John Almon.

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He has contributed many memoirs to our scientific journals, and many
to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, of which
he was twice president, and always a leading member. These memoirs,
often very elaborate, have generally been devoted to the discussion of
original researches in the more progressive branches of physical inquiry,
and are well worthy of attention not only as substantial contributions to
acience, but as models of research.

During his presidency of Girard College from 1836 to 1841, he spent
a year abroad under the direction of the Board of Trustees, to examine
and report upon the state of education in Europe. The results of tliis
examination, executed with great care and minuteness of detail, were
given to the public in a full and very instructive octavo volume in 1839.

On the establishment of the National Academy of Sciences, by the
Act of Congress, in 1863, the members of that body, intended to represent
and direct the highest science of the country, unanimously elected him
their first president for a period of six years. Unhappily for the interests
of seience that period has been cut short The disease which has now
terminated fatally, induced perhaps by over mental action, has for many
month! been making inroads upon his fine physical censtitotion, and



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Miscellaneous BihUography. 8M

impairing the vigor of his large and weH-halanced powers of mind. His
friends have watched its progress with alternate hopes and fears, and
have only recently yielded to the sad conviction that his allotted work
was done.

Iq the administration of his office aa Superintendent of the Ck>ast
Survey, Prof. Bache was always kind and considerate to his subordinates
— but never blind to any remissness in duty. He was himself a great
worker and he expected every body under him to follow his example.

Id society he was eminently genial. No one knew better than he, how
to throw off the care of business when a task was done, and give himself
up to the mirth and merriment of the hour. To his friends he was most
generous and obliging, and very many of them will feel his death as a
sorrowful, personal bereavement. He leaves a devoted wife, who has been
many years literally the sharer of his labors, t«> mourn her irreparable loss
and bear the burden of solitude in the midst of society. a, o.

J. BuRKBARDT. — Mr. Burkbardt, long associated with Prof. Agassis aa
bis artist, die<l on the 20th of February last, from the effects of a disease
consequent on exposure in the course of the late Bmcilian expedition.

VI. MISCELLANEOUS BIBLIOGRAPHY.

1. FirBt Annual Report on the Geology of Kansas ; by B. F. Mudos,
A.M., Prof, of Geology and Nat. Hist, in the Kansas State Agricult. Col*
lege, and State Geologist for 1864. Lawrence, 1866. 56 pp., 8vo.

Preliminary Report of the Geological Survey of Kansas ; by G. C.
Swallow, State Geologist. Lawrence, 1866. 198 pp., 8vo.

The first of these Reports gives the results of a reconnoissance made in
1864. It contains some facts of general interest to the people of Kansas,
—especially in regard to the saline springs, and the manufacture of salt,
bnt nothing new to science.

The second Report is a more important work. It contains the resnlta
of an examination of Eastern and Central Kansas, made in 1865, and in-
cludes the separate Reports of Dr. C. A. Logan on the sanitary relations
of the State, that of Dr. T. Sinks on its Climatology, and the Report of
the Assistant Geologist, Major F. Hawn.

A detailed section of the rocks of Eastern Kansas is first given, in which
the classification of the Permian proposed by Swallow and Hawn is essen-
tially retained. This makes the formation in that region about 700 feet
in thickness, or nearly three times that admitted by Meek and Hayden
(this Journal, [2], xxvii, 424). These geologists regarded the inter-
mediate strata, wnich contain both Permian and Coal-measnre fossils,
as part of the Upper Coal-measures, resting conformably upon those be-
low. In this Report these strata are considered as Permian ; and it is
claimed by Prof. Swallow that a want of conformability may be detected
between them and the true Coal-measures, by comparing sections made
at diflferent localities. •This question of conformability in the series is a
very important one, and deserves further investigation.

According to this Report the oldest rocks in the State are Lower Car*
boniferous. The Coal-measures occupy the surface of Eastern Kansas
over an area of 17,000 square miles, and dip beneath the Permian to



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t84 MisceUaneojis Bibliography.

the westward. They contain nut less than 80 separate beds of lime-
stone. No arldi(ional evidence appears to have been obtained in regard
to the age of the gypsum* bearing strata immediately above tlie Permian,
and none relating to the more recent foiroalions.

The report contains a chapter on economical geology, which, with the
separate Reports appended, furnishes much information of value to all
interested in Kansas.

2. Firnt Annual Report of the Chological Survey of Iowa; by C. A.
White, M.D., State Geologist. 4 pp., 8vo. Des Moines, 1 8G7. - Tb;8 Re-
port is merely a preliminary notice of the organization and commeDoe*
ment of the present survey during the past year, A brief Report by
the State Chemist, Prof. Hinrichs, is appended.

8. Report of the Progress of the Geological Survey of Horth Caro-
lina, 1866; by Prof. W. C. Kerr, State Geologist. 66 pp., 8vo. Ra-
leigh, 1867. — A brief Report, containing some information on the geology
of the State, but mainly interesting as showing that its geological explo-
ration is begun again in good earnest.

4, Oeological Survey of Canada, Sir Wm. R Loo an. Director. Re-
port of Progress from 1863 to 1866. 322 pp., large 8vo. Ottawa,
1866. — This Report reached us too late for a notice in this place.

6. On the Rock Salt Deposit of Petit Anse, Louisiana Rock-Salt
Company, Report of the American Bureau of Mines. 36 pp., 4to, vith
maps. — This important report is based mainly on the investigations of
Dr. C. A. Goessmann. Dr. Goessmann obtained for the composition of
the salt of Petit Anse, chlorid of sodium 98*8823, sulphate of lime
0*7825, chlorid of magnesium 0*0030, chl. of calcium 0*0036, moibture
0-3286=100.

6. Plane Problems in Elementary Geometry: or Problems on <A#
Elementary Conic Sections^ the Point, Straight line, and Circle; by
S. Edward Warren, C.E., Prof, of Descriptive Geometry, etc., in the Rens-
selaer Polytechnic Institute. 162 pp., 12mo, with a plate and numerous
figures. New York, J 867 (John Wiley & Son).— This little volume is
prepared by one who is master of his subject both theoretically and prac-
tically, and is an excellent manual for the student or artizan. It gives
directions with regard to the use of drawing instruments, is clear and pre*
cise in its definitions and demonstrations, and very varied in its problem!

7. The American Naturalist, a Popular illustrated Magazim i^Nat"
ural History. Vol. I, March, 1867, No. 1. 66 pp., 8vo. Salem, Bmcx
Institute. — This first number of the monthly American Naturalist, an-
nounced in this volume, at page 136, sustains fully all that was promised.
Among its illustrations are two plates, one, of the crater of EiUuea in
1864-5, and the other, of the structure of the Land Snails, with Tefe^
ence especially to those of New England.

8. Description of Fossil Plants from the Chinese Coal-bearing roeh ,*
by J. S. Newbbrrt, M.D., being Appendix No. 1 of Geological Researcbei
in China, Mongolia and Japan, by Raphael Pumpelly. 6 pp., 8vo, with s
plate. Smithsonian Contrib. to Knowledge, 1867. — ^The species are those
referred to by Dr. Newberry in his paper in this Journal, vol. zlii, p. 15l<

9. Mus4e Teyler : Catalogue syst^matique de la Collection Pal^nto-
Jogique, par T. C. Winkler. Quatrieroe Livraison. Harlem, 1865.—
This is a continuation of the Catalogue noticed io vol. xli, at page 387.



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THE



» «i *«. « ■ ./ A ^" *> li '



AMERICAN

JOURNAL OF SCIENCE AND ARTS.

[8 ECOIID 8 EB IE8.]



Aet. XXXI. — On certain recent contriiutions to Astro-Meteor"
ology; by H. A. Newton.

1. Badiant 'points^ or radiant areas.

Fob more than twenty years a Committee of the British As-
sociation for the Advancement of Science has annually made an
extended report on Observations of Luminous Meteors^ in which
have been given in detail the times, paths, physical appearances,
and other phenomena, of meteors seen during the years immedi-
ately preceding. No special effort has been made until recently,
to elaborate this mass of material. B. P. Greg, Esq., of Man-
chester, assisted by Mr. A. S. Herschel, at last undertook the task
of plotting the paths contained in the voluminous records. By
this means they have determined between fifty and sixty radiants,
for different periods of the year. Prof. E. Heis of Miinster, has
in like manner, from observations made by himself and his as-
sistants during a period of twelve years, deduced a similar and,
to a considerable extent a corresponding series of radiant points.
The latter series is in the Monthly Notices of the Roy. Astro.
Soc., xxiv, 218. Both series are in the Report of the British
Association for 1864, and in the Proceedings of the British Me-
teorological Society for Jan. 18th, 1865. From the latter source
we give the following table. The general results of Mr. Greg's
investigations as regards meteor showers are thus summed up in
the Report of the Committee on Luminous Meteors.

"They appear to endure for almost any period, from twenty-foar
hours to eight or possibly ten weeks, differing from one another in rich-

▲m. Joub. Sci.— Sbookid SniBt, Vol. XLin, No. 199. - Mat, 1867.
37



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286



Recent contributions to Astro-Meteorotogy.



Comparison of the epochs and positions of radiant-points of shooting
stars, concluded independently by R, P. Cfreg^ £$q^ and Dr. B. Heis.







Obeerred el Moaeter, 1849-61.


A


locttM, Itc., 1845-63. (R.P. 6r«c.)




(E. Heia.)


7S


*2




Foeitioa of




e'« 1


1


Epochs in tbeir 1%
order of eommeoee- %%


Dietinetiire
Domben


radiaat.


OisUoc.
tive


•S^^l Epothatethe
^1^1; Mueathair-





Rifht \
Aeoeneioa.


North


I


meat.


l^


(OfegX


Deelioa-

tiOQ


lettert.




1


Dec 20-Jan. 80


20


ii


k


7*5


Ai
A,


29j 5o'jan. 1-15.
15; 68 Jan. 16-31.


2


Dec 20-Jan. 80


18


tia


5


86


5:


286! 84 Jan. 1-15.
0, 90!Jan. 16-81.


8


Dec21-Feb. 4


28


ill


68


17


AGi






4


Jan. 2-Jan. 8


62


i


234


51


E.


235
242


52 Dec 16-81.
51 'Jan. 1-15.


6


Jan. 2-Feb. 4


SO


iv


188


40


IM,


166


52lJan. 16-81.


6


Jan. 6-Jan. 25


16


vra


178


82


MGi




1


7


Feb. 4-Feb. 26


36


V


147


34


M.


160


60;Feb. 1-14.


8


Feb. 7-Feb. 26


20


vi


186


70





180


63 Feb. 15-28.


9


Feb. 9-Feb. 17


18


▼ii


76


40


A,

A4


65
91


51
87


Feb. 1-14.
Feb. 15-28.


10


Feb. 10-Mar. 17


21


▼iii


168


9


8,


170


11


u «














s.


178


7 Mar. 1-15.














S.


178


23


Mar. 16-81.


11


Feb. 11-Mar. 16


10


Tiiia


87


1


SGi








12


Feb. 19-Fob. 26


10


Tia


220


84


N4



250


90 Feb. 1-14.
88Feb. 15-28.


18


Mar. 8-Mar.27


11


ziii


44


72


N.


840


80 Mar. 1-16.


14


Mar. 8-Mar. 81


80


Iz


145


67


M.
M,


125
140


52| " -
50Mar. 16-Sl.


16


Mar. 8-Mar.81


18


z


186


58


IM,


140


50


u ••


16


Mar. 12-Mar. 20


20


zii


228


89


MQ,








17


Apr. l-Jone 2


62


Jd


194


52


Mt
M.


160
150


58
61


Apr. 1-16.
Apr. 16-SO.


18


Apr. 2-May 1


20


»▼


189


4


S.


194


6


M a


19


Apr. 8-May28


20


1 ziz


227


-8


SO,








20


Apr. 12- Apr. 13


17


ZTi


276


26


QG








21


Apr. 16-May 8


80


zv


96


87


N.


265


83


Apr. 16-80.


22


Apr. 19- Apr. 20


25


zWl


282


88


DG,








28


Apr.26^une 4


28


zviii


255


48


DG.








24


Apr. 80-June 4


16


zz


248


20


Qi


218


20


May 1-81.


26


May 9-Jane S


16


ZTiii a


277


42


D








26


May 9-June 4


8


zzi


286


21


W


292


15


Jane l-8<».


27


May 29-June 17


18


zzii


886


45


B,


882
888


60
42


May 1-81.

Jane 1-80.


28


Jane 1-June30


9


zza


286


80


Q,


242


12


ti M


29


June 1-June80


12


zziii


800


85




290
150


80
88


May 1-81.
June 1-80.


80


July 2-July24


51


zzir


291
to 818


58
48


B,


315


54


July 1-15.


81


JulylO-Auj. 6


26


zzrii


257


18


Q.


262


12


July 1-16.


82


July 2(^Aug. 4


46


zzr


859


70


Nil




20
887


85
86


U M

Jttlj 16 to Aac. Vk^


88


July 22-Aag. 10


70


zzvi


844
to 827


12
10


Ti


814


16


Aug. 16-31.


84


July 29-Aug.22


128


zziva


802


44


B4


806


59


Aug. 1^31.










to 288


42


Bo


802


65


Jalj 16 to Ai«. !&.•










and 298


68











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Recent contributions to Astro-Meteorology.



287



Tablv— continued.







ObMrred at MoMttr, 1849-61.


^


lofUM, ace., 1845-63. (R. P. Greg.)




(£. Heii.)


K




c




PMition of




.


7S




I


Epochi Id th«ir

OflWT OI COIDBBOOC#"


ll


DiitlnetiTa
nomben


radisnt


Diitinc-
tive



295


Epoch! to th«


§


..S5iL


North


nearest hali:.


1


maot




(Gf6f).


Declioar

UOD.


letters.

N„


month.


85


Aug. 6-Sept.lO


80


zariz


*^o



90


Attg. 16-81.














N„


180


84


Sept 1-15.


86


Aug. 7-Aug.l6


...


zxviii


45

to 20


55
62


Ao


50


51


Jolyieto Aof. 15.»


87


Aiig.l7-Soptl2


9


zzviia


245
to 262


5
12


Q>


262


12


July 1-15.


88


Ang.l7-8ept80


18


zxiv5
or
zxza


262


42


B.


293


57


Sept 1-15.


89


Aug.l7-Sept.80


150


xzx


888


50


EG
















i.e. 814


52


E T


880


50


Oct 16-81.










to 847


47


A„


85


68


Sept 1-15.










and 888


41


A„


44


68


Sept 16-80.










to 888


62


Alt


51


61 Oct 1-15.


40


Aug.l8-Sept29


27


xzxi


18


84


Ri


58


85


Sept 1-15.








or






R.


46


87


Sept 16-80.








xxxb














41


Aug. 22«NoT. 5


27


inrzii


1


15


Tt


848

1
8


10
11
11


Sept 1-15.
Sept 16-30.
Oct. 1-15.


42


Sept. 6-NOV.28


18


xxxiv


22


-9


TG
V


10


-11


Oct 16-81.


48


Sept20-0ct U


85




88


48


AG«








44


8ept25-Oct 10


16


XXXVl


51


84


Nl4


65


84


Sept. 16-80.


45


Sept.27-Nov. 2


67


XTxiii


14


58


Ah

Ai.


20
25


42

40


Oct 16-81.»
Dec 1-15.*


46


Oct. 8-Oct. 20


11


zzzvu


140


45


LG
ILi


115


55


Dec 1-15.»


41


Oct 4-Noy. 10


85


zzzvUi


45


88


R.


45


82


Oct 1-15.


48


Oct 18-Noy. 8


80


zzziz


88


12











49


Oct 2O-N0T.2I


88


xl


91


56


P


75


40


Oct 16-81.*


60


Oct 81-Dec 9


14


zliii


189


7


LH








61


Nov. l-Noy.28


75


zli


16


49


AG.








62


Nov. 7-Nov. 15




zlii


158


22


L.


150


28


Nov. 1-80.* .


68


Nov.28-Dea 9


9


zlv


279


56


DG,








64


Nov. 24-Dec. 10


87


zliv


59


58


A,.


87


59


Dec 16-81.


65


Nov.26-Dec.80


84


zlvii


96


86


G
ILi


115


55


Dec 1-15.*


66


Nov.27-Dec. 19


10


zlvi


157


71


EG









Total meteora, 1746; days, 1655 ; meteoivabowera, 56.

(*) RadianU marked thus are eztracted from the work by Dr. Heii, entitled
'Die Periodiflche Stemschnuppen.' (4to. C5lo, 1849.)

ness or intensity of display. In some there appears to be a tendency to
maximum display on particular days, as for example xlvii, lasting from
November 26th, to December 30th ; but the most abundant display 00-
curs from December 9th to Idtb. In others no such maximum can be
perceived. Their number, of fully fifty as yet ascertained, will probably
not be much exceeded, unless by short-lived showers, and by others
whose radiants culminate just before dawn. There is no confusion or



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388 Recent contributions to Astro-Meteorology.

chance in their return, but, on the cotftrary, the showers are very regu-
larly recurrent every year, and, allowing a radiant-region of 10^ to 15^
in diameter for each, the so-called "• sporadic '' meteors will become ex-
tremely scarce, now that the principal showers and their radiants have
been pointed out A well-marked instance of long persistence and re-
markable for having its radiant very small and fixed, is the shower of
August 6th to September 10th, No. xxix. The great majority have, at
the present time, been as clearly defined (as r^ards the time of their
occurrence, duration, and positions of their radiants) as in the case with
the older and better known showers of August and November. On the
average of many years, the radiant-regions of a few are, however, still
very extensive. In all, a plane, oval, or double-headed region of radia-
tion appears to represent'the conditions of the showers more correctly
than a point. This elongation of the radiant-region is in most cases per-
pendicular to the ecliptic, or parallel to the via laetea, in or near which
the greater number of the radiants in the latter half of the year are
placed. The meteors of particular showers vary in their distinctive char-
acters, some being larger and brighter than others, some whiter, some
more ruddy than others; some swifter, and drawing after them more per-
sistent trains than those of other showers. Their connection with the
epochs and directions of large meteors still remains to be established.'*

From a private letter by Mr. Greg to Mr. B. V. Marsh we
learn that some minor changes are found neccessary, by further
observation and investigation, in the duration of the showers
and the places of the radiants. Mr. Greg's charts containing the
paths of nearly 2000 shooting stars are about to be published by
the British Association. We may hope to receive them within
a few months. We evidently need these charts in order to dis-
cuss intelligently this important subject. While waiting for
them, however, one or two remarks may not be out of place.

That the so-called sporadic shooting stars should belong large-
ly to rings or streams, as do the August and November meteors,
is in the present state of our knowledge probable, or at the least
is not improbable. The reasonings of Mr. Schiaparelli, which
will be spoken of further on in this article, strengthens this
probability.

But we meet with some difficulty in accepting the proposition
that a ring or stream may be of such breadth as to require eight
or ten weeks for the earth to traverse it, that is, that the nng
may extend 60° or 70° along the ecliptic ; or rather, if there were
so broad a ring or stream, it would not appear to have a radiant
area so small, and so well marked, as to be detected.

The position of the radiant indicates that point of the heav-
ens from which the relative motion of the meteoroids with refer-
ence to the earth is directed. This direction is the resultant of
two absohUe motions, that of the meteoroids and that of the eartL
If either of these should change, the place of the radiant will
.change.



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Recent contrihutions to Astro-Meteorology, 289

But during these eight or ten weeks the direction of the
earth's motion would change 60® or 70®. If the direction of
the meteoroids' motions were supposed parallel throughout the
breadth of the stream, yet this change in the direction of the
earth's motion alone appears to necessitate a change of the posi-
tion of the radiant by a distance on the heavens of not less than
80® or 40®.

But for a group of such thickness, we can hardly suppose the
absolute motions of the meteoroid parallel throughout its breadth.
Each meteoroid must move about the sun in its own orbit, and
though this is not entirely inconsistent with a parallelism of the
paths where the group crosses the ecliptic, yet such a case is ex-
tremely improbable. Again it appears necessary that a meteoroid
which is now on one side of the stream should be after half a re-
volution on the opposite side. Hence, we might reasonably ex-
pect that at the center of the stream we should find their paths
crossing each other at large angles, — angles comparable in mag-
nitude to the 60® or 70® which measures on the ecliptic the
breadth of the stream. Such divergence of directions of the in-
dividual members of the group, would make the existence of an
apparant radiant of moderate area impossible.

Again a stream whose thickness is so great, may be expected
to have also large breadth in direction of the radius vector.
This again would make the parellelism of the paths, and conse-
quently the apparent radiation improbable.

In fact a ring of such enormous thickness as to require two
months for the earth to cross it, would seem not only to lose all
the essential characteristics of a distinct group, but also to be
unable to manifest its existence by a constant and small radiant
area.

The conclusions of Mr. Greg and Dr. Heis, are derived almost
entirely from meteors seen in evening hours. But the phenom-
enon of radiation caused by parallelism of absolute motions
should be more distinctly evident as the radiant is nearer the
meridian. This occurs, in general, in the morning hours.

While, then, the existence of rings or streams is a priori prob-
able, and so the existence of radiants for very short periods is to
be looked for, yet the series now proposed will doubtless un-
dergo essential changes, as we accumulate observations, or else
some other cause than ring-formations be found to account for
the radiation.

There should, in any case, be a tendency to a radiation, both
from the zenith and from the point to which the earth is mov-
ing ; hence from the region lying between these points, i. e.,
from the N.£. quarter of the heavens.



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290 Recent corUribtUions to Astro-Meteorolagy.

2. Influence of ike Auguet and November meteors upon the temperature

of the atmosphere,

Erman early asserted the existence of cold periods, from the 5th
to the 12th of February, and from 10th to the ISth of May.
These he attributed to the influence of the August and Novem-
ber meteors, assuming that they passed at those epochs between
the earth and the sun. To the same cause he attributed certain
dark days, and other appearances, said to have occurred in the
years, a.d. 1106, 1206, 1208, 1706, and 1547.

In a series of papers read before the Paris Academy of Scien-
ces, and published in the Comptes Kendus,^ Mr. Ch. St. Claire
Deville has given the results of an elaborate investigation of the
alleged abnormal changes of temperature in these months, as
well as those alleged for corresponaing days of August and No-
vember.

Mr. Faye in response to the first of these papers, shows con-
clusively that the dark days, &c., adduced by Erman, cannot be
referred with any probability to the meteors as their cause.

In his earlier papers, Mr. St. Claire Deville undertakes to show
that there are periodic variations of the temperature of the crit-
ical days in February, May, August, and November, that corres-
pond to secular maxima* and minima of the August and No-
vember meteors. For the August meteors he assumes a maxi-
mum in 1847 or 1848, relying upon the assertion of Mr. Coulvier-
Gravier.

The existence of a maximum for the meteors in or near those
years, is in itself exceedingly doubtful, and the evidence adduced
by Mr. Deville to prove corresponding changes of temperature,
is also ver^ far from satisfactory.

Mr. Deville's own conclusions, as given in his later papers
themselves throw doubt upon the existence of any important
oonnection between the meteors and the temperature of the air.
He finds that there is an accordance, between the movements of
the thermometer in the several months, February, May, August,
and November ; and that the 12^ day of each of these months



Online LibraryJohn AlmonThe American journal of science and arts → online text (page 34 of 102)