UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA.
Mrs. SAfeAH P. WALS\VORTH.
Received October^ 1894.
Accessions No. &*7 %. Class No.
IN WHICn THB
DESCRIPTIVE, PHYSICAL, AND PRACTICAL
WITH BPECIAL REFERENCE. TO THE WANTS OV
ACADEMIES AND SEMINARIES OF LEARNING.
BY HIRAM MATTISON, A. M.,
LATE PROFESSOR OF NATURAL PHILOSOPHY AND ASTRONOMY IN THE FAU,ST
SEMINARY ; AUTHOR OF THE PRIMALiY ASTRONOMY ; ASTRONOMICAL
MAPS; EDITOR OF BURRITT'S GEOGRAPHY OF THE
UEAVENS, ETC., ETC.
% 506 J3ROA
LOSTOX: 154 TEEMONT ST.
CHICAGO: CEO. & C. W. SHEEY70GD.
Enterod according to Act of Congress, In tho year 1858.
BY HIPvAM MATT1SON,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Southern
District of New York.
THE design of this work is to furnish a suitable text-book of
Astronomy for academies and seminaries of learning.
For juvenile learners, the "Primary Astronomy" is all that
can be desired ; and for advanced classes, who wish to study the
Constellations, in connection with Mythology, the "Geography of
the Heavens " should be chosen in preference to all others ; but
for all ordinary students, this intermediate work will be found
sufficiently elementary on the one hand, and sufficiently extended
on the other.
The work is now divided into three parts. After an introduc-
tion, which consists of Preliminary Observations and Definitions,
and occupies twenty pages, Part First is devoted to the Solar
System the sun, planets, comets, eclipses, tides, &c. ; Part
Second relates to the Sidereal Heavens the fixed stars, con-
stellations, clusters, and nebulae ; and Part Third to Practical
Astronomy the structure and use of instruments, refraction,
parallax, &c. This department, so seldom introduced into text-
books for schools, will be found especially interesting and valu-
Besides embracing all the late discoveries in astronomy, under
a strictly philosophical classification, the work is thoroughly
illustrated, by the introduction of diagrams into its pages, in con-
nection with the text; and the adaptation throughout to the use
of the black-board, during recitation, cannot fail to be appreciated
by every practical teacher.
The variety of type affords an agreeable relief to the eye of the
student, and at the same time distinguishes the main text from
the less important matter, the more careful study of which may
be left for a review. The suggestive topical questions at the bot-
tom of the page complete the design.
On the whole, the work is believed to be a decided improve-
ment upon the works heretofore in use in this department of
study ; and as such it is offered to the professional teachers of
New York, August, 1866.
In the Author' 9 JAbrary, and more or less consulted in the compilation
of the following pages :
A Cycle of Celestial Objects, for the use of Naval, Military, and Private Astronomer^
&c. By CAPT. WM. HENRY SMYTH, &<x 2 vols. 8vo. London, 1844.
An Introduction to Astronomy, in a Series of Letters from a Preceptor to his PupH,
&c. By JOHN BONNYCASTLE, Professor of Mathematics, &c. 1 vol. 8vo. London,
An Introduction to the True Astronomy; or, Astronomical Lectures read in the
Astronomical School of the University of Oxford. By JOHN KKILL, M. D., F. 11. b.,
&c. I vol. 8vo. Dublin, 1793.
Astronomy Explained, upon Sir Isaac Newton's principles, &c., &c. By JAMES FEE-
eu&ON, F. K. S. 1 vol. 4to. London, 1764
The Elements of Physical and Geometrical Astronomy. By DAVID GREGORY, M. D^
late Sullivan Professor of Astronomy at Oxford, <fee. 2 vols. 8vo. London, 1726.
Astronomy, in Five Books. By EOGEE LONG, D. D., F. K. S., &c., University of Can>
bridge. 2 vols. 4to. Cambridge (Eng.), 1742.
Astronomia Carolina, &c., by THOMAS STREET; and A Series of Observations on tha
Planets, chiefly the Moon, &c., by Du. EDMUND HALLEY. 1 vol. 4to. London, 1716.
Astronomical Lectures, read in the Public School at Cambridge (Eng). By WILLIAM
WHISTON, M. A., Professor of Mathematics, &c. 1 vol. Svo. London, 1728.
The Wonders of tJie Heavens, ; a popular view of Astronomy, &c. By DCNGAN BSAD-
FORD. 1 vol. royal 4to. New York, 1843.
Popular Lectures on Science and Art, &c. By DIONYSIUS LARDNKB, F. E. S., &c^
Ac. 2 vols. Svo. New York, 1846.
Outlines of Astronomy. By SIK JOHN F. "W. HEP.SCHEL, Bart, K. H., &c. 1 vol. Svo.
Pheiwmena and Order of the Solar System, and Views f the Architecture of ffie
Heavens. By J. P. NICHOL, F. E. S. E., &c. 2 vols. 12mo. New York, 1842.
TJie Practical Astronomer, &c. By THOMAS DICK, LL.D. 1 vol. 12mo. New York,
1846. Also, " Celestial Scenery, 1 ' and " The Sidereal Heavens," by the same author.
TJie Planetary and Stellar Worlds. By PKOF. O. M. MITCHEL. 1 vol. 12mo. New
An Elementary Treatise on Astronomy, &c. By WILLIAM A. NOP.TON, A. M. 1 vol.
Svo. New York, 1845.
An Introduction to Astronomy, &c. By DENISON OLMSTED, A. M. 1 vol. Svo, New
York, 1844. Also, Letters on Astronomy, and Life and Writings of JSbenezer Por-
ter Ma-son, by the same author. 2 vols. 12mo.
77*5 Solar System; or, the Sun, Moon, and Stars. By J. E. HINP, Director of Mr.
Bishop's Observatory, Eegcnt's Park, London. 1 vol. 12mo. London, 1S52.
A Pictorial Display of the Astronomical Phenomena of the Universe, &c. By C. F.
BLOPNT. 4to. New York, 1844.
The Recent Progress of Astronomy, &c. By ELIAS Loosiis, Professor of Mathematics,
&c. 1 vol. 12mo. New York, 1850.
dnnual of Scientific Discovery, &c. By DAVID A. WELLS, A. M. 1 vol. 12mo. Bos-
T!ie Sidereal Messenger ; a Monthly Journal, devoted to Astronomical Hcienee. By
O. M. MITCBEL, A. M. (Now discontinued.)
Also, Astronomical Lectures by ARAGO, LARDNEK, MITCHEL, and NIOHOI.; and Ele-
mentary Treatises by BURRITT, KENDAL, UAKTLFT, M.!!NTIRK. AKBOTT. OSTRANDF.R,
BLAKE, HASLKK, SMITU, CJLAKK, v osK,TvuiK, COU&TOCK, HASKIN^, UYAJS,
PRELIMINARY OBSERVATIONS AND DEFINITIONS.
CHAP. I. ORIGIN AND HISTORY OF THE SCIENCE.
Ptolemaic Theory of the Structure of the Universe ..... 12
The Copernican System 13
Solids, Surfaces, Ac 16
Spheres, Hemispheres, and Spheroids 17
Lines and Angles 19
Of Triangles 20
Circles and Ellipses 21
The Terrestrial Sphere 23
The Celestial Sphere ' 25
First Grand Divisions of the Universe. . 28
THE SOLAR SYSTEM.
CHAP. I. THE PRIMARY PLANETS.
Classification of the Solar Bodies 29
Names of tho Primary Planets 31
Explanation of Mythological Signs 32
Distances of the Planets 36
Light and Heat of the Planets 38
Magnitude of the Planets. 40
Density - 41
Periodic Revolutions of the Planets. ... . . ^ 1
CHAP. I. Hourly Motion of the Planets in their Orbits 45
Centripetal and Centrifugal Forces 45
Laws of Planetary Motion 46
Aspects of the Planets 48
Sidereal and Synodic Revolution. 49
The Ecliptic, Zodiac, Signs, Ac. . . . : 50
Celestial Latitude and Longitude 53
Mean and True Places of a Planet 54
Direct and Retrograde Motions 55
Morning and Evening Stars 67
Deviation of the Orbits of the Planets from the Ecliptic 58
Philosophy of Transits 60
IL PRIMARY PLANETS CONTINUED.
Inclination of the Axis of the Planets, and its Effects. . 65
Rotation of the Planets upon their axes 69
Equation of Time 72
Time, as affected by Longitude 76
True Figure of the Planets 77
Precession of the Equinoxes 80
HL TELESCOPIC VIEWS OF THE PLANETS.
Mercury Phases, Mountains, <fcc 83
Venus Phases, Mountains, Atmosphere 84
Mars" Continents and Seas," Color, Snow Banks 86
The Asteroids Color, Hazy Appearance 87
Jupiter Oblateness, Belts, Moons 88
Saturn Oblateness, Rings, Belts, Phases, Moons 89
Uranus a Telescopic World, Satellites 94
Neptune purely Telescopic, Satellite 91
Herschel's Solar System in Miniature 91
IV. SEASONS OF THE DIFFERENT PLANETS, Ac.
Cause of the Seasons Mercury, Earth 91
Venus, Mars, Jupiter 98
Saturn and Uranus 99
Discovery of the different Planets 100
V. SECONDAKT PLANETS THE Moow.
Character and Number of the Secondaries 102
The Moon's Distance, Shape, Position of Orbit, fec 103
CHAP. V.- -Magnitude, Density, Revolution East-ward 1G5
Form of Lunar Orbit ^ 107
Cause of the Moon's Changes 109
Natural appearance Same side always toward us. ... Ill
Moon's Librations in Latitude and Longitude 112
Telescopic Appearance of the Moon Lunar Mountains 1 V3
Finding the Longitude by the Moon's place 115
VL ECLIPSES OF THE SUN AND MOON.
Philosophy of both 116
Law of Shadows 117
Why not two Eclipses every Lunar Month 118
Why Solar pass eastward over the Sun, and Lunar west-
ward over the Moon 119
Ecliptic Limits Umbra and Penumbra 120
Why all Central Eclipses not total 122
VII. S VTELLITES OF THE EXTERIOR PLANETS.
Satellites of Jupiter Distances, Periods, &c 124
Eclipses of Jupiter's Moons Immersions and Emersions 1 26
Moons of Saturn Why seldom eclipsed 127 V
Satellite of Neptune 129
VIII. NATURE AND CAUSE OF TIDES.
Description of Tides, Causes, <fcc ISO
Spring and Neap Tides '. 134
IX. OF COMETS.
Niunrs Parts, Orbits, Ac. 136
Magnitudes, Velocity, Temperature, Periods 140
Numbers, Physical Natures, <fec 143
X. THE SUN.
True Figure, Spots 146
Physical Constitution, Temperature 151
Zodiacal Light 153
Sun's Proper Motion in Space 155
XL MISCELLANEOUS REMARKS UPON THE SOLAR SYSTEM.
Nebular Theory of its Origin 156
Were the Asteroids originally one Planet ? 159
Are the Planets inhabited by rational beings ? 101
THE SIDEREAL HEAVENS.
CUAP. I THE FIXED STAUS.
Classification of the Stars .......................... 166
Number of the Stars .............................. 168
Distances of the Stars ............................. 170
II DESCRIPTION OF THE CONSTELLATIONS.
Nature, Origin, Classification ........................ 172
Visible in October, November, and December ......... 174
" January, February, and March ............. 177
" April, May, and June ..................... 180
" July, August, and September .............. 183
III. DOUBLE, VARIABLE, AND TEMPORARY STARS, <fec.
Stars Optically and Physically Double ............... 187
Binary Systems .......................... , ....... 189
Variable or Periodical Stars ........................ 194
Temporary Stars New and Lost ................... 190
IV. CLUSTERS OK STARS AND
Pleiades, Hyades, Ac .............................. 199
Nebulae Resolvable, Irresolvable, Annular, &c ........ 201
Planetary, Stellar, <fec .............................. 203
Star Dust, Milky Way ............................. 206
I. PROPERTIES OF LIGHT.
Refraction of Light ............................... 211
Atmospherical Refraction .......................... 214
Refraction by Glass Lenses ......................... 216
Refracting Telescopes ............................. 221
Reflecting Telescopes ............................. 231
Transit Instrument ................................ 235
Mural Circle ..................................... 236
Parallax ......................................... 2?37
Meteors and Meteoric Stones ....................... 239
III. PilOBLEMS AND TABLES ...................... . 241
PRELIMINARY OBSERVATIONS AND DEFINITIOJ
ORIGIN AND HISTORY OF THE SCIENCE.
1. SCIENCE is knowledge systematically arranged, so
as to be conveniently taught, easily learned, and readily
2. ASTRONOMY is the science of the heavenly bodies
the Sun, Moon, Planets, Comets, and Fixed Stars.
The term astronomy is from the Greek astron, a star, and nomo&, a law ; and sig-
pifios the laws or science of the stars.
3. Astronomy is divided into Descriptive, Physical,
Descriptive Astronomy includes the mere, facts of the
science, irrespective of the causes of the phenomena ob-
served, or of the means by which the facts were ascer-
Physical Astronomy explains the causes of the vari-
ous phenomena observed, as of Day and Night, the
Seasons, Eclipses, Tides, &c.
Practical Astronomy relates to the means for acquiring
astronomical knowledge by the use of instruments, and
by mathematical calculations.
These three departments have arisen, one after the other, in the order in which they
are here stated. At first a few facts and phenomena were observed, but the causes
were unknown. Next some of the causes were investigated one by one ; and, finally,
instruments were invented for measuring distances, altitudes, &c. ; data for cou/culOr-
tions were obtained; and thus arose the department of Practical Astronomy.
1. Define the term Science.
2. What is Astronomy 1 (From what is the term derived ?)
3. How is astronomy divided ? Descriptive? Physical? Practical? CStat;)
tlio order n which these departments have arisen.)
4-. Astronomy lias long been regarded as the most
sublime of the sciences, eminently calculated to illua
trate the wisdom, power, and goodness of God ; to ele-
vate and expand the human mind, and to fill it with ex-
alted views of the Creator
" The glorious Architect who built the skies."
1. "The greatest men of all ages have pronounced this science to he the most ST.bumt
end snrpasfinjr of all that can be tested by human genius, and to be worthy of a life of
Btady. < "-iSm$& 1 CelvxtiaJ. Cycle.
2. "Onr very faculties are enlarged with tlie grandeur of the ideas it conveys, our
minds exalted above the low-contracted pnjudlces of the vulgar, and our understand-
ings clearly convinced, and affected with the conviction of the existence, wisuom, |>o\ver,
goodness, ar.tl superintendencv of the SUPREME BEING!" Ferguson.
3. So remarkably does this science exhibit the glory and majesty of God, by its
astounding revelations of liis works, that it almost necessarily tends to fill the rniiid
with awe and reverence. It was in view of this tendency that the poet Young said,
" An undevout astronomer i mad."
4. To the moral influence of the contemplation of the heavers, we have frequent
reference in the sacred Scriptures. "The heavens declare the gto.y of God; and the
firmament showeth his handy-work." (Psalm xix. 1.) ""When I consider thy heavens,
the work of thy fingers; the moon and stars, which tliou hast ordained ; what is man,
that thou art mindful of- him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?" (Psalm
viii. 8, 4.)
5. Astronomy is probably the most ancient of all the
sciences. Some of the Chaldean observations date as
far back as 2,250 years before Christ, or only 98 years
after the Flood ! Laplace speaks confidently of Chinese
observations 1,100 r>. c. ; and Mr. Bailly, an English
astronomer, fixes the time of a conjunction of Mars,
Jupiter, Saturn, and Mercury, mentioned in Chinese
records, at 2,M9 years before Christ.
1. The ancient Chinese astronomers and mathematicians were held to a fearful re-
fponsibility for the correctness of their calculations. In the reign of the Emperor (Jhou-
UTig, his two chief astronomers, ITo and //?, were condemned to death for neglecting to>
announce the precise time of a solar eclipse, which took place B. C. 2,169.
2. The Holy Scriptures, some parts of which are very ancient, contain several allusions
to the science of astronomy. In the first chapter of Genesis we have an account of the
crfation of tlie Sun, Moon, and Stars. "And God said, Let there be lights in the firma-
rrent of the. heaven, to divide the day from the night, and let them be for signs, and for
seasons, and for days and years. And let them be for lights in the firmament of tlie
heaven, to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God made TWO great lights;
the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the
et.irs also." Verses 14-16.
3. In the book of Job, written 1,50 r - years before Christ, we read of several constella-
tions that bear tlie same names now tn'at they did three thousand years ago. "Which
maketh Arcturns. Orion, and Pleiades, and the chambers of the south." (ixT 9.) Again .
' Canst thou bind tlie sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion ? Canst
ti'ou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season? or canst thou guide Areturus with his sons?"
xxx viii. 81, 82.)
4. How astronomy regarded ? (Smyth? Ferguson? Young? Scriptures?)
o. What of antiquity of astronomy'? Chaldean and Chinese observations i
(Responsibility of Chinese astronomers ? Ancient Scriptural allusions $)
6. The first astronomers were shepherds and herds7/ien^
who were led to this study by observing the movements
of the sun, moon, and stars, while watching their flocks
from year to year in the open fields.
ANCIENT ASTRONOMERS OBSERVING THE IIEAVEM5.
7. TJiales, one of the seven wise men of Greece, was
the first regular teacher of Astronomy, B. c. 600. The
next was Anaximander, a disciple of Thales, who suc-
ceeded him as head of the school at Miletus, B. c. 548.
lie asserted the true figure of the earth, and seems to
have had some idea of its daily re-volution.
Anaximanrler is supposed to have been the first who constructed globes and mape.
He taught that the moon shines by reflection, and in several other respects advanci-d
beyond the knowledge imparted by his distinguished tutor.
8. Pythagoras, another Greek philosopher, who
founded the school of Croton, B. c. 500, greatly enlarged
the science. He first gave form to the vague ideas that
the sun was in the center of the planetary orbits, that
the earth floated unsupported in space, and that the dis-
tant stars were worlds, and probably inhabited.
jtcturos of a sagacious mind, not possessed of the evidence requisite to gi
it,5 opinions," Pythagoras is said lo nave perished from hunger, in his old
" It was Pythagoras, 1 " says Smyth, " who taught, in fact, the system which now im-
mortalizes the name of Copernicus." But lie adds that li is teach ings were but "the con-
quisite to give stability to
6. Who were the first astronomers ? How led to this study ?
7. Who first regular teacher of this science ? How early? Who next ?
and when ? What correct notions did lie seem to entertain ? (For what elso
8. "Who next after Anaximandcr ? -What advances did he make in this
Study ? (What does Smyth sav of his teachings? What said of his death f
9. Ptolemy, an Egyptian philosopher, taught astronomy
in the second century of the Christian era. He adopted
the theory that the earth was located in the center of the
universe, that it was perfectly at rest, and that the sun,
moon, and stars actually revolved around it, from east to
west, as they appear to do, every twenty-four hours. This
system is called, after its author, the Ptolemaic Theory.
PTOLEMAIC THEORY OF THE STRUCTURE OF THE UNIVERSE.
1. Ptolemy supposed the earth to be in the center of a system of crystalline arches,
or hollow spheres, arranged one within the other, as represented in the cut. It is thought
by some that he understood the spherical figure of the earth, and the cut is constructed
upon this supposition. Ptolemy further supposed that the sun, moon, and stars were
fixed in these crystalline spheres, at different distances from our globe ; that the Moon
was in the first, Mercury in the second, Venus in the third- the Sun in the fourth. Mars.
9. Who was Ptolemy? and when did he flourish? Describe his theory,
(ilow lorvite sun, moon, &e. ? What absurdity did it involve, ;w* it respects
COPEENICAN SYSTEM. 13
Jupiter, and Saturn in the next three, and the fixed stars in the eighth. The ancicnta
had no knowledge of Uranus or Neptune. This ponderous machinery was supposed to
revolve from eat-t to west around the earth, carrying with it the sun^ moon, and stars,
every twenty-four hours; and the spheres being crystal, the distant stars were visible
2. If the sun was designed to enlighten and warm the different sides of our globe,
the Ptolemaic method of effecting this object is most unreasonable. To carry the sun
around the earth, to warm and enlighten its different sides, instead of having the earth
turn first one side and then the other to the sun, by a revolution on its axis, would be
like carrying a fire around a person who was cold, and wished to be warmed, instead of
his turning himself to the fire as he pleased.
3. The Ptolemaic theory would require a motion inconceivably rapid in all the
heavenly bodies. As the sun is ninety-five millions of miles from the earth, the entire
diameter of his sphere would be one hundred and ninety millions of miles, and its cir-
cumference about six hundred millions. Divide this distance by twenty -four the num-
ber of hours in a day and it gives twenty-five 'million miles an hour, or sixty -nine
thousand four hundred and forty-four miles per second, as the velocity of the sun ! This
theory would require a still more rapid motion in the fixed stars. It would require the
nearest of these to move at the rate of nearly fourteen thousand millions of miles per
second, or seventy thousand times as swift as light, in order to accomplish their daily
course. But with all these difliculties in its way, the Ptolemaic theory was generally
believed till about the middle of the sixteenth century, or three hundred years ago.
THE COPERNICAN SYSTEM.
10. About the year 1510, the ancient theory of Pythag-
oras was revived and improved by Copernicus, a Prus-
sian astronomer, and has since been called, after him, the
1. The investigations of Copernicus were conducted between the years 1507 and 1530.
In the latter year he finished his tables of the planets, and his great work, The Revolu-
tion of the Celestial Orbs ; but he did not venture to publish his views till thirteen years
after, or 1543, when he recer- " :<l a copy of it only a few hours before his death, and con-
sequently never read it in print. It contains the old philosophy, interspersed with his
own original and acute conceptions, and was received under very considerable opposi-
tion. Smyth, vol. 1, p. 88.
2. Copernicus is generally regarded as the discoverer of the system which bears his
name, but this is a popular error. There is abundant proof, notwithstanding the loss of
his writings, that Pythagoras understood the leading features of what is now called the
11. The first prominent feature of the Copernican sys-
tem is, that the earth is a sphere or globe^ inhabited on
The evidence that the earth is a sphere or globe may be arranged and stated as fol-
1. Admitting that the sur, moon, and stars are worlds, the fact that they are round,
as we see them to be, affords ground for the presumption, at least, that the earth also is
2. Water falling from the clouds is gathered into little globes or drops; and melted
lead poured from the summit of a high tower assumes the form of globes, which, when
cooled, are called shot. And the same law would cause a larger mass of fluid matter, if
loft undisturbed in space, to assume the same shape. But the Bible teaches that the
light and heat ? What in respect to the motions of the heavenly bodies ?
Was such a theory ever .generally believed ? Till how recently ?)
10. Who was Copernicus? for what distinguished ? About what time ?
(Whaf of his investigations? His work? Its publication? Character's
What popular error noticed ?)
11. State the first leading feature of the Copernican theory. (What
proofs of its correctness ? The first ? Second? Third? Fourth? Fifth?
SLxth I Seventh ?)
whole enrth was once In a fluid state one vast drop the substances now constituting
the oceans and continents being Indiscriminately mingled together. "And the earth
was without form and void [/. />., chaotic, confused, unorganized], and darkness dwelt
upon the face of the deep; and the spirit of God moved upon the face of the wnters.
* * * And Go* said. Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together unto
one placf, and let ....vj dry land appear: and it was so. And God called the dry land
earth,, and the gathering together of the waters called he SKIS.*' Genesis i. 2, 9. 10. Up