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A Text-Book of Astronomy   By:

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TWENTIETH CENTURY TEXT BOOKS

EDITED BY A. F. NIGHTINGALE, PH.D., LL.D. FORMERLY SUPERINTENDENT OF HIGH SCHOOLS, CHICAGO

[Illustration: A TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE. After Burckhalter's photographs of the eclipse of May 28, 1900.]

TWENTIETH CENTURY TEXT BOOKS

A TEXT BOOK OF ASTRONOMY

BY GEORGE C. COMSTOCK

DIRECTOR OF THE WASHBURN OBSERVATORY AND PROFESSOR OF ASTRONOMY IN THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN

[Illustration]

NEW YORK D. APPLETON AND COMPANY 1903

COPYRIGHT, 1901 BY D. APPLETON AND COMPANY

PREFACE

The present work is not a compendium of astronomy or an outline course of popular reading in that science. It has been prepared as a text book, and the author has purposely omitted from it much matter interesting as well as important to a complete view of the science, and has endeavored to concentrate attention upon those parts of the subject that possess special educational value. From this point of view matter which permits of experimental treatment with simple apparatus is of peculiar value and is given a prominence in the text beyond its just due in a well balanced exposition of the elements of astronomy, while topics, such as the results of spectrum analysis, which depend upon elaborate apparatus, are in the experimental part of the work accorded much less space than their intrinsic importance would justify.

Teacher and student are alike urged to magnify the observational side of the subject and to strive to obtain in their work the maximum degree of precision of which their apparatus is capable. The instruments required are few and easily obtained. With exception of a watch and a protractor, all of the apparatus needed may be built by any one of fair mechanical talent who will follow the illustrations and descriptions of the text. In order that proper opportunity for observations may be had, the study should be pursued during the milder portion of the year, between April and November in northern latitudes, using clear weather for a direct study of the sky and cloudy days for book work.

The illustrations contained in the present work are worthy of as careful study as is the text, and many of them are intended as an aid to experimental work and accurate measurement, e. g., the star maps, the diagrams of the planetary orbits, pictures of the moon, sun, etc. If the school possesses a projection lantern, a set of astronomical slides to be used in connection with it may be made of great advantage, if the pictures are studied as an auxiliary to Nature. Mere display and scenic effect are of little value.

A brief bibliography of popular literature upon astronomy may be found at the end of this book, and it will be well if at least a part of these works can be placed in the school library and systematically used for supplementary reading. An added interest may be given to the study if one or more of the popular periodicals which deal with astronomy are taken regularly by the school and kept within easy reach of the students. From time to time the teacher may well assign topics treated in these periodicals to be read by individual students and presented to the class in the form of an essay.

The author is under obligations to many of his professional friends who have contributed illustrative matter for his text, and his thanks are in an especial manner due to the editors of the Astrophysical Journal, Astronomy and Astrophysics, and Popular Astronomy for permission to reproduce here plates which have appeared in those periodicals, and to Dr... Continue reading book >>




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