By Sir John Frederick William Herschel

Astronomer and thinker Sir John Herschel (1792-1871), the son of William and the nephew of Caroline, released his 1833 Treatise on Astronomy within the 'Cabinet Cyclopaedia' sequence of which the 1st quantity have been his tremendously profitable initial Discourse at the research of usual Philosophy. he's considered as the founding father of the philosophy of technological know-how, and made contributions in lots of fields together with arithmetic, the newly chanced on technique of images, and the botany of southern Africa, which he studied whereas making astronomical observations of the southern hemisphere, and the place he used to be visited through Darwin and Fitzroy at the Beagle voyage. It used to be although because the usual successor to his father's astronomical reviews that he's top remembered, and this e-book, that's written for the lay individual, areas powerful emphasis at the value of exact statement and on warding off preconceptions or hypotheses now not in keeping with such remark.

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I. such as are beyond the atmosphere, and which is called celestial or astronomical refraction. ) Another effect of refraction is to distort the visible forms and proportions of objects seen near the horizon. The sun, for instance, which, at a considerable altitude, always appears round, assumes, as it approaches the horizon, a flattened or oval outline; its horizontal diameter being visibly greater than that in a vertical direction. When very near the horizon, this flattening is evidently more considerable on the lower side than on the upper; so that the apparent form is neither circular nor elliptic, but a species of oval, which deviates more from a circle below than above.

If, as is really the ca^e, we suppose both the heights and distance of the stations inconsiderable in comparison with the size of the earth, the solution alluded to is contained in the following proposition : — The earth's diameter bears the same proportion to the distance of the visible horizon from the eye as that distance does to the height of the eye above the sea level. When the stations are unequal in height the problem is a little more complicated. ) Although, as we have observed, the effect of refraction prevents this from being an exact method of ascertaining the dimensions of the earth, yet it will suffice to afford such an approximation to it as shall be of use in the present stage of the reader's knowledge, and help him to many just conceptions, on which account we shall exemplify its application in numbers.

On comparing them again with their 42 A TREATISE ON ASTRONOMY. CHAP. I. respective points of reference, after a moderate interval, as the night advances, he will not fail to perceive that they have changed their places, and advanced, as by a general movement, in a westward direction; those towards the eastern quarter appearing to rise or recede from the horizon, while those which lie towards the west will be seen to approach i t ; and, if watched long enough, will, for the most part, finally sink beneath it, and disappear; while others, in the eastern quarter, will be seen to rise as if out of the earth, and, joining in the general procession, will take their course with the rest towards the opposite quarter.

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