Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 41.djvu/416

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

discovered in the Southern Constellation (Antlia) has the surprisingly short period of only seven and three quarters hours—the most rapid variation hitherto detected in any variable star. All the Algol variables are white, or only slightly colored.

It was long since suggested that the periodical diminution of light in the Algol variables might possibly be due to the interposition of a dark, eclipsing satellite. Some few years since Prof. Pickering undertook a mathematical investigation of the case of Algol, and showed that an eclipsing satellite revolving in a nearly circular orbit in a period indicated by the light-variations of the star would satisfactorily explain the observed phenomenon within the limits, of errors of observation, and he suggested that the orbit might be determined by spectroscopic observation of the star's light before and after the minimum. Observations of this kind made by Prof. Vogel at Potsdam, in 1888 and 1889, leave little doubt that the decrease of light is really due to an eclipsing satellite. He found that before the minimum the bright star is receding from the earth (and therefore the dark companion approaching), and after minimum it is approaching, thus proving the eclipse theory to be correct.

Herr J. Plassmann, of Warendorf, Germany, has lately announced his discovery of a secondary minimum in the light of Algol and Lambda Tauri. This, if confirmed, would seem to show that the eclipsing satellite is not absolutely dark, but possesses some inherent light of its own, this light being cut off when the satellite passes in its turn behind the disk of its primary.—The Gentleman's Magazine.

 


 
An extensive human settlement, belonging to the stone age, has been discovered near Schaffhausen, Switzerland, by Dr. Euesch, and is being laid bare under his supervision. It is in a rocky niche, about thirteen metres high and thirty-seven metres long, and is the first of that period that has been discovered in Switzerland which is not connected with a cavern. The overhanging rocks offered a roof as protection against the weather. Quantities of flint knives, chisels, and lance-heads, bones of the reindeer, roe, stag, hare, cave-bear, and other animals, and human bones, needles, and the beginnings of drawings, were also found here.
 
A suggestion was made in Ciel et Terre, some time ago, that the date be regularly noted, as a climatological fact, of the day, for each place on which certain agricultural operations, particularly in harvesting, are begun. As the ripening of the crops depends oil the absolute amount of heat they have received during the season, the date of beginning the harvest will determine when the amount of heat required by each plant has been accumulated. Father Cl. Buvé, curé of Linsmeau, Belgium, suggests that the measurement of the amount of beet-sugar produced from a given quantity of beets will serve the same end; for, other things being equal, it is entirely dependent on meteorological conditions.