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THE TRANSIT OF VENUS., Star, Issue 4562, 7 December 1882
THE TRANSIT OF VENUS.
♦■ Thoso pieces of smoked glass could be mado use of thiß morning, and the suddon'converts to early rising were innumerable. Happy were they who woro tho possessors of telescopes fitted with a suitable eye-piece ; fer as a telescopic study the transit was unique. For some timo after sunme, however, tho haze, and the intervention of light cirrus clouda, renderod the lons-pioturo rather indistinct ; and unpraotisod gazers fancied that sun and planet .were trembling —with tho excitemont consequent upon the gravity of tho occasion. Mr J. M. Thompson, of Colombo street, fitted up a small refraoting toloscopo in his rooms, and was successful in throwing a vory clear diso upon the screen at tho back of tho instrument. During tho earlier part of the transit he was unablo to got a very good definition, but from about hulf-past 5 o'clock till tho conclusion of tho transit the disc thrown on tho screen was remarkably clear and distinct. Sovoral persons interested in tho subject woro present during tho morning to witness Mr Thompson's observations. Tho Cathedral tower was ohosen as an observatory by n number of individuals, and in the oarlier part of the morning Mr Thompson had his telescopo on one of tho balconieß. No very accurate observations, however, woro taken here, as the majority of thoso prosont regarded the whole affair more f torn the sight* seer'e point of viow than from that of tho savant. Of a more soientifio character were the observations of Messrs Kitson, Munroo, and Townsend, conducted in the privato observatory of tho last-namod gentleman at Park Terraoe, whioh was in telegraphio oommuni-
cation with the head station at Burnham. The instrument used by Messrs Kitson and Munroe was a large equatorial telescope, with 6in aperture, similar to that used by Colonel Tupman. Mr Townsend's observations were taken with a smaller telescope of 3Jin aperture. On account of the clearness of the morning a very successful series of observations were made. The exact figure*, &c, will be forwarded to Colonel Tupman before being made public. Mr Meddings conducted some observations of the transit at his private residence with a 4in aperturo equatorial telescope The results obtained were as satisfactory as those got by other observers. From the Observatory at Burnham wo have reoeived the following interesting message :— • [SFEOIAL TO THE " STAB."] BUENHAM, Duo. 7. Tkewoathor here waß very favourable for our observations this morning. The sun and the planet were very dearly eeen till within a few minutes before the internal contact, when a light cloud oaased Venus to esppoar of a whitish hue, instead of inky black as before. Tho observations were very succesjful, and— with the exception noted— all the circumstanoss of weather, &0., were all that could be wished. Wellington has sucoeeded also. Tho American observers at Auckland have taken no fewer than 74 photographs. The observers at all the Southarn Btations, with the exception of Cromwell and Dunsdin, have failed, the sky being clouded. The last tranait that will occur for moro than a hundred years, and the operation of observing it in this part of the world has beon on the whole eminently successful. That, in a few words, expresses the whole of the matter. Of course this laconio mode of putting the "state of the pell" may be enlarged upon to almost any extent ; but that is the gist of the experiences of this morning in New Zealand. In fact, put in a slightly more personal j form, they aro almost Colonel Tupman's words to a member of the Press who sought information from him as to tho scientific results of those few weighty minutes about halfpast seven to-day, into which were concentrated the work and praotioe spread over a loDg period. Of oourse there ib no need to state that those whose business or cob* section with the expedition made it necessary for them to be on the ground during the progress of the transit were astir almost before the proverbial early bird had given a thought to his first meal this morning. Equally of oourse, their first glances were direoted towards the sun ; and when it was found that the morning was a fine one and that Venus could be plainly seen as an inky spot clearly defined upon the broad bright diso of tho sun, and that there were no indications of ooming thick weather, great delight was depicted on every countenance. Bombadier Wilson, Colonel • Tupman's body guard, retinue, factotum, and assistant rolled into one, and the carpenter began thei" work very soon after four a.m., taking the roofs off the two huts in whioh the equatorials are mounted, and oleared the decks for action generally. Forces were divided as follows between the two observatories: —In the one in which stands the larger, or 6in telescope, were Colonel Tupman at the instrument, Mrs Tupman at the ohronoinster oounting the seconds with a regularity and accuracy whioh long praotice has given her, and Mr Gell, the telegraphist sent from Wellington to work the galvanometer, to give clerical assistance in writing down times of contact, &c, and the few remarks which it was possible for the observer to mako during the actual transit, and for the appearances whioh met his gaze immediately before it. In the second were stationed Lieutenant and Mrs Coke and Mr White, the general tolegr*phist to the observatory. In this hut a member of our staff was also kindly permitted to try and make himself of come Blight service. Outside, upon one of the briok piers left from Major Palmer's time, a small astronomical teleßOope was set up and left in oharge of Mr Maddison, master of the Industrial School, and Bombadier Wilson. Bound this was gathered a curious group of amateurs who live about the neighbourhood, anxious for a peep. And considering that the instrument had to be kopt upon the planet by hand instead of by clockwork, the observations were remarkably aocurate. As the time drew closo, and tho planet approached the limb of the sun, the last and final preparations were made and watchfulness and attention supervened. At length the critical moment came. A few short words, a little concentration of thought, a few figures quickly noted, and beforo one could realise it the most important aetonomical event of 1882 was over. Nothing more could be done, and congratulations all round and a break, fast were the next items of the programme, and thereafter comparison of notes ; when it was found that wonderfully similar observations had been taken. By degrees, too, tho accounts of success or illfortune at other points came clicking through the battery, and congratulatory messages — one of the first of the latter being from the Premier himself. An ha* been previously intimated, Dr Hector had gone down to Clyde to no purpOßO, as the clouds were thickly spread over the sun at the time of transit, the sky clearing in the most tantalising fashion just afterwards Archdeacon ' Harper at J imaru, and Mr Acland at Bangitata, had been baffled in like manner, the only southern stations which succeeded being Dunedin and Cromwell. At Auckland the Americans had good fortune, and so did the Wellington observers. No report had come in from Nelson and New Plymouth when our representative left. [Feb Pbbbs Association.] WELLINGTON, Dbc. 7. Excellent observations of the transit of Venus were obtained here this morning. The weather was fine and clear, with a cloudless sky. NBW PLYMOUTH, Dbc. 7. Although at times clouds passed ovor the sun during the transit, at the time of internal contact at egross the sun was dear, and an excellent observation was taken here. The external egress was not seen. The observations were taken by Mr Humphries, ChiefSurvoyor, and MrO'Donohuo, who was about a hundred yards from tho main observatory. On comparing tho records thero was only ono second difference between the two observations. DUISEDIN, Dbo. 7. The transit was well observed here, for over throe-quarters of an hour, ond the Government observers say with excellent results. AUOKLAND, Dbo. 7. The American observation party report that their observations of the transit of Venua this morning were very successful. Twenty-four photographs were taken up to the timo of internal contact, when a thin haze of clouds prevented furthor photographing. They then had recourse to telescopes, and observed the planet up to ths time of external contact, the clouds not interfering with telescopic observations. Tho observers say that they have nevor seen such successful results. The photographs will bo sont to America by tho next outward steamer, and the ono following it, to prevent accidents. The party will then go to Bydnoy, for tho purpose of continuing their pendulum experiments. KUMAKA, Deo. 7. Tho Trantit of Venus was not successfully observed here this morning. Clouds obsoured tho sun till 6.45 a.m., but occasional glimpses of tho planot wore scon till 7,20. The internal and external contacts at egress wore obscured by dense clouda. [RaaTEß'u TfiLKGKAMB.] MELBOURNE, Dec. 7. Tho early morning was bright and clear, and favourable observations were obtained of the transit of Venus. [Kooeivcd Doo. 0, at 11 a.tn.l MELBOURNE, Late a. The observation of the transit of Venus from tho Melbourne station was successful. It was somewhat cloudy at Bunriße, but tho clouds cleared off before the critical time. Twenty-three good photographs were obtained. The observations at Gippßland station were not successful ; the weather was mißty, and rain was falling.
THE TRANSIT OF VENUS., Star, Issue 4562, 7 December 1882
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