The Catalogue of Stars of the British Association for the Advancement of Science: Containing the Mean Right Ascensions and North Polar Distances of Eight Thousand Three Hundred and Seventy-seven Fixed Stars, Reduced to January 1, 1850 : Together with Their Annual Precessions, Secular Variations and Proper Motions, as Well as the Logarithmic Constants for Computing Precession, Aberration and Nutation : with a Preface Explanatory of Their Construction and Application

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Page 2 - If we ask to what end magnificent establishments are maintained by states and sovereigns, furnished with master-pieces of art, and placed under the direction of men of first-rate talent and high-minded enthusiasm, sought out for those qualities among the foremost in the ranks of science : — if we demand cui bono?
Page 3 - ... star, from the moment its place is registered, becomes to the astronomer, the geographer, the navigator, the surveyor, a point of departure which can never deceive or fail him, the same for ever and in all places, of a delicacy so extreme as to be a test for every instrument yet invented by man, yet equally adapted for the most ordinary purposes ; as available for regulating a town clock, as for conducting a navy to the Indies ; as effective for mapping down the intricacies of a petty barony,...
Page 3 - The stars are the land-marks of the universe ; and amidst the endless and complicated fluctuations of our system, seem placed by its Creator as guides and records, not merely to elevate our minds by the contemplation of what is vast, but to teach us to direct our actions by reference to what is immutable in his works. It is indeed hardly possible to overappreciate their value in this point of view. Every well-determined star, from the moment its place is registered, becomes to the astronomer, the...
Page 59 - By Sir JFW Herschel, Bart. The idea, originally proposed of entirely re-modelling the southern constellations, has (after very mature consideration and much discussion, and after consulting the opinions of some of the most eminent continental astronomers, which have been found very adverse to the idea of so decided a change) been laid aside ; at least in so far as regards the new catalogue of stars, now printing under the authority of the British Association. It is conceived, however, that if the...
Page 3 - ... and in all places, of a delicacy so extreme as to be a test for every instrument yet invented by man, yet equally adapted for the most ordinary purposes; as available for regulating a town clock as for conducting a navy to the Indies ; as effective for mapping down the intricacies of a petty barony as for adjusting the boundaries of Transatlantic empires. When once its place has been thoroughly ascertained and carefully recorded, the brazen circle...
Page 55 - Those only who have to make frequent references to the class of smaller stars, and are desirous of identifying them, and of comparing the results of different observers, can justly appreciate the labour and inconvenience that occurs from such a confused state of location. And with respect to the map-maker, it is a forlorn hope to expect from him anything like regularity, uniformity, clearness or precision so long as he continues the present system of circumscribing every star with the boundary line...
Page 52 - ... star within its limits ; although in so doing he causes the most inconvenient and absurd distortion of the boundary lines, and, in some cases, actually includes thereby stars that ought not to have been disturbed ; which consequently renders the map, or the globe, a mass of confusion and intricacy, and totally unfit for accurate reference. An inspection of most of the modern celestial maps or globes will fully confirm this remark. Before a catalogue of any considerable extent, containing new...
Page 59 - ... easy at any future time to pass, by a single table of synonyms and by one decided step, from one to the other system, whenever the convenience and consent of astronomers may dictate the propriety of a change. Such views, if entertained, would render the nomenclature of the present catalogues so far provisional that a more rational and convenient system of groups (confined not to the southern hemisphere, but extending over both) may yet be contemplated by astronomers. Nevertheless, so long as...
Page 55 - ... perpetual blot in the catalogue. The modern mode, however, of arranging the whole of the stars in a catalogue, according to the order of their right ascension, without any regard to the order of the constellations in which they may be placed, prevents the occurrence of a similar inconvenience in future. But a like source of error arises, and frequently causes doubt and difficulty to the map-maker, and even to the astronomer, when the authors of two different catalogues vary in their decision...
Page 51 - ... still retained. But the greatest innovator on this system was Bode, who although no great observer himself, has, in his catalogue and in his maps, filled the heavens with a host of new figures and constellations that were by no means requisite, and that tend only to annoy and confuse, without presenting one single advantage. In these remarks I have reference only to the constellations in the northern hemisphere ; or, at least, to those constellations only that are visible in the northern latitudes,...

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