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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...

CHAPTER I. THE DISCOVERY OF THE UNIVERSE The beginning of the victorious career of modern science was very largely due to the making of two stimulating discoveries at the close of the Middle Ages. One was the discovery of the earth: the other the discovery of the universe. Men were confined, like molluscs in their shells, by a belief that they occupied the centre of a comparatively small disk—some ventured to say a globe—which was... more...

That application of the sciences of biology and geology, which is commonly known as palaeontology, took its origin in the mind of the first person who, finding something like a shell, or a bone, naturally imbedded in gravel or rock, indulged in speculations upon the nature of this thing which he had dug out—this "fossil"—and upon the causes which had brought it into such a position. In this rudimentary form, a high antiquity may... more...

THE NEW HEAVENS Go out under the open sky, on a clear and moon-less night, and try to count the stars. If your station lies well beyond the glare of cities, which is often strong enough to conceal all but the brighter objects, you will find the task a difficult one. Ranging through the six magnitudes of the Greek astronomers, from the brilliant Sirius to the faintest perceptible points of light, the stars are scattered in great profusion over... more...

INTRODUCTION We know, both by tradition and published records, that from the earliest times the faint grey and light spots which diversify the face of our satellite excited the wonder and stimulated the curiosity of mankind, giving rise to suppositions more or less crude and erroneous as to their actual nature and significance. It is true that Anaxagoras, five centuries before our era, and probably other philosophers preceding him,... 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.APPARENT ATTRIBUTES OF THE STARS. 1. Our knowledge of the stars is based on their apparent attributes, obtained from the astronomical observations. The object of astronomy is to deduce herefrom the real or absolute attributes of the stars, which are their position in space, their movement, and their physical nature. The apparent attributes of the stars are studied by the aid of their radiation. The characteristics of this radiation... 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...

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...

Biographical Sketch of Nikola Tesla.   While a large portion of the European family has been surging westward during the last three or four hundred years, settling the vast continents of America, another, but smaller, portion has been doing frontier work in the Old World, protecting the rear by beating back the "unspeakable Turk" and reclaiming gradually the fair lands that endure the curse of Mohammedan rule. For a long time the Slav... more...