Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 20.djvu/705

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685
SKETCH OF PROFESSOR B. A. GOULD.

Council assembled, and Dr. Gould was surrounded by Bache and Henry and Peirce and the rest, his loyal assistants found their chief still easily first in wit and learning among the brilliant band. Scattered now in the church, the naval service, college, and business, they look back with affection to those days as among the happiest of their lives, and with gratitude to him whose overwhelming anxieties never relaxed his efforts to make them so.

Dr. Gould's "Catalogue of Fundamental Stars" has been used up to a recent date, not only for the calculation of the ephemerides in the "Nautical Almanac," but also as a basis for all observations made in this country.

In view of the special value of ancient observations, Dr. Gould undertook to reduce and to publish all those which had been made at Paris by D'Agelet between 1782 and 1785. He has also reduced all the zone observations made at Washington from 1846 to 1852, in both these cases rendering great service to the cause of science.

The southern heavens being almost unexplored, and offering a vast field for investigation, Dr. Gould, in entire devotion to the interests of science, and setting aside all personal considerations, unhesitatingly responded to a call from the Argentine Republic. Thanks to his personal qualities and his scientific capacity, he soon acquired the complete confidence of the Government, under whose auspices he founded at Cordoba, between 1870 and 1872, an observatory equipped with the most admirable instruments. Here Dr. Gould, being quite independent, and no longer obliged to divide his energies among many different interests, has undertaken a series of great works of remarkable value. He has just published his new "Uranometry of the Southern Heavens," including all stars visible to the naked eye, the magnitude of each star being determined by not less than four independent observations. In the course of these researches he has found as many variable stars visible to the naked eye as have been discovered to this day in the northern heavens. Other labors under these favorable conditions and based on scientific principles have been devoted to the reformation of the boundaries and notations of the constellations. His Uranometry is as final an authority for the southern hemisphere as that of Argelander for the northern. From the results obtained by Argelander and Heis, combined with his own observations, Dr. Gould has deduced a formula according to which the number of stars increases in proportion to the diminution of their luster, and he has suggested that our solar system is not part of the milky way, but of a stellar system to which about four hundred of the brighest fixed stars also belong, and which bisects the milky way at an angle of about 20°.

It is well known that the object of the zone observations made by Bessel and Argelander was to determine the positions of stars from the first to the ninth magnitude, between -3° and 80° in the northern