arc, will

amount

of the

be furnished by the
all

following two equations, which for

altitudes greater

than

1

faithfully

reproduce the refractions of the

Pulkowa Refraction Tables, and furnish values that may be relied upon to within a small fraction of a second
of arc.

log
s

F = [4.079 -io](353° +
,
2;

*)

tan 2

2',

r =[2.0022 DJ slv=r vv 1

-,-B

tans'
456° +
,

(27)
1

F

n

For most purposes of
equations

field

astronomy the

first

of these

may

be suppressed and the

divisor, F,

be put

equal to unity; the resulting error in the computed
refraction will rarely be greater than 1".

The readings

of a mercurial barometer, B',

do not

52

FIELD ASTRONOMY.
immediately the barometric pressure, B, but
i.e.,

furnish

require a "reduction to the freezing-point,"
rection to reduce the reading to

a corif

what

it

would be

the

mercury were at the normal temperature assumed
theory of the barometer.

in the

This reduction

may

be ob-

tained with sufficient accuracy from the equation

B'-B =
where
Fahr.,

B

'

(T ~ 29 °\ i- T\-), 10 000

(28)

T

is

the temperature of the mercury, in degrees
its

and the barometer reading and
Semi- diameter.

resulting cor-

rection are expressed in inches.
24.

—Observations
and the

of the sun or other

body presenting a
cally called the limb,
is

sensible disk

are usually

made by

pointing the instrument at the edge of the body, techniresulting altitude or azimuth

that of the limb

observed, while the data furnished

by the almanac

relate to the centre of the body.

The
the

semi-diameters of the sun, moon, and
angles subtended at the earth

planets,

i.e.,

by

their respective radii,

are given in the almanac at convenient intervals of time,

and the interpolated values

of these quantities

may

be

used to pass from the observed coordinates of the limb
to those of the centre of the body, e.g., the sun.

In

the case of the altitude or zenith distance

we have the

very simple relation

h'=h"±S,
where

(29)
h! are, re-

5

denotes the semi-diameter and h" and

spectively, the observed

and the corrected

altitude.

The

CORRECTIONS TO OBSERVED COORDINATES.
sign of

53

5 depends upon whether
the case of

the lower or the upper

limb was observed.
In

an azimuth the relation

is

more
of

complicated.

From

the right-angled spherical triangle

formed by the

zenith, the sun's centre
is

and that point

the limb at which the latter
(see Fig. 4)

tangent to a vertical

circle

we

obtain,

sin z sin (A'

— A") = sin S,

(30)

which determines the correction, A' — A", for difference
of

azimuth between centre and limb.
15',

Since

S

does not

much exceed

we may

in

most

cases assume the arcs to be proportional to their sines

and simplify

this

rigorous equation to the form,

A'
in

=A" ±S

sec h,
is

(3i)

which the positive sign

to be

used for the following and the negative for the preceding limb.
25. Parallax

— In
to

the

reduction
it

of

astronomical observations

is

usually necessary

combine

the
altiFig.
4.

observed coordinates, azimuth,
tude, etc., with data

—Semi-diameter.
and
declina-

obtained from
right

the

almanac,

e.g.,

the

ascension

tion of the

body observed.

But the
is

origin to

which

these latter coordinates are referred

the centre of the

earth, while the origin for the observed coordinates is

54

FIELD ASTRONOMY.

and before combining these heterogeneous data we must reduce them to a common
at the eye of the observer,
origin, for

which we
5 let

select that

used in the almanac.

In Fig.

C

represent the centre of the earth,

O

the observer's position, and
respective distances p

P
r

the observed body, at the

and

from C.

Neglecting the

Fig.

5.— Parallax.
slight deviation
is

earth's compression,

i.e., its

from a truly

spherical form,

the line

OC

the observer's vertical

and, therefore,

OPC

is

a vertical plane and marks out a vertical
circle,

upon the
the body
or C.

celestial sphere

against which

P

will

appear projected whether seen from
will,

Its

azimuth

therefore,

be the same for the
to the centre of the

two

origins

and requires no reduction

earth.

The altitude, however, does require such a reduction, and to determine its amount we let OH in Fig. 5 represent the plane of the observer's horizon and obtain as

.

CORRECTIONS TO OBSERVED COORDINATES.
the observed altitude of

55
h'

P

the angle there

marked

As seen from the
will
figure,

centre of the earth the altitude of

P

be measured by the angle PIH, marked h in the

and from

principles of elementary

geometry we

have

h=h'+ LOPC.
This last angle
resenting
it
is

called the parallax in altitude,
find

and rep-

by

P we

from the triangle

OPC

p sin (90°

+ h') =r

sin P.

Since r

is

always

much

greater than

p,

P must be a
§ 4,

small
write,

angle and, applying the principles of
in place of the preceding equation,

we may

P=h — W = 206265 —cos h'
which
is

t

(32)

the required correction to reduce an observed

altitude to the corresponding coordinate referred to

an

origin at the centre of the earth.

For the fixed stars
sible, less

this correction is absolutely insen-

than o".oooi, on account of their great distance

from the earth.

For the sun and planets
its

it

amounts

to a

few seconds of arc, and in
coefficient,

computation the value of the

206265

,

should be taken from the almanac,
is

where

it is

given for each of these bodies and
it is

called

their horizontal parallax, since

the
is

amount

of the

parallax in altitude

when the body
it
is

in the horizon,

h'=o°.

For the sun

usually sufficient to assume

56
8". 8

FIELD ASTRONOMY.
as a

constant value for
is

its

horizontal parallax.

The moon's parallax

much

greater,

about

i°,

and the

simple analysis given above neglects some factors that
are of sensible magnitude in this case, although for ordi-

nary purposes they

may

be ignored in connection with

every other celestial body.
Since the effect of parallax
farther from the zenith than
for parallax
signs.
26.
is

to

make
is,

the

body appear

it

really

the corrections

and refraction

will

always have opposite

Example.

— In

the application of the several coraltitude they should

rections required

by an observed

be applied

in the order in

which they have been treated

above, and each successive partially corrected altitude

should be used as the value of h required in computing
the next correction.

As an example

of such corrections

we take
at

the following observed angle between the sun's

upper limb and a water horizon as seen by an observer

an elevation

of 63 feet

above the water.

The data

REDUCTION OF AN OBSERVED ALTITUDE.
Temp,
t

CORRECTIONS TO OBSERVED COORDINATES.
furnished directly

57

top of the

first

column.
h'

by the observation are placed at the The tan z' used above is of
and was taken from the
logarith-

course equal to cot

mic tables as a cotangent.
In accordance with general custom the symbol log
is

printed in the above schedule only

when necessary

to

avoid misunderstanding, as at the bottom of the

first

column.

Usually the figures themselves indicate whether
e.g.,

they are logarithms or natural numbers;

the several

numbers marked Const, are
constant coefficients.
the

clearly the logarithms of

For similar reasons of convenience

10 that strictly should be placed after a logarithm
is

whose characteristic has been increased by 10
left to

usually

the imagination.
Diurnal
Aberration.

27.

— There

is

a very small cor-

rection to observed data, arising from the fact that the

observer himself
is

is

not at rest relative to the

stars,

but
his

always in rapid motion toward the east point of

horizon, carried along

by the earth
it

in its diurnal rotation.

This correction

is

so small that

may

usually be omitted

and we therefore abstain from an analytical investigation
of its effect, such as

may

be found in the larger

treatises

upon

spherical astronomy,
all stars

and note as a

result of that

investigation that

when near

the meridian are

displaced toward the east point of the horizon through

an angular distance equal to o".32 cos
notes the observer's latitude.

4>,

where

de-

As a

result of this dis-

placement each star comes a
than
(

little later

to the meridian

it

otherwise would

come and
in arc of

since the rate of

motion
propor-

f

a star

when measured

a great circle

is

58

FIELD ASTRONOMY.

tional to the cosine of its declination, the

amount

of this

retardation,

expressed

in

time,

is

o .o2i cos

s

sec

d.

See the theory of the transit instrument for an example
of the application of this correction,

and

see also the de-

termination of precise
diurnal aberration
is

azimuths for another case in which

to be taken into account.

CHAPTER
ROUGH DETERMINATIONS OF
AZIMUTH.
28.
field

V.

TIME, LATITUDE,

AND
of

General

Considerations.

— For

the

purposes

astronomy, which are the only ones contemplated

in the present work, the

most important astronomical

problems relate to the determination of time, latitude,

and azimuth.

A

time determination implies the making and reduc-

ing of astronomical observations which suffice to furnish

the correction, AT, of a chronometer or other timepiece,

and

for this purpose

we obtain from
t

§§ 15

and 20 the
(

relations

a+

= d = T + AT,

33 )

where a and t represent the right ascension and hour angle
of

any

star at the

chronometer time T.

The student
is

should particularly note that the chronometer

not

supposed to be correctly set

;

T

is

the time shown

by the

chronometer regardless of whether that time be right or
wrong, since the
this kind.

AT

fully

compensates for any error of

In the case of the sun

we

have, from the rela-

tion between

mean and apparent
t

solar time,
(34)

E + = M = T + AT,
where

E

denotes the equation of time at the instant T.
59

60

FIELD ASTRONOMY.
Since a and

E may be obtained from the almanac,
T
will
suffice

any-

observation which determines the hour angle of a

celestial

body
AT,

at the observed time

to determine

and such an observation when properly reduced

constitutes a time determination.

An azimuth
trial points,

determination

may

be required either

for fixing the true

azimuth of the

line joining

two

terres-

or for determining the relation of a particular
e.g.,

instrument to the meridian;
ing,

to determine the read-

K, to which the azimuth

circle of a theodolite

must

be

set, in

order that the line of sight shall point due south.
is

A

theodolite

said to be oriented

when
i.e.,

its

verniers have

been set to read the true azimuth of the object toward

which the

line of sight is directed,

By

a latitude

when K = o. determination we mean any set

of ob-

servations from which a knowledge of the
latitude

observer's

may

be obtained.

For each of these determinations, time, azimuth,
latitude,
differ

many methods have been devised and these greatly among themselves with respect to the

instrumental equipment and expenditure of time and
labor which they require, and with respect to the corre-

sponding degree of accuracy furnished in their
In any given case a choice must be

results.

made among
convenience

these
of the

methods with reference to the required precision
results

and

also

with

reference
it.

to

and

economy

in obtaining

To
in

facilitate this choice the

methods to be presented
classified as:

the following pages are

(A)

Rough Determinations;

in

which there

may be

ROUGH DETERMINATIONS OF TIME,
permitted in the
final result

ETC.

01

an error amounting to two

minutes of arc or one tenth of a minute of time.
(B) Approximate Determinations; in v\h ch the final
:

errors

ought not to exceed 15" and

i

s

respectively.

(C) Accurate Determinations ; in

which the required
of the instru-

precision

is

limited only

by the capacity
and
for a

ment and
limit

of the observer.

In the case of a sextant this

may be placed
.

at 2" or 3",

good engineer's

transit at 1"

We

proceed

first

to consider that class
in

of

observations whose

advantage consists

economy

of time
29.

and

labor, viz.,

rough determinations.

Latitude.

—A
of

determination of any one of the
is

quantities time, latitude, or azimuth

greatly facilitated
if all

by a knowledge

one or both of the others, and

three are unknown, the simplest

mode
by

of procedure
§ 32.

is

to observe the Pole Star as set forth in

But

this

commonly

requires observations

night,
is

which

may

be inconvenient, and by day the sun
readily available.

the object most

From
it
is
i.e.,

the astronomical triangle, or from Equations
is

14,

apparent that when the sun

on the meridian,
if

when

t

= o,

its

altitude

is

a

maximum, and

this

maximum
equation

altitude be

measured with a sextant or theod-

olite it will furnish

a latitude determination through the

<p

= d + z = 9 o° + d-h,

(35)

which

may be

obtained by inspection from Fig.

2,

or

analytically from the last of Equations 14.

With the

instrument employed, follow the sun's motion in altitude

62
until
it

FIELD ASTRONOMY.
begins to diminish, and take the greatest reading

ODtained as corresponding to the This reading, or the altitude,

maximum
h'
,

altitude.
it,

derived from

will

require correction for instrumental errors, semi-diameter,
etc.,

as

shown
arc,

in

Chapter IV, but the application of these
be
abbreviated by interpolating,
in

corrections

may

minutes of

the combined correction for refraction and

parallax from the following short table, instead of com-

puting these corrections by the formulas of §§ 23 and

25.

These corrections are not limited to meridian altitudes, but

may

be applied to any observed altitude of the sun
is

where only approximate accuracy

required.

They
and

correspond to an average condition of the atmosphere
represented

by a barometric pressure
Fahr.

of 29.0 inches

a temperature of 50

h'.

PLATE

I.

An American

Engineer's Transit.

Diameter of Horizontal Circle 7 inches. Approximate Cost $350. [To face p. 62.}

:


:

ROUGH DETERMINATIONS OF TIME,
lination, as furnished

ETC.

63
23°26'.o.

by the almanac, was,
is

d

=—

The reduction

of the observation

as follows

57° 44' 30" Sextant Reading — 1 50 Instrumental Corr. Corr'd Sextant 57 42 40 28 51.3 h'

Ref.-Par.

-

1.6

Semi-diameter
h
go°

+16.3

296.0
+S
66 34.0
37 28.0

Latitude,

Make a determination
lar

of

your own latitude by a simi-

method.
30.

Time and Azimuth from an Observed

Altitude.

If

the latitude be thus observed at noon, time

may be

determined with a sextant, and both time and azimuth

may

be determined with a theodolite, by measuring an

altitude of the sun

when

it is

at

some considerable
its
if

dis-

tance from the meridian,
or more.

e.g.,

when

azimuth

is

6o°

Observations of this kind,

made

for the

determination of time only,

may

be reduced by the
shall here treat of

method developed
observations

in

§

36,

and we

made

for the determination of

both time

and azimuth.
There should be at least two such observations made,
one Circle R. and the other Circle
instrumental errors
the sun, not
its

L., in

order to eliminate

(see

§

50).

Observe the edges of
results for semiis

centre,

and correct the
the instrument

diameter

(§ 24);

but

if

provided with

stadia threads, this correction

may be

avoided as follows

Point the telescope at the sun so that the two horizontal

64

FIELD ASTRONOMY.
off

threads cut

equal segments from the upper and lower

edges of the sun, and by turning the slow-motion screw
in altitude,

keep these segments of equal area as the sun
a position

drifts across the field of view, until it reaches

in

which the vertical thread bisects each segment.
this

Record

time to the nearest second, and also record

the readings of the four verniers of the instrument.

Before reversing the instrument to obtain the second
observation, read

and record both

its

levels

(azimuth

§§48 and 50), and after reversing bring the bubbles back, by means of the le veiling-screws,
and altitude
levels,

to the position thus recorded. errors of level.

This process eliminates

The

better class of engineer's transits are usually

provided with shade-glasses to moderate the intensity
of the sun's light

and permit

it

to be viewed through

the telescope.
sary, since

But these

glasses are

by no means

necesof the

an image

of the sun

and the threads

instrument

may

be projected upon a piece of cardboard

and be there seen and observed quite as accurately as Pull the eyepiece out, away from in the telescope.
the threads, until the latter can no longer be seen distinctly with the eye
;

then allow the sun to shine through

the telescope upon the cardboard held behind the eyepiece,

and

shift

the cardboard toward and from the
is

instrument until a position

found in which the projected
distinct.

images of the threads

appear sharp and

Then

turn the focussing-screw until the edge of the sun's

image
will

also appears well defined

and the projected images

be ready for observation.

.

:

ROUGH DETERMINATIONS OF TIME,
Reduction of the Observations

ETC.

65

—We

shall represent

by

mean of the two recorded times of observation of the stm, by H' the mean of the corresponding readings of the horizontal circle, and by h' the measured
the
altitude furnished

T

by the two observations.
the sun's true altitude,
§ 29.

The

cor-

rections for refraction

and parallax required to reduce
h,

the instrumental

h' to

may

be

taken from the table in

The data

of our

problem

consist of the three sides of the astronomical triangle,

which we

shall

represent

by the

letters
:

a,

b,

c,

and

obtain their numerical values as follows
interpolating from the

a

= 90 — d, by
the

almanac the sun's declination
time
d>,

corresponding
observation
is
;

to

the
c

T

;

b

= 90 — h, from
latitude,

and

= 90 —
7

from the

which

here supposed to be known.

To

these data
I

we

ap-

ply

Equations 6 and

of

Chapter

and determine
the sun's hour

the three angles of
angle,
t,

the triangle,

viz.,

its

azimuth reckoned from the north point,
of the triangle,
q,

A Nt

and the third angle
Putting
quantity,
k, s

as follows

= %(a + b + c), we

introduce the

auxiliary

denned by the

relation,

±k
and
find, in

\sm(s-a)sm(s-b)sm(s-c)'
it,

(36)

terms of
cot

%A N = k

sin (s

— a),
(37)

cot \t cot \q

=k

sin (s-b),

=k

sin (s

— c).

66

FIELD ASTRONOMY.

For an a.m. observation use the
tion the

,

for a p.m. observa-

+

sign for k.
q,

The angle
'check' which

for

which we have no direct need,

is

included in the solution for the sake of the following
it

furnishes

upon the numerical com-

putations

:

Multiplying together the three equations last

given and replacing k 2 in the product

by

its

value in

terms of

s,

we

obtain,

cot

%A D

cot %t cot \q

=k

sin

s,

(38)

an equation that must be
in the logarithmic solution.

satisfied,

within one or two-

units of the last decimal place,

by the numbers obtained
to note the following
in the prog-

The student should not
relation as
ress of the numerical

fail

an additional check to be applied
work:

(s-a)

+ (s-b) + (s-c)=s.
t,

(39)

Transforming the hour angle,

into

mean time by
from the

means of the equation of time, E, whose value corresponding to the instant
almanac,

T

is

to be interpolated

we

obtain as the chronometer correction, re-

ferred to local

mean

solar time,

JT = + E-T.
t

(40)

If

we add

to the sun's

computed azimuth,

AN

,

the

circle reading,

H'

',

we

shall obtain the index correction

of the circle,

i.e.,

the vernier reading for which the line

of sight points

due north, and the azimuth (from north)

of

any

terrestrial point

may

then be found by subtractit

ing from the vernier reading corresponding to

the

ROUGH DETERMINATIONS OF TIME,
index correction thus found;
e.g.,

ETC.

67

for the

azimuth of have
(41)

any

terrestrial point

observed in connection with the
circle

sun and for which the

reading was

P we
f
,

A=P'-{H' + A N).
But note that
hour angle,
for

an observation made before noon the

negative value of k makes
t,

AN a

negative quantity.

The
an

may

also be reckoned as negative for
11
.

a.m. observation,

and increased by 24

A

form
is

for the record

and reduction

of such obser-

vations

shown below

in connection with a set of obser-

vations

made

at a place

whose latitude and longitude
4'. 6

(from Greenwich) are respectively 43

and

h

5

58™.

ALTITUDES OF SUN'S CENTRE.
At Station A. April 16, 1897. Engineer's Transit, B. Watch No. 6. Observer, C.

68

FIELD ASTRONOMY.

The true azimuth of Station B was known to be 187 54' 10", and a comparison of the watch with standard
time furnished as the true value of AT,

+57

seconds.

The

differences

between these

results

and those found

in the preceding solution furnish a fair idea of the pre-

cision to be expected in such work.
31.

Time by Meridian

Transits.

If

astronomical ob-

servations are to be

made

for

any considerable length
it

of time at a given station, as at a university,

will

be

convenient for
of a

many

purposes to determine the azimuth
line,

permanently marked

at one end of which an
If

instrument can be set up and oriented.

a theodolite

be thus mounted and

its line of sight

brought into the
very simply made
of transit of the

meridian, a time determination

may be

by observing the chronometer time
sun's preceding

and following limbs past the
Since the thread
is

vertical

thread of the instrument.

by sup-

position in the meridian, the hour angle of the sun at the

mean

of the observed times, T,

is

zero

and we have

AT = a-T
or

(Sidereal),

AT=E—T
If

(Mean
is

solar).

(42)

the azimuth of the line

well determined, this

method may rank
there

as an approximate rather than a

rough determination, since under ordinary circumstances

must be an

error of nearly

2'

in the orientation 6 s in the chro-

of the instrument, to produce

an error of

nometer correction.
be carefully
direction,

In any case the instrument must

levelled, particularly in the east

and west

and

in

the following example the readings

ROUGH DETERMINATIONS OF TIME,

ETC.

(

J

of the striding level are employed as a control

upon

this

adjustment.

Observe the

slight variation of

method here
Circle L.

intro-

duced

in order to obtain in place of a single observation

two observations, one

Circle R.,

and one

TRANSITS OF SUN FOR TIME DETERMINATION.
At Station A.
Theodolite, F.

April 17, 1897.
6.

Watch No.

Observer, G,

Instrument oriented on Station B.
Circle.

70

FIELD ASTRONOMY.
terrestrial object before setting the tele-

upon a distant

scope for the star.
32.

Orientation by Polaris.


is

If

a rough determination

of time, latitude, or

azimuth

to be

made by

night, or

if

a theodolite

is

to be oriented as a preparation for other
of the Pole Star

work, observations

by the following

method
almanac

will
is

be found
required

especially

convenient, since no

and no instrumental equipment

other than an engineer's transit and a watch approxi-

mately regulated to local mean solar time.
If

Polaris were exactly at the pole of the heavens,

the instrument might be oriented by pointing directly

upon the by

star,

and

setting the verniers to read

180

,

and simultaneously the

latitude

might be determined
<P

measuring the star's altitude, since in this case,
Polaris
is

= h.

As

actually

more than a degree
is

distant from

the pole, this ideal
ciples

method
it is

inapplicable, but the prin-

upon which

based

may

be applied by means

of the tables

at the

end

of this book,

which furnish
,

directly, for the year 1900

and

for the latitude 40

the

amounts, a and

b,

of Polaris differ at

by which the azimuth and altitude any moment from the corresponding

coordinates of the pole.
t,

The argument
its

of the first table,

is

the star's hour angle, and

value at any given

moment may be determined from an ordinary watch as follows: If AT represents the correction vc quired to reduce the watch time, T, to local mean solar time, we shall have as the hour angle of the mean sun at the instant T,
t'

= T + JT.

;

ROUGH DETERMINATIONS OF TIME, ETC.
Once
same and
if

?1

in

each year Polaris and the

mean sun have
shall

the

right ascension

and therefore the same hour angle

we represent

this date

by E, we

have

for the

difference J' of their

hour angles on any other date, D,

an expression of the form

J'=Star-Sun = c7(L>-E),
where

C
be

is

the daily increase of the

mean

sun's right

ascension over that of the star, and the interval,
is

D — E,
time,

to

expressed

in

days.

In minutes

of

C = 4(1 — -^o)

and, therefore,
J'

= 4(D - E)
we have,

{

1

- TVI

,

(.minutes.)

(43)

For the date

D

therefore, as the expression

of the Pole Star's hour angle,

t

= T + JT + J'.

(44)

The

correction to the watch, AT, need be only roughly
e.g.,

known,

within two or three minutes, or even more;

and, correspondingly, the value of the last term in this
expression need be computed only to the nearest minute.

Table IV gives, to the nearest tenth of a day, the value
of

E

for each year

from 1900 to 1930, expressed

in the

mean

solar time of the meridian 90

west of Greenwich.

The date

D

is

to be similarly expressed,

and

it

must be

remembered that
a.m.

in astronomical practice the

day begins

at noon, so that, for example, an observation
5

made

at

on May 10 has

for the corresponding value of

D,

May

9.7.

With the value

of

t

furnished by Equation 44

72

FIELD ASTRONOMY.
interpolate from Table
I

we may

the quantities a and b

corresponding to the position of Polaris as seen in the
year 1900 by an observer in 40

north latitude.

The

proper algebraic signs to be used with a and b are printed

m

Table

I,

preceding or following the numbers according
t

as the

argument

is

found in the

left-

or right-hand

column

of the table, the plus sign indicating that the

star has a greater
pole.

azimuth or altitude than that of the

Since both a and b depend

upon the

star's distance

from
a
is

the pole,
also a

which varies from year to year, and since

function of the observer's latitude, these
quantities
will

interpolated

in

general

require

some

correction in order to give the star's real position with

spect to the pole.
dinates of Polaris,

We

therefore write as the coor-

A = iSo° + F a,
t

h

=

(p

+ F b,
2

(45)

where the

coefficients,

F

t

and
and

F

2,

are factors required

to transform the tabular a
tities

b into the required quan-

that

fit

the time and place of observation.

The
III,

numerical value of

F may be interpolated
2
t

from Table

with the year in which the observation was made, as the argument, while F must be interpolated from Table II (double entry), with the year and the observer's

approximate latitude as arguments.
a given place E, F v and F 2 are conshould stant for a year, and when once interpolated

Note that

for

be written down and preserved for future use. To illustrate the use of the tables we take the

fol-

ROUGH DETERMINATIONS OF TIME,
lowing observations

ETC.

73

made

in

latitude

approximately

43

,

with a carefully adjusted engineer's transit
of local

and a

watch supposed to be three minutes slow
solar time.
Saturday, April
26, 1902.

mean

At Station A.
Object.

Theodolite, F.

Observer, C.

74

FIELD ASTRONOMY.

The instrument being now oriented, was turned into the meridian by making Vernier A read o° o', the telescope was set to the computed altitude of the star
/?Virginis (Table V),

h = 90°-

0+5 = 49°

:

9'>

and the time
observed, as in

of its transit behind the vertical thread
§

31, at

the recorded time, g h 25™ 45 s
electric light,

.

Readings to a distant mark, an
then taken to determine
tion was repeated
its

were

azimuth, and this observa-

in the reversed position of the instru-

ment

as a check

upon

errors of adjustment.

The

close

agreement of these readings, Circle L. and Circle R., shows
the adjustment to be satisfactory, and

we have imme-

diately, as the true azimuth of the mark, the circle read-

ing 308°

1'.

Since

F b =h—<p, we
2

obtain from the preliminary
circle,

computation and the reading of the vertical

= 4io
which
is

59'

+ io

5'=43°4',

within a minute of the

known

latitude of the

instrument.

For a time determination we obtain from the almanac
the right ascension of
subtracting
/?

Virginis, a

= nh

45

m

38
h

s
,

and
,

from

this

the

observed time, 9 25™ 45 s

we

find

JT = + 2 h

19™ 53 s

.

(Referred to sidereal time.)

A

comparison of the watch with a standard sidereal

clock furnished as the true value of AT,

+2 h

19

111

55

s
.

i

i

ROUGH DETERMINATIONS OF TIME,
The

ETC.

75

entire determination of azimuth, latitude,

and
ac-

time thus made,

occupied

less

than thirty minutes,

including both computation and observation.

The

curacy of the results obtained

is

fairly typical of

what

may be
and

expected from the method when instrument

tables are carefully used.
,

If the assumed correction of the watch, AT = + 3 m were wide of the truth, serious error might be introduced into the results, and we have now to learn whether the assumed AT was in fact seriously wrong. Since T + AT =a + t, we find for the instant of orientation, using for the right ascension of Polaris the value of its a given in Table III,

t=g h
which
is

20 m

+ 2h

19™ 53 s

h

24™

=io h

i6 m

,

io h i5 m ,

a sufficiently close agreement with the assumed hour angle, and the assumed AT = -\-^ m
.

The

right ascension of the time star, in this case

j3

Virginis, should

be taken from the almanac whenever one is available, but in the absence of an almanac the method above outlined may still be applied through the use of these tables, without overstepping the limits of error adopted for a rough determination. Table V contains a list of time stars suitable for observation with an engineer's transit, and gives their declinations to the nearest minute and their right ascensions to the nearest second (neglecting the nutation), for the year 1900 and the date contained in the last column of the table. The given dates are those at which the stars come to the meridian at 8 p.m., local mean solar time, and it is presumed that this will be, on the whole, the most convenient hour for observation. But any star that crosses the meridian before midnight may be observed and its right ascension for the given date obtained from the table within one or two seconds by adding to the a there given, the amount of the annual variation (Ann. Var. in the fourth column) multiplied by the number of years that have elapsed since 1900. Applying Table V to the preceding example, we obtain for the right ascension of j3 Virh ginis in 1902, 45 m 3 s + 2 X3.1 = 1 i h 45 m 37 s agreeing within one second with that furnished by the almanac. The declinations of these stars are also subject to an annual variation which, for the present purpose, may be ignored. As an aid to identifying the particular stars convenient for observation at a given time, we note that having computed the hour angle h 20™ by the watch, we may obtain of Polaris, t, corresponding to 9

n

,

76

FIELD ASTRONOMY.

the corresponding sidereal time by adding to t the right ascension of Polaris as shown in Table III, a + t = 6. We find thus h 39 " as the sidereal time corresponding to 9 h 2o m by the watch, and Table V shows by its column of right ascensions that the first star coming to the meridian after the orientation at g h 20" was j3- Virginis, which was therefore chosen as the star to be observed. The time 9 h 2o m was, in fact, selected with reference to having a suitable time star available immediately after the orientation.

n

1

1

33.

Mathematical Theory of the Quantities
2.

a,

b,

and

F

Fv

If in

Equations
replace d

14, for
its

the transformation of

coordinates,

we

by

equivalent go° — p, where

p

is

the distance of Polaris from the pole,

we may

sub-

stitute for the resulting sin

p and
cos

cos

p

their values,

sin

p = p,

2 p = i — \p

,

with a similar substitution for sin

A

and cos A and

,

and

obtain, in place of the rigorous transformation formulae,

approximate
accurate
for

ones

more

convenient

sufficiently

our

purpose.

The maximum quantity
is

neglected in this substitution
in the case of Polaris,

of the order

p

3
,

which,

amounts

to less than 2".
this substitution,

Leaving to the reader the details of

we

write

down

as the resulting development of

A

and

h,

correct to terms of the order

p

2
,

inclusive,

A — 180°= — £sec0sin£— ^(£>sec0) sin0sin2^ + etc., h— = pcost— ^(£>sin2) tan + Rcot + etc,
2 2

where the

last

term

in the expression for

h represents

approximately the
star's

effect of refraction in increasing the

apparent altitude.

With an assumed

latitude,

= 40°, an assumed

value of p corresponding to the

ROUGH DETERMINATIONS OF TIME,

ETC.
,

77

epoch 1900 and represented by the symbol p
a value of the coefficient

and with
Fahr.,

R

corresponding to an average

condition of 'the atmosphere (Thermometer, 50

Barometer, 29.00 inches), the second members of these
equations have been tabulated as the a and b of Table
It is
I.

evident from an inspection of the equations that

the factors required to change the tabular a and b into
the coordinates corresponding to a different year and
place (different values of p and 0) are approximately
/>

F
where
/

>=t;

F

£

sec

,

>=Ki^P,=
l

fF »

(47)

represents that part of

latitude.

The values

of

F F and F
l

that depends upon the

2

contained in Tables II
since
fac-

and

III are derived

from these expressions, but

these are only approximate and neglect
tors of the problem, a certain
is

some small

amount

of additional error

thereby introduced, so that the resulting coordinates

of Polaris in

some cases may be more than a minute
e.g.,

of

arc in error;

the aberration of light and the nutation
is

are entirely neglected in this analysis, as

also the vary-

ing

amount

of the refraction in different latitudes, etc.

In considerable part these influences may be taken into account and the precision of the results somewhat increased by using values of the factors ,F 2 obtained from the following supplementary tables l

F

,

The argument instead of the values contained in Tables II and III. of Table B is to be determined by the season of the year at which the observation is made and may be either the year itself or the preceding
or following year, as

shown below:

As Argument for Table B, Use The Preceding Year in March, April, May, June, July. The Given Year in January, February, August, September, he Following Year in October, November, December.

78

FIELD ASTRONOMY.
correct the error of refraction indicated above,
b,

To

values of

when

the latitude of the place

is

add + 1' to between 20° and 30
.

alt

CHAPTER

VI.

APPROXIMATE DETERMINATIONS.
34. Latitude

by Circum-meridian Altitudes.

— An

ob-

vious

method

of refining

upon the rough determination
to

of a latitude

from a

single observation of the meridian
§

altitude of the sun or a star (as in
series of altitudes

29)

is

measure a

during the few minutes preceding and
h,

following the

maximum

and

to derive

from

all

these

observations, which are called circum-meridian altitudes,

a better value of the meridian altitude than a single

measurement can be expected
ured altitude will usually
altitude
ian,
if

to furnish.

Each meas-

differ

from the

maximum
merid-

by an amount

called the reduction

to the

and

this reduction

may

be accurately computed

either the

hour angle or the azimuth of the star at the
is

time of observation
If

known.

the observations are

made with

a sextant, the hour

angle will be most convenient for the reduction, and

the time of each observation should therefore be noted,
to the nearest second,

by the use

of

some watch or other

timepiece.

To obtain

a convenient

method

of reduc-

tion for the observations
sin

we put t = o
<f>

in the equation,
t,

h

= sin

<f>

sin d + cos

cos d cos

(48)
79

80

FIELD ASTRONOMY.
for the

and obtain

maximum
<p

altitude
<p

sin

h = sin

sin d

+ cos

cos

d.

(49)

Since in the cases here considered the hour angles are
m not to exceed io or 15
111

,

we may put cost =
of

i

\t

2
,

and subtracting the

first

the preceding equations

from the second obtain,
2 sin

%(h

— h)

cos %(h

+ h) =J

cos

0cos

d

2
.

t

,

(50)

which

is

approximately equivalent
.

to,

h

—h=

.

cos
2

cos d
;

2

cos n

••— t sm

77-

1

(51) J

This

is

the equation of a parabola having h for
t

its

maxi-

mum

ordinate and h and
infer

for rectangular coordinates;

and we may

from

it

that

if

the sextant readings

be plotted as ordinates

upon

cross-section paper with

the observed times as abscissas, the resulting curve will

be a parabola whose

maximum

ordinate will be the

sextant reading corresponding to the
of the

maximum

altitude

body observed.
be read directly from
with greater precision

This
the

maximum ordinate may curve, or it may be derived
of the

by means

theorem that the area included between
its

a parabola and any chord perpenditular to

axis,

equals two thirds of the length of this chord multiplied

by
any

its

distance from the vertex,

A = \xy.

The

inter-

cept of the plotted curve
line

upon the
is

axis of x, or

upon

parallel to this axis,

such a chord, whose

A PPROXIMA TE DE TERM IN A TIONS.
length

81

may

be directly measured, and the distance of the
is

vertex from this axis
fore,

the quantity sought.
x,

If,

thereof the

the length of the intercept,

and the area

corresponding part of the curve, A, be directly measured,

we have

at once,
(52)

*-flF:
Friday May, 4 1897.
Sextant No. 5096.

Index corn —3' 34".

Observer, C.

Barometer

29.10.

Thermometer 69 Fahr.
Horizon Roof Reversed.

Horizon Roof Direct.
Limb.

82

FIELD ASTRONOMY.
be approximately determined from the curve, by

may

noting, as the chronometer time of apparent noon, the

point at which the axis of the parabola intersects the
axis of x.

Let the student plot the preceding observations

made

upon the

sun's upper

and lower

limb,

and derive from

the area of the curve the sextant reading corresponding
to the sun's meridian altitude.

Before plotting, each

sextant reading, double

altitude,

must be corrected by
interpolated from the
i.e.,

twice the sun's semi-diameter,

almanac

for the date of observation,

±31' 47",

in

order to obtain the corresponding reading to the sun's
centre.

For an approximate method of determining latitude

from altitudes of Polaris the student
the end of the volume.
35.

may

consult the

American Ephemeris, Table IV, and explanations at
Reduction to the Meridian.

If

circum-meridian
it

altitudes are to be

measured with a theodolite,

will

usually be convenient to orient the instrument and deter-

mine from a reading

of the horizontal circle the azi-

muth corresponding
solution

to each observation.

A

graphical

may

then be

made

precisely as in the case of

the observed times treated in the preceding section, or

we may

derive from Equations 15,
sin d

= sin

<P

sin h

— cos
of
§

cos h cos A,
34,

(53)

and from this, by the method
h

we find the relation,

— h = cos<pcosh

secd.

A

2

hetc.

(54)

:

APPROXIMATE DETERMINATIONS.
Through
this equation

83

and the known values
its

of A,

com-

pute for each observed altitude
the meridian.

own

reduction to

The

quantities h

— h and A

are here supposed to be
it is

expressed in radians, but in practice

convenient to

express the azimuth in minutes and the reduction to

the meridian in seconds of arc.

Representing the azimuth
in

when

so expressed

by

a'',

we make

Equation 54 the

following substitutions

A

(radians)

= a'

.

^^,

(h

-h)

(radians)

=

^^p
all

and uniting
the symbol

into one, all the numerical factors that are
altered,

found in the equation as thus
/

and introducing

as an abbreviation for the product of
a',

factors not containing

we

obtain,
sec

/

= [7.9407] cos cos h (h -h)" =f{a')\
",

d,

The

accents,
in

',

denote that the marked terms are

expressed

minutes and seconds respectively.
for the

Use

an estimated, approximate, value of h
tation of
/.

compu-

The preceding
A,
is

results

cannot be directly applied to

a star north of the zenith, since for such a star the azimuth,
a large quantity; but
if

the azimuth be reckoned
i.e.,

from the north point instead of from the south,

if

we put
0! is

a'

= i8o° — ^4, we may

derive formulas identical

with the above, which therefore apply to this case when
defined as the supplement of the azimuth.

For a

84

FIELD ASTRONOMY.
i.e.,

star at lower culmination,

on the meridian below
instead of a maxi-

the pole, the altitude

is

a

minimum

mum, and

the reduction to the meridian must therefore
sign.

be given the negative

Note that

this

can be

accomplished in Equation 55 by considering d to represent the supplement of the star's declination instead
of the declination itself.

These formulas for reduction

whose hour angles
Time from

to the meridian should not be applied in the case of stars exceed io m or 15°*. For an applica-

tion of the formulae see
36.

§

73.

Altitudes

near the

Prime

Vertical.

With a sextant an approximate determination of time is best made by measuring a series of altitudes of the
sun or a star when the body
is,

as near as

may

be,

due

east or west, noting the chronometer time, T, of each

observation.

The formulae

for the transformation of coordinates

furnish for each such observation the equation,
sin

h

= sin

<f>

sin d

+ cos

<t>

cos d cos

t,

which

is

readily transformed into,

cos

t

= sec

sec d sin h — tan

tan

d,

(56)

and by means

of this equation the

hour angle correbe derived.

sponding to each observed time

may

The

chronometer correction

will

then be furnished by one

of the following equations:

For the Sun For a
Star,

,

JT = E + t— T, AT = a + 1— T,

Local

Mean

Solar

Time

.

.

.

Local Sidereal Time.

(57)

2 1

APPROXIMA TE DETERMINA TIONS.
The symbol
cal value
is

85
Its

E denotes the equation of time.
p.

numeri-

most conveniently derived from the Solar
400 of the almanac.

Ephemeris,

DOUBLE ALTITUDES OF ARCTURUS, NEAR EASTERN
PRIME VERTICAL.
Wednesday, March
Sextant, Cameron.
29, 1899.

Chronometer, B.

Observer, C.

Index Corr. +18' 37".
Sextant.

Barom.

28.81. «
h.

Therm. +19 Fahr.
*. s.

Chronometer. h. m. s.

+

AT.
s.

m.

54 30 ° 55 55 3°

5-5 9 3° 31 29
32 5°

9 29

5-6 30 27.9
3i 5°- 2

-59-9
61.

59-8

Horizon roof reversed.
56
56

o

30
o

34 14 35 36 36 58.5

57

33 12.5 34 34-8 35 57-i

61.5
61 61 .4
.

Mean JT

-60.8

86

FIELD ASTRONOMY.

of the process increases rapidly with increasing distance

from the prime

vertical,

and the time interval mast be

correspondingly diminished.

In the preceding example of a time determination

from sextant

altitudes, the sextant

was

set accurately to
30',

a set of readings differing by a uniform interval of

and the times noted at which the observed body came
to the corresponding altitudes.

In the reduction ad-

vantage
value of

is

taken of this circumstance by computing the
for the first

a-\-t

and

last observations only,

and

interpolating

the
t

intermediate

values.

Observe

that the columns a +

and A T, although placed near the
filled

beginning of the reduction, are really the last to be
out.
37.

Azimuth Observations at Elongation.
of

— An

excel-

lent

approximate determination

the azimuth of a

terrestrial

theodolite,

mark may be made by measuring, with a the horizontal angle between the mark and
its

a circumpolar star at the time of

elongation,

i.e.,

its

maximum It may
elongation

digression from the meridian.

be seen by inspection that at the instant of
the

astronomical triangle, Fig.

3,

is

right-

angled at the

star,

and we obtain from

it,

sin ,4,

cos

te

= cos = cot

d sec d tan

<P,
<P,

,

n

.

(58)

where the subscript

e

shows that the azimuth and hour

angle are those at elongation. elongation
is

The

sidereal time of

then given by
de

= a±t

e,

(59)

APPROXIMATE DETERMINATIONS.
where the upper sign
is

87

to be used for the western,
If

and

the lower for eastern elongation.

D

denote the meas-

ured angle between the star and mark, positive when
the

mark

is

east of the star,

we

shall

have
(60)

Azimuth

of

Mark = A e + D.

in

The formulae given above leave nothing to be desired respect of simplicity, but the method suffers a serious
it

limitation in that
ticular times,

can be applied only at certain par-

which
night.

may

fall

at very inconvenient hours
is

of the

day or

Polaris
if

the star most frequently
te

employed

in this

way, and
§

we put

equal to the ex-

pression derived in

32 for the star's hour angle,

we

shall find in terms of the A' of

Equation

43, for the local

mean

solar time of its elongation,

M = T + AT=±t -A',
e

(61)

the upper sign for the western elongation.
angle
te

The hour

may

be interpolated from the following short

table with the observer's latitude as the argument:

20
te

30
m
5
h

4 o°

50 m
5
h

6o°
m
5
h

h

5

58

57

m
5

h

56

54

52-

For any other star whose polar distance, p, is less than 5 we may assume te =6 h -4 tan <f>.p°. This formula gives the last term in minutes of time when p° is expressed in degrees.

Within the

limits of the

United States

if

Polaris

is

observed at any time within four minutes of elongation
its

true azimuth will differ from

its
;

azimuth at elonga-

tion

by

less

than one second of arc and since

M may be

:

88

FIELD ASTRONOMY.

found by the above formula with an error considerably
less

than four minutes, we may establish the rule During the four minutes preceding and following the

time

M, measure

the angle between Polaris and the

mark an equal number of being careful to make the
the

times Circle R. and Circle L.,
readings of the azimuth level
of

same

in

the

two positions
at elongation.

the
if it

instrument.

Reduce the mean
observation

of the observations as
It

were a single

made

is

far

more im-

portant

to

eliminate

instrumental errors by suitable

observations in both positions of the circle than to

make

the time of observation agree closely with the com-

puted time of elongation.
Observations of stars other than
similarly treated,

Polaris

may

be

and the interval from elongation within
is

which they must be made

given by the expression,

-*€
where
x,
r is

cos

sec

d,

(62)

the required quantity, in minutes of time, and
is

in seconds of arc,

the

maximum
,

permissible error

in the result; e.g., for the star d Ursas Minoris,

observed

at elongation in latitude 43
negligible error x

we adopt

as the limit of

= 2", and

find

z= ± 3.5™.
be made
14,
4'

To plan an observation
at a place whose latitude

of d Ursae Minoris to

at eastern elongation on the evening of
is

May

1902,

assumed to be 43

37",
is

and for which the Standard Time in common use m 2.4 slower than local time, we proceed as follows:

APPROXIMA TE DETERULXA TIOXS.
43 86
.

89

4' 37'

te

56

45

sec <j> o 13642 cos 6 8.77150

tan

cf>

9

.

97082

90

FIELD ASTRONOMY.

We

find
£>

from the above record,
24'

= *(25i°

o"- 4 °
,

39' 5")

= 123°
=308

22' 28".

Azimuth Compare

of

Mark = A + D

o

52.

this result

with the rough determination of the
in
§

same azimuth made
38.

32.

lent determination of time

An excelTime and Azimuth from Two Stars. may be made by measuring
of

the difference of azimuth between Polaris and a southern
star

and noting accurately the chronometer times
If

the observations.

readings to a terrestrial

mark

are

combined with the above observations, these will furnish,
with very
of the
little

additional labor, a good determination

azimuth of the mark.

In order to eliminate the

effect of

instrumental errors from the resulting time and

azimuth, both stars and

mark should be observed
i.e.,

in

each

position of the instrument,

Circle R.

and

Circle L.,

and the observations should be arranged symmetrically
with respect to time, as in the following example.

For the reduction of the observations we recur to

Equation

14,

cos h sin

A =cos

d sin

t,

(63)

and note that the observed (chronometer) time
tion,

of

any

observation, T, together with the chronometer correc-

AT, and the right ascension of the
t,

star,

a,

suffice

to determine its hour angle,

through the relation,
(64)

a+

t

= T + JT.

Similarly the azimuth of each object observed will differ

from the corresponding reading

of the horizontal circle,

PL ah: n.

An American

Theodolite.

Diameter of Horizontal Circle 8 inches. Approximate Cost $400. [To face p. 90.]

APPROXIMATE DETERMINATIONS.
R, by a constant quantity, JR, which
correction of the circle, so that
is

91

called the index

we

shall have, (65)

A=R-JR.
The
altitude,
h,

may

be determined directly from

readings of the vertical

circle,

and

if

all of

the above
intro-

quantities are correctly known, their values

when

duced into Equation 63

will satisfy

it.

If

they do not

satisfy the equation, something

must be wrong with the
find

assumed values and we proceed to
a

from Equation 63
so that
let

means

of correcting the

assumed AT and JR
For
this

they shall satisfy the equation.

purpose

u and

m

represent values of

AT and JR
2

provisionally

assumed, and made
veniently estimated,

as nearly correct as can be cone.g.,

within

m

and

30' respectively,

and denote by x and y the unknown corrections which must be added, algebraically, to u and m in order to
obtain the true chronometer correction and the true

index correction of the azimuth

circle.

We

shall

then

have

for

each

star,
t

= T + u + x-a,

A=R-(m+y),
and introducing
x

into these equations the abbreviations,
fi

= a— (T + u),

= R — m,
Equation 63

we

find that, in terms of these symbols,

takes the form
cos h sin
{(i

— y) +cos

d sin (r — x) =0.
is

(67)

When

x and y are quantities as small as

above sup-

posed, their squares

and higher powers may be neglected

:

92

FIELD ASTRONOMY.
these

without producing errors greater than 10", and
errors,

being multiplied by the factor sin

A

or

its

equiva-

lent, will

be reduced to

less

than i" whenever the stars

observed are within 6° of the meridian, in azimuth.

Assuming that the observations
near the meridian,
sin

will

be limited to stars

we may put
sin

x=x

.

sin i",

y

=y

.

sin i"

,

cos #

= cos

;y

= i,

and expanding Equation 67 and introducing these values

we

find,
y.
.

cos h sin n — cos h cos

y

.

sin 1"
.

+ cos

d sin t — cos d cos r

x

.

sin 1"

=0.

(68)

Dividing this equation through by the factor,
15 sin 1" cos h cos p,

and introducing the abbreviation,
g

= cos

d cos t sec h sec

ft,

we obtain

in place of

Equation 68 the

relation,

? + g*= I5sin

^ (tan/z + gtanr).
an equation
two
stars

(69)

Each
in
tities,

star observed will furnish

of this form,

which the second member contains only known quan-

and from observations

of

we may

therey.

fore determine the

two unknown quantities x and

These

will

be furnished by the solution, expressed in

seconds of time as the unit, on account of the factor


15 sin
1

77.

We
G

shall hereafter represent this factor r

bv J

the letter

and employ the numerical
log

value,

G = 4.13833.

APPROXIMATE DETERMINATIONS.
It is

93

given for

sometimes convenient to use, instead of the equation above g, another form in which the altitude, h, does not appear explicitly, since it will then be feasible to omit the observation of the For stars' altitudes and thus simplify the observing programme. this purpose, assuming that t= —r, we readily find from Equations
14 the relation,

cos h cos
cos o cos
in

A =sm 0.

,

r
is

cos <b * cot d COS

,
,

(70)
g.

N

T

which the left-hand member troduce the auxiliary quantity,
cot

the reciprocal of
S cos

If

we now

in-

D = cot
g= sin

r,

(71)

we

shall find in

terms of the new auxiliary
cos

,

D
(72)

(<t>-D)'

39. Effect of

Erroneous Levelling.

— In

the preceding

analysis

it

is

tacitly

assumed that the instrument was
fulfil

perfectly levelled,

and the observer should seek to

this condition as nearly as possible.

After finishing
is still

the observation Circle R. and while the telescope

pointing south, read the striding level and record the
position of the bubble in its tube.

Then, without revers-

ing the level on the axis, reverse the instrument, to
Circle L.,

and by means
its

of its levelling screws bring the
i.e.,

bubble back to

former place in the tube,

to the

same
will

scale reading.

By

this process the vertical axis
in the

be as much out of plumb
it

one direction,

east,

for Circle L., as for Circle
in the

was out

in the other direction, west,

R.,and these errors will compensate each other
result.

mean

sometimes happen, however, that the readings of the bubble Circle R. and Circle L. will be appreciably different and then the average inclination of the vertical axis to the plane of the meridian, which we shall represent by b' must be determined from the level readings, as shown in § 42. To determine the effect of this error upon the computed x and y we have recourse to Fig. 6, which represents a part of
It will
,

94

FIELD ASTRONOMY.

the celestial sphere, where P and Z are respectively the pole and zenith, T is the terrestrial mark whose azimuth is to be determined, and B is the point of the sphere toward which the mean position of the The observations, uncorrected for level vertical axis was directed. error, have determined through x and y the chronometer correction and the azimuth of T referred to the meridian BPH' instead of to

Fig.

6.

— Effect of Level

Error.

the true meridian ZPH, and the error in AT is therefore the angle, /9, Similarly the error in the computed between the two meridians. azimuth of T is the arc of the horizon, HH' intercepted between the two meridians. From the figure we find,
,

Jx=j3 =b sec
f

4>,

Ay=H —H' =/? sin
which are the required
40.

<j>=b'

tan

(73)
<£,

level corrections.

Example.

—We

now

collect

and

slightly rearrange

our formulas in the following group of equations which

.

:

APPROXIMATE DETERMINATIONS.

95

are to be used in the actual reduction of a set of observations
:

Compute

for each star the following quantities

= a— (T+u), H = R — m,
r

log

(7

= 4.13833,
t
jx

cot

cos d cos

D = cot d cos cos D
(<£—£>)
r.
'

t,

.

.

^

~ cosh cos =G 3> + g x

*

~ sin

tan

fi

+ gG tan

From
more
x and

the equations of this type furnished
stars find,
y,

by two

or

by an

algebraic solution, the values of

and from these values

JT=u+ {% — b' sec
AR = m+i${y + b'
The
axis
is

0),

tan 0).

(70 /0
vertical

,

%

level

constant,

6',

positive
is

when the

tipped toward the east,

here supposed to be

expressed in seconds of time, and the coefficient 15 in
the last equation transforms both y and
into arc.
b'

from time

The azimuth of the mark

T

is

to be obtained

by applying the index
For
stars within
15

correction, JR., to the

mean

of

the circle readings to the mark.
or 20
of the equator

we may

usually substitute in place of the formulas given above

the simpler, approximate expressions,

D = d,

G tan — p
fi

(in

seconds of time)

(76)

The following example shows the record and reduction of such a determination of time

and azimuth, made

with an engineer's transit:

96

FIELD ASTRONOMY.

AZIMUTH OF STATION
Monday, April
14, 1902.

D.

At Station M.

Engineer's Transit, F.
Observer, C.

Chronometer,

S.

Object.

APPROXIMATE DETERMINATIONS.

97

AT and

the azimuth of Station

D

by — o s .i and + 1"
of

respectively.

Approximate

readings

the

vertical

circle (one vernier, to the nearest' minute) are contained

in the record,

and from them the value
if

of g for each star

may
lows
the
:

be computed

the latitude
of
it

is

supposed unknown.

The assumed values
Since
e

and

m
it
it

are obtained as fol-

Corvi was observed near the meridian and

mean

of the times recorded for
star's right ascension,
is

does not differ
is

much

from the

evident that the
this cor-

chronometer correction
rection,
i.e.,

small,

and neglecting

treating the observed times as true sidereal
of Polaris and,

times,
its

we obtain the hour angle

by Table

I,

azimuth at the time of observation.

This azimuth

proves to be about the same as the corresponding circle
readings,

the

instrument had been roughly oriented,

and we therefore assume
vations of
e

m = o.
we

Returning to the obser-

Corvi,

and when necessary subtracting
find

m

from the

circle readings,

by

interpolation be-

tween the two observations that the chronometer time
corresponding to the corrected circle reading o°o',
the star's meridian transit, was approximately
i.e.,

to

i2

h

5™

agreeing so closely with the right ascension of the star
that, to the nearest minute,

we might assume u = o. For
This method will

the sake of illustration,

however, a slightly different

value

is

adopted in the reduction.

always furnish sufficiently accurate results for u and
if

m

the instrument

is

approximately oriented before be-

ginning the observations.

from a watch,
e.g.,

i.e.,

solar

When the time, T, is taken time, u may be a large number,
.

anything from o to i2 h

98
41. Subsidiary

FIELD ASTRONOMY.
Determination of Time.

—The

method
is

of

§

40

is

especially convenient

when

the accurate azi-

muth

of a

mark

is

to be determined

and the time

required only for this purpose.
polar star

The angle between the
as
Circle R.

and the mark should then be measured

shown
and

in §53, while one or

more measurements,

Circle L., of the angle

between the mark and a south-

ern star near the meridian, will determine
needful precision and with a
labor.

AT

with

all

minimum

expenditure of

The reduction

of these observations will differ

from

the method given above only in the following respects:

We

here put
of the

m

equal to an assumed approximate azi-

muth

mark, represent by
star,

L

the measured angle
for each star,

between the mark and

and compute,

the quantity n from the formula

H=m±L,
using the upper sign
greater than that of

(77)

when the azimuth of the star is the mark. The quantities x, y, and
and the
resulting
will

AT

are then to be determined as above

azimuth of the mark

be
(78)

A M = m-isy.

CHAPTER

VII.

INSTRUMENTS.
In the several determinations thus far considered

we have

most part assumed that the data furnished by the instruments employed were free from
for the

purely instrumental errors, and in approximate work
this

may

usually be done

if

due care has been bestowed

upon the adjustments.
precision
is

required

it

But where a higher degree of becomes necessary to study the
itself

instrument employed, as being in
that need to be eliminated, and
to a

a source of errors
therefore

we must turn
some

more

detailed consideration of
in field

of the instruclass

ments used
of

astronomy before taking up the

methods
42.

called accurate.
Spirit-level.

The

— The

spirit-level

is

used

in

astronomical practice to measure small deviations of a
line or surface

from a vertical or horizontal
of

position,
to

and incidentally to adjust a part
such a position.

an instrument

It consists essentially of a glass
circle of large radius
is

tube

bent or ground into an arc of a
so

and

mounted that the plane

of this circle
filled

approximately

vertical.
its

The tube being nearly

with ether and
air or
99

ends hermetically sealed, the small volume of

100

FIELD ASTRONOMY.
is

vapor that remains in the tube

collected into a bubble
circle,

which always stands at the highest point of the
so that a line
tre

drawn from its
of the
is

middle point through the cenis

of curvature

tube

vertical.

The upper

surface of the tube

usually provided with a scale of

equal parts, and the position of the bubble in the tube
is

determined by the readings of

its

ends upon this

scale.

The angle subtended

at the centre of curvature of the
is

tube by the space between two consecutive lines

called

the value of a division of the level, and this value, which
will

be represented by

2d, is require

1

for transforming

the indications of the level into seconds of arc.

Note

that d represents one half the value of a level division.

Let such a level be supposed attached to a theodolite,
the inclination of whose vertical axis to the true vertical
is

to be determined

from readings

of the bubble.
e.g.,

We
the

are here concerned with angular measurements,

angle that the axis angle

makes with the true

vertical; the

moved over by

the level bubble, as seen from the

centre of curvature of the tube,
is

when the instrument
etc.,

turned from one position to another;

and as the

simplest

method

of dealing with these angles

we

shall

imagine the whole apparatus projected radially upon
the celestial sphere, so that the arc joining the points
in

which any two projected

lines

meet the sphere, measThis method of

ures the angle between these lines.
analysis

by projecting the parts of an instrument upon the sphere is in common use, and the student should
acquire a clear conception of the simple case to which
it is

here

first

applied.

INSTRUMENTS,

101

To determine the

relation of the bubble readings to

the required inclination,

we imagine the

axis of the in-

strument and the plane of the level extended until they

meet the

celestial sphere, as in Fig.

7,

which represents

L

FlG.

7.

— Theory of the Spirit-level.

a small part of the sphere adjacent to the zenith, Z.

In this figure

V

is

the point in which the produced axis

meets the sphere, and
level

LB is

the trace of the plane of the

The projection of the middle of the bubble upon the sphere must be at B, the point in LB nearest to Z, and found, therefore, by letting fall If, now, the theoda perpendicular from Z upon LB.
tube upon
the sphere.
olite

be turned 180

in azimuth,

i.e.,

rotated about

V

as a pivot, the level

tube will be revolved about
,

V

as a

centre, into the position L'B'

and the point

B

will fall

at B', but the middle of the bubble will stand at

B"

instead of B'
zenith.

',

since this

is

now
is

the point nearest to the
considerations,

From elementary
,

geometrical
the space

VM = \B'B"

where B'B"

moved over by
is

the level bubble

when the instrument

turned from

:

102

FIELD ASTRONOMY.

one position to the other, and

VM

is

the projection
arc,

upon the plane

of the level

tube of the

VZ, that

measures the angle between the axis of
the true vertical.
senting

rotation

and

Calling this projection b

and repre-

by

a',

b'

,

a"

,

b" the scale readings of the ends

of the bubble in the two positions,
b

we have
^

Ja^L_a^V:\ 2d Ja'-V') + (b'-a'') d {)
customary to record the several readings in the
(Actual observations.)

It is

form,

(Symbols used above.) S N
a'

N
16.4

S

b

f

32.2
9.1

a"

b"

39.6
7-35

The

letters

N

and S denote the north and south ends

of the level tube, or

some equivalent system
the Level

of distinguish-

ing between them.
43. Discussion of

Readings.

— The
is

student

should
(a)

now note
The

that

coefficient of

d in Equation 79

the

mean

of

the diagonal differences in the square array formed

by

the four numbers tabulated in the preceding example.

This example represents the manner in which level readings should be recorded,
differences, 7.35, written

and the mean
line,

of the diagonal

below the

should be worked

out and entered with the record.
(b)

If

the bubble readings have been correctly taken
is

and there

no change in the length of the bubble during

the observation, these differences must be equal, one

INSTRUMENTS.
to the other, thus furnishing a check of the level readings,

103

upon the accuracy
If

which should always be applied
the temperature

immediately after recording them.
is

changing rapidly, the length of the bubble

may

be

changed and the check impaired without necessarily
diminishing the accuracy with which b
(c)

is

determined.

If

the greatest of the four numbers stands in the
of the level tube
is

column marked N, the north end
axis

on

the whole higher than the south end, and the vertical
is

tipped toward the south.

Determine the sign

of b in this manner.
(d)

The

zero of a level graduation

is

sometimes placed

at one end of the scale and sometimes in the middle, but

the

method
It is

of record

and reduction given above applies

to both cases.
(e)

apparent from the figure that the point of

the level tube

midway between

B' and
is

B" marks

that

radius of the level tube which

most nearly

parallel

with the rotation axis of the instrument.

Since this

radius ought to pass through the middle point of the
scale,

and does

so pass

when

the level

is

in adjustment,

we have

as the error of adjustment of a level

numbered

continuously from one end to the other,

£
2

a'

+ + a" + &'
fc'

(80)

where
level
e

s

represents the total

number

of divisions in the
5

scale.

In the example given above

= 50 and
is

=0.7 division.

The

essential element in the determination of b

104

FIELD ASTRONOMY.
level

the reversal of the

with the resulting displaceit is is

ment

of the bubble,
this

and

a matter of indifference

whether

displacement

produced by revolving
it is

the level about a vertical axis to which

attached,

as in the case considered above, or by picking the level

up bodily from a plane or line upon which it stands, turning it end for end and replacing it in the reversed
position, as
is

done

in

measuring the inclination of an
axis.

approximately horizontal

Let the student show the

that the inclination of this

axis to the plane of

horizon

may

be obtained from the bubble readings

exactly as the inclination of the vertical axis was deter-

mined above.

The

greatest

of

the

four readings

is

adjacent to the high end of the axis.

Determine in this

way

the inclination of the horizontal axis of a theodolite.
fine level is

A

an exceedingly
in its use.

sensitive instrument

and requires great care
supported
its

Unless unusually well

readings

may
it

be vitiated by the observer

passing from one side of

to the other, or even

by

shift-

ing his weight from one foot to the other.

Therefore

observe the following precepts:
i
.

Keep away from the

level as

much
e.g.,
is

as possible.
it.

2.

Don't allow the sun to shine upon Don't hold a source of heat,
near a level longer than

3.

a lamp or your

own hand,
4.

strictly necessary.

the level has a chamber with reserve supply of length air at one end of the tube, use it to regulate the of the bubble, keeping this always about one half as
If

long as the scale.
5.

Make

the inclinations that are to be measured

INSTRUMENTS.
as small as possible, in order to avoid

105

any considerable

run of the bubble and the resulting effect of possible
irregularities in the level tube.
44.

Value of a Level Division.
is

— The

value of a level

division

most conveniently determined by measuring
circle,

with a micrometer, or finely graduated
angle through which
its

the vertical

tube must be tipped in order

to cause the bubble to run past a given
sions of the scale.
If

number

of divi-

the necessary apparatus for such

a determination

is

not at hand, the following method

will furnish equally good results

and requires only an

engineer's transit, to which the level

must be attached

with

its

plane approximately vertical.

Let the instrument be firmly set up but very
out of
y,

much
angle,
less.

level, e.g.,

with

its

vertical axis

making an
2
,

with the true vertical amounting to
p.

more or

See

109 for a

method
will
If

of determining the exact value

of this angle,

which

be required in the reduction of
is

the observations.

the transit

now turned

slowly

about
will

its

vertical axis (azimuth motion), the level -bubble
its

run back and forth in

tube,

and two positions

of

the instrument

may

be found at which the bubble
its scale.

will

come

to the middle of

We

shall designate the

readings of the azimuth circle corresponding to these two
positions

by
or

A
2

x

and

A

2.

Any
from

slight

turning of the instrument either
will cause a

way

A

t

A

corresponding slight motion
relation of the bubble

of the bubble,

and to determine the

readings to the corresponding circle readings
to Fig.
8,

we

resort

which represents a portion

of the celestial

106

FIELD ASTRONOMY.

sphere adjacent to the zenith, Z.

V is

the point in

which the deflected axis of the instrument meets the sphere, and SV is the trace upon the sphere of the plane

which is assumed to have been adjusted approximately parallel to the vertical axis of the transit.
of the level-tube,

Small errors in this adjustment are of no consequence.

Fig.

8.

— Determination of d.
turned in azimuth, carrying the

As the instrument
level-tube with
it,

is

the arc

SV
its

must revolve about

V

as

a pivot, and the amount of

rotation will be measured
It

by the

successive readings of the azimuth circle.
z of

may

be seen readily that the angle
circle

the figure correis

sponding to any particular

reading, A,

given

by the equation
z

= ±(A + A )-A,
1

2

(82)

^(A

1

-\-A 2 )

being the

circle

reading at which

SV coincides

with VZ.

.

INSTRUMENTS.
Since a level-bubble always

107

stands at the highest

point of

its

tube, the point nearest the zenith,

we may

find the point in the figure corresponding to the middle of the level -bubble
circle

by drawing from Z an arc of a great perpendicular to SV, and the intersection, 5, will
In the right-angled spherical

be the required point.
triangle

SVZ

thus formed

we have

the relation,
r,

tan p
in

= tan

y cos

(83)

which p measures the distance of the middle of the bubble from the fixed point V. To find the effect upon

p

of

any small variation
will

in

r,

i.e.,

to find
is

how

far the

bubble

run when the instrument

turned slightly

in azimuth,

we

differentiate this equation

and obtain
(84)

— dp = tan
and substituting
finite

7-

cos 2

p

sin z dz,
differentials,

in place of these

small

increments of the respective quantities,
2

we obtain
(85)

d(b'-b")=tan

r cos

2

p

sin z (A'

-A"),

where d represents the value of half a
b'

and and b" are the scale readings of the middle of the bubble,
level division
circle readings

corresponding to the

A' and

A"
d,

Equation 85
justment of the

may be
level,

used to determine the value of
is

but whenever ordinary care
i.e.,

bestowed upon the ad-

to

make

the radius passing

through the middle point of the scale parallel to the vertical axis of

the theodolite (Equation 80), the readings

A
t

x

and

A

2

will

be so nearly 180 apart that we
i,

may

put

= qo°, cos£ =

for all positions of the

bubble within

108

FIELD ASTRONOMY.
its scale,

the limits of

and thus obtain

in place of

Equa-

tion 85 the simpler relation

d=
In this equation A'

A' — A" tanr 2{b'-b")
b'

"

(86 ^

— A" and
of

— b"

are to be derived

from the readings
respectively,

the horizontal circle and level,
for their deter-

and
is

in

making observations

mination

it

well to bring the bubble as near as
circle to

may

be to one end of the tube and set the
nearest integral 10'.
successive 10' or 20'
of the

read the

Then turn the instrument to each reading, and record the readings
which repeat the operation
in

bubble until the former has traversed the entire
its scale,

length of

after

the inverse order, using the same circle settings as before.

With
these

reference to the direction of the bubble's motion

two

series

will

be designated as Forward and

Backward.

Having completed these observations, turn
from

the instrument to the second position in which the bubble
plays, e.g.,

A

1

to

A and make
2,

a similar double set

of readings.

The readings obtained
and therefore a value
a considerable

at

any two

settings of the
b'

instrument will determine values of A'
of d, but
it is

— A" and

— b",

advisable to secure

number

of these determinations, ranging

over the whole length of the level-tube, in order to test
its

uniformity.

Supposing such a

series to

have been
b'

made, the manner of forming the differences
illustrated below,

— b"
i.e.,

may
b

be followed with advantage,

subtract the

first

from the

first

one following the

INSTRUMENTS.
middle of the
set,

109

the second b from the second one after

the middle, etc.

The angle

y of

Equation 86 should be determined
:

at the time of deflecting the axis, as follows

After having

carefully levelled the instrument, take a reading of the
vertical circle

when

the line of sight

is

directed toward
of the

a fixed mark, that

we may

call

P.

By means

if

levelling screws deflect the axis exactly

toward or from
the vertical

P

through some convenient angle,
reads to seconds,
3
if it

e.g.,

circle

reads only to minutes, and
circle.
y.

again point upon
of the

P

and read the
is

The

difference

two readings

the value of
is

To make

sure that

the deflection of the axis

made

in the proper direction,

by means
that

of the levelling
level (see
§

screws

make
same

the reading of
after deflection
will

the azimuth
it

50) the

was before
Example.

deflection,

and there

then be no

component
45.

of deflection perpendicular to the direction P.

— We

have the following example of
first

the record and reduction of the
set of observations for the

half of a complete
d.

determination of

In the

reduction
86
is

we note

that the divisor 2(6'
2b'

— b")
is

of

Equation

equivalent to

— 2b" and
',

since b
is

the scale read-

ing of the middle of the bubble, 26

equal to the

sum
two

of the readings of the ends of the bubble.

The column
of the

headed 26
sets of

is

found in this

way from
of the

the

mean

bubble readings opposite each

circle reading.

The regular progression
2(6' — b")

numbers

in the

column

suggests a

level-tube of variable curvature,
is

but the amount of data
with certainty.

not sufficient to decide this

More observations are needed.

2

110

FIELD ASTRONOMY.
Friday, Dec. 7, 1894. Alidade Level of Universal Instrument, No. 2598. Readings to Mark.
Mic.
I,

Mic.

II.

Mean.

Axis Vertical Axis Deflected

180 179

26' 45'

26'

45
6

27

o

27

180 179
o

26'

45"
3

27

59 42

Bubble.

Azimuth

Circle.

Forward.

Backward.

29

1

°

o'

o"

26.3
28.
1

10 O 20 O 3° ° 40 o 5° o

30.2
3 2 -3 34 -o

36

.

0.2 2.3 4.2 6.4 8.1 10.2

26 .0

27.7 29-7 32.1 34.2 36.5
30'
7-

0.4 1.9 3-9 6.2 8.5 10.6

2b

2 (b'

-b")

A'

-A"

= 1800"
239 25s 907 401
52

26.45 30.0 34 -o 38.5 42.4 46.75

log tan

8. 38.

log04' -A" colog 2 {b'-b")

12.05
12 .40

log d

o.
2.

12.7s
12 .40

d

46. Inequality of Pivots.

—When a
line,

spirit-level is

used

to determine the inclination of a

such as the hori-

zontal axis of a transit,

its

readings and the resulting
inequality which

inclination will be vitiated

by any

may

exist in the diameter of the pivots

upon which

it rests.

To

test for

such an inequality

let

the instrument be
b' , lift

firmly

mounted and the

inclination,
§

be measured
the axis out
it

with the level as shown in
of the wyes, turn
it

42

;

then

end for end, and replace

so that

what was the
ings

east pivot shall

now
,

rest in the

west wye.
level-

Again measure the

inclination, b"

and repeat the

and

reversals several times, so that

any systematic and b"
shall

difference

which

may

exist

between

b'

be

well determined.

We now put

i=W-w\

(87)

)

INSTRUMENTS.
where
i is

Ill

the correction for inequality of pivots, and

find for the true inclination of the axis in the
tions,

two

posi-

bt

= b'-i,
i

b2

= b" + i.

(88)

The correction
applied to
47.
all

should be carefully determined and
of the inclination.

measured values

The Theodolite.

— This
is

instrument, which

is

also

called

engineer's transit,
etc.,
is

altazimuth,

universal instru-

ment,

one with whose general appearance and supposed
sufficiently familiar

construction the student
to recognize
of
its

close relationship with the coordinates

System

I,

altitude

and azimuth.
and
III,

Trace out this rela-

tionship in Plates

I, II,

which represent different
line of sight (telescope)

types of this instrument.
is

The

a radius vector of undetermined length;

the horialti-

zontal
tudes,

and

vertical circles

measure azimuths and

or zenith distances,

and

in

an ideally perfect
should be the

instrument the readings of these
true azimuth

circles

and

altitude of

the line of sight, or at

most should
correction.

differ

from these only by a constant index

It

may

readily be seen that

among

the conditions

which must be

satisfied in the construction of

such an

instrument are the following:
( 1

(2)

The axes must be perpendicular to each other. The line of sight must be perpendicular to the
The
vertical axis

horizontal axis.
(3)

must be truly

vertical.

Owing

to unavoidable imperfections of mechanical

112

FIELD ASTRONOMY.
it is

work
is

not probable that any one of these conditions

exactly fulfilled in any given instrument, and they

are therefore to be regarded as so

many

sources of error,

whose

effects

may

be made small by careful adjustment,
in

but whose complete elimination must be sought
other way;
e.g., if

some

the vertical axis
as follows the

is

not truly vertical,
for correcting

we may determine

means

the effect of this error upon the measurement of altitudes.
48. Zenith Distances.

— In

Fig. 9 let

HZ be

the direc-

Fig.

9.

— Measurement of Zenith
HV,

Distances.

tion

of
is

the vertical; 5, a point whose zenith distance,
to be determined;

ZHS,

the projection of the

vertical axis of the instrument

upon the plane HZS;

INSTRUMENTS.
and
let r'

113
circle

denote the reading of the vertical
is

when
r'

the line of sight
let

directed toward 5.

After reading

the instrument be turned about the vertical axis
line of sight into the

through an angle of t8o°, bringing the
position

US' and then
,

let

the telescope be turned about

the horizontal axis until the line of sight again points
at the object 5,

and

let r" If

be the reading of the vertical
is

circle in this position.

the circle

numbered

in quadr'

rants, as
will

is

very

common

in small instruments,

and r"

be approximately the same number but with a
,

graduation extending from o° to 360
posed, they will be widely different.

as

is

here supthe figure,

From

the angle

SHS'

is

measured by the difference of these
since

circle readings, r'

— r", and

VHS = VHS' we
',

have
the

for the angular distance of the point

5 from V

equation,

VHS=z" = i(r'-r").
When two
and
it is

(89)

pointings of the telescope are
is

made

as

above, the instrument

said to be reversed
its

between them,

customary to designate

two positions as

Circle

Right and Circle Left, respectively, the reference

being to the vertical circle of the instrument, which
faces to the observer's right in the one position
his left in the other.

and

to

The student should note that the

angle z"

is

here determined quite independently of the

adjustment of the verniers, which
the reversal eliminates the difference
r'

may

be intended to
else,

read altitudes, zenith distances, or anything
all
is

since

question of adjustment from

— r", and

made

for this purpose.

114

FIELD ASTRONOMY.

The

true zenith distance of

5

is,

however, not z" but

the angle,

ZHS = z"+
and b" may be determined,
of the spirit-level,

b",
42,

as in

§

from readings
in

LL, attached to the instrument
plane
is

such a

way

that

its

parallel to the line of sight,
is

HS.

Such a

level, i.e.,

one whose tube

perpendicular

to the horizontal axis of the instrument, will be called

the altitude

level of

the instrument.

A

convenient method of taking into account the

readings of the level-bubble

by applying them

directly

to the circle readings instead of to the
is

measured angles,
of that point

as follows: Let

n represent the reading

of the level scale

through which passes that radius of
parallel to the vertical axis,
let

the level which
in the figure,

is

H V,

Cn

and

n denote the position

of the

middle

of the bubble corresponding to the
i.e.,

circle

reading /;

since the bubble always stands at the highest point

of its tube,

n

is

the point exactly above the centre of

curvature, C.

It is

evident from the figure that
)2d

b"

= {n — n

=

(a

+ b— 2W

)<i,

(90)

where d

is

the value of half a level division, and a and b

are the actual scale readings of the ends of the bubble.
If

the instrument had been, from the

first,

perfectly

we should not have obtained r' as the reading to the point 5, but in place of r' a number either greater or less than it by the amount b" and if, therefore, we apply to r' and r" level corrections determined by the equation above given for b" we shall reduce the readlevelled
; ,

PLATE

III.

:

INSTRUMENTS.
ings to

115

what they would have been

for a perfectly levelled

instrument, and
of

therefore obtain the zenith distance

5 immediately from

the half difference of the corrected

readings.

Since any constant term which appears in the

level correction will be eliminated

from

this difference of

the

corrected

readings,

r'

— r", we may
,

substitute in

Equation

90, in place of 2»it
is

any constant number whatof divisions included in

ever, e.g., zero, but
this

usually convenient to take as

number

5, the total

number

the level scale, since in the long run this will
level

make

the

corrections
finally,

small.

Making

this

substitution,

we

have

Level Correction

(a

+ b — S)d,

(91)

where the ambiguous sign depends upon the direction
in

which the numbers increase along the
for
all,

level

scale,

and may be determined, once

for a given instru-

ment

as

follows:

Two

readings of the vertical circle

of a certain instrument were taken to the

same

object,

but with the instrument thrown out of level in such a

way

that the bubble stood at quite different parts of
;

the scale in the two observations
Observation.

e.g.
Level Corr.
Corrected
r.

Bubble.

Circle.

a

b

First

2.0 7.9

25.8 31.9

91° 9'

8'

+18".

7

90

9'

26".

7

Second

919

40

—12. 5

919 27. 5

The numerical values of the quantities above marked Level Corr. were computed from Equation(gi) with an assumed value of d = 2".6, and since the effect of these corrections must be to bring the corrected circle readings into agreement, it is evident that the + sign must be used for the first observation and the — sign for the second. The whole number of divisions in the level scale being 35, the formula for this instrument becomes,
6"

=+ 2 ".6

[35

-(a+b)].

116

FIELD ASTRONOMY.

A similar formula may be obtained for every instrument, and a table should be constructed from it, which with the argument a + b will show the value of b" for any given position of the bubble. Part of such a table is given below, and from it the level correction corresponding to any ordinary position of the bubble may be determined by
inspection.

a

+b

INSTRUMENTS.
lent to the corrected circle readings derived above,

117

and

therefore require no further correction for level error.

This mechanical device, although convenient for some
purposes,
is

of inferior accuracy.
of Errors
of

49. Effect

Adjustment.

—A

geometrical

investigation similar to the above

may

be made to show

the effect of each source of instrumental error, but
shall find it

we

more convenient

to develop the

combined

effect of these errors

through an analysis based upon
celestial sphere,

Fig. 10,

which represents a part of the

Fig. 10.

— Theory of
V
is

the Theodolite.

where Z

is

the zenith,

the point in which the vertical
cuts the sphere,

axis of the instrument,

when produced,
and S
is

H

is

the point of the sphere determined

by the prolongafrom

tion of the horizontal axis,

a star or other object

whose azimuth and altitude are
readings of the

to be determined

horizontal and vertical circles of the
of these

instrument.

The angles measured by means

118
circles lie in

FIELD ASTRONOMY.
the planes of the
is

circles,

but just as the
of the

azimuth of a point

measured either by an arc

horizon or by the corresponding spherical angle at the
zenith,

so the data furnished

by the
Thus

vernier readings

may

be regarded as spherical angles having their ver-

tices respectively at

V

and H.

if

r represent the
is

reading of the vertical circle
directed toward 5,
is

when

the line of sight

and

r

is

the reading
in the arc

when

this line
differ-

directed toward
,

some point

ence, r — r
larly, for

measures the spherical
circle,

HV, the angle VHS.

Simi-

the horizontal
vertical axis,

by rotating the instrument

about

its

H may be moved from its present
new
circle

position,

corresponding to the reading R, into a

position falling

upon the

arc

VM, and

if

R

t

be the
t

reading in this position,
the spherical angle

we

shall find that

R—R

equals

HVM. From

these spherical angles,

determined by the
the true direction,
tance,

circle readings, it is

required to find
dis-

MZS=A

f
,

and the true zenith

ZS = z,

of the star 5.

It is

evident from the figure that the arc

VH = 90 —

i,

measures the angle between the vertical and the horizontal
axis of the instrument,

and that
go° + c

i is

therefore the error
1,

of adjustment of the axes, corresponding to Condition
§

47.

Similarly,

HS

=

measures the angle beline of sight,

tween the horizontal axis and the

and

c is
2.

the error in the adjustment corresponding to Condition
Also,
i.e.,

VZ = y

is

the error of level of the instrument,

deviation of the vertical axis from the true vertical,
to

corresponding

Condition

3.

The

arc

HZ = go° — b

measures the angle that the horizontal axis makes with

INSTRUMENTS.
the true vertical, and b
axis.
is

119

therefore the level error of this
is

Note that as the instrument

turned into

differ-

ent positions
quantities
fore
y,

i,

by rotation about the axes V and H, the and c remain unchanged and are thereconstants,

called

instrumental

since

they define
its

the condition of the instrument with respect to
several adjustments.

The

level error,
is

b,

is

sometimes

included
of them,

among

these constants, but

not strictly one
is

since its value changes as the instrument

turned in azimuth.

We
2',

shall

suppose the instrument to be so well ad-

justed that none of the instrumental constants exceeds

and

cle

H will then VZM that we

be so near the pole of the great

cir-

may assume

without sensible error

HVM = HZM

and, replacing these quantities

by

their

equivalents, obtain

R-R
or

1

= ( 9 o° + w)+A'

A^R-iR. + go^-w.
The azimuth
of
5,

(92)

reckoned from the true meridian

instead of from the arc

VM,

differs

from A' only by

the substitution of another constant, the index correction of the horizontal circle, in place of

R + 90
1

;

and as

this index correction must in any case be separately

determined
i? t

(see § 38),
,

we may

replace the constant term

+ 9o° by R

the index correction referred to the true

meridian, and

we shall then have for the true azimuth of 5,

A=R-R

-w.

(93)

120

FIELD ASTRONOMY.

The auxiliary quantity w has thus far been defined only by means of Fig. 10, where the spherical angle HZS To determine the value of w in terms is labelled go°—w. of the instrumental constants, we have from the triangle

HZS

by means

of Equations
b cos z

4,

the relation,
b sin z sin w,
is

— sin c = sin
which, since b and
c

— cos

are small quantities,
c

equivalent to

w = -. sin
or,

b
z

Vtan

,

z

(94) y

replacing the zenith distance,

z,

by the

star's alti-

tude, h,

w = c sec h + b tan h.
Since neither
i

(94*)

nor y enters into this equation, the effect

of these errors

must be taken
spirit-level,

into account through

b,

the inclination of the horizontal axis.

This

is

to be deter-

mined with a must

and each

circle

reading, R,

be corrected for the particular inclination of the

axis that corresponds to R.

The

factor tan A

becomes

zero for an object in the horizon,

and

for this special case
(

the effect
is

zero.

upon the azimuth readings of an error of level On the other hand, when the object to be,'
is

observed

at a considerable elevation,

e.g.,

the Pole'
tan/z,,

Star in an azimuth determination,

the factor,

becomes large and the
It is in fact

effect of level error is magnified.!

one of the chief sources of error in such deter-

minations.
50.

Determination of Errors of Adjustment.
c
is

—The error
and

above represented by

called the

collimation,

INSTRUMENTS.
its effect is

121

usually to be eliminated through a reversal

of the instrument.

Since the angular distance of
is

5 from

one end of the horizontal axis

90°

+ c,
c

its

distance

from the other end must be go° — c, and as in the reversal these

ends change places the effect of
Circle R.,

one sign

and the opposite

sign Circle L.,

must have and

will therefore

be eliminated from the mean of observa-

tions taken in both positions.

In precisely the same
effect of
i,

way

it

may

be shown that the
is

error of adjustment of the axes,
of observations

eliminated

from the mean
tions,

taken in the two posiis

and wherever any considerable precision
in the

required
of hori-

in

azimuth observations or

measurement
fail

zontal angles, the observer should not

to

make an

equal

number

of pointings in each position of the instru-

ment

to secure this elimination of errors.

In the triangle

HVZ

the angle

HVZ = HZM

is

very

nearly equal to go°
find

+ A', and assuming
cos y — cos

this equality

we

from

this triangle,
sin b

= sin

i

i

sin y sin A',

(95)

which

is

equivalent

to,

b=i—
The quantity
after

y sin

A

r
.

(96)

arc

y sin A', which we shall represent hereby the symbol b', and which corresponds to the ZI of Fig. 10, is that component of the level error
y,

of the vertical axis,
line of sight

which

lies

at right angles to the

and which may therefore be determined

from the readings of a level parallel to the horizontal

:

;

122

FIELD ASTRONOMY.

axis of the instrument.

Such a

level

is

called the azi-

muth

level,

and

if

resting

upon the
it
is

axis

and capable of
fastened

reversal

(striding-level),

most conveniently used
b.

to determine the level error of this axis,

If

to the frame of the instrument and incapable of reversal,
it

may

be used to determine, from bubble readings taken

Circle R.
axis,

and

Circle L., the value of

b'

for the vertical
shall

and corresponding

to these

two cases we

have

the following expressions of the level corrections to be

applied to readings of the horizontal circle
Striding-level,

— btanh.
— b'
tan
h.

Both

Circle R.

and

Circle L.

Fixed Level,
If,

Mean

of Circle R.

and L.
from

as

is

usual, the graduation of the circle increases
b

left to right,

and

b'

are to be considered essentially
of the horizontal axis has
5.

positive

when the high end

an

azimuth 90 greater than the object

The student should not

fail

to note in connection with
if

the use of a fixed azimuth level that

the bubble

is

brought to the same scale reading, Circle R. and Circle
b
r

L.,

will

be zero and the level error
result.

will

be eliminated from

the

mean

A
let

reversal furnishes a convenient

method
For

for deter-

mining or adjusting the collimation.
R' and

this

purpose

R"

be readings of the horizontal circle corre-

sponding to observations of a fixed mark in or very near
the horizon,

made

in the

two positions

of the instrument

then, from Equations 92

and

94,

2C=R'-R".

(97)

INSTRUMENTS.

133
i,

To determine the

error of adjustment of the axes,
,

let

the inclinations of the horizontal axis, b v b 2

be meas-

ured in two positions of the instrument differing 180
in azimuth,
i.e.,

when Vernier A reads

and when
96,

it

reads 180

.

We shall then have,
bl b2

from Equation

=i— r = i-r

sin

A

r
,

sin (A'

+ i8o°)=*'+rsinA',

from which we obtain immediately
2i = bt
If

+ b2

.

(98)

the inclinations b v b 2 positive when the circle end of the axis is too high, a positive value of i will indi-

we

call

cate that the

same end

is

too high,

i.e.,

it

makes too

small an angle with the
axis.

upward extension
will

of the vertical

The value
of 90

of

y,

which

seldom be required,

may

be found from four values of b determined at intervals
in azimuth.

51. Additional

Theorems.
it

— By an

analysis similar to

that employed above,
gles

may

be shown from the trianb, c,

HSZ, HZV,'oi

Fig. 10, that the errors

and

i

have

no appreciable influence upon observations of altitude
or zenith distance.

Indeed,

it

may
i

be seen without

formal analysis that

when

c, b,

and

are small quantities,

H

is

so nearly the pole of the circles ZS, VS, that these

arcs are
i.e.,

measured by the corresponding angles at H,
of the vertical circle uncorrected

by the readings
is

for instrumental error.

Since the error corresponding

to

7-

taken into account in the approximate analysis

124
of
§

FIELD ASTRONOMY.
48,

we may adopt as definitive the results there The correction b" there determined is the obtained.
arc

VI

of Fig. 10,

i.e.,

it is

the projection of y upon the

line of sight,

VS.

The demonstration of the following theorems, which
are of
left to
1.

some consequence
the student.
If,

in the use of a theodolite,

is

as

is

quite
is
,

common

in engineer's transits, the

vertical circle

graduated into quadrants instead of

from
in

o° to 360

observations of altitude should be

made

the

way

already indicated, but in their reduction

we

shall have, in place of the

formula for

2",

the substi-

tute,
/*"

= Kr'.+ r"),

(99)

i.e.,

the

mean

of the readings gives directly the instru-

mental altitude.
2.

The

altitude level of such

an instrument usually
middle of the tube,

has the zero of its scale placed at the

and when such
be marked

is

the case readings of that end of the

bubble nearest the objective end of the telescope should
0,

and those
e;

of the

end nearest the eyepiece

should be called

the formula for level correction then

becomes,
b"
3.

= {o-e)d.
reversed

(100)

A

theodolite
its

may be

by

lifting

the tele-

scope from

supports, turning the axis end for end,
it

and replacing
This

in the

wyes

in the

changed

position.

mode

of reversal eliminates errors of level

and

colli-

mation quite as well as does the one above described,

:

INSTRUMENTS.
and
also eliminates the inequality of pivots
of
b.

125

from the

determination

It

is

therefore

to

be preferred

when

it

can be conveniently practised.
from the
Circle Readings.

52. Errors Arising

— Numerous
which

errors of a class not considered above, creep into the
results of observation

through the
less

circle readings,

may

be vitiated in greater or

degree by:

(a)
(b)

Defective graduation of the circle

itself.

The plane The
circle

of the circle not being

normal to the

rotation axis.
(c)

not being truly centred upon the axis.
large or too

(d)

The spaces on the vernier being too
small relative to those on the

circle.

(e)

Error of focussing (runs) in the reading microscopes,
etc. etc.
etc.

The

detailed study of these sources of error
of the present work,

lies

bein

yond the scope

but we note that

great part their effects

may

be eliminated by taking the
of observations in

mean

of a considerable

number

which

the circle readings are symmetrically distributed through-

out the whole 360
of 120

of the graduation.

Thus

if

an angle

between objects
circle

A

and

B

is

measured three times

and the

turned i2o°after each measurement so

as to obtain the following system of readings
To
A.

ToB.
o'

R-A.

Observation

1

2

3

o° o' o" 120 120 o o 240 o o 360 240

o" 120
o o

o'

o"
o o

o o

120 120

o o

126

FIELD ASTRONOMY.

whatever graduation errors
reading 12 o°
value
o'
,

may

affect

the particular

oo"

will

be eliminated from the

of B — A

since this reading enters into that

mean mean
If

once with a plus sign
the required angle
is

and once with a minus
small, e.g.,
i°,
it

sign.

will

not be con-

venient to carry out the above programme of reading

around the entire

circle,

but the elimination of errors

may

still

be made by

shifting the circle so that the

readings to object

A may

be symmetrically distributed
e.g.,

through the entire circumference,
every 30
.

every 6o° or

For an instrument provided with two verit

niers or microscopes

will suffice to distribute the read-

ings of each vernier over
53.

an arc

of 180

.

The Method

of

Repetitions.

— A peculiar method
be adopted with
is

of measuring horizontal angles

may

advantage

if,

as

is

often the case, the instrument

provided with two motions in azimuth

called, respectively,

upper and lower, one of which produces a change
vernier readings, while in the other, verniers

in the
circle

and

remain firmly clamped together and turn simultaneously, without change in the circle reading. Reverting to
§

52,

we may note

that the circle readings 120
if

,

240

,

there recorded, are quite unnecessary since,

the
,

first

reading, o°, be subtracted from the last one, 360

and

the result divided

by

3,

we

shall
is

have as the value of

the angle 120
the

o'

o", which

precisely the

same as
all

mean of the three that mean can furnish.
This process
is

values of

B — A,

and

is

that

called the method of repetitions

and

consists, essentially, in

making a

series of pointings

upon

INSTRUMENTS.

127

two objects between which an angle is to be measured, turning always from A to B upon the upper motion of the instrument and from B to A upon the lower motion,
so that the vernier reading in the latter turning
is

not

changed.

A

series of

such pointings

is

called a set
first

and
last

the verniers need be read only for the
pointings of the
set.

and

If

the initial and final readings be

represented by R' and R", and n be the
ings to each object contained in the set,

number of pointwe shall have, as

shown above,

R'-R" a An S le = ~~^~'
i

(

ICI )

It is

often advantageous to reverse the instrument at
set,

the middle of a

turning 'on the lower motion, and thus

secure an additional elimination of instrumental errors.

The advantages
readings and,
coarse,

of the

method
verniers

of repetitions are a

saving of labor through the diminished

number

of vernier

where the

are

comparatively

an increase of accuracy through the introduction

of the divisor

n into the value

of the angle.

The

pre-

cision of a small instrument, such as

an engineer's

transit,

may be
larger

considerably increased in this way, but for the

instruments,

provided with micrometer microresults are to be

scopes, experience

shows that the best

obtained by reading the microscopes after every pointing.

Where a
repetitions,

horizontal
is

angle between objects at very

different altitudes

to be

measured by the method

of

as in an azimuth determination,

an addi-

tional source of error requires careful attention, viz., the
effect of a lack of parallelism

between the axes corre-

:

128

FIELD ASTRONOMY.

sponding to the upper and lower motions of the instrument.

To

eliminate this error

we proceed

in the follow-

ing manner: The

axis of the lower motion should be

made

as nearly vertical as possible,
it

and whatever may
produce no
effect
is

be the error of the upper axis

will

upon the

final result

if

the

number

of repetitions
;

so

chosen that the set extends through 360

for in the

successive turnings about the lower motion the upper
axis has been

made

to describe a complete cone about

the lower axis, and any error which

may have been caused
is

by

a deflection to the east in one part of the set
error,

bal-

anced by the opposite

caused by a deflection to
If

the west, in another part, etc.

the angle to be meas-

ured

is

so small that the set cannot be
,

made to extend
set of

through 360

the following observing programme will
:

also eliminate the error of the axis

Measure a
it is

any

desired

number

of repetitions.

When

completed

leave the instrument clamped at the last vernier reading, reverse

about the lower motion and repeat the
i.e.,

set in

the opposite direction,
last sighted

beginning with the object

upon and with approximately the vernier
be

reading last obtained.

The
level

level correction to the circle readings should
§ 50, is

derived in the ordinary way,

from readings of a
reversed about the

taken when the instrument

lower axis.
54. Precepts

for

the Use

of

a Theodolite.

— The
all

ex-

perience of the principal geodetic surveys indicates that

the following precepts should be observed in

precise

work with a theodolite

INSTRUMENTS.
(i)

129

An

equal number of measurements should be

made
(2)

in each position of the instrument, Circle R.

and

Circle L.

An

equal number should be taken in each direcleft

tion,

i.e.,

the line of sight turned from right to

and

from

left to right.

(3)

The

position of the circle should be so shifted from

time to time that the readings to each object are symmetrically distributed throughout the 360
.

(4) The observations should be made as rapidly as the observer can work without undue haste.

55.

The Sextant.

—A

sextant consists essentially of
of a circle,

two mirrors and a graduated arc
for

about

6o°,

measuring the angle between the planes of the mir-

rors.

The

peculiar value of the instrument
light

lies in

the

and portable, requires no fixed support, and may therefore be used for the measurement of angles at sea as well as on shore, and in any plane, verfact that
it is

tical,

horizontal, or inclined.

For the purpose of deto be

scription

and analysis we suppose the sextant
its

placed upon a table, with the plane of

arc horizontal,
etc.,

and we

shall use the

terms altitude, azimuth,

with

reference to this special position of the instrument.

The

conclusions

drawn from

this

consideration of the in-

strument apply equally when

it is

used in any other plane.

The
Fig. 11

essential

parts of a sextant are indicated in

which should be compared with Plate IV.
of

At
a

the

centre

the

arc

is

a vertical

axis

carrying

vernier-arm, V,

and

also supporting
I,

one of the mirrors
is

called the index-glass,

whose plane

vertical, passes

130

FIELD ASTRONOMY.

nearly through the axis and rotates with the vernier-

arm

as the latter

is is

turned in azimuth.
the other mirror,

At one
,

side of

the sextant frame
zon-glass,

H

called the hori-

with

its

plane vertical and fixed parallel to
is is

that radius of the graduated arc which

numbered
T,

o°.

Only the lower half
upper half
is left

of the horizon-glass

silvered, the
is

transparent.

A telescope,

mounted

on the

side of the
its

frame opposite to the horizon-glass
directed toward the latter.

and has

line
it

of sight

From

Fig.

n

may

be seen that an observer looking

Fig. ii.

— Elements

of a Sextant.

into the telescope

and through the unsilvered upper
directed,

half

of the horizon -glass will see that

part of the horizon

toward which the telescope
superposed upon
reflected
it

is

and

will also see

a view of another part of the horizon
of the

from the index -glass to the silvered half

horizon-glass,
scope.

and from

this again reflected into the teleis

This part of the horizon

said

to

be seen

3

3|

INSTRUMENTS.
reflected,

131
is

while the part seen through the horizon-glass
direct.

observed

Any

reflected
is

image which

is

super-

posed upon a direct image
the latter, and
in the

said to be in contact with

we shall represent these images telescope, by I and H respectively.

as seen

By

turning the index-glass in azimuth, different parts

of the horizon

may

be reflected into the telescope, and

since the rays of light incident

upon and
its

reflected
surface,
is

from
it

the mirror

make equal

angles with

is

apparent that for every

that the mirror

turned, the

azimuth of

'the
2

point reflected into the telescope will
.

be changed by

There

may

be found by

trial

a setre-

ting of the index-glass at which both a direct
flected

and a

image of the same object

may

be seen simul-

taneously and

may

be made to pass one over the other
is

as the vernier-arm

slightly turned.

Let

R

denote

the vernier reading
contact,
object,

when

these images are brought into

and
/,
is

let

R

be the reading at which any other

brought into contact with the
it

H

just obdiffer-

served; then

appears from the above that the

ence of azimuth between / and
included between
tiplier, 2,

H

is

twice the angle

R

and R.

On

account of this mulis

each half -degree of the sextant arc

numbered

as

if

it

were a whole degree, and we have, therefore, for

the difference of azimuth,

H-I=R-R
The — R which appears
index correction, and
it

.

(102)
is

in this equation

called the

should be observed that, owing

to the angle subtended at the object

H

by the space

132

FIELD ASTRONOMY.

separating the index and horizon glasses, the reading
will

R

depend upon the distance
near at hand,

of

H from the instrument.
R
should be

If it is

less than three miles,

determined as above and the axis of rotation of the
index -glass should be centred over the point at which
is it

desired the vertex of the measured angle should

fall.

If

the objects are very remote,
is

all

question of the exact

position of the vertex

eliminated,

and a mode of deterwill

mining the index correction given hereafter

be found

more convenient than the above.
It

may now

be seen that the following conditions

must be

satisfied in order that the

Equation

102, given

above, shall furnish the true value of the angle between

H

and
(a)

I:

The rotation axis and the plane

of the index -glass

must be perpendicular
arc.
If

to the plane of the graduated

they are not perpendicular, this arc cannot
mirror.

accurately measure the
(b)

amount of rotation of the The horizon-glass must be perpendicular
If it is

to the

plane of the arc.

not perpendicular, the direct

and

reflected images of

H

cannot be brought into con-

tact,.but

one

will pass

above or below the other as the
in the sextant hori-

vernier-arm
(c)

is

turned.

The objects

H

and I must

lie

zon, for otherwise the difference of their azimuths

would

not be the true

angle

between them.

The sextant
the plane of

horizon must here be understood to

mean

the graduated arc, and this condition will be satisfied
if

the sextant

is

so held during the observation that this

plane passes through the objects

H and /.

INSTRUMENTS.
56.

133

Adjustments

of the

Sextant.

—Take
By

— (A) The Index-glass.
support, set
it

the telescope out from
of the arc,

its

on

end at any part

and turn the index-glass
one side of the telescope.

until its plane passes a little to

holding the eye a

little

to the right of the line joining

the index -glass to the telescope a reflected image of the
telescope

may

be seen simultaneously with a direct view

of

and these two images should be parallel, provided the telescope stands normal to the plane of the arc.
it,

Any

error in this last condition

may
its

be eliminated by
axis

turning the telescope 180
ing the test.

about

own
if

and repeat-

No
it

adjusting -screws are provided for the

index -glass, but

may
it

be adjusted,
filing

necessary,

by

re-

moving

it

from

its

frame and
is

down

the bearing-

points against which

held.

(B) The Horizon-glass.
flected
If this
tilt

— Bring

the

direct
if

and

re-

images of a distant object into contact

possible.

cannot be done, bring them near together and
of its

the horizon-glass by means

adjusting screws

until

by turning the vernier-arm the images can be made
The Telescope.

to coincide.
(C)

—To

enable the observer to

make

the plane of the sextant pass through the objects

H

and /

it

is

customary to place

in the eyepiece

of the

telescope a pair of coarse threads which should be set
parallel to the plane of the sextant.

By means

of its

adjusting screws the telescope

should be tilted up or

down

until the line of sight passing
is

midway between
If

these threads

parallel to the plane of the sextant.

the objects

H

and / are brought midway between these

134

FIELD ASTRONOMY.

threads
lie

when contact between them
the telescope
is

is

made, they

will

in the plane of the sextant as required.
if

To
two

deterwell-

mine

properly
apart,
is

tilted, select

defined objects about 120

and bring them

into

contact

when

the sextant

so held that they are both

seen in the upper part of the field of view.

Then

shift

the position of the sextant plane

so as

to bring the

objects to the lower part of the field

and note whether
;

they remain in contact or appear separated
appreciably

if

they are
further

separated

the

telescope

requires

adjustment.
57.

Outstanding Errors of the Sextant.

—The

methods

of adjustment

above described are only approximate, and

the readings of the instrument will be affected

by what-

ever error remains in the adjustment.
effect of these errors will

In general the

be small for small angles, but

will increase rapidly

with the magnitude of the angle

measured, and the adjustments should be
to within
10' if

made

correct

the resulting errors for an angle of 90

are to be

insensible.

However
will

carefully these adjustments are

made

there

remain a source of error which cannot be removed
effect

by adjustment, but whose

must be determined
if

and applied as a correction to the readings

the maxirequired.

mum
It is
falls

attainable precision of the instrument

is

assumed above that the centre of the graduated arc
exactly at the centre of motion of the index -glass,
is

but the maker

seldom able to secure this exact agreeit

ment, and without

the readings of the vernier are not
of the

an accurate measure

amount

of rotation of the

INSTRUMENTS.
mirror.
tricity,

135
is

The

effect of this error,

which

called eccen-

combined with the

effect of all other

outstanding

errors of the instrument,

is

best determined

by

carefully

measuring with

it

a set of

known

angles of different

magnitudes, from o° to the largest one possible, and treating the difference between the measured value and the
true value of each angle as a correction to the corre-

sponding reading of the sextant.

These corrections

may

be plotted as ordinates with the sextant readings as
abscissas

and a curve drawn, from which intermediate

values of the correction

may

be read.

The length

of

the arc joining two stars whose right ascensions and
declinations are given,

may

be computed and used as a

known

angle for this purpose, provided the effect of
is

refraction in altering this distance

duly taken into

account; or

if

a distant part of the horizon can be seen,

a set of angles
for

may

be measured with a good theodolite
results.

comparison with the sextant
58.

Index Correction.

Since

the value of the index
is

correction for very distant objects

constant so long

as the adjustments of the sextant remain unchanged,
it

may

be determined from special observations

made
fre-

for this purpose,

but the determination should be
is

quently repeated since the adjustment

easily disturbed.
tele-

Let a shade -glass be placed over the eye end of the

scope and the direct and reflected images of the sun

brought into contact, externally tangent to each other,
in each of the
left of /.

two possible positions, H first right, then The mean of the corresponding sextant read-

ings will be the required value of

R

.

Since the index

:

136

FIELD ASTRONOMY.

correction enters into the value of every measured angle,
it

should be carefully determined from several settings,

as in the following example

DOUBLE DIAMETER OF SUN FOR INDEX CORRECTION.

INSTRUMENTS.
the resulting

13?

scum

(oxide)

with the edge of a card.
lies
is

The

reflected

image of the sun or star

as

much below
it,

the true horizon as the real object

above

and

if

the angle between the two
it

is

measured with the sextant
See
29 for an ex-

gives at once the double altitude of the body, subject
§

to correction for index error, etc.

ample.
60. Precepts for the

Use

of a Sextant.

1.

Keep your

fingers off the graduation.
2.

It tarnishes readily.

Focus the telescope with great care so as to secure

sharply defined images.

Make the direct and reflected images equally bright, by moving the telescope to or from the plane of
3.

the sextant with

the adjusting-screw provided for this

purpose.
4.

Bring the images into contact midway between

the guide -threads.
5.

Don't try to hold the images

still

in the field of

view.

Give the reflected image a regular oscillating
wrist,

motion by twisting the
direct image as
6.
it

and note

its

relation to the

swings by.

In observing the sun take an equal number of

observations on each limb (edge).
7.

Take an equal number

of observations in each

position of the horizon roof, direct
8.

and reversed.

Determine the index correction as carefully as the

angle which you wish to measure.
9.

Whenever

possible use a shade-glass over the eye-

piece instead of those attached to the sextant frame.
10.

Work as rapidly as you can

without hurrying.

138

FIELD ASTRONOMY.
61. Chronometers.

—This

section will

be confined to

a consideration of the proper care and use of timepieces.

For an account of
article

their mechanical construction see the

Watches

in the Encyclopaedia Britannica.
is

A

chronometer

a

large

and

finely

constructed

watch, whose face, hands, and train (wheels) are to be
considered as a mechanical
device
for

automatically
steel helix,

counting and registering the vibrations of a
called

spring

the balance-spring. In most chronometers this makes one complete vibration every half second,
(tick) of the

producing a beat

chronometer and a forward

movement
spring

of

the

seconds

hand through o s .5.
fast,

This

may

vibrate too slow or too
it is

thus producing

a rate of the chronometer, and

practically convenient

that this rate should be small, but the real test of excellence in a timepiece
its
is

not the magnitude of

its rate,

but

uniformity of rate from day to day.
In order that the rate of a chronometer shall remain

constant, every precaution

must be taken against

dis-

turbing

the balance -spring, and most of the following

precepts for the treatment of a chronometer have reference
to this condition. to

Of the various mechanical disturbances
experience shows that a quick
is

which

it

is

subject,

rotary motion about the axis of the balance-spring

the

most

injurious.

According to the chronometer makers

a single quick motion of this kind through half a turn

and back may change the chronometer correction several
seconds and so disturb the rate that
its
it

will

not resume

normal value

for hours or
is

even days.

A

chronometer

usually supported in gimbals and

INSTRUMENTS.
should be allowed to swing freely in them
in order that it

139

when
;

at rest,

may assume

a vertical position but

when

carried about, the gimbals should be locked since the
oscillations

that would otherwise be imparted to the

balance -spring are more injurious to the rate than the
isolated shocks that
it

may

receive

when

firmly held in
in

one position.
place, not
it

A

chronometer should be kept

a dry

exposed to magnetic influences.

If possible
e.g.,

should always rest in the same azimuth,
It

the zero

of the dial always pointing north.

should be

wound

at regular intervals,

and

its

temperature should be kept

as nearly uniform as possible.

The average chronometer

runs best at a temperature near 70 Fahr.
62.

Comparison

of
is

Chronometers.

—A

problem of

fre-

quent recurrence
with another,
of one

the comparison of one chronometer
in order to

e.g.,

determine the correction

from the known value of

AT

for the other.

This

comparison consists in noting the time indicated by one

chronometer at a given time shown by the other, and
presents
little difficulty

when no
is

greater accuracy than
If
s

the nearest half -second
is

required.

the comparison
.i,

to be

made

correct to the nearest o

the

method

of coincident beats

may

be employed

if

one of the chro-

nometers keeps sidereal and the other solar time.
Since sidereal time gains 236 seconds per day

upon

mean

solar time

and the chronometers beat

half -seconds,

there will be 472 epochs during a day, at which the

chronometers beat in unison,

i.e.,

a coincidence of the

beats occurs every three minutes throughout the day,

and

if

the comparison be

made

at one of these coinci-

:

140

FIELD ASTRONOMY.
its

dences by noting by each chronometer

indicated

time when the beats are coincident, no fractions of a
second need be determined and the comparison can be

made

correct within one or

two hundredths
is

of a second.

This mode of comparison

illustrated in the follow-

ing example of the comparison of two mean-time clocks,

M

and F, with each other by comparing each with a
H.

sidereal clock designated

OBSERVED TIMES OF COINCIDENT BEATS.

M
H
The
H, m
interval
is 3

i

h

9

3o

m

49 s
1

F

b i

9

34

ra

55

s

io

42

H

10

46

o

between the coincidences, as measured by
(sidereal),

m

59

s

and

this interval

reduced to mean

solar units

and added to M, or subtracted from F, gives

a comparison between the mean-time clocks as follows

M
F
either

i

h

9

34

m

47 -35
55 .00

s

i9

h

3° 30

m

B 49 -°o

19

34

19
s

56

.65,

form showing that

F was

7

.

6 5 faster

than

M.
' '

Every observer should acquire the
the beat" of a chronometer,
i.e.,

ability to

carry

to listen to

and count
nearly

the beats while attending to something
all

else, since

observations in which

it is

required to note the time

of

an event,

e.g.,

the transit of a star over a thread,
special mechanical devices,

require this ability unless

such as a chronograph, are employed.

(See

§ 79.)

CHAPTER

VIII.

ACCURATE DETERMINATIONS.
63.

General
is

Principles.

— Where

a

high

degree

of

precision

desired in the results of observation, the

purely instrumental sources of error that have been

examined

in the preceding

chapter must be eliminated

by

the methods there shown, or

by others equivalent
and we
note,

to them.

But

this alone

is

not

sufficient,

for example,

that an instrument taken from a

warm

place and set

up

in a cold one undergoes a process of of its parts that, while in prog-

cooling and contraction
ress,

renders the errors of adjustment variable quantities,
effects

whose

cannot be represented by the formulae

derived for the case of "instrumental constants."

We

have therefore as a rule to be carefully observed when
precision
is

required: Let the instrument be

levelled in the place

where

it is to

be used, at

up and least half an
set

hour before observations are commenced.

Let the sur-

roundings of the instrument during this period be as
nearly as possible like those under which the observations are to
etc.

be made,

i.e.,

shutters open, lamps lighted,

As a

corollary to this rule

we have the

further pre-

cept that during the progress of the observations the
141

:

142

FIELD ASTRONOMY.

observer and his lamp should be kept

away from

the

instrument as

much

as possible.
for the display of

There

is

large

room

good judgment

in the selection of stars to

be observed for a given pur-

pose, such as the determination of time or azimuth,

and

precepts bearing upon this choice, both with reference
to the precision of the observations themselves

and

to

the elimination of errors in the right ascensions and
declinations of the stars as furnished

by the almanac,

are

given in the following sections.

Whenever observations
siderable
of time
in

are to be

made upon

a con-

number

of different stars, as in determinations

and

latitude,

an observing

list

should be prepared
stars,

advance, giving the names and magnitudes of the

arranged in the order in which they are to be observed,

and giving
sions,

also such data as

may

be required for finding
e.g.,

them with the given instrument,

their right ascen-

declinations, zenith distances, etc.

Also, a

form

should be prepared in which to record the observations,

each figure that
record having

is

to be written

down

as a part of the
it!

its

proper place allotted

This place

must be

up before the observation is complete, and the presence of an unfilled space in the form is to
filled
»

be considered as a reminder that something remains to be done.
64.

Time by Equal

Altitudes.

— The

best

method

of

determining time involves the use of a transit instru-

ment
tion

(see

Chapter IX), but an excellent time determina-

may

be made with a theodolite, zenith telescope,

or sextant

by the method

of equal altitudes, as follows

ACCURATE DETERMINATIONS.

143

We

note the chronometer time,

Tu

at which a star

west of the meridian reaches the zenith distance zt and
the time,

T

2

,

at which another star, east of the meridian,
,

reaches a zenith distance, z2
possible
to

which

differs as little as
it
is

from

zv
if

In sextant observing
the sextant
is

customary
For an

assume that

set to the

same reading

in the

two observations we
left firmly

shall

have

zx

=z

2.

instrument of the other type (theodolite) the telescope

must be

clamped

in altitude as it slight

is

turned

from one object to the other, and any

change in

the altitude of the line of sight must be carefully deter-

mined from readings
ment.
If

of the altitude level of the instruits

the bubble changes
is

position in the levelfirst

tube when the latter
star, it

turned from the

to the second

should be brought back to

its original

place

by

the levelling screws of the instrument, but the angle

between the telescope and level-tube must not be altered.
If

the instrument

is

provided with an azimuth
its

circle, it

will

be well to note

readings,

R

1

and

R

2

,

correspond-

ing to the observed 7\

and T 2

.

For the reduction of the observations we take from
the formulae for transformation of coordinates,
§ 14,

the

equations
cos z 1

= sin <P sin o + cos cos z 2 = sin <p sin d + cos
x

<P <P

cos d t cos
cos d 2 cos

/

,

(103)
t

2

2

,

and

in these relations

if

we could assume,

zi

= **

o1

=d

2,

we should have

at once,
t,

cos

=

cos

t

2

and

i=—

12 .

144

FIELD ASTRONOMY.
this last relation

From

we

obtain,
1

(r

i

+ J7)-a =a -(7 + jr),
2

2

and

solving this for AT, find,

jr = K« + « ;-i(r + r
1

2

1

2 ).

(io 4 )

This ideal case

may

be realized in practice by observing

the times at which a given star comes to equal zenith
distances on opposite sides of the meridian,
i.e.,

before

and
of

after its culmination, but this

may

involve a delay
it

several hours

between the observations, and

will

usually be
in

more convenient and expeditious

to observe

quick succession two stars of nearly equal declination

but widely different right ascension, one east and the
other west of the meridian.

To adapt Equation 104 new quantities, z, B, d, D,
lowing relations:
z

to this case
t,

we assume

six
fol-

and L, defined by the

+ B=z v
2,

d+

D = dv
2,

t

z-B=z
and from the

d-D = d

+ L = tv t-L =

t2 ,

last pair of these

equations

we

obtain,

by

the method followed

in deriving
l

Equation
l

104,

AT = \{a + a )-\{T
2

+T )+L.
2

(106)

To determine the value
tracting the
first

of

L we

introduce into Equations

103 the quantities defined in Equations 105,
of these transformed

and subfrom

equations

the second, obtain the rigorous relation,
sin z sin

B = — sin
+ cos + cos

<t>

cos d sin

<P

D sin d sin D cos cos d cos D sin

t t

cos

L
(107)

sin L.


ACCURATE DETERMINATIONS.
This equation
is

145

quite too

cumbrous

for use,

but
is

if

in the

plan and execution of the observations care

taken to

make B and
powers

D

small quantities whose cubes and higher
it is

may

be neglected,

readily reduced to the

simpler form,

tan tan d B —- j. L=-v—-£>-- 7 D + sin tan cos <p sin A
T
__

__

t

t

(108)

,

n.

From Equations

105

we

find for use here,

d-ift + dj, 0-K*»-?i). = ±(a -a )-±(T
1

B = i(z -z

2 ),

t

2

l

2

-T

(109)
1

).

It

appears from these relations that the quantity

B

is

change of zenith distance suffered by the of sight in passing from one star to the other, and
half the

line

this

change should be measured with

all

possible care
If

by

means

of the altitude level of the instrument.

we

represent

by

b the

observed displacement of the bubble

between the two observations and by d the value of half
a level division, we shall have

B=
where the positive sign
is

±bd,
to be used

(no)

when the bubble
observation.
it

stands nearer to the objective end of the telescope at
the
eastern

than

at

the

western

The

value of

B

is

required in seconds of time, and

will there-

fore be convenient to express

d

in

terms of the same unit

instead of in seconds of arc.

The

declination factor, D, should also be expressed

in seconds of time,

and

since declinations are usually

given in arc,

we reduce the

difference d

t

—d

2

to seconds

146
of arc,

FIELD ASTRONOMY.

and dividing

this

by

15 obtain in terms of the

required unit

D-Mti-W65.

(in)

Example.

Time by Equal

Altitudes.

—The followengineer's

ing example illustrates the application of these equations
to the reduction of observations transit
star's

made with an

provided with stadia threads, over which the
vertical transits

were observed, the instrument

being turned between times so that the transit over the
horizontal thread should always occur near
section with the vertical thread.
its

inter-

The

three terms con-

tained in the value of

sented by the

L (Equation symbols Lv L L v
2
,

108) are here repre-

EQUAL ALTITUDES FOR TIME.
Thursday, April
30, 1896.

At Brick
Star

Pier.

Instrument, Heyde.

Observer, C.

ACCURATE DETERMINATIONS.
For the sake of
time, but this

147

illustration the reductions in the pre-

ceding example are carried to hundredths of a second of
is

a quantity quite inappreciable in the

telescope of an engineer's transit,

and with such an

instru-

ment, or with a sextant,

it

will usually

be sufficient to
Corre-

carry the reductions to tenths of seconds only.

sponding to this degree of accuracy the difference of
declination of the stars

may

be as great as two or three

degrees without the introduction of sensible error into
the results

by reason

of the

approximate character of
difference should not exif

the reduction formulae.

The

ceed one half of this amount
are to be taken into account.
Observing

hundredths of seconds

List. Without transgressing these rather narrow a considerable number of suitable pairs of stars may be selected from the almanac, as is illustrated by the short observing list given below, and such a list should be prepared for the particular time and place at which observations are to be made. At least one of the stars in each pair should be a bright one, easily recognized and found with the telescope by sighting over its tube. The second star of the pair, even though much fainter, may be readily found by the method given below. In the selection of pairs of stars care should be taken to secure those that are as near as may be to the prime vertical at the time when

66.

limits for d 1

—S

2

,

their altitudes are equal, since the motion in altitude is then most rapid and most accurately observed. The analytical expression for this condition is

tan h(d,

+ d ) =tan
2

cos i(a

l

—a

2)

;

(112)

and

this equation is satisfied by the coordinates of any two stars that differ but little in declination, these stars will be near the prime vertical at the instant when their altitudes are equal. But this conif

dition should not be too ricrorouslv insisted upon,

deviations from

it

may

and even considerable be permitted in order to secure a suitable
of stars,

number of bright stars. Having chosen a pair
sidereal time.
8.

we may determine

as follows the

at which their altitudes will be equal: In Equation 106
2

we put JT=o, r,=r

=9, and obtain

d=\(a, +

a 2 )+L,

(113)

148

FIELD ASTRONOMY.

where the value of L is to be derived from Equation 108, omitting the term in B. It will usually be convenient to observe the first star about five minutes before the computed time, Finding the Faint Star. If the two stars have equal declinations, their azimuths at the instant of equal altitudes will be numerically equal but of opposite sign, i.e., A +A 2 =o, while if their declinations, differ slightly, there will be a small difference in the azimuths which
.

1

will

transform this equation into

A +A + dA
1

i

i

=o.

(114)

To determine

the value of dA 2 in this equation astronomical triangle the relation (Equation 15)
sin d

we obtain from the
(115)

=cos

z sin

$— sin z cos
9"

9 cos A,

and

differentiating this, treating
of

change

azimuth

of

and z as constants, we find as the the second star produced by a small change of

declination,

cos d dd =cos

<j>

sin z sin

A dA =cos

<f>

cos d sin

t

dA,

(116)

from which,

dA =
Let
circle

cos

-r-r—..

9

sin

(117)

t

R R R
lt

2

,

when

the telescope

represent respectively the readings of the horizontal is directed to the western star, to the eastern
;

star,

and to the meridian we

shall

then have

A^Ri-R*
and substituting
in

A =R -R
2 2

,

(118)

Equation 114 these relations together with the
dd = d 2

approximate values,

—d

1)

t=\(a 2 -a^,

(119)

we

obtain

R +R = 2R + cos
l

1

2

r. -rJ-iv 2 —aj 9 sin h (a

(120)

The

last

term

in this expression,

computed

for

9"

=43°,

is

tabulated
it

in the observing list

under the heading AR, and by means of
first

and

the reading
circle,
2
,

R to R may be
x

the

star of a pair, the reading of the horizontal

found

at

which the instrument should be set and the

arrival of the second star in the field awaited at a time as

much

after

For the computed 6 as the first observed time was earlier than 0. As a convenience' sake orient the instrument and make R„=o. control upon the sign of AR, note that the star that has the larger declination must be the farther from the south point.

.

2

A CC URA TE BE TERM IN A TIONS.
TIME BY EQUAL ALTITUDES.
Partial Observing List for
Mag.
R. A.
<j>

149

=43°.
AR.
h.

Dec.

m
44

a Ononis. a Serpentis.
.

0.9
2.7

5

15
7

5° 39 34 39 39 43
3

7

6
5

23 45

10

-o
4-2

54

a Can. Min. a Serpentis.
/?

o-S 2-3

15
7

6

29 45
16

11

34

o

Geminorum.
.
.

H Herculis.
a Leonis. a Ophiuchi.
.

3-5
i-3
2
.

17

28 27
12 12
8

47 28 38
36

12

43

—o
4-0

41

10 17
19
9

30 46 36

13

46

16

a Aquilae. o Leonis.

0.9 3-3

14

44

67.

Precise Azimuths.

— The

azimuth of a

terrestrial

line, e.g.,

the line joining the centre of a theodolite to a

by measuring the difference of azimuth, D, between the mark and a star at an observed time, T. From the observed time and
distant mark,

may

be determined

the right ascension of the star
derived,

its

hour angle,
obtain,

t,

may be
division

and from Equations 14 we

by

and introduction

of the auxiliary quantities,

g = cot 6 sec 0,
the relation

&

= cot<?tan0,
t

(121)

tan

A

g sin

- k cos V
of the star at the

(122)

from which the true azimuth
observation
is

time of
of the

readily computed.

The azimuth

mark
where

is

then

A'=A+D,
the east.

(123)

D is assumed to be measured from the star toward

150

FIELD ASTRONOMY.

The

precision of A' depends equally

upon

D

and A,

and through

A

it

depends upon the assumed latitude,

declination, right ascension,

and chronometer correction

that are employed

in the computation.

The observaany
of these

tions should therefore be planned with reference to elim-

inating whatever minute error
data,

may

exist in

and

to

overcoming,

below and

in § 54, the effect of instrumental errors

by the methods indicated upon

the measured angle D. Errors in the

Assumed Data.

— The effect of these errors
star, e.g. Polaris,

may
g
is

be greatly diminished by selecting for observation

a star very near the pole of the heavens, since the factor thus

made

small,

and such a

should
is

always be chosen.

If

the chronometer correction

well

determined, the observations

may

be made at any con-

venient hour, whether near elongation or not.
to the required precision in

As a guide

AT we

note that for observa-

tions of Polaris within the limits of the

United States

an error

of 2

s

in the time will in

no case produce in the
than
1".

computed azimuth an
If

error greater
is

the highest precision

required, the star should be
its

observed at two points of

diurnal path which are
i.e.,

diametrically opposite to each other,

there should

be two groups of observations separated by an interval
of twelve hours, or

some odd multiple
will

of twelve hours.

Errors in 0,
inated,

d,

and a

then be almost perfectly elim-

and there

will also

be eliminated any systematic

personal error of observation depending
tion of the
star's

upon the
is

direc-

apparent motion, such as

sometimes

found to exist in the work of even the best observers.

ACCURATE DETERMINATIONS.

151

A

similar

but

less

complete elimination of errors

may

be
if

obtained from observations

made

at a single epoch

these are equally divided between stars
sides of the pole

and equidistant from
6

it.

upon opposite Examples of
condition

pairs of stars

which approximately
Ursse

fulfil this

are

Polaris

and

Minoris;

51 H. Cephei and

8 Ursas Minoris.

The angle

D may be measured with either a repeating

or a non-repeating (direction) instrument, and the student

should observe the following respects in which their use
differs:

For a repeating instrument the azimuth

level

should be used to determine the inclination of the vertical axis corresponding to the lower

motion of the instruIn both

ment.

For a non-repeating instrument the inclination
is

to be determined

that of the horizontal axis.

cases the bubble readings are to be taken
of sight
is

directed toward the star

when the line and also when it is
levelling will not

turned toward the mark, unless the latter has a zenith
distance of 90
,

in

which case erroneous
it.

affect the readings to

With any type
is

of instrument the horizontal circle

to be

turned in its

own

plane from time to time during

the observations, so that the vernier or microscope readings shall be symmetrically distributed throughout the
entire 360
of the graduation
let
;

e.g., for

an instrument with

two microscopes
observations be

one ninth of the total number of
the circle reading to the

made with
o°,

mark approximately
reading 20
,

another ninth with the circle

40

,

6o°, etc.

But

see

§

53 for the peculiar

152

FIELD ASTRONOMY.
in

manner

which the

circle settings

should be changed

in the case of a repeating instrument.

Level Corrections.

—The
b'

correction for level error

is

to be applied to each circle

reading as shown in

§ 50,

but for observations made by the method of repetitions
the level correction,

tan

h,

there given for the reading

to the star, must be multiplied

by

n,

the

number
by n

of point-

ings in a set, since the difference of the corrected readings to star

and mark

is

to be divided
It will

in order to

obtain the measured angle.

usually be expedient

to arrange the form of record of the observations so that

the level corrections

may be applied and the angles worked

out in the record book.
68.

Reduction of the Observations.

— After
t

the hour

angles have been formed from the relation

and the constants g and k computed with the
nation and latitude, the computation of
difficulties,

= T + JT—a, known declipresents

A

no

but

it

may

be

considerably

abbreviated

through the use

of Albrecht's

Tables

(reproduced in

Appendix VII, Annual Report U. S. Coast and Geodetic Survey, 1897-98), which with the argument log x give
the logarithm of &

——
* 1

.

x

Calling this last factor F,

and

putting k cos t=x,
simple form

Equation 122 assumes the very

-tan

A = gF sin

t.

(124)

In the absence of special tables for F its value may be readily obtained from an ordinary table of addition Representing and subtraction logarithms as follows:

3

ACCURATE DETERMINATIONS.
by
i.e.,

153

.4

and

B

the argument and function in such a table,*

^4=logx,
/L

B = \og{i+x) we
y

have, whenever cos

t

is

negative,
positive,

=log

(k cos

t),

log

F = — B. When
4

cos

t

is

we

use the development

i

—x

(i

+x)(i

+x

2

)(i

+x

)(i

+x

3

),

etc.,

and interpolating from the table
the values of

of addition logarithms

Bv B B v
2,

etc.,

corresponding to the argu-

ments

x,

x

2
,

x*,

we

find
(125)

logF = B + B 2 + B + etc.
1

i

of Polaris made within the limits of the United never be necessary to use more than the first two terms of this series, e.g., corresponding to this case the greatest possible value of k cos t furnishes log x and the several values of B given below:

For observations
it will

States

log x log x 2

log* 4

8.39386 6.7877 3-575
log

B B

x

0.0106248
2663
2

2 i

B

F

0.0 1 089 1

In ordinary practice the value of log
places of decimals,

F

will

be required to only six

and

B +B
l

2

furnishes this degree of precision.
is

Where the
customary

highest degree of precision

sought,

it is

in the reduction of the observations to

com-

pute for each observed time the corresponding value of

A, but this process
treating the

may

be very greatly abridged by

mean

of a considerable

tions as a single observation

recorded times.
will

made at The azimuth A

number of observaT the mean of the computed from T Q
,

not correspond exactly to the observations, but the
is

correction required on this account
* Do not confound Equation 124.
this use of

readily obtained.

A

with

its

wholly different meaning

in

154

FIELD ASTRONOMY.
develop by Taylor's Formula the relation bein the form,
)
()

We may

tween azimuth and time

A=A

+ f(A )(T-T + ir(A )(T-T y + etc.,
for each observed

an equation which obtains
corresponding A.
If

T and

its

mean of these several equations and note that the mean of the (T—T )s is necessarily zero, since T is the mean of the Ts, we find
we take
the
for the average of the set,

\lA = A +f"(A )±Z(T-T oy +etc,
where the
last

(126)

term

of the expression

is

the required

correction to reduce

A

to the

mean

of the observed
this

azimuths.

For the numerical application of

formula

we need

to introduce a convenient expression for

f (A

f

),

and there must

also be a numerical factor such that the

value of the term shall be given in seconds of arc

when

T—T

is

expressed in minutes of time.
the coefficient \

This factor,

combined with
equation,
is

which appears in the

readily

shown
*

to be,

60X15WX 206265 = —±
^206265,

[0.2930].

The
of

differential coefficient,
is

f"(A

),

does not admit

an expression that
star near the pole,

both simple and rigorous,* but,

with entire accuracy at the pole and approximately for

any

we may
)

write
,

f"(A
*

= smA
)

The complete expression
-7j-

for /" (A

is

= —cos $
2

sin

A

{

(sec 2 h

+ tan

2

h)cos

A +tan

<J>

tan h\.

ACCURATE DETERMINATIONS.
and combining these several expressions we correction to the computed azimuth, A
,

155
find as the

JA =
where n
is

+[0.2930] sin
of
,

A^-KT-T.y,
in the

(127)

the

number

7s included

mean,

T

,

and the
of time.

differences,

T—T

are to be expressed in minutes
so applied as to bring

JA
§

must always be

the computed

A
for

nearer to the meridian. the extremely small effect of diurnal

See

85

aberration
69.
p.

upon azimuth determinations. The example on Precise Azimuth. Example.

156 represents a determination of azimuth

made with

an engineer's transit, using the method of repetitions, four pointings in a set, and combining two sets in such
a

way

as to eliminate the effect of lack of parallelism of

the axes of the instrument, see §53.
errors are not here eliminated,

The graduation
sets

and other

with read-

ings symmetrically distributed about the circle are re-

quired for this purpose.
70. Precise Latitudes.

— Zenith

Telescope Method.

— In
5
X

Fig. 12 let

V

represent any point on the meridian,

Fig. 12.

— Zenith

Telescope Latitudes.

and S 2 the
stars,

points,

on opposite

sides of V, at

which two
the

of

declination d t

and d 2

respectively, cross
let z 1

meridian in their diurnal motion, and

and

z2

denote

156

FIELD ASTRONOMY.
PRECISE AZIMUTH DETERMINATION. At Station M. Monday, May i, 1899.
Instrument No. 386. Chronometer, S. Observer, C. Chronometer AT = — 2 m 39 s .7. 4 tan h.d = io".y.

ACCURATE DETERMINATIONS.
the arcs
of V,

157

VS and VS
1

2.

Denoting by

<t>"

the declination

we have from

the figure

and by subtraction,
2<f>"

= (d +d ) + (z -Z ).
1

2

i

2

(128)

Since V,

by

supposition,
it

is

any point

of the meridian,

we may now
olite

define

as the projection

upon the meridcelestial

ian, of the point in

which the

vertical axis of a theod-

or

other similar instrument

meets the

sphere,
of V,

and we may represent by b" the zenith distance
lies

reckoned positive when the zenith
pole.

between

V

and the

Since the latitude

is

equal to the declina-

tion of the zenith,
2<P

we

shall

have
l

= 2{cf>" + b")={d + d +2b") + {Z -Z
2
l

2 ).

(129)

In the
all

practice

of

American government surveys

precise determinations of latitude are based

upon

this

equation and are

made with an

instrument, the

zenith telescope, especially designed for the micrometric

measurement

.of

small differences of zenith distance,

the zx — z 2 of the equation.

But Equation 129 may be
alti-

applied with any instrument capable of measuring

tudes

— theodolite,
but
little

sextant, etc.

— and

in general

it

will

furnish better results than other

modes

of using the

instrument, since
differs

if

the stars are so selected that z x
z2
,

from

any constant

errors

which

may

be present in the instrumental work will be very nearly
the same for the two stars, and will be approximately

eliminated from the difference zx — z2

.

We

shall

here

158

FIELD ASTRONOMY.

develop the zenith-telescope method with reference to
its

use with an engineer's transit provided with a gradi-

enter and an altitude level, which latter

may

be

its

striding-level properly fastened to the alidade at right

angles to the horizontal axis.

With very small modibe applicable to the

fications the resulting formulae will

zenith telescope as usually constructed.

The

first

step in the application of the

method

is

the

selection of

an observing programme, consisting
of
stars

of

a

number

of pairs

whose right ascensions and

declinations, for each pair, satisfy the conditions

a 2 -a 1 <20 m

,

d2

+ d —20<±G,
1

(130)

where

G

denotes the greatest angle that can be con-

veniently measured with the gradienter.

Write upon
2 0,

the edge of a

slip of

paper the approximate value of
list

and turning

to a suitable

of stars, e.g., the list of

mean

places given in the almanac, subtract each decli2

nation in turn from

and seek within the given
whose declination
If

limits

of right ascension a star
little

differs

but

from the difference thus obtained.

bright enough

to be observed with the given instrument,

any two

stars

thus related will constitute a latitude pair.

Having prepared such an observing list, before the first of these stars comes to the meridian let the instrument be carefully levelled and oriented and its telescope
set to the
zi
is
s

approximate
l

zenith

distance

of the star,

=±( P—d
<

).

When

brought into the

field

thread, a pointing in

by its diurnal motion and passes behind the vertical altitude should be made upon it
the star

PLATE

V.

'

A

Zenith Telescope as used at the International Latitude Station? Telescope 52 inches. Approximate Cost 51600.

Length

of

[To face p. 15S .]

:

ACCURATE DETERMINATIONS,

159

with the gradienter, and the readings of the altitude
level

and gradienter head recorded immediately
pointing.

after

the

Leaving the telescope firmly clamped
it

in altitude, let

be

now

revolved 180 in azimuth with-

out loosing the altitude clamp, and with the gradienter
bring the line of sight to the zenith distance of the second
star,
If

z2

= =F(0— #
is

2 )>

and observe
its

it

precisely as before.

the level-bubble changes

position in the tube as the
first

instrument

turned from the

to the second star,

it

should be brought back to
of the levelling screws.

its initial

position

by means

The readings

of the level in the of b"
,

two positions deter-

mine the average value

and

if

R

t

and

R
is

2

represent

the respective gradienter readings and k

the angle
is

moved over by

the line of sight

turned through one complete revolution,
z1
71.

when the gradienter we shall have,
2 ).

-z =±k(R
2

1

-R

(131)

Minor Corrections.

— Before

introducing this value
to

into the expression for

2

we proceed

examine some
from a d via-

matters that require further explanation,
Level Error.

viz.

—The small term 26"
amount and
of

arises

tion of the vertical axis of the instrument
vertical
Its

from the true

sign are to be determined
level,

from readings

an altitude

as

shown
levelling

in

§

42

Make
if

this error small

by turning the
first.

screws,

necessary, so that the bubble readings shall be the

same

for the second star as for the

Refraction.

—The

effect of refraction

upon the

latitude

observations

is

most readily determined by substituting,

160

FIELD ASTRONOMY.

in place of the true declinations of the stars, their appar-

ent declinations as affected
places each star

by the refraction. This distoward the zenith by the amount, (§23)
982"
456

B
*

+

tan z;

(i3 2 )

and

since for the southern star this displacement in-

creases,

while for the northern star

it

diminishes, the

declination,
declinations,

we

shall have as the

sum

of the apparent

<V

+ <y = d + d +
t

2

$6

+

t

(tan zx

- tan

z2 )

,

which
o7

is

equivalent
2

to,

+ <v = ^ + a +

982"

.

sin i°

B
456

1
{z.-z.y.
(133)

cos z l cos z 2

+ t_

this equation,

The following table gives the value of the bracketed coefficient in computed with the argument z=±(z +z ), for an aver1

2

age condition of the atmosphere, barometer 29.00 inches, temperature In all ordinary cases the correction for refraction may 50 Fahr. be found with sufficient accuracy by multiplying the tabular number, s, by the difference of the zenith distances of the two stars, expressed
in degrees,

r=s(z1 -z2)°.
,

(134)

Since s is a positive number, the correction thus found will always have the same sign as the term z± — z2 measured with the gradi enter.

REFRACTION

,

ACCURATE DETERMINATIONS.
Reduction
to

161

the

Meridian.

It

is

sometimes conve-

nient or necessary to observe a star at some other instant

than that of

its

meridian passage, and for this purpose

the instrument

may

be turned out of the meridian, set

at an azimuth that

we

will represent

by

a',

and the obevident that
star

servation

made

precisely as before.

It is

this is equivalent to observing

on the meridian a

whose meridian altitude
given star at the

is

equal to the altitude of the
of observation,

moment

and whose
latter star

declination, therefore, differs

from that of the

by the reduction
azimuth
servation
a',

to the meridian corresponding to the
55).

(Equation

In the reduction of the obto substitute
in place of

we have
the relation

therefore
d,

the star's true declination,

a corrected declination, d"

given by
d"

= d±f{a')\
a' is to

f

= [7.9407]

cos

cos h sec

d,

(135)

where

be expressed in minutes of arc and the
pole,

upper sign applies to a star between the zenith and
the lower sign to
all

other cases.
it

For the sake of increased precision
be advantageous to make

will frequently

several gradienter pointings

upon a

star in different azimuths,
1

during the two or
its

three minutes

at precede

and follow

culmination,

and, having

first

oriented the instrument, to determine
circle the

from readings of the horizontal

corresponding

azimuths required in the reduction.
72. Errors

of

the

Screw.

— In

Equation 131

it

is

tacitly
of

assumed that the angle moved over by the line sight when the gradienter is turned from one reading

162

FIELD ASTRONOMY.
is

to another

strictly proportional

to the

amount

of

turning of the screw.

This

is,

however, an ideal con-

dition seldom realized in fact,
of the instrument are to

and

if

the

capabilities

be

fully utilized the

errors of

the gradienter must be investigated, and a set of corrections,

C,

determined,
line of sight

such that the angle moved

through by the

when the
2

gradienter

is

turned

from the reading

R

t

to

R may

be

strictly proportional

to the difference of the corrected readings, R'

=R + C
1

1,

R" =R2 +C2 ,i.e.,
zl

-z =±k{R'-R").
2

(137)

This calibration of the screw

may

be made as follows:

Let some fixed vertical angle,
vation of two

e.g.,

the difference of ele-

terrestrial points,

be measured upon con-

secutive parts of the gradienter screw, from the begin-

ning to the end of

its

run, so that, calling this angle

v,

we

shall have,

= k[(R + C )-(R + C )], v = k[(R + C )-(R + C )], v=k[(R 3 + C3 )-(Ra +C2 )l
v
1 1

2

2

1

1

(137*)

v=k[(R m + Cm )-{R m _ + Cm
x

-. z

)l

The second reading of the screw in the first measurement of v must be the same as the first reading in the second
measurement,
etc.,

and to secure

this

the gradienter

should not be touched after the second pointing,

Rv

has been made, but the telescope should be undamped,
set

back by hand, approximately, upon the

first point-

:

ACCURATE DETERMINATIONS.
and the accurate pointing completed by means
levelling screws.

163
of the

From the mean of the preceding equations we obtain
k

m

m
k,
,

°

J

which contains the three arbitrary quantities

Cm C

,

and

is

the only equation that these quantities are re-

quired to satisfy.
tional relations

We may

therefore impose

two addi-

among them, and, as convenient ones for the present purpose, we assume C m =C = c, where c is a constant whose value we shall, for the present, leave
undetermined.
Representing by p the value of T cor-

responding to these assumptions,
R,K — Re

m
and introducing
lowing results
it

(i39)

into Equations 137,

we

find the fol-

C C C C

=
t

+c

2

= (R + P) = (R + 2 p)

3 = (R + 3P)

-R -R ~R

x

+c,
+c,
+c,
(140)

2

3

C,„

= (R + mp) -R m + c.

The

corrections thus derived from the readings, R,

may be
all

plotted in a curve, from which values of

C

for

intermediate readings

may

be obtained.

The par-

ticular value assigned to c will

have no influence upon

164

FIELD ASTRONOMY.
its

the shape of this curve, but will determine

position
to c

with respect to the axis of

x,

and we may assign

with advantage a value that
lie

will

above the

:r-axis, i.e.,

one that

make the entire curve will make all the values

of

C

positive quantities.

The following example represents the record and
reduction of a set of readings

made

for the investigation

of the errors of the gradienter of

an engineer's

transit.

The

quantities in the

column

R

are those directly ob-

served;

the column

m

gives the serial

number

corre-

sponding to that used in the above analysis.
Thursday, June
7,

1900.

Gradienter of Instrument No. 386.

Observer, P.

m

ACCURATE DETERMINATIONS:
corrections

165

must always be applied where a high degree
is

of precision

required in the use of
e.g.,

a gradienter or

other similar micrometer,

the eyepiece micrometer

of a zenith telescope or transit,

and particular care should
k,

be given to them in determinations of
revolution of the gradienter screw.

the value of one

In a similar manner the gradienter should be examined for periodic errors,
i.e.,

errors peculiar to a particular

part of a turn and which repeat themselves whenever
the

same part

of the head, as the o,

comes under the
revolutions

index, regardless of

the

number

of whole

at which the screw stands.
73.

Gradienter

Latitudes.

Example.

— We

may now

write the equation for zenith-telescope latitudes in the

form,
2
<f>

= d + d2 + 2b"±[k(R -R")+r],
' '
f

1

(141)

through which a value of the latitude

may
is

be derived
This

from each pair of

stars observed,

if

k

known.

value of a revolution of the screw,

k,

may

be determined
angle, such

by measuring with the gradienter a known
as the difference of declination of

two

stars, or it

may
to

be treated as an unknown quantity whose value

is

be derived from the latitude observations themselves.
In the latter case at least two pairs of stars, preferably

ten to twenty pairs, must be observed for the deter-

mination of the two unknowns,

and

k,

and these should
is less

be so selected that in one pair the sum of the declinations
is

greater than

2

and

in the other pair

than

2 0.

The following example represents the observation

166

FIELD ASTRONOMY.
of a single pair of stars
I,

and reduction
gated in

made with the
as directly

instrument shown in Plate
§ 72.

whose

errors are investi-

The gradienter readings
there
are given

observed are given in the column marked R, and in the
following column

the

corrections

to

these readings as interpolated from the table at p. 164.

The instrument having been oriented by the method of §32, the readings of the horizontal circle, in the column
H.C., furnish immediately

the

azimuths,

a'',

required

for computation of the reductions to the meridian, which

are here represented
ian altitudes, h
,

by the

letter

M.

The

stars'

merid-

that are also needed for the

compusuffi-

tation of these reductions,

may

be obtained with

cient accuracy from the declinations and the known

approximate latitude of the place, 43
a revolution of the gradienter,
20' 30",
k,

.

The value

of

was known

to be about
dif-

and
of

this value together

with the observed
zx

ference

the gradienter readings determines

— z2

with sufficient precision to permit the refraction correction
to be interpolated
correction, 26"

from the table at
7", is

p.

160.

The

level

=—

negative since the level read-

ings

show that the

vertical axis of the instrument pointed
i.e.,

north of the zenith,

in too great a latitude.

The declinations of the stars are taken from the American Ephemeris, but in the case of Polaris, which
was observed
from 180
at its transit over the lower half of the
is

meridian, sub polo, the almanac declination

subtracted

in order to obtain the distance of the star
is

from the upper half of the equator, which

the quantity

used in the analysis and required in the reduction.

ACC URA TE DE TERM IN A TIONS.
Monday, May 20, 1901. At Azimuth Stake. Instrument No. 389.
Star.

167

Observer, C.

CHAPTER

IX.

THE TRANSIT INSTRUMENT.
74. General

Principles.

— Adjustments

of

the

Instru-

ment.

If

the celestial meridian were a visible line

drawn

across the heavens, the local sidereal time corresponding
to this meridian

might be determined by observing the

chronometer time, T, at which a star of known right
ascension,
a,

crossed this

line.

We

should then have

for the correction of the timepiece

employed,

JT = a-T.
The transit instrument, different forms in the Frontispiece and in Plate VI,
the visible meridian above supposed.
are illustrated
of
is

which are shown
a substitute for

Its essential parts

by the

telescope

and standards

of a large

theodolite firmly mounted, with the horizontal axis of ro-

tation perpendicular to the plane of the meridian,

i.e.,

east

and west, and

level.

The

telescope

is

usually provided

with several vertical threads (an odd number of them), each of which, as seen by the observer,
is

projected against

the sky as a background, and each of which,
telescope
is

turned about the rotation axis,
virtue of this rotation, a circle
Also, one or

when the traces upon
is

the sky,

by

whose plane

perpendicular to the axis.

more horizontal
points

threads are usually introduced to
of the transit threads.

mark the middle

168

PL ATI'.

VI.

A

Straight Transit Instrument.

Length of Telescope 30 inches. Approximate Cost $1000. [To face p. 168.]

THE TRANSIT INSTRUMENT.

169

A

transit instrument
circle

is

said to be perfectly adjusted
its

when the

thus traced upon the sky by

middle

vertical thread coincides with the local meridian,

and

for

such an instrument

it is

evident that the time of a star's

transit over this thread

may

be substituted for the time

of its transit over the visible meridian

above supposed,

and the chronometer

correction, AT, will then be fur-

nished by the equation printed above.
it

But

in general

cannot be assumed that these adjustments are perfect,
so
in

and we must consider them as
of error

many

possible sources

whose

effects

must be

some way eliminated

from the

results of observation.

Optical

Adjustments.

— We

assume that great care

has been given to the optical adjustment of the instru-

ment, so that both the transit threads and the star are
sharply defined and distinctly seen.
the eyepiece should
first

For

this

purpose

be so set that the threads appear

black and

distinct,

and threads and eyepiece should
star, preferably

then be moved in or out together until a
a double
star,

presents a clear image without trace of

fuzziness, projecting rays, or stray light.

This last ad-

justment

may

be a

little

more accurately made by cov-

ering the upper half of the telescope objective with card-

board or paper and making an accurate pointing of the
horizontal thread

upon a circumpolar

star

near

cul-

mination.
shift the

Having made a satisfactory pointing, quickly card so as to cover the lower half of the objective
free the

and leave

if the threads are not properly adjusted with respect to the objective,

upper part, when,

there will be a slight vertical displacement of the star

170

FIELD ASTRONOMY.

with respect to the thread, and this must be corrected

by further adjustment.
Vertically of Threads.

— To make the threads perpenin

dicular to the rotation axis, point the telescope at a terrestrial

mark,

and turning the telescope

altitude

with the slow-motion screw, note whether the mark in
its

apparent motion up and down the

field of

view runs

exactly along the thread.
this

Any

outstanding error in

adjustment

may

be removed by slightly rotating
;

in its

own

plane the collar which carries the threads but

a small error here

may

be rendered harmless by always

pointing the telescope, at the times of observation, so

that the stars cross the same part of the

field, e.g.,

be-

tween the

parallel horizontal threads.

The

principal

errors of

adjustment that remain to

be considered in connection with the use of a transit
instrument are three in number,
a,
is

viz.

:

The azimuth

error,

the angular

deviates to

amount by which the rotation The level error, the south of due west.
The
collimation error,
is

axis
b,

is

the angle of elevation of the rotation axis above the

western horizon.

c,

the

amount
and the
line of

by which the angle between the
sight

line of sight
.

west half of the rotation axis exceeds 90
as here used

The
line

means the imaginary

passed

through

the optical centre of the objective

and the midgroup of

dle transit thread, or through the

mean

of a

transit threads.
75.

Theory

of

the Instrument.

—To determine the

rela-

tion of these several instrumental errors to the time, T,

at which a star will pass behind a given transit thread

THE TRANSIT INSTRUMENT.

171

we have

recourse to Fig. 13, which represents a projec-

tion of the celestial sphere

upon the plane

of the horizon.

Z

is

the projection of the zenith,

P

of the pole,

H

of the

point in which the rotation axis, produced toward the
west, intersects the celestial sphere,
tion of a star observed at the

and 5

is

the projec-

moment

of its transit over

Fig. 13.

— The Transit

Instrument.

a thread whose angular distance from

H

is

measured
c

by the

arc 90° +

c.

From

the definitions given above,

represents the collimation of the particular thread in
question,

and

similarly b

and

a,

in the figure, are the

level and azimuth errors above denned.
r

The symbol
star,

of the figure represents the
east,

hour angle of the
is

reckoned toward the
90

d

the star's declination,
the distance of the star

—k

is

the arc

HM,

and

X is

from the meridian measured along HS.

This latter arc

172

FIELD ASTRONOMY.

must not be confounded with the diurnal path of the star; the one is an arc of a great circle defined by the
points
its

H

and

5, while the other

is

a small circle having

pole at P.

Note that

in all cases the

symbols here

defined represent

the actual magnitudes of the arcs
of their projections

and angles on the sphere, and not
the plane of the horizon.

on

From
tion,

the spherical triangle

PMS

we

obtain the rela-

cos d sin x

— sin

A sin #,

(143)

and from the

triangle

ZHM we find,
+ cos
b sin £ sin a.

sin k

= sin

b cos £

(144)

These equations

may

be greatly simplified by substi-

tuting arcs in place of sines whenever the quantities a

and

b are so small that their cubes

and higher powers
assume that
exceeds

may

be neglected,

and we

shall therefore

we have
10'.

to deal with

an approximately adjusted instru-

ment, in which neither of these quantities

much

On
£

this supposition the point

H

is

so nearly the
sin

pole of the meridian,

PZM,
<P

that

we may put

$

=1

and

=

— d, where

denotes the latitude of the place

of observation,

and our equations now take the form,
t

=

A sec d,

K

=b

cos ((p—d)

+a sin

(145)
(<t>—d).

From

the figure

we have
Q0

the relation,

+ C = QO°- K+X,

THE TRANSIT INSTRUMENT.
and eliminating
r

173
find,

X

between these equations we
.

= sin (0— d)
r is

sec d a

+ cos (0— d)

sec o.6

+ sec

d

.c.

(146)

Since

an east hour angle, we have

also, in

terms of the
star's

observed time, the chronometer correction, and the
right ascension,

T + AT = a-r,
from which we obtain, by the elimination of
equation of the transit instrument,
r,

(147)

Mayer's

a—T = AT + sin
or,

(<P—d) sec d

.

a
sec d
.

+ cos (0— d)
as
it is

6

+ sec

d

.

c,

(148)

usually written,

a-T = JT + Aa + Bb + Cc,
where the capital
letters are

(149)

introduced as abbreviations
i.e.,

for the coefficients given above,

A

=sin (cp—d) sec
a,

d,

B = cos

(<P—d) sec

d,

C = sec

o.

(150)

Since

T,

and AT are expressed
it is

in time (hours, minutes,

and seconds),

customary
a, b,

in connection

with this

equation to express
76. Discussion

and

c in

seconds of time.

of

Mayer's Equation.

—The

coefficients

A, B,

C

are called transit factors,

and when many obserlatitude,
<f>,

vations are to be

made

in the

same

as at

an

observatory,

it

is

customary to tabulate their values

with the declination as argument, and to interpolate

from these tables the values of the factors corresponding
to the particular stars observed.

In the U.

S.

Coast and

Geodetic Survey Report for the year 1880 there

may be

:

174

FIELD ASTRONOMY.

found extensive tables of this kind for different latitudes
covering the whole extent of the United States.

In the use of such tables the following distinction

must be

carefully observed:
is less

Every

star

whose distance

from the pole

than the latitude remains continu-

ously above the horizon throughout the twenty-four
hours,

and during

this period crosses the
e.g.,

meridian twice,
zenith,

once above the pole,

between the pole and

and once below the
northern horizon.

pole, e.g.,

between the pole and the
is

The

latter transit

usually desigf

nated sub
the star
its

polo,

and from
its

Fig.

13,

where S represents
it

5

near

transit sub polo,

may

be seen that

coordinates at this transit will be obtained

by

sub-

stituting in place of the a to 5,
i2
h

and 90°—^, corresponding

+ a and —(90° — ^).

When
it

these values are

introduced into Mayer's equation

becomes, for stars

observed sub polo,
i2
h

+ a-T = AT + A'a + B'b + C'c,

(151)

where the new transit factors have the following values

A'=sm(<P + d)

seed,

B' =cos (0 +
0.

5) sec d,

,

N

C = —sec
As an

(1^2)

exercise in analysis the student

may show

that

the transit factors for a star above and below the pole are

connected by the relations,

A+A' = 2

sin

(f>,

B + B' = 2

cos

(p,

C + C'=o.

(153)

Use these equations to derive A',B',C from the tabulated
values of A, B, and C.

From

a consideration of the trigonometric functions

THE TRANSIT INSTRUMENT.

175

that enter into the transit factors the algebraic signs of
these factors are found, to be as follows for places in the

northern hemisphere:
Factor.

South

of Zenith.

.

.

.

Zenith to Pole

Below Pole
Note that

+ — +

ABC
+ + —

++—+

in every case the transit factors for a given

star have opposite signs above and below the pole, and.

compare with
site sides of

this

statement the fact that stars on oppo-

the pole

move

in opposite directions, east

to west above pole and. west to east below pole.

Query.

—The

above relations of sign are

for a place

in north latitude.

How

must they be changed

to adapt

them
for C,

to a place south of the terrestrial equator ?

In explanation of the double set of signs given above

we

recall

what was shown
go° — c
is

in

§

50, that

a reversal

of the instrument

changes the sign of the collimation
substituted for the 90° + c of

constant,
Fig. 13,
it,

c; i.e.,

by

lifting

the axis out of the wyes and replacing
It is

turned end for end.
c,

customary to ignore

this

change of sign in

and

to represent its effect in Mayer's

equation by changing the algebraic sign of

C when

the

instrument

is

reversed;
Circle
Circle

e.g.,

For
For

W
E
c,

C( + c)

= ( + Qc

C(-c) = (~C)c

The collimation constant,
negative, depending

may

be either positive or

ment but
;

it

retains

upon the adjustment of the instruthe same sign in both positions of the

176
circle,

FIELD ASTRONOMY.
while the collimation factor, C,
is

positive (above

pole)

when
it

the circle end of the axis points west, negative

when

points east.

77. Choice of Stars.

— In

the right-hand

member
c,

of
in-

Mayer's equation, as printed on page 173, there are

volved four unknown quantities, AT,
which,
b,

a, b,

and

one of

the inclination of the axis to the plane of the

horizon,

is

always to be determined by some mechanical
the use of a spirit-level.

method,
constant,
§

e.g.,
c,

The collimation
this

may

also be determined mechanically (see
shall

84),

but for the present we

assume that

has

not been done and that the instrumental constants a

and

c,

as well as the clock correction AT, are to be deterof stars.

mined from observations
three observations, and

Since there are three

quantities to be thus determined, there
it is

must be

at least

practically convenient to

make
of a

four the

minimum number

instead of three; ob-

serving two stars Circle E. and two Circle

W.

for the sake
c,

good determination of the collimation,

through

the reversal of the instrument.

The

stars thus chosen

should not

all

lie

on the same

side of the zenith,

but
the

should be distributed on both

sides, so as to

make

sum

of their

azimuth factors as small as
effect of the

possible.

When

IA

=0, the

azimuth

error, a, is

completely

eliminated,

and a nearly complete elimination may

usually be obtained

by care
stars

in the selection of stars.
is b'
,

In

the

example

of

§

78 this condition

approximately
d!
,

satisfied

by the four

marked

a'

,

e'

,

and the

student after tracing through the reduction there given,

should note that

if

the azimuth star,

1

H. Draco., were

'

THE TRANSIT INSTRUMENT.

177

dropped and the azimuth error entirely ignored, the
resulting value of

AT would
case,

be substantially the same
is

as

is

obtained when the azimuth error
In this
is

taken into

account.

therefore,

an accurate deter-

mination of a
78.

of little consequence.

Example.

Ordinary Determination

of

Time.

— The
the

following example, taken from the time service of the

Washburn Observatory,

= 43°

4'

37",

illustrates

record and reduction of a set of transit observations.
addition to the date and the measured inclination,
of the horizontal axis, given in the
for the

In
b,

column

of Constants

two positions

of the instrument, Circle

W. and

Circle E., the observed data are contained in the three

columns marked, at the
I,

foot,

with

Roman

numerals,

II,

are

The observed times of transit given in III each the mean of the observed times of transit of
III.
1 5 c,

the given star over

threads,
is

and

in the reduction the
refer to the

collimation constant,

assumed to

mean
Note

of these threads instead of to the

middle thread.

that this particular convention with regard to c can be

adopted only when each star

is

observed over precisely

the same set of threads as every other star.
to observe a single star at
its

The

failure

transit over one of the

threads will require either the rejection of the transits
of other stars observed at this thread, or a determination
of thread intervals
for

and a

' '

reduction to the

mean thread
7,

'

which reference

may

be made to Appendix

U.

S.

Coast and Geodetic Survey, Annual Report for 1897-98.

The remaining columns

are

marked with Arabic nu-

merals, showing the order in which they are reached in

o

o

178

FIELD ASTRONOMY. Of these columns
(in this case
i

the computation.

and

2

are obtained

from the almanac

the Berliner Astronomisches

Jahrbuch, plus the corrections given in Astronomische
Nachrichten, No. 3508).

The

declinations are taken to

the nearest minute

only, while the right ascensions are

accurately interpolated for the instant of the star's transit

over the local meridian,

i.e.,

0.3

day

after their transit
is

over the meridian for which the almanac

constructed.

The

third star,

being observed sub polo (and before midhalf a

night),

was observed

day before
its

its

transit over
is

the local upper meridian, and
fore interpolated for

right ascension
0.2

there-

an instant

day

before its transit

over the Berlin meridian.
The transit factors contained in columns 4, 5, and 6 were interpolated from tables of such factors, and the products contained in columns 7 and 8 were next filled in by the use of Crelle's multiplication tables. It may be noted that the effect of diurnal aberration shown sec S, in column 7 has already been found (§ 27) to be — s .o2i cos which, for the given latitude, is equal to — s .oi5 C, and the collimation These corrections factor C was employed in computing the correction. were next added mentally to the numbers contained in III, and the resulting times subtracted from the right ascensions in 1 thus giving the absolute terms of the equations numbered 9. The first members of these equations, 3, 4, 6, are obviously derived from Mayer's equa<f>
,

tion.

We
tities

have now five equations involving only three unknown quanand presenting, therefore, a case for the application of the Method

of Least Squares.

A
57
is

rigorous solution

by that method

furnishes the

following values of the quantities sought: a=4-o s .S58, JT = +2 m s .oio,

c=+o

s

.966.

rather laborious, and a simple method of obtaining approximately accurate results is indicated under the heading Solution, where the symbols at the left indicate the manner in which Equation k' is derived from the successive equations are derived. i' by dividing through by the coefficient of c, and V is similarly de-

But such a

solution

rived from h' using the coefficient of AT, as divisor and substituting
,

in place of c its value given

by

k'

.

Equation m'
c

is

obtained from

c'

by substituting

in place of

AT and

their values as given in k'

and

V.

THE TRANSIT INSTRUMENT.
The value
/'

179

of a furnished

by

this equation

when
of

gives

definitive values of

AT and

c,

all

substituted in k' and which are entered in

the column of Constants. By means of these values of a and c, columns 12 and 13 are filled up and the sum of the corrections contained in columns 7, 8, 12, 13, is entered in 14 and added to the corresponding numbers in III, thus

Only the seconds furnishing the corrected times contained in 15. The indiare entered here, since the minutes remain unchanged. vidual values of the clock correction contained in 16 are now obtained by subtracting 15 from 1, and their agreement, one with another, is
a check upon the accuracy of the entire work, both observations and computations. For the sake of this check it is better to proceed as is here done than to rely upon the value of AT furnished by the solution of the equations. The numerical work here shown is greatly facilitated by the use of a slide-rule or an extended multiplication table such as that of Crelle. It

may

readily be seen from the course of the above
c,

solution that the collimation,

is
,

obtained from the
,

four observations
a,
is

marked

a'

,

b'

,

d!

e'

while the azimuth,

furnished
1

by the

third observation.
is

A

star near

the pole, like
ing

H. Draco.,

introduced into the observ-

programme

solely to determine a,
it is

and with
star,

refer-

ence to this use
others are

called

an azimuth
it is

while the

known

as clock stars, since

they that deter-

mine the value

of AT.

As there
i.e.,

is

always a possibility

of disturbing the azimuth,

changing a in the act of
all strictness,

reversing the instrument, there should, in

be two values of a determined, one for Circle
as the one above found
Circle E.
;

W.

as well

from the observation
it

of a star

but in the present case

may

readily be seen

that there was no such disturbance, since the value of a
for Circle E. brings into perfect

agreement the values

of

AT

furnished

by the two

stars observed Circle W.,

although their azimuth factors are widely different.

Whenever

necessary, introduce into the solution

two

azimuths, one for each position of the instrument, as

180

FIELD ASTRONOMY.

<
<

THE TRANSIT INSTRUMENT.

181

unknown
two
is

quantities.

It is

not necessary to introduce

collimations.

79.

Methods

of Observation.

—A

clock or chronometer

an indispensable auxiliary to a transit instrument, and
latter consists in determining,

an observation with the
as accurately as

may

be, the

chronometer time at which

a particular star transits over one or more of the threads.

In the best astronomical practice a recording machine,
called a chronograph,
is

used in this connection, but we

shall here suppose the observer not to be provided with

a chronograph and constrained, therefore, to use the
older

method

of

observing by eye and

ear.

In this

method the observer picks up the beat
i.e.,

of the chronometer,

counts mentally the tick corresponding to each suc1,

cessive second,

2,

3,

4,

etc.,

and while thus counting
of the

looks into the telescope

and watches the progress

star across the field of view, noting its position at the

instant of each counted beat.

If,

by any chance, the

star should appear exactly behind a thread at the instant

when the counted beat was
this thread

26,

the time of transit over
cor-

would be recorded 26.0 seconds, and the
face of the

responding hour and minute subsequently determined

by looking at the
eter.

chronom-

It

will

usually

happen, however,
the thread

that the star passes behind

between two chronometer beats instead
of

simultaneously
as

with

one
Fig.

of
14,

them,

somewhat
there
is

shown in

where

fig. 14.— Transits

indicated the position of the star
s

by Eye and Ean
s
,

with respect to the thread at 26

and at 27

as noted

182

FIELD ASTRONOMY.

and temporarily remembered by the observer.
the two star images

From

the manner in which the thread divides the space between
it is

evident that the actual transit
s
,

over the thread occurred at 26.4
recorded.

and

it

should be so

The

fraction of a second depends

upon the

observer's estimation (an estimate of space seen in the
telescope

and not time as counted by the

ear),

and a
its

skilled observer should

be able to follow a star in

progress across the field of view, observing and recording
to the nearest tenth of a second the times of transit over

as

many

threads as

may

be desired, without taking the

eye from the telescope during the process.

He

should,

while watching the star, give no heed to the hour and

minute, but

concentrate

attention

upon the seconds
counting seconds,

and

fractions of a second, until the transit over the last
still

thread has been recorded; then,
let

him look back
if

at the face of the chronometer

and
and

note

the time there shown
count.

by the seconds hand agrees
beat,

with
if it

his

This

is

called checking the

checks properly, the minute and hour corresponding

to the last observation should be written
of the record.
80. Precision of

down

as a part

the Results.

— By the method above
mean
of several
is

outlined a skilled observer may, from the

threads, determine the time of a star's transit within very

small limits of error;

e.g.,

there

found for the probable

error of a transit of a single star over the

mean
this

of

from

10 to 15 threads,
precision
is

some o

s

.o2 or

o

s

.03.

But

apparent

in

some degree

fallacious, for

most observers

possess individual peculiarities, called personal equation,

THE TRANSIT INSTRUMENT.

183

by which they tend to observe all stars either too soon late, by a nearly constant amount, and the probable error of a transit based upon the agreement of indior too
vidual results, one with another, furnishes no indication
of the presence or
error.

magnitude of

this constant personal

Closely related to the precision attainable in esti-

mating the times

of transit of a star over the threads of

an instrument,

is

the degree of accordance to be expected

among
of

the values of J T furnished
set,

by the

several stars

composing a
§ 78.

such as that of the illustrative example
of values there exhibited,

The range
is

while

smaller than

to be expected

from a beginner,

may

be

regarded as fairly typical of the results to be obtained by

an experienced observer provided with a good
ment.
See in this connection the example of
§ 82,

instru-

where

the results show an even closer but

by no means abnorequation, alof

mal agreement.
81. Personal

Equation.

— The

personal

though a
error,
is,

real

and oftentimes a considerable source

however, of small consequence save where the

observations of different persons are to be combined, one

with another, as in a determination of longitude.
cases,

In such

however, the problem of personal equation must

be met and seriously dealt with, and various devices have
been employed for this purpose;
observers at the middle of the
its first

e.g.

:

(1)

An

exchange of

work

in question, so that

half

may

be affected with the personal error in

one direction and the second half in the opposite direction,

thus eliminating this influence from the mean.

A

184
(2)

FIELD ASTRONOMY.

The determination

of the exact

sonal equation for each observer,

amount by means

of the perof so-called

personal-equation machines,

is

sometimes attempted;

but at present the best device for the elimination of
personal equation seems to be:
(3)

The Repsold Transit
are

Micrometer, an apparatus in whose use the methods of
observing above set forth,
§ 79,

completely aban-

doned, and as a substitute for them the observer, while
looking into the telescope, seeks to keep the image of a
star, as it

moves

across the

field,

constantly covered

by
fin-

a micrometer thread, which he manipulates with his
gers

and which

is

so connected with a

chronograph as

to give an automatic record of the star transits.

The

experience of the Prussian Geodetic Institute indicates that in this

mode
of

of

observing,

personal differences

between observers are nearly annihilated.
82. Reversal

the

Instrument upon Each Star.

method
eter,

of

using a transit instrument introduced into

general practice in connection with the transit microm-

but which

may

be equally well applied with the
or

ordinary chronographic
sists in

eye-and-ear

methods, con-

noting the time of transit of a star over a group

of threads placed at

some

little

distance from the centre

of the field, then, after quickly reversing the instrument,

to observe the
their

same

star again
It
is

on the same threads

in

new

position.
is

obvious that the effect of

collimation

thus completely eliminated from the

mean

of the observations

on each thread and

therefore from

the general
tion, while

mean

of the observed times.
of this

This elimina-

an important advantage

mode

of ob-

THE TRANSIT INSTRUMENT.
serving,
is

185

far

from being the only one, and a considerable

number

of sources of error

which have not been con-

sidered above, but which are dealt with at length in the
larger treatises, such as Chauvenet, Spherical
cal
e.g.,

and Practi-

Astronomy, are equally eliminated by the reversal;
inequality of pivots, flexure, thread intervals, and

the disturbance of the spirit-level incident to reversing
it

upon the

axis.

When

the telescope

is

reversed upon

every star a hanging level

may

be allowed to remain
since the

upon the axis without ever being reversed,
level readings in the
its

two positions
which
is

of the axis then give

mean

inclination,

the

datum

required for the

reduction of the star transits.

Whenever
upon every
illustrated
in

it

can be employed the method of reversal
is

star

to be preferred to the older

method
requires

the preceding example,

but

it

special facilities

for quick reversal of the
its

instrument

without disturbing
present.

azimuth, and these are not always

The following

is

an example of the record and reduc-

tion of such a series of observations,

made with

the same

instrument and arranged in nearly the same manner as
the example on p. 180.

Each

star

was observed on
for

five

threads in each position of the instrument, and a value
of the level constant,
b,

was determined
level,

each star

from readings of the hanging

taken immediately

before or after the observed transits in each position
of the circle, the level remaining unreversed

upon the

axis during the entire set of observations.

186

FIELD ASTRONOMY.

O
s-T

u <v w

>

o
00 ON O0

IT)

t3

2

o
in CD

03

THE TRANSIT INSTRUMENT.
83.

187
Instru-

Determination of Azimuth with a

Transit

ment.

— Let

the line of sight of a transit instrument be
terrestrial

supposed directed accurately upon some

mark,

and the telescope then turned up
time of a
star's transit

to the sky

and the

over the line of sight observed.

From

this

observed time the hour angle of the star

may

be derived, and this hour angle, in connection with the

known

declination

and

latitude, will

determine the
If

star's

azimuth at the instant of observation.
instrumental
will

there are no

errors

present,

this

computed azimuth

be the true azimuth of the terrestrial mark at which

the line of sight was originally directed.

This simple method of determining azimuth requires

some modifications on account
selection of stars

of instrumental errors, but

when these are duly taken into account and a proper
and mark
is

made, the method ranks
azimuth determination.
be very near the pole,

as the best of

all

known ones
if

for

The

star to be observed should

usually Polaris, and
is

the chronometer correction, AT,

accurately known, the observation
e.g.,

may

be made at

any convenient time,

the time at which the star
established.
If

stands directly above a

mark already
is

the chronometer correction

not well determined, the
the star
is

observation should be
tion,

made when
is

near elongaof

since the effect
in the

upon the computed azimuth
then a minimum.

an error
this

assumed AT

But

latter

procedure requires the establishment of a

special

mark whose azimuth shall be very approximately equal to that of the star when at elongation, and it will
often be

more convenient

to determine the time with

188

FIELD ASTRONOMY.
e.g.,

the required accuracy,

one tenth of a second, and

thus .obtain more freedom in the choice of a mark.

A

transit instrument of the better class

is

usually

provided

with

an eyepiece micrometer,

i.e.,

one or

more threads

parallel to the fixed transit threads,
field of

but

capable of being moved to and fro in the by a screw whose axis is parallel to the
of the instrument.

view

rotation axis

This screw

is

provided with a grad-

uated head whose readings indicate the successive positions of the thread

and measure the amount

of its

motion

between consecutive pointings upon the star and mark.

When such a micrometer is present, transits of the star may be observed over its threads as long as the star remains within the field of view, and many comparisons between star and mark may be substituted for the single
one above supposed.

The instrument should be
must be

re-

versed at least once during these observations, and the
inclination of its axis,
since, as will
b,

carefully determined

appear

later,

the level error has an important

effect

upon the azimuth.
Theory
of

84.

the Method.

— To

derive

from

the

micrometer readings upon star and mark the difference
of their respective azimuths

we have

recourse to Fig. 15,

which represents a projection of the celestial sphere upon represent respectively the plane of the horizon. S and

M

the star and the mark,
angle

Z

is

the zenith, and the spherical

SZM

is

the required difference of azimuth.

Let

H be

the point in which the rotation axis of the instrucelestial

ment, produced toward the west, meets the
sphere,

and the arcs go° — b, go° + c,

will

then have the

THE TRANSIT INSTRUMENT.
same
significance as in Fig.
13.

189

The

spherical angles

HZS

and

HZM

are represented

by the symbols go^ + w

Fig. 15.

— Azimuth with a Transit
HZS we obtain,
— b)
(90

Instrument.

and 90

-\-w

f
,

and the zenith distance

of the star, ZS,

by

z.

From
cos (90

the triangle
(90

+ c) = cos

cos z

+ sin
which,
to,
c

— b)

sin z cos (90

+ w)

,

(154)

when

b

and

c

do not much exceed

10', is

equivalent

+b

cos z

=w

sin

z.

(155)
in place of z

In this equation

we
and

substitute go°
it

—h

and

put sec h

=1+

<y,

becomes,
(156)

w = c-\-c<t + b tan h.
From
the triangle

ZHM
w'
f

we

find in a similar

manner

for

the mark,

= c + c' o' Arb

tan/*'.

(15 7)

190

FIELD ASTRONOMY.
the mark,

When

M,

is

in or very near the horizon, as

it

should be, the last two terms of Equation 157 vanish

and we obtain by subtracting

it

from Equation
h.

156,

A—A'=w — w'=c — c + c<r + b tan
f

(158)

Let k represent the angular equivalent (value) of one
revolution of the micrometer screw,

R

the reading of the

screw-head corresponding to any position of the movable
thread,

and

R

the particular reading at which the angle
line

between the rotation axis of the instrument and the
of sight defined
,

by the thread equals 90 i.e., R is the reading corresponding to c = o. For any other position
of the threads corresponding to the reading

R we

shall

have

c=±k(R-R

),

(159)

where the ambiguous sign depends upon the position of the instrument, whether Circle W. or Circle E. For any
given instrument
for
all,

it

is

well to determine,

by

trial,

once

in which

of these positions the readings of the

micrometer head continuously diminish as the micrometer thread
star near
is

made

to follow the diurnal

motion of a

upper culmination, and, with reference to the

sign in Equation 159, designate this as the positive, the

other as the negative, position of the instrument.

Corresponding to the positive and negative positions,
respectively, let

R

t

and

R

2

be readings of the micrometer
is

head when the micrometer thread

pointed upon the
is

same

fixed object, e.g., the

mark whose azimuth

to

,

THE TRANSIT INSTRUMENT.

191

be determined; we shall then have as the distance of
this object

from the

line of

no collimation,

Positive Position,

Negative Position,

s=+k(R — R 5 = — k (R — R)
x

Q)

°
,

2

from which we readily obtain,
2S

=+k(R -R ),
1

2

2R = R + R 2
l

<
.

l61 )

The

first of

these equations determines the distance,

s,

of the terrestrial

mark from the
it

collimation axis of the

instrument, and
of the

should be used to

make

the distance

azimuth mark small, by properly placing the instrument, whenever an azimuth determination is to be made.

The second equation determines
eter thread
of the

R

,

and through

R

the

collimation corresponding to any position of the microm-

may

be found;

e.g., let

R

denote the reading
is

micrometer when the movable thread

placed

in apparent coincidence

with any fixed thread of the
This method of determining

transit reticule, then will the collimation of this thread

be given by Equation 159.
collimation

may

be employed in connection with time
§

determinations, as indicated in

77.

To apply these equations to the reduction of a set

5 represent the mean of several micrometer readings made in quick succession the mean upon the star, and similarly we represent by
of azimuth observations

we

let

M

of

several

readings

to

the mark.

Introducing these

quantities into Equation 159,

we

find for the star

and

mark, respectively,

c=±k(S-R

),

c'

=

±k{M-R

Q ),

(162)

192

FIELD ASTRONOMY.
in

and substituting these values

Equation

158,

we obtain
(163)

A-A' = ±k{(S-M)+
This equation

<r

(S-R )\+b tank.

may
if

be used for the reduction of the obthe instrument has been frequently
it

servations; but

reversed during the progress of the work,

will

be more

convenient to combine in one computation consecutive
observations
in
its

positive
1

and negative
2 to

positions.

Employing the subscripts
vations

and

distinguish obserobtain,
Circle

taking the

made in these respective positions, we mean of the resulting equations,
and introducing a correction

by

W.

and

Circle E.,

for diurnal

aberration,

A'=A + -\(S
2
(

2

-M )-(S -M
2
1

1)

+

<r

(Sz-Sjl
)

-b

tan h + Di. Ab.

(164)

In this equation

A

represents the

mean

of the azi-

muths

of the star at the several times of observation,

and

for this

corresponding to the
level

mean there may usually be substituted the azimuth mean of the times (see § 68). The constant, b, represents the mean of the inclinations
two positions
if

of the horizontal axis in the

of the instruis left

ment, and

it

should be noted that

the level

undis-

turbed upon the axis during the reversal, the resulting

bubble readings, Circle

W. and
from the

Circle E., will give this
effect of inequality of
all

mean
pivots.

inclination, free

In the case of a hanging level

necessity for
its rela-

lifting it

from the axis or
is

in

any way disturbing

tion to the instrument
85. Diurnal

thus removed.

Aberration.

— In

explanation of the last

term

of

Equation 164 we note that the precision attain-

THE TRANSIT INSTRUMENT.
able with a transit instrument
is

193

sufficient to

demand

a

consideration of the effect of diurnal aberration, and the

student

may show from

the data in

§

27 that for

any

star near the pole this effect is fully

compensated by

adding to the computed azimuth of the mark the correction,
Di.

Ab. = +o".32 cos

<P

sec h.

(165)

Since
stars,

<p

and h are very nearly equal

for close circumpolar

this correction is practically constant

and equal
Transit.

to +o".32.
86.

Example.

—Azimuth Determination with
instrument of
the
'
'

The following example represents the record and reduction of a single set of azimuth observations

made with
'

the

large
in

transit

broken

'

type

shown
about

the

Frontispiece.

Note that the recorded
at

sidereal times
9

show that the observations were made
a.m.,
21'
1

or 10 o'clock
i.e.,

or 22

11

astronomical

reckoning,

in

broad daylight.

Values of the instru-

mental constants and other data required for the reduction follow immediately after

the record, the value of

the chronometer correction, J T, having been determined
for
this

purpose from time observations immediately

following the azimuth work.

At the time

of the

azimuth

observations Polaris was near upper culmination, and an
inspection of the micrometer readings to the star, shows

that they diminish progressively for Circle W., which
therefore the positive position of the instrument
to receive the subscript
of Polaris
is
1

is is

and

in the reductions. 124.

The azimuth

computed from Equation

194

FIELD ASTRONOMY.
POLARIS AND AZIMUTH MARK.
Wednesday, May
7,

1902.
S.

Bamberg

Transit.

Chronometer,

Observer, C.

Circle.

THE TRANSIT INSTRUMENT.
To
set of

3

95

eliminate any error that might exist in the assumed

value of a revolution of the micrometer screw, a second

comparisons of the star and mark was

made

a half-

hour later than those reduced above, when the star was on the opposite side of the mark and at an approximately
equal distance from

muth

of the

The resulting value mark was A' = 179° 5 6 3 6 "- 2 °it.
'

of the azi-

When
number

the highest accuracy

is

required a considerable

of such sets of observations

should be made,

extending over at least three or four days and,

when

pos-

sible, so timed that the star will be observed at opposite points of its diurnal path, i.e., near its upper and lower

culmination, in order to eliminate errors in
right ascension

its

assumed

and

declination.

A

study of the errors

of the micrometer screw should also be

made

(see § 72),

and the

resulting corrections for periodic

error applied to the several readings.

and The azimuth

progressive
of

the star should, in general, be computed with six-place
logarithmic tables, but when, as in this case, the star
is

very near the meridian five places of decimals are quite
sufficient.

Query.

Is it legitimate in this case to neglect the

by Equation 127? For an extended treatise showing the methods used in the U. S. Coast and Geodetic Survey for the determination of time and azimuth with a transit instrument,
corrections,
,

JA

represented

reference

may

be made to Appendix

7,

Annual Report

of

the Survey for 1897-98.

:

REFERENCE WORKS.
For
spherical

a more detailed treatment of the problems of

and

practical astronomy than

is

contained in

the preceding pages, the advanced student

may

consult

with profit
i.

the following works

Chauvenet.

A

Manual

of Spherical

and Practical Astronomy.

Various editions. Determination of Time, Longitude, Latitude, and 2. Hayford. Appendix No. 7, U. S. Coast and Geodetic Survey. SixtyAzimuth.
2 vols.

Philadelphia.

seventh- Annual Report.
3.

Albrecht.
Albrecht.

Wa h ngton. 1899. Formeln und Hiilfstafeln fur Geographische OrtsThird Edition. 1894. zum Gebrauche des Zenitteleskops auf

bestimmungen.
4.

Leipzig.

Anleitung

den Inte.nationalen Breitenstationen. Berlin. 1902. Anweisung zur Behandlung der Universal Instru5. Bamberg. mente und Theodoliten mit mikroskopischer Ablesung, etc. Berlin.
1883.

Of the above works No. 1 is the standard treatise upon the subject; an elaborate manual known and used rmong astronomers of every No. 2 is much more limited in its scope, but presents well the land. methods in use in the U. S. Coast and Geodetic Survey. No. 3 presents similarly the current German practice and is ace mpanied by a No. 4 i a special monograph, valuable series of numerical tables. and No. 5 a trade pamphlet presenting details of the use and care of
-

geodetic instruments not readily accessible elsewhere.
196

TABLES.

197

TABLES FOR THE DETERMINATION OF

AZIMUTH, LATITUDE, AND TIME
WITHOUT THE USE OF AN ALMANAC.

See Sections 32-}}.

TABLE
t

198

FIELD ASTRONOMY.

TABLE

II.

<!>

TABLES.

199

TABLE
Mag.

V.

TIME STARS.
Ann.
Var.
£ b P.M.

i

Ceti
Ceti
. .

3-3
2
.

p Ceti

2

14 24 38 37
1

+ 3-i

- 922

Nov.
Dec. Dec. Dec. Dec. Jan. Jan. Jan. Feb. Feb. Feb.

3° -18
3-o
3-i 3-i 2.8 2.8

25
1

S

a Piscium. y Ceti € Eridani y Eridani. v Eridani. P Orionis. k Orionis.
.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

3-8 3-9 3-6 3-» 3-3 4.1 0.3

9

5

+ +

.

.

P Canis Maj.
Sirius.
tj
.
.

.

1

.4

56 10 14 23 31 20 9 45 2 43 18 19 6 40 46 56 38 28 53

32 8 42 2 17
2

11 21

49

9 48
3

-13 48

Canis Maj. p Argus. a Mali a Hydrse. A Hydras. v Hydras.
.
.

2 .4

72010
8 3 18 8 39 36 9 22 42 10 5 44 10 44 43 11 14 22 45 3i 12 10 41 12 36 37 13 19 57 o 42 14 14 37 49 15 11 4o 15 59 39 16 23 19 17 4 4i 17 3i 55 18 16 11 18 49 7 19 15 55 19 47 26 20 15 26 20 42 19 21 26 21 22 o 42 22 23 44 22 52 11 23 17 46 23 43 46

.

2.9 3-6

.

.

.

.

3-o 2.9 2.8 2.6 2.6 2.4 2.6 2.4 2.9 2.9

-

33 19 42 9 -17 54 -16 35 - 29 6
8

31 12 19 29
7

16 25
3

-24

1

March March March
April April April

13 23
2

-3 2

-

8 14 -11 52

13 23
3

.

.

d Crateris. P Virginis.
y Corvi y Virginis.
Tt
fi

.

.

.

.

n

3° -15 3° -14
3-i 3-i

40

.

.

Spica Hydras.
.

.

.

Virginis. P Libras. P Scorpii.
fj

.

.

.

.

.

.

Antares. Ophiuchi.
.

.

.

£ Serpentis.
t)

.

Serpentis.

.

3-5 3-9 2.8 2.7 i-3 2.6 3-7 3-°

3-o 3-2 3-4 3-2 3-2
3

-

+

June June - 26 12 June

-10
5

14 2 20 o 17 o 54

May May May May

11

19 25
1

39
14
1

12

22
1

9

3 3

3
3

-19 -26 -15 -15

+

32 13 tjuly 36 Aug. 20 Aug. 55 25

July July July

2

Aug.
Sept. Sept. Sept. Sept. Oct. Oct. Oct. Oct.

10 23 29 8 14 26
3

<y

Sagittarii.. p Sagittarii.

.

3 3

26
-15

tj

Aquilas.

.

.

3

18 3 o 45
5

P Caprieorni.
Aquarii. P Aquarii. a Aquarii. Z Aquarii.
e
. .
.

3-4 3-2
3- 2

10 18 25
2

.

.

.

.

.

Fomalhaut
98 Aquarii.
.

.

i-3 4.1

3-i 3-i 3-3
3- 2

— — — —

9 52 6

d Sculptoris.

4.6

+ 3-i

39 — 28 41

-20

o o 32 -30 9

13 21

Nov. Nov. Nov.

28 4 10 16
'

INDEX.

Aberration, diurnal, 57, 102

Accurate determinations, defined, 61 General principles, 141 Addition logarithms, 20, 34 Adjustments, of level, 103 Of theodolite, 117, 120

Circumpolar stars, 47 Clock stars, 180 Colatitude, 29 Collimation, 120
Elimination Factor, 176
of,

121
of,

Of Of

sextant, 133
transit, 168, 191

Mechanical determination Coordinates, systems of, 24
Their uses, 27 Mutual relations, 28 Transformation of, 30

191

Almanac, The, 46
Altitude, 26

Reduction

of,

56
of,

American Ephemeris, 46
Angles, computation
16

Crelle, multiplication table, 21

Apparent solar time, 35, 39 Approximate determinations, 61 Approximate formulae, 9 Numerical limits for, 10 Artificial horizon, 136
Astronomical triangle, 31 Azimuth, defined, 26 Computation of, 65, 152

Da y-

35

Declination, 26 Determinations' of azimuth, latitude, time, 60 Diurnal aberration, 57, 192 Dip of horizon, 49

Azimuth determination, from sun,
63. 6 7 From Polaris,

28,

Elongation, defined, 86

Formulae
70
85,

for,

86
at,

Azimuth determination
89

88

From star at elongation, From two stars, 90, 96

With theodolite, 149, 156 With transit, 187, 193 Azimuth star, 180
Barometer, reduction Bibliography, 196
Celestial sphere, 22
of,

Limits for polar star, 88 Engineer's transit, ill Equator, celestial, 23, 26

Equation of time, 40

Eye and ear
Precision

of,

observing, 181 182

52

Equinox, vernal, 24
Gradienter, 158 Calibration of, 161 Value of a revolution, 165, 167

Chronograph, 181 Chronometer, care Correction, 44
Rate. 45 Beat, 138

of,

138

Precepts for use of, 139 Comparisons, 139
Circle readings, errors
of,

Horizon, defined, 23 Dip of, 49 Hour angle, 26

Of
125

Polaris, 71

Circummeridian altitudes, 79 Graphical treatment of, 80

Index correction, 131, 135
Inequality of pivots,
1

10

201

202
Latitude, 29

INDEX.
Sextant, 129

By meridian altitude, 61 By circummeridian altitudes, By zenith telescope, 155, 167
Least Squares, 178 Level, spirit, 99 Errors of, 93
Corrections, 115, 152, 159 Logarithmic computation, 5,
12,

Adjustments
79

of,

132, 133

Eccentricity of, 135 Precepts for use of, 137 Sidereal time, 30, 38
of, 40, 43 noon. 42 Sidereal chronometer, 45 Solar time, 35, 38

Conversion

Mean

16

Accuracy

of,

18

Conversion

of,

40, 43
1

Tables, 20

Spherical trigonometry,

Longitude and time, 37
Magnitudes, stellar, 47 Mayer's equation, 173

Fundamental formula Derived formulae, 8
Spirit-level,

of,

4

Mean

solar time, 35, 39
of,

Right-angled triangles, 9 99 Value of a division, 100, 105

Meridian, 23, 26 Micrometer, calibration
Nadir, 22

161

Theory of, 101 Adjustment of, 103
Precepts for use
ot,

Stars, coordinates of,

104 47

Negative sign for logarithms, 4 Noon, 36 Numerical solution of triangle, 5 Computations, 12, 16

Visibility in telescope, 48,

69

Subtraction logarithms, 34 polo, 166, 174 Sun's altitude, refraction correction,

Sub

Observing

list,

142, 147

62 Observed by projection, 64
Theodolite,

Orientation, 60, 70

Tables for Polaris, 78, 197 Theory of tables, 76
Parallactic angle, 32 Parallax, 53 Personal equation, 182, 183 Pivots, inequality of, Polaris, orientation by, 70, 73 Poles, celestial, 22, 26

m
of,

117 Errors of adjustment, 117, 120 Precepts for use of, 128 Time, different systems, 35
of,

Theory

Determination

60

HO

altitudes, 63, 84 Meridian transits, 68, 74

From

Two

stars, 90,

96

Prime

vertical,

23

Radians, 9, 11 Reduction to meridian, With given hour angle, 81 With given azimuth, 83

For zenith telescope, 161 Refraction, nature of, 50
Formulas
for,

51

Coefficients for zenith telescope, 160 Repetitions, method of, 126 Influence of axis error, 128

Subsidiary determination of, 98 Equal altitudes, 142, 146 Transit instrument, 177, 184 Precision of determination, 182 Transit factors, 173 Signs of, 175 Transit instrument, 168 Adjustment of, 169 Theory of, 170 Trigonometric functions, 15

Repsold Transit Micrometer, 184. Reversal of instrument, 113 Effect of, 122, 184 Right ascension, 26 Rough determinations, defined, 60
Schedule for computation, 13 Semi -diameter, 52

Vernal equinox, 24, 26 Vertical, 22 Plane, 23 Circle, 23 Coordinate, 24
Zenith, 22, 26 Zenith distance, determination

of,

112

Zenith telescope, 157

,

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