Omaha daily bee. (Omaha [Neb.]) 187?-1922, November 10, 1901, Image 19

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    Astronomers Watch for the Wandering Asteroids
II, L the great Leonid swnrin, ox
pected Inst year and the year be
fore, come this yoar7 Por two
yenrs past nil devotees of astron
omy, professional nnd amateur.
hnvo lind tlielr hopes followed by disap
pointment, ns they watched during the
nights of No ember 13, II nnd 15 for the
coming of the most famous shower of
shooting tars known to seletiee. Will this
year witness another and a final disap
pointment? Certain astronomers believe
not; they think that the Leonids will ap
pear this month In all their ordinal splen
dor. All observing people have seen shooting
stars, hut not till within u few deeades
was It known that every shooting star fol
lowed the laws Hint govern all heavenly
bodies, pursuing each Its appointed path,
co that, If we had n complete knowledge
of them, the Hash of each one, or lit least
of every considerable group of them, might
be as certainly predicted as the appearance
of the planets.
Of all tho shooting stars, the Leonids, as
the November swarm Is called, are by all
odds the most striking to the eye, the most
numerous, have II lied the largest placo In
history, and, It Is believed, offer the as
tronomer the most fruitful Held for re
search. A few of the swarm were seen on
November II, 1SKS, nnd a few days before
and after, and at that time about SOO wen
noted. November II, 1S!9, tho astrono
titers again awaited their coming, nrmed
with the latest photographic weapons vt
our photographic age. From ono hun
dreil to two hundred wero recorded
Last year again, though with dimin
ished hope, the watchers of tho sky
made, ready, but again there were no
substantial results. Something over a
hundred wero noted altogether in northern
latitudes, principally at Yale and Harvard
Prof. W. II. Pickering of the Harvard ob
servatory, favored with a clear sky nt tb
station which ho was then maintaining at
Jamaica, West Indies, saw over a hundred
cm each of the two nights on which bo ob
served them. Hut this was nothing to the
glorious records of tho swnrm In tho past.
In the ninth century tho Arabs recorded
Its appearance In their annals as a "rain of
stars." Tho Chinese have It In their a
tronomlcal records as early as 013 and
again In 1002, tho last time by "thou
sands," with two of the meteors as large
as a "quart measure." Prom that tlmo to
this they have been noted with fair regu-
Ity every thirty-three years or bo
though with gaps hero and there and nl
ways In terms that bespoke a sight of
splendor ntul sublimity.
The Inst llrst-elass 3howcr In this coun
try was on November II, 1S33, though on
November 13, 1S32, then; was a considerable
display in Kuropo. On November II, 1SCC,
they appeared again, tho largest display
coming In November, 1SC7, however, when
tho astronomers and newspapers of tho
tlmo write of them as a wonderful nnd
glorious phenomenon. Hut the year for
their recurrence has been variously Hxed
by astronomers, depending on the year as
signed ns the Inst of a small group of
years. Referring to the last appearance.
lSfifi has been chosen by somo ns u starting
point, and n period of thirty-three years
between tho swarms would bring them
back In 1S99. Tho year ISi'.T appears, how
ever, from contemporary accounts, to have
c.i:oit(n: it MoviMt. poilmkuly op
i:xpi:cti:d this wi:i:k
produced the best display. A thirty-three-year
period would therefore bring them
back in HiOO. Hut. on the other hnnd, It
has been shown that the period of tho
swarm has been lengthening and must now
be close to thirty-four years a calcula
tion which would assign the present month
as the proper time of their reappearance.
Prof. W. II. Pickering of the Harvard ob
servatory claims that the estimate of thirty
four years, reckoning from 1SG7, Is sus
tained by the best datn. Ills present state
ment Is as follows:
"Computing from '.'02, the llrst certain
date, ami omitting, for convenience, all
nild-century nppoaranrcs. (hey had a period
of thirty-three nnd one-fourth years, ap
pearing in 1002. 1101. 1202, 1302, 1102, 1M)2
and lfi02. A change seems to hnvo conic
In the orbit nt Hint Juncture und Instead
of 100 years later, they appeared, not every
thirty-three years, but every thirty-four
"Ileglnnlng from 1S33." Prof Pickering
continues, "the last year of an unquestioned
maximum, we get 1SC7 as the next appear
and) In considerable numbers, and tho ac
counts of the last nppenrance of the swarm
assign ISO" as the last year, though 1S0I1
had a considerable dlsplny. Cont'niiing
tho computation, then 1001 would be the
end of the next thirty four-yenr prlod
"A hope of seeing the whnwer, supposing
the perturbation Is ns outlined above, lies
In tho probable shape of tho swarm. Tho
meteors lire strewn along tho orbit for
wyomino, his nniDK, sbnoiuta
Photograph taken In Manila
millions of miles, long enough at least so
that tho earth may mako two or three
revolutions around Its own orbit before get
ting clear of the swarm. It is not supposed
that tho meteors, which are small, dark
bodies, aro distributed In space In u cylinder-shaped
figure, but more like n strap,
and this strap Is wavy or -zigzag In outline,
each wave being the record of a perturba
tion duo to tho passing of one or nioro of
tho planets near the swarm. The some
what remoto chance of the earth Intercept
ing a crest of ono of these waves Is to bo
regarded as one of the hopes of tho as
tronomer. "Tho Leonid swnnn Is, nevertheless, well
worth watching for, even If not ns numer
ous ns on Its former appearances. For one
thing, they are among the brightest of me
teors nod offer the best probable chnnco of
securing u spectrum, lending to a knowl
edge of their constitution. They aro mov
ing In a contrary direction to tho motion
of tho earth in Its orbit, and, when Inter
cepted by our ntmosphere, their velocity Is
the sum of their own and tho earth's. They
aro thus readily ldentllled, being quick,
bright Hashes across the sky, usually with
a bluish light, but sometimes yellow. This
brightness of tho light Is what tho spec
troscoplst would desire In his researches
though It Is obtained nt the expense of the
length of exposure "
Tho great eclipse of the Leonid orbit has
a long diameter some 1,800,000,000 miles-
and the swarm has completed this enor
mous circuit llfly-two times, next month.
If it occurs, being Its lift) -third appear
ance. The bent considered theory of the
iippeatunces of the Leonids us shooting
stars in our atinosphert) sup
poses that the orbit of the earth crosses
the orbit of the meteors and that once In
thlrty-thlee or thirty-four ears the earth
ruiiH into the swaim that Is, Into the place
of tlielr greatest frequency- taking three or
four dajs to irons It. The point on the
earth's atmosphere where the Is In
tercepted is In line wllli a point In Hie con
stellation UmiiiIs (or the Lion), whence the
name of Leonids. The determination of
this initial point Is an Important const, lern
Hon with uslioiioitieiK. The paths made by
the shooting stars, though appearing io be
wry much at random, will, If cnrcfullv
placed on a chart of the sky, be found 1 1
meet ul a eeitaln point the so tailed
laillatil." This has a moemelit of its
own the measurement of which Is an in
ti testing subject of research. The paths
of the shooting stars a 'meteor." as has
been said, beluga daik body In span', that
Is, a "shooting star" only when It collides
with the earth's atmosphere and hci-onios
luminous will ulso be found to grow
shorter ns one approaches the radiant, due
to Hie efleet of perspective. A lallroad
track, for example, will appear shorter or
longer. In Itself, as one looks nt It In per
sped he or from one side. The paths of
the meteors nre parallel, and as we look at
them those near tho radiant will be
'head-on," und however long In reality will
appear as points only to tis. We see the
paths more and more sideways moving
nwuy fiom the rndlutit nut! meteors very
much to trie side of our uxls of vision will
sweep through great aics of the shy
The constellation Lentils rises -.linrtly lie
fore midnight on Nowwuhcr II, Inn is nut
well ill view (111 1 n. in. It eini lie f.uill.l
leatllly by using Hie "poliileis" m the
Dipper In u reverse dlreclloti fiom Hie us
t iiniary use u llmlliig Hie North Star
Leonis will be Ideiitltled about ns far off
as the North Star Is the other was and as a
very good outline of a sickle, with the
blight star, Itegiilus, at the unlet end of
the handle. A belter way Is to use the two
sluts forming Hie side of (lie Dipper nearest
tho handle for pointers. These point,
again in the direction opposite to Hie Nor'li
Star, directly at the Sickle. The rail am
of the Leonids Is within the curve of Hie
blade of the Sickle, near tho center The
whole of the constellation, however, docs
not come into good view till about 2 a m
The llee has secured a series of beautiful reproductions of famous paintings und
beautiful pictures In colors, These pictures nie all suitable for framing and will look
liiiiulsomo lu any home. Tho II till of the series will bo
yZwi mm
This beautiful picture Is lu colors, giving the natiirnl lints to tho fruits lepresented
'and Is an excellent subject for tho dining room,
How to
I These pictures nre 10x21 Inches nnd have novor been sold nt the art Btores for
less thnn ono dollnr. Ily securing nn Immense quantity of thorn wo aro able to offer
I them
With a Co u noii for 15 Cents.
When ordering stntn the namo of tho subject nnd If they nre to be mnlled enclose
six cents additional for postage and packing
Present at Dec Ofiicc or mall this coupon with 15c nnd get your eholco of Pho
tographic Art Studies When ordering by mnll ndd Bo for postage,
aiit ii:i'ah r.xii:T, m;n i i i , t s 1 1 1 . r. co omaiia.
Art Department, Oiimlia, Neb.
These pictures are framed nnd on exhibition at HOSK'S AIIT STOHH. Wo hv
provided n Inrgo number of frames for The Heo pictures and are offering thmn nt
a special price. Call nnd seo them.
ItOSH'S AIIT 8TOIU5, 1G21 Dodgo street. Omaha, Neb.
lu observing meteors the Important thing,
looked for b astronomers are the number
and brightness Color, length of path and
ether things are useful, but with Hie mini
In r and brightness something of Importune
i, in be dene. and. what Is of more general
interest one need not be u
aitrnnoiner to do one's pail III that some
In a circular Issued by the Harvard oh
servatory and designed to secure world-wide
co-operation lu the woik of observing (he
expected Leonids, It has been recommended
that the observer note how long II took for
ten shooting stats to appear. On the record
made should appear the place of obserui
Hi n. Hie observer's pololllce address, the
aslrotiomli'iil date, which Is obtained by us
lug the date of the previous evening for the
morning observations alio, since the uslroti
oiuleal day begins nt iio.ui. the time used
whether (itccnwlch. st-iiidaul or local, tie
beginning and ending of observations, whic'i
were to be made usually with Intervals of
rest between, when olber special observa
lions might be made; and finally any Inter
millions by clouds or fiom other causes
If the shooting stars have long paths or
maiked characters a less number lhati ten
might be chosen. If they are numerous, n
larger number could be counted. The oh
servallous need only cure, system and per
severance to be of real value, so thai tie
resulting leeonl can be sent to I larval d. If
one chooses to accept the formal Invitation
of (he observatory to do so, with the assur
mice that It can (here be usefully cm related
with other similar records.
The estimate of magnitude should b
made between the periods of counting. The
counting. It Is recommemleil, should engage
(Continued on Klghth Page)
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