Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 22.djvu/585

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POPULAR MISCELLANY.

Carnivorous Plants. By W. K. Higley. First Series. Pp. 60.

"Wide Awake." Boston: D. Lothrop & Co. December, 1882. Monthly, $2.50 a year.

House Drainage and Sanitary Plumbing. By William Paul Gerhard. New York: D. Van Nostrand. Pp. 205. Price, 50 cents.

Poems by Minot J. Savage. Boston: George H. Ellis. 1882. Pp. 247.

Annual Report of the Chief-Engineer of the Water Department of the City of Philadelphia, for the Year 1881. Philadelphia: J. Spencer Smith, printer. 1882.

Tables for the Use of Students and Beginners in Vegetable Histology. By D. P. Peuhanow, B.S. Boston: S. E. Cassino. 1882. Pp. 39.

The Builder's Guide and Estimator's Price-Book. By Fred T. Hodgson. New York: Industrial Publication Co. 1882. Pp. 331.

The Elements of Forestry. By Franklin B. Hough, Ph.D. Cincinnati: Robert Clarke & Co. 1882. Pp. 381. $2.

Ragnarok: The Age of Fire and Gravel. By Ignatius Donnelly. New York: D. Appleton & Co. 1882. Pp. 452. $2.

First Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology. 1879-'80. By J. W. Powell, Director. Washington: Government Printing-Office. 1881. Pp. 603. Illustrated.

 


POPULAR MISCELLANY.

Observations of the Recent Transit of Venus.—Professor C. A. Young has published in the "New York Times" a summary of the results, so far as they can be estimated so soon, that have attended the observations of the transit of Venus of December 6th in this and other countries. On the whole, he says, the observations were successful beyond expectation. Although in the United States there was more or less cloudiness, there were very few stations that did not succeed in accomplishing the most essential portions of their intended work. The first contact, although it is the most difficult part of the phenomenon of which to get an accurate observation, and although it was not seen by more than half as many observers as the other three contacts, was noted by some of the observers at twenty out of the thirty-nine stations on the continent where it might have been visible. An unusually satisfactory observation was obtained at Princeton. The other contacts were observed with more general success, the second at twenty-nine, the third at thirty-two, and the fourth at thirty stations. As far as can be judged from the present incomplete calculations, "it would appear that the planet was about 20" to 25" behind time in her orbit, and that her diameter assumed in the computations was at least 1", and probably 1·5", too large. The duration of the transit appears, also, to have been about 25" longer than computed, which might indicate either of two things or a little of both—that the planet was 1" or 2" of an arc north of its computed position, or that the diameter of the sun is a trifle larger than was assumed. The agreement, however, was remarkably close." Heliometer observations were made by German parties at Hartford, Connecticut, and Aiken, South Carolina, and by Professor Waldo, at Yale College. Measurements of the sun's diameter by similar or somewhat different instruments were also made by the French at St. Augustine, the Belgians at San Antonio, and—with a wonderfully simple but accurate apparatus—at Cambridge and New Haven. Photographs were taken by different methods at a number of places, and with unexpected success, except at Washington. "At Fort Selden and at the Lick Observatory the day was perfect, and the photography went on without a hitch." Micrometric observations for the diameter of Venus were made at fifteen or sixteen stations on this continent, and perhaps at nearly as many more foreign stations. The results are not yet reduced, but the indications correspond with the conclusion, which was drawn from the contacts, that the planet's diameter is really considerably smaller than has hitherto been assumed. The photometric observations showed that Venus was distinctly darker than the sky just outside of the sun's limb. The results of the spectroscopic observations at Cambridge, South Hadley, Princeton, and Alleghany were "purely and surprisingly negative," and showed for the most part no conspicuous evidence of selective absorption by the planet's atmosphere. The Princeton observers, however, were so fortunate as to find distinct indications of water-vapor, thus confirming certain old observations of Huggins. Professor Langley, at Alleghany, observed a spot of abnormal brightness in a part of the atmosphere of the planet where such an appearance would be least expected, which may denote auroral and magnetic phenomena. Professor Harrington, at Ann Arbor, made out spots and markings on the planet's disk, but no one else has spoken of