« PreviousContinue »
In September, 1830.
SOLAR PHENOMENA. The Sun enters Libra at 51m. after 1 of the afternoon of the 23d of this month; his true place in the heavens is near », a star of the third magnitude, in the left shoulder of the Virgin.
The Earth, in its annual course, on this day attains that position which enables it to receive the solar influence from pole to pole, and the days and nights are consequently equal in every region of the globe; after this day the arch described by the Sun above the horizon will be observed sensibly to diminish, and darkness gradually to extend its reign.
The emblems of the dying year will present themselves in rapid and melancholy succession : the sickly-tinted foliage of the wood, the grove, and the garden ;-the leaf, borne from the bough with the feeblest breath, and fitting to the ground in mazy circles ;-the pensive strain of the robin, warbling forth a farewell to the parting season ;-and the moaning gale heralding the icy car of Winter: but amidst these scenes of change and desolation, the brilliant constellations of winter re-appear and pursue their unwearied and unerring courses, shining forth from their depths of immensity with unfading splendour, to cheer the gloomy nights of the northern world.-Literary Gazette.
Eclipse of the Sun. The Sun will be eclipsed at 28 m. after 2 of the morning of the 17th of this month, in longitude 5 signs 23° 39'; the moon's latitude at the time will
be lo 13%' N. The eclipse will not be visible to the
. fifth day.
11th, ... - 16th, ...
...... 6, . . 58
Equation of Time. When mean time is to be found from that indi. cated by the position of the Sun, the following quantities must be subtracted from the time as given by a good sun-dial, and the remainders will be the time required.
LUNAR PHENOMEN A.'
Phases of the Moon.
Total Eclipse of the Moon. The moon will be totally eclipsed on the night of the 2nd of this month, the whole of which, from its commencement to its termination, will be visible to the British Isles, together with Italy, Greece, France, Spain, &c.; it will be partially visible from the western parts of Asia, to the eastern regions of America.
The following are the circumstances under which it will take place : viz.
End of the eclipse ........12 26
The eclipse will occur in the River of Aquarius, and commence when the moon is south-east, at an altitude of 180 above the horizon; when fully immersed in the earth's shadow, it will pursue its course through an arc of 250 of its apparent revolution totally eclipsed; it is probable, however, that it will continue visible, though with a red and dreary aspect. In some eclipses, the moon has entirely disappeared as if blotted from the face of the heavens,—this was the case in the total eclipses that occurred in the years 1601, 1620, and 1642; it will begin to emerge from this gloom about half an hour before it arrives at the meridian, and at twenty minutes after, will have entirely escaped the earth's shadow
The shadow of the earth, into which the moon passes when eclipsed, grows less and less, till it ends in a point, which is the vertex of a cone having the earth for its base; this conical shadow varies in length according to the position of the earth in its orbit; being longest when the earth is in aphelion, and shortest when in perihelion ; its mean length is about three and a half times the moon's distance from the earth; the breadth of the cone at that part where it is traversed by the moon is about three times the moon's diameter, though this also varies, for the nearer the moon is to the earth, the larger is the portion of the shadow it has to pass through.
The moon cannot continue longer in the umbra than 3 h. 57 m. 6 s. or be totally plunged into it, beyond one hour and three quarters; in the present instance the duration of the eclipse is 3 h. 36 m., and of total ubscuration 1h. 40ļm.; the centre of the moon will pass very near the centre of the earth's shadow, deviating from it only 2' 12'' north.
All that is eclipsed - beyond twelve digits, (or, as they are now more frequently called, degrees,) indi- • cates the quantity of the shadow over the moon's diameter, measured from that edge to which it is nearest in the middle of the eclipse.
Lunar Eclipse of the 2d of September.
In the preceding diagram, the larger circle is intended to represent a section of the earth's shadow; B, the moon at the commencement of the eclipse; the dark circle pear the centre, the position of the moon at the middle of the eclipse, and E, the moon when it has escaped from the Earth's shadow
About the middle of the eclipse, the moon will be in conjunction with in Aquarius, a star of the fourth magnitude.
Eclipses have in all ages of the world, in civilized as well as barbarous countries, been regarded with powerful interest, and considered indicative of disease or agony in the dimmed luminary; also, as the precursors of the downfal of nations, the death of princes, and violent political disasters; the crafty have availed themselves of these superstitious fears, to work upon the feelings of the weak and credulous, which proves that what is uncommon, and apparently against the course of nature, more irresistibly strikes the senses, and rouses the passions, than that which is uniform in the phenomena of the universe. The heavens never so much attract the wandering gaze, as when an unexpected comet glicles majestically from constellation to constellation; the Sun is unheeded in its course unless his orb be eclipsed, or his disc covered with spots; the moon is chiefly an object of interest when her silvery orb plunges into the earth's shadow ;-but no sooner does the splendid visitor disappear from the heavens, or the Sun's disc exhibit its uniform splendour, and the bright moon roll through the blue heavens unshorn of her lustre,—then, these celestial luminaries may move on in their courses unnoticed by the unthinking throng. The Christian philosopher,-he views these events with other eyes, and whether the Queen of Night shines as a crescent, or sheds from her full orb floods of glory, or when for a short space of time (as in the present eclipse,) she is disrobed of her brightness, and
“ A settling crimson stains her beauteous face.” he still views this constant companion of our earth in its ceaseless circles round the Sun, as “ the faithful witness in heaven.”
O thou bright orb, whose pure and placid beams