Page:Men of the Time, eleventh edition.djvu/618

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Huggins's subsequent discoveries was that of the nature of some of the nebxUee. He found that some of these bodies gave a spectrum of a few bright lines only, which showed that the light had emanated from heated matter in the state of gas ; and further that one of the principal constituents of the gaseous nebulae is hydrogen. These objects arc not, therefore, as was previously supposed, clusters of stars too dis- tant to be separately distinguished. For these researches, Mr. Huggins received, in Nov. 1866, one of the Royal Medals placed at the dis- posal of the Eoyal Society, of which he had previously, on June 1, 1865, been elected a Fellow. In 1867 the Gold Medal of the Eoyal Astro- nomical Society was awarded to Mr. Huggins and Dr. Miller for their conjoint researches. Mr. Huggins has since continued his prismatic researches by a re-exa- mination of the nebulae with a more powerful spectroscope, by which his former results have been confirmed. He has also examined the spectra of four comets, and has found that the greater part of the light of these objects is different from solar light. The spectrum of Winnecke's comet he found to be identical with the spectrum of carbon. His recent observations of the bright comet (Coggia's) of the autumn of 1874 conSrm his earlier ones, and show that carbon, probably in combina- tion with hydrogen, forms one of the constituents of cometary mat- ter. Mr. Huggins has shown that the proper motion of the stars in the line of sight can be determined from any small shift of position which the lines of their spectra may have suffered, and that Sirius is moving from the earth with a velocity of twenty-seven miles per second. Of thirty stars examined subsequently, nineteen were fo\md to be receding, and eleven ap- proaching. These results have been confirmea by observations made at the Eoyal Observatory, Greenwich j

and this method of research is now included in the routine work there. Mr. Huggins has made observa- tions of the spectra of the solar prominences, and devised the me- thod by which the forms of these objects may be seen. Ho has also succeeded in detecting the heat re- ceived at the earth from some of the fixed stars. From 1875 Mr. Huggins has been engaged in ob- taining photographs of the ultra- violet portions (invisible to eye observation) of the spectra of the stars. This difficxilt research has led to important results, and has opened up quite a new field of work to the astronomer : it furnishes the only data we at present have as to the probable relative ages of the stars, and of the s\m. Mr. Huggins has extended this method of re- search to two comets, and to the Great Nebula in Orion, in each case new results of importance being obtained. For these newer re- searches, and for that on the mo- tion of stars in the line of sight, Mr. Huggins has a second time re- ceived a medal from the Eoyal Society, the Eomford Medal being conferred upon him in 1880. Mr. Huggins delivered the Eede Lec- ture at the University of Cam- bridge in 1869, when he gave an account of his researches in astro- nomy by means of the spectroscope. In May, 1870, he received the honorary degree of LL.D. from the University of Cambridge; and at the Commemoration at Oxford the same year, the degree of D.C.L. On the occasion of the meeting of the British Association at Edin- burgh, in 1871, he was created honorary LL.D. of that imiversity. A large telescope of fifteen inches aperture, by Messrs. Grubb, of Dublin, constructed at the expense of the Eoyal Society, was placed, in 1871, in Mr. Huggins's hands, and fixed in an observatory erected by him at Upper Tulse Hill. In July, 1872, he was elected a Fo reign Member of the ancient w