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small glasses, till January, or perhaps This comet, however, which bas made later; and lastly, that the distance from 80 much noise, had nothing to render it the comet to the earth would be always more interesting than any other. After considerably greater than that from the having ascertained the course which it earth to the sun. These predictions, would take, the astronomers could do which have been confirmed by the event, no more than repeat the proceedings created no sensation at the time, because which are printed in every treatise on they caine too soon,

astronomy. But this was not what in, M. Olbers, a distinguished philoso. terested ibe great mass of the public, pher, particularly in the astronomy of They seemed to want dissertations on comets, having been deputed by the town the physical constitution of the comet; of Bremen, to attend the baptism of the on the nature and cause of the long tail, King of Rome, carried from Paris and that appeared like a veil over a lady's circulated through Germany, the elements face, symmetrically disposed on each calculated by M. Burckhardt; and M. side, in two opposite curves, at first at Gergone, of Nismes, made use of them a tolerable distance, but wbich after. to construct an ephemeris of the course wards came together, and finally incorof the comet, from February 1811, to porated. On this subject astronomers the end of March 1812. This work, are certainly no better informed at prewhich was at first interesting, because the sent than they were in the last century, comet last year attracted every body's The explanation given by Newton, of attention, was afterwards useful, as it en- the tails of comets, is satisfactory, on abled us to find its position when obliged the whole, as to the most remarkable to employ glasses.

phenomena ; that is, as far as relates to Astronomers, however, after having the direction which is always, or almost specified so long beforehand whatever always, taken, in the prolongation of they thought would interest the public, the line which joins the centres of the continued to observe the comet in silence, sun and the comets, with a slight curva. and to compare their observations, in ture inclining towards the place that the order to rectify the trivial, though inevi. comet has just quitted. But it is diffitable, errors which always appear in the cult to account for the inclination of the first sketch of an orbit. M. de Flauger- other branch in a contrary direction, a gues, who first saw the comet, noted phenomenon which has been remarked down all bis observations: after having by all astronomers. Why does this tail, determined the elements of the orbit, he or the atmospbere of which the tail is the thought he saw some resemblance be- cause, or prolongation, appear to be setween them and those of a comet which parated completely from the head or was seen in China, about 510 years ago. nucleus? This obscure interval which This remark, if it could be verified, was constantly observed, does not appear would give the real measure of the revo. with all comets; but it is not, on the lution and the ellipsis of the comet; but other hand, without example. Is the se. such knowledge is in its nature very uno' paration real; or is it an optical illusion? certain, inasmuch as it can only be ob- But, if it really do take place, by what tained from the observations made on one is it caused? These are the questions course of appearance of a heavenly body. which geometricians and astronoiners M. de Flaugergues, however, hy search- cannot answer, because they cannot offer ing into the records of antiquity, found satisfactory explanations, and they will that there had been several comets, all of not listen to or gire any others. While whose appearances were different, in the wanting these desirable solutions, men course of 510 years; and they would seek, in foreign journals, for accounts give to his conjecture a high degree of which are presented as novel or curious. protability, if the indications of histo. Sonie writers have told us how many rians were not too vague to allow of a miles the comet travelled in a certaja calculation of the respective orbits: hence time. Vain inquiry, which an astronowe can have no certain knowledge on mer may sometimes make, out of con this head. Messrs. BOUVARD, Gauss, plaisance, but to which he does not and LINDENAU, who also determined attach the smallest importance. The the orbit of the grand comet of 1811, comet at the time of its greatest thought, on the contrary, that its period motion, did not equal that of Venus, could not be less than from 1000 to 1500 still less that of Mercury. We can see years, and that' it miglit even be much Venus aimost always: she approaches longer,

much nearer to the earth than the comet

has has ever done; but nobody has thought loaded, with unqualified praise, the of asking how many miles Venus travels Tables of M. Büro, astronomer, of daily, and nobody has been induced to Vienna. These tables, constructed from fear that she would fall to the earth. It many thousands of excellent observa. must, however, be admitted, to the glory tions, supported besides by the analy. of the present age, that the apprehen. tical researches of COUNT LAPLACE, sions of the mass of the people respecting and augmented by several new equacomets, are greatly diminished; at wbich tions, have been generally adopted by circunstance superstitious minds are not astronomers, and nothing has hitherto a little displeased!

cast the slightest suspicion on that conThe second comet was discovered at fidence which a minute examination bad Marseilles, on the 16th of November, ensured to them. Thus, the first idea by M. Pons, who had already found out of M. Burckhardt was not exactly to seven or eight others. The Director of construct new tables, but some which the Imperial Observatory in that town, would be of a more convenient form M. BLANPAIN, informed us of the fact, for calculators. Mayer had remarked, and transmitted the remarks he had that he could diminish considerably the inade on it, on the 17th, 18th, and 19th, number of equations and arguments, of the same month. Its right ascension by employing only the real place of the was about ten minutes per day, opposite sun, and by materially abridging and to the order of the signs, and its de correcting the theories, by the equaclination towards the north pole, thirty- tions already calculated. This form of three minutes. It was then very weak, the tables, by Mayer, had so many in. and could scarcely be seen at Paris; conveniences, that M. Schulze, of Bere while the bad weather obstructed the lin, was induced to remodel them, in efforts of our astronomers, and they order to make them still more brief 'and found much difficulty in making a few clear. M. CARLINI, of Milan, also, doubtful observations. Nevertheless M, very lately announced, that he hasi cona Burckhardt calculated its orbit, though ceived a project for making a similar he only considered it as a shapeless alteration in the lables of Bürg. M. outline; but it was found to be nearly Burckhardt, however, had anticipated the same as that which M. Gauss had him in this idea; and on this occasion ascertained by other observations, made, he wished to satisfy himself whether perhaps, under rather more favourable there were not already extant some circumstances, on account of the more other equations which deserved insera southern latitude of his residence. tion in the lunar tables. In other

The comet, however, passed its peri. times, when an astronomer attempted helion soon afterwards, and shortly to form tables of a planer, he began disappeared. Its least distance from them entirely anew, and ran the risk of the sun was 8% of the distance of the performing much less than bis prede. earth from the sun. Notwithstanding cessors. By the method, however, this distance, which accounts for its which is now adopted, a man no longer feeble light and the slowness of its exposes himself to the chance of retromotion, if the weather nad been finer grading: he finds vut what corrections it would have been better seen than bave been made in those tables which the beautiful comet which preceded it; are most esteemed, and be compares because its nucleus was more apparent these with his own observations. Thus and more perfect. We know, on the he at once introduces the latest core whole, that it did not resenible any rectious which have already been in. of the numerous comers whose orbits have serted, and unites them to odier etficient been defined.

but neglected equations. NEW LUNAR TABLES.

Such is the plan pursued by M. Burcka The calculation of the tivo orbits just hardt. tle has begun by givilig lo the mentioned, notwithstanding the difficole Tables of M. Bürg a new arrangement; ties of the process, was unly an amuse. and, on comparing thein under his fori, ment for M. Burckhardt, a sort of not only with all the calculations of me recreation, which did not prevent him last-mentioned philosopher, but also wich from putting the finishing touches to the many more recent observations, he has profound researches which he had en- found in this laborious task many anivas gaged in concerning the motions of the tages: amongst these we may mention at moon. It is only six years since the of submitting to a new analysis that the Institute and the Board of Longitude ficients so ably discussed by M. 1,

3 K2

in order to draw from them direct

NEW TELESCOPE. observations, and to introduce the About the same time that M. Burck. new equations, which the observations hardt was employed on his Lunar Tables, required to be done with clearness; M, Rocuon construcied a new Telescope, and, at the same time, not to lengthen the the object-glass of which is made of Ice calculations; since, on the one hand, if land Spath. It has two toci, equi-disa he increased the number of equations, tant from each other, so that it produces on the other, he simplified the argu. the effect of two glasses of different ments, which is an inestimable advan- lengths, by enabling the observer to see tage, particularly to the calculators of at the same time an object at a great disa epliemerides.

tance, and one which is very near. This On finishing this work M. Burckhardt curious instrument has made much noise submitted his tables to a new proof, by amongst the philosophers of France; so comparing them with all the passages of much so, that the Chevalier DeLaMBRE, the moon at the meridian, which could one of the learned editors of the Magazin be observed in the first ten months of Encyclopedique, declines offering any 1811, either by binnself, at the Observa- opinion on the subject; although a long tory of the Military School, or by dissertation on the invention has appeare M. Bouvard, at the Imperial Observaed in the Moniteur. M. Rochon pretory,

sented this telescope to the National InNothing more can yet be said about stitute on the 1st of April, 1811; he these tables, which have only just been slated, that it would serve to measure submitied to professional inspection; but horizontal refractions; and he requested there is every reason to believe that they that Messrs. Malus and ARAGO (of whose will be found as accurate, and certainly optical discoveries we shali shortly gire more convenient, than those of M. Bürg, an account in the Monthly Magazine), published by the Board of Longitude at might be employed to verify his experie Paris, and this is enough to induce astru. ments. His idea is considered to be very nomers to wish for their speedy publi- ingenious; but experience only can shew tation,

of what use it may be in astronomy.

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