By Sir John Frederick William Herschel
Astronomer and thinker Sir John Herschel (1792-1871), the son of William and the nephew of Caroline, released his 1833 Treatise on Astronomy within the 'Cabinet Cyclopaedia' sequence of which the 1st quantity were his drastically profitable initial Discourse at the research of usual Philosophy. he's considered as the founding father of the philosophy of technological know-how, and made contributions in lots of fields together with arithmetic, the newly stumbled on strategy of images, and the botany of southern Africa, which he studied whereas making astronomical observations of the southern hemisphere, and the place he used to be visited through Darwin and Fitzroy at the Beagle voyage. It used to be although because the common successor to his father's astronomical stories that he's most sensible remembered, and this publication, that's written for the lay individual, areas powerful emphasis at the value of actual remark and on fending off preconceptions or hypotheses no longer according to such remark.
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The luminous lines occasionally seen in the air, in a sky full of partially broken clouds, which the vulgar term " the sun drawing water," are similarly caused. They are sunbeams, through apertures in clouds, partially intercepted and reflected on the dust and vapours of the air below. Thus it is with those solar rays which, after the sun is itself concealed by the convexity of the earth, continue to traverse the higher regions of the at-, mosphere above our heads, and pass through and out of it, without directly striking on the earth at all.
That, evidently a moderate one;, and, thirdly, from this, that its apparent diameter, measured with an instrument called the dip sector, is the same (except under some singular atmospheric circumstances, which produce a temporary distortion of the outline), in whatever direction the measure is taken, — properties which belong only to the circle among geometrical figures. If we ascend a high eminence on a plain (for instance, one of the Egyptian pyramids), the same holds good. ) Masts of ships, however, and the edifices erected by man, are trifling eminences compared to what nature itself affords; iEtna, Teneriffe, Mowna Roa, are eminences from which no contemptible aliquot part of the whole earth's surface can be seen; but from these again—in those few and rare occasions when the transparency of the air will permit the real boundary of the horizon, the true sea-line, to be seen — the very same appearances are witnessed, but with this remarkable addition, viz.
NoWj although we know that as we recede from the earth's surface the temperature of the air is constantly diminishing, yet the law, or amount of this diminution at different heights, is not yet fully ascertained. Moreover, the refracting power of air is perceptibly affected by its moisture j and this, too, is not the same in every part of an aerial column; neither are we acquainted with the laws of its distribution. The consequence of our ignorance on these points is to introduce a corresponding degree of uncertainty into the determination of the amount of refraction, which affects, to a certain appreciable extent, our knowledge of several of the most important data of astronomy.
A Treatise on Astronomy by Sir John Frederick William Herschel