Advertisement

Sirius pp 63-78 | Cite as

A Dark Star Revealed

Part of the Springer Praxis Books book series (PRAXIS)

Abstract

In early 1843 a spectacular comet appeared in the sky. It grazed the surface of the sun on the last day of February, and in early March, as it raced back towards the outer regions of the solar system, it put on a brilliant display. For those in the northern hemisphere who witnessed the comet, it presented a glorious tail that stretched in an arc of 20 to 45 degrees across the southwestern sky after sunset. By all reports it was one of the brightest comets of the 19th century, clearly visible near the sun during daytime. It came to be known as the “Great March Comet” and was seen by large numbers of the public in North America where it provoked much comment and discussion. One tangible result of the Great March Comet was that some of the more prosperous citizens of Boston, Massachusetts were moved to contribute, by way of public subscription, the considerable sum of $25,000, towards the construction of a large refracting telescope, equal to any in Europe. The most critical component of the telescope was the 15-inch diameter objective lens contracted from the German firm of Merz & Mahler in Munich at a price of $12,000: there being no source of a lens of such size and quality in the United States of that day. The lens was the twin of one produced earlier for Friedrich Wilhelm Struve at the Pulkovo Observatory in Russia. The new observatory was completed in 1847 and located on Observatory Hill on the Harvard College campus. The director of the new observatory was William Cranch Bond (1789–1859), a Boston clock maker, who had been appointed in 1839, at no salary, by the Harvard Corporation as “Astronomical Observer to the University”.

Keywords

Companion Star Double Star Naval Observatory Object Glass Royal Astronomical Society 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Chapter 5

  1. Alan Graham Clark, 1897, The Cambridge Chronicle, 12 June 1897.Google Scholar
  2. Alvan Clark, Harper’s Weekly, Sept. 3, 1887, 631.Google Scholar
  3. Alvan Clark and his method of Object-Glass Working, 1887, The English Mechanic, No. 1174, 83.Google Scholar
  4. Brashear, J. A., 1892, George Bassett Clark, Astronomy and Astro-Physics., 11, 367–372.Google Scholar
  5. Bond, George P., 1862, Letter to editor, AN, 58, 85–90.Google Scholar
  6. Burnham, Sherwood W., 1879, Double Stars discovered by Mr. Alvan G. Clark, American Journal of Science, 17, 283–289.Google Scholar
  7. Church, John A., 1963, Optical Designs of Some Famous Refractors, Sky and Telescope, 63, 302–308.Google Scholar
  8. Clark, Alvan, 1889, Autobiography of Alvan Clark, Sidereal Messenger, 8, 109–117.Google Scholar
  9. Clark, Alvan, 1867, In Receipt of the Rumford Medal, Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 7, 244–249.Google Scholar
  10. Clark, Alvan, 1841, On Rifle Shooting, American Repertory of Arts, Sciences and Manufactures, III, 164–169.Google Scholar
  11. Clark, Alvan G., 1893, Great Telescopes of the Future, Astronomy and Astro-physics 12, 673–678.Google Scholar
  12. Clark, Alvan G., 1893, Possibilities of the Telescope, North American Review, 156, 48–53.Google Scholar
  13. Clarks Telescope Works, 1892, The Cambridge Chronicle, 2 January 1892.Google Scholar
  14. Death of Alvan G. Clark, 1895, Popular Astronomy, 5, 167.Google Scholar
  15. Fox, Phillip, 1915, A General Account of the Dearborn Observatory, Annals of the Dearborn Observatory, 1, 1–7.Google Scholar
  16. Fulton, John, 1896, Memoirs of Frederick A. P. Barnard, Macmillan & Co., New York, 244–246.Google Scholar
  17. Galignani’s Messenger, 1862, Paris, April 1–2. George Bassett Clark, 1891, Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 27, 360–363.Google Scholar
  18. Goldschmidt, M., 1863, Le cortège de Sirius, Les Mondes, 5.Google Scholar
  19. Goldschmidt, Revd. M., 1863, Companions of Sirius, MNRAS, 23, 182.Google Scholar
  20. Hawkins, William B., 1927, The Clarks, Popular Astronomy, 35, 379–382.Google Scholar
  21. Holberg, J. and Wesemael, F., 2007, The Discovery of the Companion of Sirius and Its Aftermath, JHA (in press).Google Scholar
  22. Knott, George, 1866, On the Companion to Sirius, MNRAS, 26, 243.Google Scholar
  23. Lassel, W., 1862, Letter to editor, AN, 57, 251–252.Google Scholar
  24. Leavitt, Henrietta S., 1896, Clarks Observatory in Cambridge Sketches, ed. E. M. H. Merril, Boston, 149–154.Google Scholar
  25. Moigno, Abbé, 1862, Cosmos, March 28, p. 377, 391–393.Google Scholar
  26. Newcomb, Simon, 1866, Measures of the Companion of Sirius made at the U.S. Naval Observatory Washington in 1866, with a note on its identity with the disturbing body indicated by theory, AN, 66, 381.Google Scholar
  27. Newcomb, Simon, 1874, New Refracting Telescope of the National Observatory, Washington D.C., Science Record, 324–332.Google Scholar
  28. Newcomb, Simon, 1910, Popular Astronomy, Macmillan & Co. Ltd., London, 139–144.Google Scholar
  29. Newcomb, Simon, 1873–1874, The Story of a Telescope, Scribner’s Monthly, 7, 44–54.Google Scholar
  30. Palmer, Charles S., 1927, Two Hours with Alvan Clark Sr., Popular Astronomy, 35, 143–145.Google Scholar
  31. Report of the Committee of the Overseers of Harvard College Appointed to Visit the Observatory, 1862.Google Scholar
  32. Report of the Committee of the Overseers of Harvard College Appointed to Visit the Observatory, 1863.Google Scholar
  33. Rutherfurd, Lewis, 1862, Companion to Sirius, American Journal of Science, 34, 294–295.Google Scholar
  34. Schaeberle, J. M., 1896, Discovery of the Companion to Procyon, PASP, 8, 314.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Struve, M. Otto, 1864, On the Satellite of Sirius, MNRAS, 24, 149–152.Google Scholar
  36. Struve, M. Otto, 1866, On the Satellite of Sirius, MNRAS, 26, 267–271.Google Scholar
  37. Sullivan, John F., 1927, A Visit to Alvan Clark, Jr., Popular Astronomy, 35, 388–391.Google Scholar
  38. The Alvan Clark Establishment, 1887, Scientific American, 57, 198–199.Google Scholar
  39. Wendell, Oliver C, 1897, Alvan Graham Clark, Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 33, 520–524.Google Scholar
  40. Warner, Debra J. and Ariail, R. B., 1995, Alvan Clark & Sons, Artists in Optics, Willman-Bell.Google Scholar
  41. Williams, Thomas R., 1996, The development of astronomy in the Southern United States, JHA, 27, 13–44.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Praxis Publishing Ltd, Chichester, UK 2007

Personalised recommendations