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3. Preparations for observing the meteors of the 20th of April last were also made at many stations in England and Scotland with only partial

A meteor of the April shower was, however, observed simultaneously at Birmingham and Bury St. Edmunds, of which the following descriptions were recorded :


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11 8 Birmingham Length of path 11°. One-third of the sky overcast. Observer, W. H. WOOD. 11 10 15... Thurston ... Length of path 45°. Sky very clear. Observer, A. S. HERSCHEL.

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Although the times at both the stations were uncertain to rather more than a minute from true Greenwich time, and the approximate times of the meteor's appearance recorded at the two stations differ from each other by rather more than two minutes, yet the very similar descriptions of its appearance at the two stations, and the fact that no other meteor at either station preceded it or followed it within a quarter of an hour, during a very attentive watch, as well as the good agreement together of the apparent paths recorded by the two observers, render it scarcely possible to doubt that the same meteor was simultaneously observed. The apparent length of path and duration however, much longer at Bury St. Edmunds than at Birmingham, where the meteor was seen foreshortened near the radiant-point; and on this peculiar circumstance Mr. Wood (in a letter to Mr. Herschel) makes some important remarks, which offer a very interesting field for further observations. “ My view of the meteor's course was evidently very oblique, and yours, very direct (nearly at right angles), would obscure a faint tail to me. There is also another peculiarity which I have observed in oblique-visioned courses, that they appear to endure about half the time of that obtained by direct vision, which I fancy arises from its invisibility to one observer, whilst it is visible to the other in the earliest portion of its flight, and the amount of the invisible course to bear some proportion to the recorded differences in the durations." In perfect agreement with this explanation the point of disappearance of the meteor is wellfixed (by combining the observations) at a height of about sixty-five miles above a place near Bourne, in Lincolnshire. The observations, on the other hand, do not agree in determining the point of first appearance. The first and faint half of the meteor's apparent path, as recorded at Bury St. Edmunds, is placed too far from the north pole of the heavens to be nearly comformable to the radiant-point near à Lyræ (from some point near and below which the apparent course of the meteor, as seen

at Birmingham, was directed), while this portion of the meteor's flight appears to have entirely escaped observation at Birmingham. Prolonging the meteor's visible flight at Birmingham 7° backwards towards the

radiantpoint, and approaching the point of first appearance at Bury St. Edmunds about the same distance towards the north pole of the heavens, the agreement of the observations in fixing the point of first commencement at a height of about eighty miles over the neighbourhood of Norwich is nearly as exact as the determination of the place of the meteor's disappearance. The length of its visible path was about seventy-five miles, and its radiantpoint in Taurus Poniatovii, on the same meridian, was about 40° south of the usual radiant-point (QH) of the April meteors. Although its apparent course, as observed at Bury St. Edmunds, evidently denoted it as an erratic member of the group, its general resemblance to the other Lyraïds observed on the same evening was a remarkable feature in its long and striking course. Adopting Mr. Wood's suggestion of (provisionally) increasing the duration, as observed at Birmingham, from 1.25 to 2 seconds in the simple proportion of the increased length of the apparent course, prolonged towards the radiantpoint, and adopting 24 seconds (the average between this duration and that recorded at Bury St. Edmunds) as the time of flight, the resulting velocity, relative to the earth, of this single member of the April meteoric stream doubly observed on the night of the 20th of April last, was, within very few miles, about thirty miles per second. The theoretical velocity of the same meteors (see the Note on the last page of this Report) is not quite thirty miles per second.

4. Several observations of the very brilliant fireball observed in Devonshire and in the south-western counties of England on the evening of the 13th of February last were collected and compared together by Mr. Wood, the result of whose investigation will shortly be given, with descriptions of that meteor, as the most probable conjecture, from the materials at present at their disposal, arrived at by the Committee respecting its real height and the locality of its nearest approach to the British isles.

II. LARGE METEORS. In addition to the conspicuous meteors described in the accompanying list, the following descriptions of remarkable meteors have appeared, or were communicated to the Committee by the observers :

1. 1870, Nov. 1, 11• 30m P.M., London. “I saw a splendid meteor last night, at 11h 30m, through the blind of my bedroom window. The whole room was illuminated, and the meteor must have been at least half as large as the moon. I went to the window quickly, but could see no trail. The path must have been, say, 5o to the right of a Auriga, ending 10° to left of a, ß B Geminorum. I only saw the end.

“T. CRUMPLEN, London, N.W., Nov. 2nd, 1870." 2. 1870, Nov. 4, shortly before 3 A.M. (local time), Agra, India :

Extraordinary Meteor.—“ The following account of an extraordinary meteor occurs in a letter I received from a brother who is a missionary stationed in

a Agra. He does not give the exact place where he was at the time, but it must have been very near to Agra. The letter is dated Agra, 24th November, 1870. A missionary from Allahabad was with him when he saw it. "Mills Hill, Chadderston, near Manchester.

ROBERT GRYSON. “ Agra, Nov. 24, 1870.-I recently saw a marvellous meteor. I was in camp, and had risen for an early march a few minutes before 3 a.m. on

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November 4th. I was standing under the shade of a cluster of trees, when a sudden flash of light fell around. Two or three camp fires were blazing near, and at first I thought it might be a sudden flare up from one of them; but on casting my eyes up towards the heavens, I saw a large oval light, stationary. It appeared to be composed of a large number of irregularly shaped, differently sized stars, yet so closely packed as to form one light, yet giving the whole a sort of dappled appearance. At first I was struck dumb with amazement—thought it must be some mental illusion, or that my eyes were playing me false. But as I gazed it remained steadily fixed. of Allahabad, was with me. I roused him ; he was soundly asleep, and some seconds passed in waking him up. In the interval it appeared to have been lengthened, nearly, though not quite, by a straight line, and as we gazed it assumed the shape of a large magnet, with the upper limb rather shorter than the other. It then gradually expanded, diminishing in brightness as it increased in size, assuming a wavy, serpentine form, though keeping much to a horseshoe shape, until it became so attenuated as to be no longer visible. It must have continued in sight five minutes. It was seen by all the servants; and one of them cried out, ‘ Bhagwauka seela hae,' by which he appeared to mean that in his opinion the Almighty was amusing Himself with fireworks ; literally, 'It is God's sport or amusement.'”—Nature, Jan. 12th, 1871.

3. 1870, Dec. 20, 6h 40m P.M., Hawkhurst, Kent.--" This evening at 6h 40m I noticed the descent of a beautiful meteor. It appeared to start almost from the zenith towards the S.S.E., and it was visible for about three seconds. It had very much the appearance of a sky-rocket in its flight, but without any explosion, and it displayed vivid red and orange colours. The evening was very dark, but the stars were visible; the meteor did not increase the amount of light in the place where I was walking. According to my "star-map,' I should lay down its course as follows.” (See the sketch of the meteor's course.]—T. HUMPHREY, Hawkhurst, Dec. 20th, 1870.

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4. 1871, Feb. 13, gh 4m P.M., Bristol.—“I saw a very brilliant meteor last evening, February 13th, at 9h 4m. During the time that it continued visible the whole of the sky was illuminated by the light it emitted.

The first appearance of the meteor was not witnessed, but the direction and situation of the latter portion of its path was approximately determined. It passed through the S. part of Orion, just under Rigel, 50 [see sketch]:

It disappeared near B, which is equal to about R.A. 4h 10", Decl. S. 15o. At A it left a train about 2° in length, which endured for ten minutes. In that portion of the sky near which the meteor disappeared many stratus clouds were visible.

“ P.S.-I omitted to state that the brilliancy of the meteor excelled that of any of the planets. When at its brightest the light was about equal to that of a clear full moon. I only saw the disappearance."— William F. DENNING, Bristol, February 14th, 1871.

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At Rugby the meteor was observed very bright at about gh 10m P.m., and it was described as “starting from near 0 Orionis, and proceeding towards a point a little north of y Eridani, when it was lost behind a belt of cloud.” (Communicated to · Nature,' February 16th, 1871, by J. M. Wilson.)

These two descriptions of its visible path (apparently from the relative positions of the stations) are so similar that little can be certainly concluded from them regarding the real distance of the meteor.

At Exeter “ a brilliant meteor traversed the constellation of Orion, appearing near the Belt and passing from south to west. The direction was south-west, altitude 35°. Its light equalled or exceeded that of full moon, and it left a train of colours for some time.” (* English Mechanic,' Feb. 24th.)

At Torquay, “ The meteor started near Bellatrix in Orion, altitude 35°, passing due west, leaving in its track a brilliant train of colours, green predominating.” (Ibid., March 3rd.)

, The meteor was also seen at Callington, in Cornwall, casting a brilliant diffused light, and occupying two seconds in its transit. (Ibid.)

By comparing together the foregoing observations of its course, and obtaining an approximate estimation of its real height, Mr. Wood is led to adopt the following provisional positions of its visible track. The meteor first appeared at an elevation of fifty-five miles over the English Channel, seventy miles S.S.W. from Torquay. It thence descended, with an inclination of 16°, to a height of thirty-five miles over a point sixty-four miles west of Torquay, thus describing, from S.E. by S. to N.W. by N., a path of eighty miles in two seconds, across the centre of the county of Cornwall, terminating at its western coast, near St. Columb Minor. The radiant of the meteor was near a Hydræ. As the meteor was probably distinctly seen in Cornwall, the Scilly Isles, and in the south of Ireland, additional descriptions of its apparent course from those places, as seen from points considerably west of the place where it appears to have approached the earth, would afford the best materials for verifying the present approximate conjecture of its real path. As seen at Torquay, it was notably described by an observer to Mr. Greg as lighting up the whole bay and presenting a magnificent appearance.



5. 1871, July 31st, 9h 27m P.m., Bristol.-—~ I observed a meteor of some brilliancy on Monday evening last, July 31st, at 9h 27m. It was first seen a little above ß Pegasi, and passing downwards obliquely, it went about 30 east of a Pegasi, and disappeared when it reached a point somewhere near R.A. 13°, N. Declin. 29o. It left no train of light that was perceptible, and I suppose that the meteor was visible for about three seconds. As far as could be

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1870. hm Sep. 12 10 25 p.m. Camden Town, 3x 4, large disk... Blue ......... Slow moving... Began near a Urs London.

Majoris, and end ed near Cor Ca

roli. 23 8 10 p.m. Birmingham ... One-third diameter Pale blue ...... About 2 secs... Commenced at of the full moon,

a=66, Ö=+39 or 2x . Oct. 2 10 8 p.m. Ibid .... ...............>4

Silvery-white.. 3 seconds ......

From 92° +44°

to 116 +37


29 12 15 a.m. Glasgow = 4.

Red ............. 0.4 second Commenced at Cor

Caroli. Nov.13 9 37 59 Royal Observa-> 4

Yeilowish ....... 3 seconds ...... Passed midway betory, Green

tween a and k wich.

Draconis, and continued its path parallel to and » Ursæ Ma

joris. 21 9 35 p.m. Glasgow


3 seconds...... From $ (B,0) Au-

rigæ to o Ursa

Majoris. 20 9 0 p.m. Scarborough Apparent shape and Bluish

Descended from a size of the half.

point about 15

above the S.W. 1871.

horizon. Mar. 110 10 p.m. Charing Cross, > 4

Brilliant white About 3 secs... From near ß Canis London.

Minoris to about 5° or 6° east of, and at the same altitude as, Orionis.



20 seconds


17 About 10 40 Paris, Rochelle, Splendid meteor ... Green

p.m. &c., France. (local time).

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