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INTRODUCTION The Science of Astronomy is sublime and beautiful. Noble, elevating, consoling, divine, it gives us wings, and bears us through Infinitude. In these ethereal regions all is pure, luminous, and splendid. Dreams of the Ideal, even of the Inaccessible, weave their subtle spells upon us. The imagination soars aloft, and aspires to the sources of Eternal Beauty. What greater delight can be conceived, on a fine spring evening, at the... more...

CHAPTER I THE EARTH It is a curious fact that when we are used to things, we often do not notice them, and things which we do every day cease to attract our attention. We find an instance of this in the curious change that comes over objects the further they are removed from us. They grow smaller and smaller, so that at a distance a grown-up person looks no larger than a doll; and a short stick planted in the ground only a few feet away appears... more...

CHAPTER I. INTRODUCTORY. The Sun. The sun's position in the great field of energy is daily becoming more exalted in the estimation of philosophic minds. His labors are being revealed to us with a distinctness never before conceived. He it is that stored the coal in the bosom of the earth, and piled up the polar ice. He it is that aids the chemist, drives the engine, ripens the harvest, dispenses life and health. The study of the sun and solar... more...

It is very easy to gain a knowledge of the stars, if the learner sets to work in the proper manner. But he commonly meets with a difficulty at the outset of his task. He provides himself with a set of the ordinary star-maps, and then finds himself at a loss how to make use of them. Such maps tell him nothing of the position of the constellations on the sky. If he happen to recognize a constellation, then indeed his maps, if properly constructed,... more...

ASTROLOGY. Signs and planets, in aspects sextile, quartile, trine, conjoined, or opposite; houses of heaven, with their cusps, hours, and minutes; Almuten, Almochoden, Anahibazon, Catahibazon; a thousand terms of equal sound and significance.—Guy Mannering. ... Come and see! trust thine own eyes.A fearful sign stands in the house of life,An enemy: a fiend lurks close behindThe radiance of thy planet—oh! be warned!—Coleridge.... more...


CHAPTER I. A HALF-HOUR ON THE STRUCTURE OF THE TELESCOPE. There are few instruments which yield more pleasure and instruction than the Telescope. Even a small telescope—only an inch and a half or two inches, perhaps, in aperture—will serve to supply profitable amusement to those who know how to apply its powers. I have often seen with pleasure the surprise with which the performance even of an opera-glass, well steadied, and... more...

PREFACE The object of this book is to give an account of the science of Astronomy, as it is known at the present day, in a manner acceptable to the general reader. It is too often supposed that it is impossible to acquire any useful knowledge of Astronomy without much laborious study, and without adventuring into quite a new world of thought. The reasoning applied to the study of the celestial orbs is, however, of no different order from that... more...

THE DIAGRAMS. The diagrams, it will be observed, are grouped under the seasons, and they indicate the positions of the constellations as they appear at 9 o'clock p.m. in mid-season. To facilitate finding and observing the constellations, the student should face in the direction indicated in the text. This applies to all constellations excepting those near the zenith. The four large plates are so arranged that the observer is supposed to be... more...

TWO NEW INSTITUTIONS OF SCIENCE; ANDTHE SCENES WHICH ATTENDED THEIR CHRISTENING. In the month of August last, two events took place in the city of Albany, which have more than an ephemeral interest. They occurred in close connection with the proceedings of a Scientific Convention, and the memory of them deserves to be cherished as a recollection of the easy way in which Science may be popularized and be rendered so generally acceptable that the... more...

CHAPTER I. THE ASTRONOMICAL OBSERVATORY. Early Astronomical Observations—The Observatory of Tycho Brahe—The Pupil of the Eye—Vision of Faint Objects—The Telescope—The Object-Glass—Advantages of Large Telescopes—The Equatorial—The Observatory—The Power of a Telescope—Reflecting Telescopes—Lord Rosse's Great Reflector at Parsonstown—How the mighty Telescope is... more...