Half-hours with the Telescope eBook

Richard Anthony Proctor
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 116 pages of information about Half-hours with the Telescope.

The chart of Mars is a reduction of one I have constructed from views by Mr. Dawes.  I believe that nearly all the features included in the chart are permanent, though not always visible.  I take this opportunity of noting that the eighteen orthographic pictures of Mars presented with my shilling chart are to be looked on rather as maps than as representing telescopic views.  They illustrate usefully the varying presentation of Mars towards the earth.  The observer can obtain other such illustrations for himself by filling in outlines, traced from those given at the foot of Plate VI., with details from the chart.  It is to be noted that Mars varies in presentation, not only as respects the greater or less opening out of his equator towards the north or south, but as respects the apparent slope of his polar axis to the right or left.  The four projections as shown, or inverted, or seen from the back of the plate (held up to the light) give presentations of Mars towards the sun at twelve periods of the Martial year,—­viz., at the autumnal and vernal equinoxes, at the two solstices, and at intermediate periods corresponding to our terrestrial months.

In fact, by means of these projections one might readily form a series of sun-views of Mars resembling my ‘Sun-views of the Earth.’

In the first view of Jupiter it is to be remarked that the three satellites outside the disc are supposed to be moving in directions appreciably parallel to the belts on the disc—­the upper satellites from right to left, the lower one from left to right.  In general the satellites, when so near to the disc, are not seen in a straight line, as the three shown in the figure happen to be.  Of the three spots on the disc, the faintest is a satellite, the neighbouring dark spot its shadow, the other dark spot the shadow of the satellite close to the planet’s disc.



A half-hour on the structure of the telescope.

There are few instruments which yield more pleasure and instruction than the Telescope.  Even a small telescope—­only an inch and a half or two inches, perhaps, in aperture—­will serve to supply profitable amusement to those who know how to apply its powers.  I have often seen with pleasure the surprise with which the performance even of an opera-glass, well steadied, and directed towards certain parts of the heavens, has been witnessed by those who have supposed that nothing but an expensive and colossal telescope could afford any views of interest.  But a well-constructed achromatic of two or three inches in aperture will not merely supply amusement and instruction,—­it may be made to do useful work.

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Half-hours with the Telescope from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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