Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 39.djvu/833

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ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETIES AND ASTRONOMERS.

have not always reached the same results. The mummies would furnish them sure data, and would permit them to supplement the often deceitful evidence of the monuments. But there must not now be much delay in going into the study. European companies have been mining in the necropolises of Egyptian animals for more than twenty years. Last year a great exodus of mummified cats took place to England; and not a month passes that vessels loaded with bones and mummies of cattle, jackals, gazelles, and dogs do not sail for Trieste and other ports on the Mediterranean. When European naturalists shall at last have decided to study the mummified animals, there may not be one left in Egypt.—Translated for the Popular Science Monthly from La Nature.

 

ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETIES AND AMATEUR ASTRONOMERS.
By M. L. NIESTEN.

A CURIOUS and notable fact in the history of the social condition of the present century is the disposition, amounting to a necessity, which is felt in all classes of society for organizing in groups to work in common to reach some end by the union of individual efforts which one person alone could not attain; or for forming societies. Devotees of sciences, friends of art, and patrons of letters have alike judged that, co-operating in societies, they could accomplish more and better by collecting scattered forces, and could procure in this way means for stimulating emulation and rewarding merit.

Astronomy, which has devotees and patrons in all countries, now possesses numerous societies having for their single object the progress of science, and rivaling one another in encouraging and collating the works of their neighbors, to the great advancement of knowledge of the sky.

We find the first Astronomical Society in England. Founded in 1820, it was erected into a corporation by King William IV in 1831. Sir John Herschel, son of the illustrious astronomer, undertook the preparation of the address to the friends of astronomy "It may seem strange," he said in the beginning, "that in a country like Great Britain, where science is generally carefully cultivated, and where astronomy has made great progress and drawn upon itself a large share of attention, there should exist no society occupied especially with that science; and that while chemistry, mineralogy, geology, natural history, and many other important branches of science and art are encouraged by associations which direct, by stimulating, the most energetic efforts of