A brief notice of the life, researches, and discoveries of Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel, Volume 9

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Page 14 - ... or, in other words, whether or not there be any thing specific or dependent on the intimate nature or chemical constitution of a body which determines the energy of its gravitating power.* the inertia being given ? The experiments of Newton, though they preclude all idea of any considerable or palpable amount of such specific difference among bodies, could by no means be regarded as sufficiently exact to settle a point of such vast importance with that decision which modern science requires....
Page 6 - On the calculation of the true anomaly in orbits nearly parabolic." So expert had he become in cometic calculations, that Olbers, having placed in his hands, on the night of the 1st of November, 1805, four observations of the comet of that year, he returned them to him the next morning, with the elements, whose calculation had occupied him only four hours. His seven years' engagement with Messrs. Kuhlenkamp was now terminated ; but, instead of entering on the mercantile world on his own account,...
Page 8 - Astronomies, a work which it is difficult for any astronomer, and least, of all an English one, to speak of in measured terms. It affords the first example of the complete and thorough reduction of a great series of observations, grounded, in the first instance, on a rigorous investigation, from the observations themselves, of all the instrumental errors, and carried out on a uniform plan, neglecting no...
Page 8 - It was in the capacity of such a calculator (taking the word in that enlarged and eminent sense in which the writer doubtless understood it ; a calculator thoroughly master of every resource of theory, and capable of bringing them all to bear on the subject of discussion) that Bessel undertook and completed, while yet young as an astronomer, his great work, the Fundamenta...
Page 10 - ... was a subject on which he was at every period remarkably scrupulous, and not without reason, as the dreadful consequences which have followed its neglect in more than one instance clearly demonstrate. In his opinion, the reputation of no artist, however distinguished, could be held to dispense with the most careful and searching scrutiny into the errors of his workmanship ; or, with the most refined application, both of experience and theory, into the amount and laws of its flexure, whether of...
Page 7 - No. 2, in which all the observed conjunctions and oppositions of the satellite, and all the recorded disappearances of the ring, are subjected to a rigorous and systematic calculation ; the position of the ring itself normally determined, together with elements of the orbit of the satellite in question, and even the perturbations of its motion by the attraction of the ring and by the sun are made objects of minute inquiry. The subject was resumed as observations accumulated, especially those made...
Page 10 - ... Every zone is accompanied by a small table, by means of which the reduction of any one of the observed objects to a fixed epoch may be performed at once, and in the shortest possible time ; so that the observations themselves, by the aid of an index to the zones, have nearly all the advantage of a catalogue, and that of a very high degree of precision. Their actual reduction and arrangement as a catalogue was commenced in 1830 by Professor Weisse ; but the promised work has not, we believe, yet...
Page 10 - Bonn, has continued them from the 45th to the 80th degree of north declination, the observations being very recently published in the first volume of the transactions of the Bonn Observatory, in 204 zones. It will be a matter of no small interest, when the elements of the new planets which have so recently been added to our list shall have become sufficiently known to admit of a retrospective ephemeris being calculated, to search the Konigsberg zones for missing stars lying in their paths, and corresponding...
Page 7 - University to fulfil, by giving a course of lectures on astronomy and mathematics) he married the daughter of Professor Hagen, by whom he had one son and two daughters. The death of the former, however, in 1841, a fine and talented young man, who already, at an early age, gave the promise of eminent distinction in astronomy, proved to him a most severe trial ; which, however, he bore with resignation, taking refuge from his grief in increased exertions. These brought on, or at least exasperated,...

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