Page:Philosophical Transactions - Volume 095.djvu/276

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.


Dr. Herschel on the Direction of the

to deprive Arcturus and Sinus of real motions, in order to give one of the same nature to our third star: and indeed to every star that has a proper motion which does not tend to the same parallactic center as the motions of Arcturus and Sirius.

This objection is perfectly well founded, and I have given the above calculation on purpose to show that, when we are in search of an apex for the solar motion, it ought to be so fixed upon as to be equally favourable to every star which is proper for directing our choice. Hence a problem will arise, in our present case, how to find a point whose situation among three given apices shall be so that, if the sun's motion be directed towards it, there may be taken away the greatest quantity of proper motion possible from the given three stars. The intricacy of the problem is greater than at first it may appear, because by a change of the distance of the apex from any one of the stars, its parallactic motion, which is as the sine of that distance, will be affected; so that it is not the mere alteration of the angle of direction, which is concerned. However, it will not be necessary to enter into a solution of the problem; for it must be very evident that a much more complex one would immediately succeed it, since three stars would certainly not be sufficient to direct us in our present endeavour to find the best situation of an apex for the solar motion; I shall therefore now leave these stars, and the apices pointed out by them, in order to proceed to a more general view of the subject.

We have already seen that the brightest stars are most proper for showing the effect of parallax, and that in our search after the direction of the solar motion, our aim must be to reduce the proper motions of the stars to their lowest