A Treatise on Astronomy by Sir John Frederick William Herschel

By Sir John Frederick William Herschel

Astronomer and thinker Sir John Herschel (1792-1871), the son of William and the nephew of Caroline, released his 1833 Treatise on Astronomy within the 'Cabinet Cyclopaedia' sequence of which the 1st quantity were his tremendously profitable initial Discourse at the research of average Philosophy. he's considered as the founding father of the philosophy of technological know-how, and made contributions in lots of fields together with arithmetic, the newly found technique of images, and the botany of southern Africa, which he studied whereas making astronomical observations of the southern hemisphere, and the place he was once visited through Darwin and Fitzroy at the Beagle voyage. It used to be besides the fact that because the ordinary successor to his father's astronomical stories that he's most sensible remembered, and this e-book, that is written for the lay individual, locations powerful emphasis at the value of actual remark and on warding off preconceptions or hypotheses now not in response to such commentary.

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If he travel continually southwards, he will at length reach a line on the earth's surface, called the equator, at any point of which, indifferently, if he take up his station and recommence his observations^ he will 46 A TREATISE ON ASTRONOMY. CHAP. I. find that he has both the centres of diurnal motion in his horizon, occupying opposite points, the northern Pole having been depressed, and the southern raised; so that, in this geographical position, the diurnal rotation of the heavens will appear to him to be performed about a horizontal axis, every star describing half its diurnal circle above and half beneath his horizon, remaining alternately visible for twelve hours, and concealed during the same interval.

I. SIZE OF THE EARTH. 21 between them, and if we suppose a D b to be the sphere of the earth, and C its centre in the figure C D b B, we know D b, the length of the arch of the circle between D and b, — viz. half the measured interval, and b B, the excess of its secant above its radius —which is the height of B,— data which, by the solution of an easy geometrical problem, enable us to find the length of the radius D C. If, as is really the ca^e, we suppose both the heights and distance of the stations inconsiderable in comparison with the size of the earth, the solution alluded to is contained in the following proposition : — The earth's diameter bears the same proportion to the distance of the visible horizon from the eye as that distance does to the height of the eye above the sea level.

Leaving, at present, out of consideration the effect of refraction in the air below M, of which more hereafter, and which always tends, in some degree, to increase that angle, or render it more obtuse, this is the angle measured by the dip sector. e. the spherical segment or slice N O P Q , increases; 2dly, that the distance of the visible horizon* or boundary of our view from the eye, viz. the line M N , increases; and, Sdly, that the angle N M Q becomes i&i, to terminate. C 18 A TREATISE ON ASTRONOMY.

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