Press enter after choosing selection

The August Meteors

The August Meteors image
Parent Issue
Public Domain
OCR Text

These celestial visitants, so little noticed by most people, though recurring annually, can be seen in myriads every night. The following article from the Detroit Evening News of Tuesday gives the best explanation of the origin and cause of these phenomena that we have seen published, and is worthy of reproduction: "According to the authorities, the appearance of meteors in large numbers in August is nothing unusual; and it is nothing uncommon at certain intervals of years in the month of November. The year 1833 is memorable for the most magniflcent display on record. This was on the night of November 12, and was visible all over the Atlantic states and over part of Mexico, and the West India Islands. Together with the smaller shooting stars which feil like show flakes and produced phosphorescent lines along their course, there were intermingled large flre balls, which darted fortk at intervals, describing in a few seconds an are of 30 or 40 degrees. These left behind luminous trains which remained in view several minutes and sometimes half an hour or more. One of theiu seen in-North Carolina appeared of large size and greater brilliancy than the moon. Some of the luminous bodies were of irregular form, and remained statiönary íor a considerable time, emitting streams of light. At Niágara the exhibition was especially brilliant, and probably no spectacle so terribly grand and sublime was ever bef ore beheld by man, as that of the flrmanent descending in flery torrents over the dark and roaring cataract. "It was observed that the lines of all meteors if traced back converged in one quarter of the heavens, and this point accompanied the stars in their apparent inotion westward, instead of nioving with the earth toward the east. The source whence the meteors came was thus shown to be independent of the earth's rotation and exterior to our atmosphere. As computed by Rrof. Denison Olmstead, of ïTew flaven, ii could not have been less than 2,238 miles from the earth. "Iïumboldt, with other observers, ïoticed the great brilliancy of the aurora borealis during the fall of the meteors. Prof. Olmstead early suggested that the meteors probably emanate from a nebulous body whiqh revolves round the sun in an elliptical Drbit, the aphelion of which meets the iarth at the time of the annual exhioitions. Arago adopted a similar view to that of Olmsted. He suggested that the meteoric bodies may constitute a streatn in the form of an anuular zone, within which they pursue one conjmon orbit; that there are several such streams, which intersect, each in its own period, the earth's orbit, and that through each the myriads of small cosmical bodies are irregularly dispersed. But the dernonstration of the real orbits were left to the year after the display of Nov. 13, 18(i. Prof. Newton, of Yale college, predicted the recurrence of a great display of November meteors and was but a few hours out of the way. Scheaparelli, of Italy, noticiiig that the cornet of 1862 passed the earth's orbit nearly at the place occupied before, was led to inquire whether the path followed by the cornet resembled that passed by the August meteors, and found the agreement so close as to leave no doubt of the existence of a real association between the August meteors and the laive cornet of 18(32. üther astronomers followed until the meteoric orbits were tolerably well defined."