The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, September 17, 1909, Page 5, Image 5

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SEPTEMBER 17, 190
In a diurnal circle about tho true celestial polo
as any other star does, only this circle Is very
small. If wo were to take tho mean of its least
and greatest altitudo we would havo tho alti
tude of the true pole, and that would glvo us
our latitude
Any other star will help us almost as much
as the polo star, if we measuro Its altitude at
certain times. The sun itself is often used for
this purpose, and almost exclusively so at sea.
Appenranco of tho Heavens at tho North Polo
As tho north pole of tho heavens is exactly
overhead at tho north pole of tho earth, the
stars would appear to move in horizontal circles.
They will never change their altitudes, and
therefore never rise and never set, but movo
forever parallel to tho horizon. They will
therefore be visible perpetually; that is to say,
all the stars of the northorn hemisphere will
be visible perpetually, while all thoso of tho
southern hemisphere will be forever invisible.
This condition of affairs is, of course, exactly
reversed at tho souh pole of tho earth.
Hence as tho sun is north of the equator for
six months, from March 21 to September 24,
daylight will endure at the north pole for six
months. Then from September 24 to March 21
there will bo night for six months. This night
will begin and end with a long twilight, lasting
about a month and a half each time, because
tho sun will slowly descend below tho horizon.
Tho sun, therefore, will appear to run par
allel to tho horizon, except that it will slowly
creep up higher from March 21 to June 21,
and then as slowly descend until September 24.
Tho . moon will, in like manner, bo visible
and invisible for two weeks at a time. But
the high possible altitude of tho sun will bo
about two degrees less than the sun's lowest
meridian altitude at tho winter solstice at
Omaha.
As Dr. Cook waB at the pole on April 21, tho
sun's altitude was about eleven degrees and a
half. It is not likely that his small instruments
would enable him to see any stars. The sun
must therefore have been his only guide.
Tho magnetic needle was useless to him, be
cause it probably pointed to the magnetic polo
and not to the true pole, which he Wanted to
find, and made an unknown angle with his true
meridian. The magnetic pole has been found
long ago. It is In latitude 70 degrees, and al
most oh tho meridian of Omaha, about 2,000
miles north of us.
The sun and the chronometer replaced tho
magnetic needle and kept Dr. Cook informed
in regard to the position of tho meridian on
which he was traveling.
When he staTted on his dash for the pole, ho
surely knew his longitude, and the chronometer
time of the sun's crossing his actual meridian.
As he traveled directly northward on the
same meridian, he knew that whenever his
chronometer showed the time noted at starting,
the sun was on his meridian toward the south,
and twelve hours later, toward the north. As
tho north pole of tho heavens was very near
the zenith, a simple glance at his chronometer
would tell him the time of day, together with
the sun's azimuth or bearing, so that he could
remain very accurately on the same meridian
and travel straight north. The height of tho
sun measured at any time by the sextant would,
with a little figuring, give him his latitude. In
cloudy weather, he would have to proceed by
dead reckoning, as it is called, that is, by keep
ing the same bearing or alignment with distant
and conspicuous landmarks and by carefully
noting his speed.
I should think he got within a few miles of
the true pole, say within two or three at least.
His data will be computed at greater leisure
afterwards and his positions verified by expert
computors.
Flattening at tho Polo
Some people have a very erroneous concep
tion of the appearance of the landscape at tho
pole. They have heard that the earth is flat
tened at the poles, that the poles are thirteen
miles nearer the earth's center than Is the
equator. They Imagine the earth to be like a
perfect sphere or ball, from which portions at
the poles have been removed by a file, so that
the ball may be set upon a small Incline with
out rolling down.
The earth Is indeed flattened at the poles, but
the word "flattened" is too strong to express
the fact correctly. If we were to take a perfect
sphere and then start at the equator and grad
ually remove more and more of Its surface, carry
the grade lower, until -we lowered it thirteen
miles at the poles, wo would have a true con
ception of the shape of the earth's surface. That
The Commoner.
Is to say, tho flattening begins at tho equator.
Practically, this flattening is a very small quan
tity. It is thirteen miles out of 4,000, so that
If wo were to take a globo twenty inches In
diamoter it would amount to about 3-lOOths of
an inch, a quantity so small that tho eye would
never notice it.
Scientific Benefits
Tho ground or tho sea at tho north polo will
appear tho same, therefore, as they would any
where else under the samo conditions of tom
peraturo and tho like. In other words, ono
would not know himself to bo at tho polo ex
cept by scientific observation of tho heavens, tr
by keeping a record of his journey thithor.
Tho fact that tho poles aro thirteen miles
nearer the earth's center does not make them
on that account any warmer. If that reason
over had any value the surfaco has cooled oft
ages ago to its present condition, which it owes,
as wo all know, to tho absence of tho sun's
heat for six months and tho very low altitudo
of tho sun during the other six.
Tho astronomical benefits accruing from tho
discovery of the north pole, aro practically none
at all. Tho intentions practically none at all.
Tho motions of the heavenly bodies as seen at
tho pole, are known to every elementary stu
dent, Tho six, or at least three months night
would favor long continued observation, but the
nights aro long enough for human endurance at
other places. Besides, tho polar regions are
practically inaccessible and will probably re
main so.
Tho geological, geographical and magnetic re
sults will, of course, be very great. If Dr.
Cook's track is better than any other, we may
bo sure the pole will bo reached by tho route
by other daring explorers, who will add much
to our knowledge.
. Tho Polo of Revolution and the Polo of
Symmetry
I said that tho north pole was tho northern
end of the earth's axis of revolution. This
axis is not fixed in tho earth, as wo would
imagine, as oven professional mathematicians
imagined, until observation proved tho contrary..
This axis shifts In a space of about sixty feet
square, and follows a very complicated course.
The variation of tho latitude of fixed observa
tions has enabled us to trace this path and then
to predict It. That is, tho axis itself that shifts,
is proved by the fact that when tho latitude
of any place is Increased, tho latitude of a place
on tho other side of the polo 180 degrees la
longitude away is decreased by tho identical
amount. A certain fixed point in tho ground Is
called tho polo of symmetry, and the actual
end of tho axis of revolution at tho time is tho
pole of revolution.
All this we know without having our obser
vatories. Tho difference, of course, was too
minute for Dr. Cook to bother about or even to
measure. The axis of the earth does not point
continuously to tho samo point in the heavens.
It is affected by nutation, precession and annual
observation. The explanation of these terms
would take us too far adrift. Enough has been
said to show that tho discovery of the north
pole is an extremely difficult problem, physicallj",
as well as scientifically.
NORTH POLE LITERATURE
(Continued from Page 4)
formation established the fact that there was
land at the north pole, as he understood that
this was not true. Sir Gilbert explained that
he meant adjacent to the north pole, and Mr.
Asquith suggested that he frame another ques
tion. Continuing, the premier, with a twinkle
in his eye, went on to say that the question of
possession of the pole involved too much hypo
thetical matter to permit him to give a definite
reply. If, however, it proved to be British ter
- ritory, it certainly would be taxed as undevel
oped land under the new fnance bill."
SENATOR BOURNE'S VOCABULARY
Senator Bourne of Oregon on July 1 made his
first formal speech of tho session. In the open
ing paragraph occurred a strange word:
"The struggle was a titanic one, his task
herculean, tho treatment necessarily heroic, but
Mr. Roosevelt was equal to the emergency. He
first awakened the public conscience, pointed
out in an echinated manner the existing
evils. "
Such as wish to add this word to their voca
bularies will find this meaning given by the
Standard Dictionary, twentieth century edition:
"Echinated A family of echinoideans, espe
cially diadematoideans having tests with equal
diameters, the ambulacral plates compound with
pores in triplets, tentacles all alike, and jaws
with oplphysos. Sot or armed thickly with
prickles."
It seems oxpodlont to add that tho remainder
or the senator's speech carries tho conviction
that his intention was to compliment Ex-Prcsl-dout
Roosovolt. Collier's Wookly.
A NATIONAL FARM JOURNAL
I havo recently purchased tho American
. m2ooCnd' ft imt,onal 'arm journal, established
in 1883, at Omaha, Nob., and published con
tinuously in thnt city for tho past twenty-six
yoars. It will hereafter bo published monthly
at Lincoln, Neb., yearly subscription prlco 50
cents,, and will bo dovotod to tho dlvoralflod In
terests of tho American farmer.
Tho widespread interest being takon in tho
subject of agriculture at tho presont tlmo indi
cates that farm llfo and tho ownership of land
are becoming very popular with all claosos. This
interest amounts to a revival of immonso pro
portions. It Is becoming an almost universal
ambition among tho American people to own a
piece of ground and to cultlvato It. Tho Amer
ican farmer has como into his own; ho Is being
recognized as tho nation's greatest business man.
During the past decade tho American farmor
has astonished tho world with tho magnitude
of his achievements. Tho products of a
slnglo stato in a slnglo branch of agri
culture in ono year moro than oqual tho
entiro annual gold and silver production of tho
United Statos. Tho amount of monoy investod
in farming Is now more than double the capital
of tho ontiro manufacturing industry, and al
most oqual to tho railroad and manufacturing
business combined. Yet, in tho faco of this
amazing showing, it has boon declared that tho
agricultural possibilities of this country havo
not been dovoloped to a one-hundredth part;
that tho day that sees tho population of this
country doubled, or tripled, or quadrupled,
will seo mankind living Just as comfortably as
today, with no greater struggle to secure a live
lihood from nature. Theso results can, and
will, bo accomplished by moro Intensive farming
and by the conservation of our agricultural re
sources. '
The status of tho American farmer is con
tinually broadening. Ills Influence Is rapidly
increasing in the world's affairs. Yet American
farming Is now in tho infancy of Its opportuni
ties. The Jffo of tho oJd-tfmo frirmor was hard",
but newer methods and modern machinery havo
lightened his load. Farming has been raised
to a different plane, and made an interesting
and fascinating study. In no occupation can
trained Intelligence bo put to better use than
in that of farming. Tho farmers who havo been
successful in accumulating wealth have been tho
ones who have been ready to avail themselves
of tho experiences of other practical farmers, as
well as to profit by tho work of tho United
States department of agriculture and tho stato
agricultural colleges. They have also been quick
to utilize tho Information and suggestions of tho
agricultural . papers.
In tho continued advance of the American
farmor, the work of the agricultural press and
the stato agricultural colleges havo been impor
tant factors. But the farmer is a very busy
man, and he has little time for extended re
search among tho mass of Information on agri
cultural subjects. Nor has he time to waste on
unimportant matters. Tho American Home
stead will every month aim to pick out from
every possible source the Information ho wants
and needs to help him in his work. To this end
it will make a special feature of tho work of
the stato agricultural colleges, presenting their
researches in bright, readable, practical style
without technical phrase. A list of the bulletins
issued by tho vaTlous state experimental stations
will bo published and where to obtain them free.
Another helpful feature will be the practical ex
periences of farmers and farmers' wives. Its
Home Department will bo especially attractive,
containing Information on home gardening, fruit
growing, poultry, etc., of special interest to
everyone whether engaged in farming or not.
It Is my intention to make the American
Homestead one of the most practical and helpful
farm journals In-the United States. It will pre
sent to its readers every ronth practical Ideas
and suggestions from farmers in various states
for comparison and study, as well as the latest
advances In scientific farming. The announce
ment on page ten of this issue outlines tho
scope and character of the publication, and also
presents several offers that will be found of
interest. Every farmer, no matter where he
. lives, will find its contents invaluable and full
of inspiration for better farming.
CHARLES W. BRYAIT
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