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SATURN'S RING. Saturn's Ring is only visible under the circumstances referred to in the last month. Uranus stationary on the 25th, near į in Capricornus.
Sphere of the Fixed Stars. Capricornus west, and Aquarius east, of the meridian, on the 1st day, at 8 in the evening.
Capricornus is bounded on the north and east by Antinous and Aquarius ; south by Pisces Australis, and west by Sagittarius.
Aquarius, is bounded on the north by Equuleus and Pegasus; east by Pisces and Cetus; south by Pisces Australis, and Apparatus Sculptoris, and west by Capricornus and Antinous.
Telescopic Objects. Capricornus. a in this constellation, to the unassisted sight, is a double star, each of which is a double star; l a presents one of the most beautiful and delicate objects in the heavens; it is a difficult telescopic object. B, €, &, o, are double stars. o is double, the large star, red, the small, dusky blue. 11 is also double, both stars of a reddish white colour. p is a triple star. Above the shoulders of Capricornus are nebulæ, one of which is planetary.
Aquarius. B is a small star, the large star white, the small dusky. & is double, both stars wbite. T, 4, X, and 24, are double stars. A variable star, near w in the River of Aquarius. v is a triple star. In the head of Aquarius, is a nebulous star; it has the appearance of a comet surrounded with nebulosity.
Remarkable Comets. The Comet of Biela, or Comet of 1832. This comet was discovered on the 27th February 1826, by M. Biela, at Josephstadt in Bohemia, appearing as a small round nebulosity; it was seen by M. Gambart, at Marseilles, 9th March following, and afterwards observed at most of the European Observatories. It continued visible till the beginning of May.
On determining the elements of this comet, it was soon found, that these had a great resemblance to comets which had appeared in the years 1772, and 1806; a closer investigation proved the identity of the three, An anomaly, however, appeared in the period of revolution, which in one of its returns was completed in 2460 days, and in the other, 2469 days ; this inequality was found to be owing to the action of the planet Jupiter, near which the comet had passed in the years 1782, 1794, and 1807 ; allowing for these perturbations, and a similar influence in May 1831, the following are the elements, as calculated by M. Damoiseau :
Passage of the perihelion 1832, November, 27.4808. Paris. Meantime, reckoning from midnight.
Longitude of the Perihelion.... 109° 56' 45"
Semi-axis major .............. 3.53683 · The following computed places, will facilitate the discovery of the comet on its return :
August 4th. The comet, near 12--a double star in
Triangulum Minor. Rises about 8 in the evening, N. E. by N.} E. Right ascension, 35° 46'. North declination, 28° 44'.
21st day. Rises at after 7, N. E. by N. Passes the meridian shortly after Algol, the bright star in Medusa's head, from which it will be distant 80 south. Right ascension, 46° 50' North declination, 32° 28.
September 5th. Rises N.N.E. about 7 in the evening, and passes the meridian a short time before the Hyades, distant from them 17° north. Right ascension, 60°. North declination, 35° 25'.
18th day. Rises N. by E. į E. at 7 in the evening, and passes the neridian soon after Capella, and a short time before Orion; a line drawn from Capella to B, the star in the northern horn of Taurus, will pass nearly through the comet,—the latter nearly midway between these stars. Right ascension, 76° 2. North declination, 36° 49'.
October 1st. Rises N.N.E. about 8 in the evening, and passes the meridian with y in Gemini. Right ascension, 95° 0'. North declination, 35° 26'.
12th day. Rises N. E. by N. at 9 in the evening, two degrees south-west of the double star Castor, in Gemini. Right ascension, 109° 12. North declination, 30° 54'.
22 day. Rises N.E. at 9 in the evening ; after passing near 64 and 65 in Gemini, it will, on this day, be nearly in a line with i and k in the same constellation, and 38 south of Pollux. Right ascension, 110° 50'. North declination, 25° 51'.
November 1st. Rises N.E. by E. at ļ after 9 in the evening, and passes the meridian with Procyon and
Pollux, distant from the latter 81° south. Right ascension, 112° 1'. North declination, 20° 37'.
10th day. Rises E.N.E. at after 9 in the evening, near 12, the most northern star in Canis Minor. Right ascension, 114° 26'. North declination, 15° 58'.
19th day. Rises E.N.E. about 9 in the evening, midway between, and in a line with 12, in Canis Minor, and ß in Cancer. Right ascension, 118° 29'. North declination, 15° 28'.
27th day. Rises E.N.E. À E. about 9 in the evening; midway between B in Cancer, and 8 in Hydra. In perihelion on this day. Right ascension, 124° 2'. North declination, 80 44'.
The comet will be nearest to the earth on the 22d of October, when its distance will be about fifty millions of miles.
This is the comet concerning which such dire forebodings were entertained on the Continent; many individuals firmly believing, that in the year 1832, it would come in contact with the earth, and prove its destruction. The alarm appears to have originated in the French Capital, which seems especially accessible to these terrific apprehensions. In the year 1773, the celebrated La Lande wrote a Memoir on cometary influence, which was intended to be read by him at a meeting of the Academy of Sciences. This memoir, however, was not read, but its subject was whispered abroad, until at length, it was asserted, -that a comet had been announced, -" que dans un an, dans un mois dans huit jours,"--would occasion the destruction of the world. The popular tumult at length increased to such a degree, that the Lieutenant of Police, requested of La Lande, to re-establish the public tranquillity, by explaining the nature of the memoir; the terrors of the Parisians were not, however, allayed till the Memoir itself was published.
COMET OF HALLEY. This « great and fearful star,” as it was termed in the old chronicles, was first observed in the year 1305, about the season of Easter. It returned again in the year 1456, and was bebeld by all Europe, with fear and amazement. The Turks were then engaged in a successful war, in which they destroyed the Greek Empire; they, therefore, might have regarded the comet as an auspicious omen, though the Infidels themselves, had been alarmed only two years before by a comet, which they had considered as prognosticating the overthrow of the Crescent. The Christians thought, that their destruction was portended by its appearance, especially as the tail was turned towards the east. Pope Calixtus believed it to be at once the sign and instrument of divine wrath; he ordered public prayers to be offered up, and decreed, that in every town, the bells should be tolled at mid-day, to warn the people to supplicate the mercy and forgiveness of heaven. In this very circumstance, originates the custom still prevalent in Catholic countries, of ringing the Cathedral bells at noon.
Its next visits were in the years 1531 (when it appeared of a bright gold colour), and 1607; in the latter year it passed through Ursa Major, Bootes, Serpentis, and Ophiuchus, continuing visible about five weeks. The diameter of its head was 2 ; its nucleus, 10" or 12" of an unequal roundness, exhibiting phases like the moon,