Page images
PDF
EPUB

vatory, has recently announced that Eros no longer exhibits rapid changes of_light. If the foregoing explanation be correct Eros must soon begin to show variations again. Unfortunately this interesting planet is now getting far over into the west in the twilight of early evening, and is difficult to observe, even with a large telescope. For some months it will be too nearly in line with the sun to be observed. Its reappearance in the morning sky will be looked for with interest.

The anomalous changes of brightness might be explained on the assumption that Eros is a sort of spotted planet, containing areas which differ markedly in reflecting power, and were presented to our vision in different positions, because of the rotation of the planet on its axis and its revolution about the sun. When it temporarily ceased to vary, one of its poles may have been turned directly toward us. All such theorizing must, however, be submitted to the test of further prolonged and accurate observations.

THE NEW STAR IN PERSEUS.-As this interesting object has now faded away, and become invisible to the naked eye, and has also come into such a position with reference to the sun that it cannot well be observed telescopically, one may profitably recount the facts concerning it, up to date.

It was discovered on Feb. 22, 1901, by Dr. T. D. Anderson, an amateur astronomer of Edinburgh. At that time it was fainter than the pole star. He brought the news of his discovery to the Royal Observatory at Edinburgh the next forenoon, and on the ensuing evening the astronomers at that institution perceived the new star through light clouds. It had increased in brightness, and was one of the most notable objects in the heavens. It was naturally compared with Capella, in whose vicinity it was. On Feb. 24 it was considerably brighter than Capella, and had no rival in the entire heavens, except Sirius, the Dog-star, The next day it was fainter than Capella, and since that time it has been fading away in an irregular manner, with repeated attempts to check its own downward course. In one of these spasms of recovery it gained over a magnitude in brightness in a single day. The region of the heavens in which the Nova appeared has been repeatedly photographed in recent years. Not a trace of the star is to be found on plates taken over six years ago with the great Bruce photographic telescope, the most powerful star camera in existence. Only a day before the discovery of the star Mr. Stanley Williams took a photograph of the region, which shows that the star must then have been below the twelfth magnitude, as no trace of it is to be found upon his plate. Thus in three days its brilliancy was increased at least 100,000 fold.

Its color also changed; at the time of discovery it was bluish white; soon it was yellowish, and then changed to orange within a month of Dr. Anderson's first observation. Such a change of color might be expected in the case of a body gradually cooling off, and consequently diminishing in brightness. The spectrum of the star has been assiduously observed and photographed. It has exhibited three distinct phases. At first it widely resembled that of our sun: that is, dark lines were visible on a background of brilliant colors. The lines of hydrogen and helium and various other metals were in evidence. This phase of the spectrum lasted but two or three

days. During the next fortnight the spectrum consisted of both bright and dark lines, and thereafter the dark lines faded away, leaving the bright ones in possession of the field. These variations indicate a change from a sun-like condition to that of a gaseous nebula. It is a sort of reversal of the commonly described process of the evolution of our sun from an original nebula. Nova Aurigae, which appeared nine years ago, but was not nearly as bright as Nova Persei, was watched very carefully with the Lick telescope, as it faded away and apparently became a planetary nebula.

If we inquire into the cause of the marvelous outburst, the like of which (in intensity) has not been seen for the three past centuries, we are ushered at once into the domain of speculation. It is not thought probable that this object is a fresh creation, the designation Nova in this case simply meaning that it has not hitherto been known. It is rather believed that the Nova previously existed as an extremely faint object, perhaps entirely invisible in the most powerful telescopes. Some theorists have endeavored to explain such phenomena on the assumption of an internal commotion in a single body, a commotion of which a terrestrial volcanic outburst is a faint analogue. But the behavior of these strange bodies is commonly thought to be explained more easily on the hypothesis of a collision of some sort. Perchance two stars had a disastrous encounter; but this is not likely, when we consider how sparsely the stars are scattered through space, our sun's nearest known neighbor among the fixed stars being 25,500,000,000 miles away. Modern astronomical photography has shown the existence of vast clouds of nebulous matter previously unknown. A star moving through space may have encountered

one of these nebulæ; or two nebulæ may have collided. It has been noticed that new stars occur most often in the vicinity of the Milky Way, where gaseous nebulæ are most abundant. Such a col. lision would develop a large amount of heat, and would lead to a commingling of gases which might result, during the process of cooling, in an addition of the effects of chemical combinations to the mechanical effects of the collision. Thus the anomalous fluctuations of brightness which the star experienced, while fading away, might be explained. But the formation of definite theories will be wisely postponed till the time when all the spectroscopic observations of the Nova have been published and discussed. Even then he will probably be wisest who theorizes the least.

THE NEW COMET.-On April 23, 1901, a very bright comet was discovered at Queenstown, and was at once observed by David Gill, His Majesty's astronomer at the Cape of Good Hope. It was also discovered independently at the Harvard astronomical station at Arequipa, Peru. The comet was near the sun, that is, nearly in a line joining the earth and sun. Hence it rose and set at about the same time as the sun, and was very difficult to see. It was hoped that it would soon flash out in the morning or evening sky, as did the great comet of 1882, and become a spectacle of marvelous beauty. But it kept. close to the sun, and was seen by American astronomers but twice; the Lick telescope brought it to bay on May 14: on May 17 it was seen from Echo Mountain, California. From the meager data ‘at hand Dr. Krentz computed a

Begins

corona.

rough orbit and showed that the comet was 23,000,000 miles from the sun, at the time of its nearest approach. The orbit is sensibly parabolic, and the comet is now retreating from us and has become too faint to be observed farther in the evening twilight. When best seen the comet was described as having a circular head, a minute of arc in diameter, and brighter than the third magnitude. The nucleus was well formed, and the tail was more than two degrees in length.

THE SOLAR ECLIPSE OF MAY 17-18, 1901.-For some years astronomers have been looking forward to this eclipse with much expectancy, because it is one of the few eclipses in which the time of total obscuration is over five minutes. As the time exceeded six minutes there was much hope of getting important results.

The moon's shadow encountered the earth first near Madagascar; traveling thence northeasterly over the Isle of France it crossed the Indian Ocean and passed over Sumatra and Borneo.

The light of the corona was to be investigated for evidence of polarization: its heat was to be measured and compared with that of the uneclipsed sun. Very delicate magnetometers were to be watched, to discover-if possible-effects of the eclipse upon terrestrial magnetic conditions. Intra-mercurial planets were to be searched for by means of large cameras, of unusual construction. Some of the plates made for photographing the corona were forty inches square, and were used on a camera sixty-one feet long. Many of the parties stationed themselves in Sumatra, or on adjoining islands. There were American astronomers from the Yerkes observatory, the Lick observatory, the U. S. Naval observatory, the Smithsonian Institution, Columbia University, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Virginia, Amherst College, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Most of the observers planned to be in the vicinity of Padang, an important town

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

mysupa

Siam

[ocr errors]

Northern

Begins

R

[ocr errors]

egins

sunset

20th

Borned

sunset

Celebes

Sends

Papas or New Guinca

--Ends

[ocr errors]

sunset

Eclipse

LAST CONTACT

Vio

Ends

Total Eclipse

FIRST CONTACT

18th

Middle

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors][merged small]

Eclipse

S

begins

1786

Eclipse

Middletos? Eclipse |

[ocr errors]

ends

of

Tat sunrise

at

50

sunris

Limit

Eclipse begins!

Southern

60

Eclipse

sunrise

20°

Longitude 40° East 60°

80* 100° 190

140 of 160° Greenwich

180°

PATH OF TOTAL ECLIPSE ACROSS THE SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE.

Thence it traversed the Malay Archipelago, and finally left the earth at a point in the Coral Sea. When speeding over Sumatra the shadow was about 140 miles across, and was traveling at the rate of 1,500 miles an hour.

Extensive preparations were made by parties from various countries. As in all recent eclipses, photographic observations and spectroscopic ones were those for which the most elaborate preparations were made. Photographs of the inner corona were to be taken on a large scale, to show its structure. Other photographs were planned with a large field of view, in order to get the full extent of the coronal streamers. Spectroscopic observations of the corona and of the chromosphere were arranged for, on a large scale. Fraunhofer lines due to light reflected from dust particles in the corona were to be photographed, if possible, as exhibited by a quartz spectroscope. A powerful flint spectroscope was to be employed in an attempt to investigate the rotation of the

on the west coast of Sumatra. From this town a railroad runs inland to a few points at a greater elevation, which were utilized as observing stations. A party from the Royal Observatory at Greenwich located themselves on the Isle of France (Mauritius).

The results of the observations are not yet available, because of the distance of Sumatra from the countries which sent out the expeditions. It is known, however, that the cloudy weather which is prevalent in the islands of the Indian Ocean interfered with the work to a very considerable extent. In Sumatra the weather was quite unfavorable, but the sun was not completely obscured by the clouds. In the island of Mauritius the meteorological conditions were much more favorable; fifty-two photographs of the corona and eighteen of the spectrum were obtained.

HERBERT A. HOWE, Director, Chamberlin Observatory, Colorado.

7

AUSTRALIA, COMMONWEALTH OF, a federated group of six States formerly known as the self-governing colonies of New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, and Tasmania, which became a united nation Jan. 1, 1901.

Tasmania is a separate island lying south of Australia, not far distant. The other five States form the continent of Australia, having an area of 2,946,691 square miles, nearly as large as the United States without the distant territories and dependencies. The population of the Commonwealth of Australia, according to the census of 1901, is approximately 3,764,681. The area of the five States of the mainland and Tasmania is estimated at 2,973,076 square miles. The area and population of the six States are as follows:

five members of the House of Representatives, elected by the people for three years. They are distributed according to population as follows: New South Wales, 26 members; Victoria, 23; Queensland, 9; South Australia, 7; Western Australia, 5; Tasmania, 5. Aliens cannot sit in either House, and every member receives £400 per year.

The powers of the Federal Parliament comprise trade and international commerce, taxation (provided there is no discrimination between States), coinage, posts, telegraphs, railways, naval and military forces, lighthouses and quarantine. It has power to deal with such matters as bills of exchange, bankruptcy, copyright, patents, naturalization, divorce and marriage. Money bills originate only in the Lower House and (as in England) they cannot be amended in the Upper. In case of disagreement, the Governor-General may dissolve Parliament; if both the Lower House and the Senate insist on the measure, after dissolution, the Governor-General may convene a joint sitting of the two bodies, when the majority will decide. The right of the Crown to veto any measure within a year is expressly reserved.

The general government collects all taxes, but keeps only one-fourth of the revenue for its own purposes, giving back the rest to the State in which it is collected. Trade is free within the Commonwealth.

[blocks in formation]

GOVERNMENT. — The new Australian government,

1 while a part of the British Empire like Canada, is practically an independent republic so far as internal legislation is concerned. Its general plan is set forth in the Act to constitute the Commonwealth of Australia (c. 12), passed by the Imperial Parliament in 1900. By the terms of this Act the sovereign of Great Britain is empowered to appoint a Governor - General with a salary of £10,000 a year. The constitution follows the American type rather than the Canadian. The Dominion of Canada reserves for the central body all powers not expressly given the local governments. In Australia, as in the United States, the residue of powo ers rests with the local States. The Australian States have equal represen.

GOVERNMENT OFFICES AND TREASURY GARDENS, MELBOURNE. tation in the upper Federal House, as in America.

The first Federal Parliament of the Common The Federal Supreme Court is called the High wealth of Australia, elected March 29 and 30, Court of Australia, from which appeals may be and opened May 9, is an evolution from the colo made in some cases to the Privy Council of Great nial parliaments, with some features borrowed Britain. from the Constitution of the United States. The The Governor-General of the Commonwealth Australian Federal Parliament is composed of of Australia is Lord Hopetoun. There are six two bodies or chambers, the Senate and the viceroys or representatives of the Crown: WilHouse of Representatives. There are thirty-six liam Lygon, Governor of New South Wales (apsenators, about half as many as the representa pointed in 1899), whose salary is £7,000 per tives; they are elected by popular vote, for terms annum; Sir Arthur E. Havelock, Governor of of six years, a half to retire every third year. Victoria (appointed 1901), salary £7,000; Lord Each State has six senators. There are seventy Lamington, Governor of Queensland (appointed

[graphic]

age of 874 bushels an acre is the best for many years. The yield per acre for 1899-1900 was about 4% bushels.

In Victoria the other principal crop is oats. The following table shows the area, production and yield per acre of this cereal:

[graphic]
[blocks in formation]

LORD HOPETOUN.

Governor-General of Australia.

1895), salary £5,000; Lord Tennyson, Governor of South Australia (appointed 1899), salary £4,000; Sir Arthur Lawley, Governor of Western Australia (appointed 1901), salary £4,000; Viscount Gormanston, Governor of Tasmania (appointed 1893), salary £3,500.

AGRICULTURE.-The principal wheat-growing States of Australia are Victoria, South Australia, and New South Wales. The following statistics relate to the area and yield of the land under wheat during the three years, 1898-1900, ending March 31 in each year. The figures are in part compiled from official sources and are in part estimates taken from the “Journal of the Board of Agriculture,” 1900.

Barley is a much smaller crop in Victoria. The yield of 66,000 acres was 1,197,000 bushels, in the harvest of 1899-1900.

In New South Wales only a small area is sowed to oats, barley, and other grain, much of which is cut for hay. Of maize 214,350 acres were planted in 1899-1900, producing 6,248,100 bushels, in comparison with 193,286 acres the previous year, 1898-99, producing 6,064,842 bushels. New South Wales has large fruit orchards, productive of oranges, grapes, etc., to the value of £158,678 in 1898-99.

Queensland has small grain crops. The yield of wheat in 1898. was 607,012 bushels; of maize, 2,252,481 bushels. It grows great quantities of sugar cane and has thousands of acres yielding grapes, bananas, and oranges.

Western Australia has only a small acreage under crops and grass. In 1898-99 the total of corn crops—wheat, barley, oats, and maize-was 951,423 bushels.

The total of corn crops in Tasmania for the year 1898-99 was 4,775,930 bushels, wheat and oats being the two largest crops. Recent statistics are lacking for the produce of orchards and gardens.

LIVE STOCK. Statistics of live stock in New South Wales show a marked decline in the year 1899-1900. The number of horses is put at 480,665, as compared with 491,553 in 1898. Cattle declined from 2,029,516 to 1,883,461; sheep from 41,241,004 to 36,313,514; and swine from 247,061 to 239,837. The number of cattle and sheep has fallen off considerably since 1895. However, the live-stock returns for Jan. 1, 1901, indicate that the herds and flocks were largely increased in 1900, although there was a decrease of horses because of exports to South Africa. The grand total returned and estimated Jan. 1, 1901, is as follows: horses, 443,042, as compared with 449,467 Jan. 1, 1900; cattle, 1,816, 123, as opposed to 1,802,697 Jan. 1, 1900; and 39,938, 138 sheep, compared with 36,213,514 Jan. 1, 1900.

The returns of the numbers of live stock in Queensland show a great decrease in 1899, as compared with 1898. Drought was chiefly responsible for the losses in the flocks and herds.

The figures for the two years are as follows: the sheep numbered 15,226,000 in 1899, as compared with 17,553,000 in 1898; cattle, 5,054,000 in 1899, as compared with 5,571,000 in 1898. The net exports of live sheep in 1899 were 263,000; of cattle, 188,000. A much larger nuniber were killed for food for home consumption: sheep, 1,018,000; and cattle, 254,000. In addition, 480,000 sheep and 386,000 cattle were preserved, frozen or boiled down. There were forty-seven establishments in operation in 1899, handling animal products: 13 meat preserving works; 29 factories for boiling down and extract; and 9 bacon-curing factories. Of meat-extract, 1,925,

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

000 pounds was produced in 1899; 19,200 tons of tallow; 222,000 pounds of lard; and 985,000 pounds of edible fats. Pig-keeping is growing more profitable. The number of swine for 1899 was 139,000, the largest yet recorded in Queensland; in 1898 it was 127,081.

In South Australia there has been a marked decline in the numbers of cattle, sheep, and horses during the last decade. The totals for 1890-91 are as follows: cattle, 359,938; sheep and lambs, 7,004,642; pigs, 116,227; horses, 187,686. The totals for 1898-99 are: cattle, 260,343; sheep, 5,012,620; pigs, 60,132; horses, 161,774.

In Western Australia the numbers of live stock for the year ending December, 1898, are as follows: cattle, 245,907, sheep, 2,244,888; pigs, 39,281; horses, 62,442. Later statistics are not at hand.

The following statistics are the returns for live stock in Tasmania for the year, 1898-99: cattle, 148,558; sheep, 1,493,638; pigs, 45, 274; horses, 29,797. Recent figures are lacking as to live stock in Victoria.

WOOL. —The wool clips of 1898 and 1899 in the various Australian States are estimated as follows:

659,000 The percentage of purchases for 1899-1900 is given: England and Scotland.

20% Continent

70% U, S. and Canada.

326 Other destinations.

58 The following table shows the percentage of sales in Australia to the total exports from Australia (excluding New Zealand) for the last ten years:

YEARS

[blocks in formation]

Total Ex.

Percent'ge Total Sal's ports

Sales to Bales Bales

Exports

1899 Bales

4272 4972

[blocks in formation]

6212

The estimated production for 1900-1, based on incomplete returns, is placed at about 1,200,000 bales.

The wool export figures for the seven months ending Jan. 31, 1901, show a considerable decrease, as compared with the shipments of the corresponding period of the previous year, July, 1899—January, 1900. The wool exports for these seven months, July, 1900 to January, 1901, are as follows:

Bales New South Wales..

351,632 Victoria .

270,184 South Australia.

86,344 Queensland.

66,095 The wool exports for 1898 and 1899 are as follows, for these four States:

1892

1,478,917 634,043 1893

1,462,220 724,894 1894

1,529,941 768,782 1895

1,596,402 804,542 1896

1,477,348 825,649 56 1897

1,477,217 767,340 52 1898

1,301,034 772,300 59 1899

1,261,577 788,144 1900

1,198,621 840,323 70 11901

1,200,000 659,438 55 The exports are to June 30 each year; sales to Feb. 28.

DAIRYING INDUSTRY.—The development of the butter industry in Australia dates from 1890. The applications of science to butter-making especially in improving refrigerating machinery, and the careful selection and management of dairy herds, have made this trade much more profitable than in the days before the factories were established.

With the exception of three seasons—1896, 1897, and 1898—there has been a steady growth in the exports of butter from Victoria. The following statement of exports for the past eleven years shows the quantity and value of shipments:

[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »