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work of the observatory was one he had already established at Cambridge, and is now universally adopted. He held that an observation is not completed until it has been reduced to a useful form; and in the case of the sun, moon, and planets these results were, in every case, compared with the tables, and the tabular error printed. Airy was firmly impressed with the object for which Charles II. had wisely founded the observatory in connection with navigation, and for observations of the moon. Whenever a meridian transit of the moon could be observed this was done. But, even so, there are periods in the month when the moon is too near the sun for a transit to be well observed. Also woather interferes with many meridian observations. To render the lunar observations more continuous, Airy employed Troughton's successor, James Simms, in conjunction with the engineers, Ransome and May, to construct an altazimuth with three-foot circles, and a five-foot telescope, in 1847. The result was that the number of lunar observations was immediately increased threefold, many of them being in a part of the moon's orbit which had previously been bare of observations. From that date the Greenwich lunar observations have been a model and a standard for the whole world. Airy also undertook to superintend the reduction of all Greenwich lunar observations from 1750 to 1830. The value of this laborious work, which was completed in 1848, cannot be overestimated. The demands of astronomy, especially in regard to small minor planets, required a transit instrument and mural circle with a more powerful telescope. Airy combined the functions of both, and employed the same constructors as before to make a transit-circle with a telescope of eleven and a half feet focus and a circle of six feet diameter, the object-glass being eight inches in diameter. Airy, like Bradley, was impressed with the advantage of employing stars in the zenith for determining the fundamental constants of astronomy. He devised a reflex zenith tube, in which the zenith point was determined by reflection from a surface of mercury. The design was so simple, and seemed so perfect, that great expectations were entertained. But unaccountable variations comparable with those of the transit circle appeared, and the instrument was put out of use until 1903, when the present Astronomer Royal noticed that the irregularities could be allowed for, being due to that remarkable variation in the position of the earth's axis included in circles of about six yards diameter at the north and south poles, discovered at the end of the nineteenth century. The instrument is now being used for investigating these variations; and in the year 1907 as many as 1,545 observations of stars were made with the reflex zenith tube. In connection with zenith telescopes it must be stated that Respighi, at the Capitol Observatory at Rome, made use of a deep well with a level mercury surface at the bottom and a telescope at the top pointing downwards, which the writer saw in 1871. The reflection of the micrometer wires and of a star very near the zenith (but not quite in the zenith) can be observed together. His mercury trough was a circular plane surface with a shallow edge to retain the mercury. The surface quickly came to rest after disturbance by street traffic. Sir W. M. H. Christie, Eighth Astronomer Royal, took up his duties in that capacity in 1881. Besides a larger altazimuth that he erected in 1898, he has widened the field of operations at Greenwich by the extensive use of photography and the establishment of large equatorials. From the point of view of instruments of precision, one of the most important new features is the astrographic equatorial, set up in 1892 and used for the Greenwich section of the great astrographic chart just completed. Photography has come to be of use, not only for depicting the sun and moon, comets and nebulae, but also to obtain accurate relative positions of neighbouring stars; to pick up objects that are invisible in any telescope; and, most of all perhaps, in fixing the positions of faint satellites. Thus Saturn's distant satellite, Phoebe, and the sixth and seventh satellites of Jupiter, have been followed regularly in their courses at Greenwich ever since their discovery with the thirty-inch reflector (erected in 1897); and while doing so Mr. Melotte made, in 1908, the splendid discovery on some of the photographic plates of an eighth satellite of Jupiter, at an enormous distance from the planet. From observations in the early part of 1908, Over a limited arc of its orbit, before Jupiter approached the sun, Mr. Cowell computed a retrograde Orbit and calculated the future positions of this satellite, which enabled Mr. Melotte to find it again in the autumn — a great triumph both of calculation and of photographic observation. This satellite has never been seen, and has been photographed only at Greenwich, Heidelberg, and the Lick Observatory. Greenwich Observatory has been here selected for tracing the progress of accurate measurement. But there is one instrument of great value, the heliometer, which is not used at Greenwich. This serves the purpose of a double image micrometer, and is made by dividing the object-glass of a telescope along a diameter. Each half is mounted so as to slide a distance of several inches each way on an arc whose centre is the focus. The amount of the movement can be accurately read. Thus two fields of view overlap, and the adjustment is made to bring an image of one star over that of another star, and then to do the same by a displacement in the opposite direction. The total movement of the half-object glass is double the distance between the star images in the focal plane. Such an instrument has long been established at Oxford, and German astronomers have made great use of it. But in the hands of Sir David Gill (late His Majesty's Astronomer at the Cape of Good Hope), and especially in his great researches on Solar and on Stellar parallax, it has been recognised as an instrument of the very highest accuracy, measuring the distance between stars correctly to less than a tenth of a second of arc. The superiority of the heliometer over all other devices (except photography) for measuring small angles has been specially brought into prominence by Sir David Gill's researches on the distance of the sun — i.e., the scale of the solar system. A measurement of the distance of any planet fixes the scale, and, as Venus approaches the earth most nearly of all the planets, it used to be supposed that a Transit of Venus offered the best opportunity for such measurement, especially as it was thought that,

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