Advertisement

Observatory Report

Professor Edward C. Pickering's recently issued report of the Astronomical Observatory for the year ending September 30, 1899, states that, owing to the continued fall in the rate of interest in recent years, the Observatory is in urgent need of additional endowment. A decrease of one per cent. represents a loss in income of $10,000 a year. Thus in 1892 the Observatory received $53,000 income, but in 1898 only $46,000. In the words of the report: "Every few days questions are solved by means of the photographs, which without them must wait years for an equally satisfactory solution. A healthy institution must grow steadily, if not rapidly, while here, if the income continues to decrease, work must be abandoned or postponed, and publication delayed, which in some cases endangers the loss of the whole. The only remedy is a large increase in the endowment, or a temporary relief by gifts for immediate use. Delay may cause the poorest economy, by which an immediate saving may be followed later by a much more expensive return to present conditions."

The most important results from the investigations of the past year, are described as follows: The number of photographs taken with the Draper telescopes is 3139, and the examination of the spectra contained on these plates and on those taken with the Bruce and the Bache telescopes has led to the discovery of twenty-three variable stars. A new star was also found in the constellation Sagittarius. Perhaps the most important investigation undertaken during the year with these photographs was the search for the planet Eros during its opposition in 1894. The detailed study of the spectra of the southern stars, also obtained through the Draper telescope, is approaching completion.

Six hundred and eighty-six photographs were taken with the Boyden telescope and 2301 with the Bache telescope. In all, 4392 photographs were taken at the Arequipa station. Several important discoveries were made with the Bruce photographic telescope, with which, during the year, in all, 693 photographs were taken. The most important is the finding of a new satellite to Saturn by Professor W. H. Pickering to which the name Phoebe has been given.

The work of the Blue Hill Observatory has been, as in former years, carried on under the direction and at the expense of Mr. Rotch. The usual observations for the years 1897 and 1898, and the measurements of the clouds during the international "cloud-year," are now being published.

The library of the Observatory has been increased during the year by the addition of 400 volumes and 911 pamphlets. The total number of volumes and pamphlets in the library on October 1, was 9435 and 13,698, respectively. In addition to the regular publication of the annals, the Observatory has issued during the year twelve circulars, and twelve other miscellaneous reports and papers.

Advertisement