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LOWELL OBSERVATORY AT FLAGSTAFF, ARIZONA.
•In' an interview at Boston the other day Astronomer See told the world \vV*t makes the stars twinkle. To-day yiii?-. world has its astronomical eyes . .fin used on the high altitudes of Northern Arizona. The two facts are not disassociated. Professor T. J. J. See. is astronomer-in-charge of the ■ Lowell Observatory, and the big it inch Alvin Clark lens through which he observed and recorded the etheric vibrations that inspired the author of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, ' is .nxm-ited en the summit of a pine-girt hill 0:1 the outskirts of Flagstaff. To-morrow- or next day the lens ma be somewhere else, for Flag-staff is not its permanent station. TII2 Lo well Observatory has no fixed resi de ice. To-day it rests at an elevation .more than 7000 feet, in an atmosphere ■•j"*arer and purer than any ••in*,-** as tv or.tmica! station in the world. Last >''*■■ it was in Mexico; before that m Flagstaff. Soon it will be moved to Peru— the great lens is already being ] a*, ked ior shipment. Fro*.i Peruvian mountain tops it will return, in a year or :"So, to Arizona, though probably not to Flagstaff. A point farther south will doubtless be chosen, where the wind movement is le_s than upon the hill top among the pines and where the wintry skies are Jess cold and rr.oVc se rene. It is an itinerant observatory, but this fact has *-,iven it advantage in many ways si-tenor to those ot the legL-'nT- ;.*-,, j. in. ical stations. Prrfessor Holdtn has sought t_ ridi culej_^nd scorn its achievement.-., but the masters of astronomy the world over have rejoiced at its exceeding usefulness and most valuable discover ies. Its establishment in 1894 was due &.>.■ .the generosity and astronomical rastes of Percival Lowell, a grandson of the founder of Harvard Institute and a graduate of Harvard College of the class of '77. With ample fortune at his command, he secured an excel lent glass of 18 inches aperture, and with the assistance of A. E. Douglass, a .young Harvard astronomer and for awhile with Professor Pickering, he began in earnest the work in which he had hitherto been interested as an amateur. Mars. then at its nearest approach to earth, was the first study. This was continued until the warlike planet re ceded far into the blue depths, with re sults as important to science as any secured by astronomers. The Martian canals of Schiaparelli, discovered in j-""- : 7-7. were not only demonstrated by th.e;.: Lowell Observatory at Fas.; staff in .%JB9.i»;-but were measured and their du plication established. Yet Holden of -the. Lick Observatory had ridiculed th_;'-claim of their existence. Profes soj*-..- Douglass at Arequipa, Peru, in .*-.*._. -was the first observer to find the canals in the darkened portion of M^i.s. The work of Martian explora tion, was continued at Flagstaff under exceptionally favorable conditions. The; snow cap at the planet's south pole, was observed as it grew larger arid larger, then remained at a certain denseness, then' melted away again, and,* the darkening of the planet was no-t.cid as the shadows crept from the north pole southward. ...irj/ie Lowell observers believe that -th/ width of the Martian canals width of the Martian canals \«nAut 200 miles), their regularity and tht. undoubted scarcity of moisture in th ; e;-At-mo-"phere of the planet are suffi A MYSTERIOUS CHRISTMAS EVE ■' Tt was the night betore Christmas and the "boys" were all gathered In Gregory's studio celebrating the occa sion as only young artists filled with all the enthusiasm of the present and hope for the future know how. The •ve.ning had worn along toward mid night and the crowd lost some of its ''..hilarity. All gathered around their •■^■st's big open fire and in some mys .yrY-.ious manner a reminiscent mood 'came over them. . "This is not much like our last Christmas eve, is it. Paul?" asked the youngest member of the company of the oldest. "I should say it wasn't," Paul an swered. "There is some contrast be tween this cozy studio and a Minne sota lumber camp. But we did well with the sketches we made up there, so don't let us complain.'" "But I say, Gregory," he continued, *Jfter a momentary silence, "where were you last Christmas eve?" "In Mexico," Gregory answered, and some of his company noticed that his face suddenly became grave. "Of course, I know you were In Mexico," said Paul. "Everybody has heard of your trip down there and of all the money you made out of your Sketches; but what were you doing on Christmas eve? That's what we want to know." Gregory thought a long time while the b*_ys silently puffed at their pipes and filled the air with a languorous fragrance. At last he said, "Well, I guess I might as well tell all of you now as any other time. I have never told anybody about this before, be cause it la one of the most mysterious "happenings in my whole life. "It seems to me," Gregory continued, "as if it all happened in •"•-other world. Most of us have passed hour* In our lives when we found the real and the unreal so intangibly woven together that it was almost impossible to tell wjn • one began and the other ended. , Hoi often do dreams help us to retain im|L---ssions of what happened during the* silent hours of sleep, become so associated with our waking hours that we can scarcely convince ourselves that the incidents in which we took , ' part did not actually happen. Ja * "Why does the appearance of a cer tain place or locality that we are sure ou- eyes have never before beheld arouse feelings that tell plainly we have been therj beiore? Unless you . can explain these things to me I can not explain to you the cause of my ex perience last Christmas eve. But I will tell you just what happened and you can judge for yourselves. "In my wanderings through old Interior of Lowell Observatory at Flagstaff, Showing the 24-Inch Telescope Through Which Pro fessor See Discovered Why the Stars Twinkle. cient proof that the canals are not filled with water. The theory of moun tain chains is also viewed by the archers with disfavor. They believe the surface of Mars to be very fiat, the apparent projections found upon its surface having been shown to be merely shadows from cloud masses suspended many miles above the land. In this connection an interesting pos sibility is presented by the Flagstaff observers, not, however, as a scien tific hypothesis, but rather as a fancy that has some logic behind it, namely, that Mars is largely arid and that these broad, regular strips, thousands of miles in length, are masses of vege tation, even forests, luxuriantly grow ing where water has been artificially supplied. . Thus, within the "canals" of Sehianarelli, there may be irriga tion canais, constructed by the indus try of Martian hands and fed from storage reservoirs designed by the Martian intelligence. These observa THE SAN ERAXCISCO CALL, SUXBAY, DECEMBER 19, 1897. The Lowell Observatory at Flagstaff, Arizona, Where the Recent Important Astronomical Discoveries Have Been Made. - C "WE STOPPED BEFORE.. A PICTURESQUE DOORWAY IN AN ADOBE WALL.." tions of Mars have been suspended, but will be resumed in 1907, when the planet will again come into favorable position. It was in the summer of 1596. that the Lowell star-gazers wer re-enforced by the services of Dr. T. J. J. See. He came from the University of Chicago, the recipient already of many scholas tic honors, with the degrees of Doctor of Philosophy and of Master of Arts from the University of Berlin and a membership in the Royal Astronomical Society of England. His special study and the branch of astronomy in which he had attained wide celebrity was the observation of binary stars. His inves tigations,, which have been mainly in the southern celestial hemisphere, have embraced over 50,000 stars. Of the 1200 stars platted by him as double stars over 500 are of. his personal discovery.' Hundreds, of these binary, stars mere points in the heavens to the unaided eye have been found to circle one about the other and both about a com mon center, and of many of these curi ous heavenly orbs Professor See has spent long nights and days in calcu lating their orbits and relative mo tions. In this interesting , work Dr. See, since he became connected with the Lowell Observatory, has been greatly aided by the latitude of his station at Flagstaff, for it is the far thest south of all the most important astronomical stations of the world — those few south of the equator being mainly equipped for photographic work. Thus it has happened that Dr. See's searchings among the stars — through an arc of GO degrees from the j south pole — given him a field hith erto almost unexplored by astrono- I mers who seek out the habits and or bits of twin twinklers. Though " Twinkle, twinkle, little ■ star," etc., is a very ancient rhyme, yet in all the centuries of scientific re < search carried on by savants in the Western World there has never till now been an astronomer capable of telling us .why the star twinkles. It remained for Dr. See and Professor Douglass to answer this question, and the skylight , town of Flagstaff will go down in history as the sight from which * these - two untiring . students • made the important r discovery .which answers ■** the question. » Professor See describes the situation in nearly, these words: ''Removing the eyepiece of the telescope and pointing, the tube at a bright star, one sees a luminous field for a background. But the light is in unsteady . and irregular patches. These are evidences of r irregularities in. the density of the air, produced -by motion or by changes in the temperature. And these vibratory motions of the atmos phere cause a disturbance of the light waves. The air is, unlike the water, capable of compression, but it may be rippled by the breeze in j much the same manner. And this etheric rip pling causes a breakage; into" many I pieces of the reflection' sent by the tel escope's lens to the eye, each piece be ! ing a separate and minute image -Of j the object at which the telescope is j trained. It is for this reason that the ' stars so scintillate at times that tele- I scopic observation is all but impossi ble. ./-'V.': '■ :ZY^ The larger the lens the worse for the astronomer, when there are zephyrs or gales that ripple, the etheric fluid or matter, for' then the number of twinkles gathered and fo cused are greatly increased. This phenomenon is noticed in a much less degree when observing the planets, be cause of their larger area, whereas the tiny light point of a star is far more easily deflected." .Dr. See has drawn a diagram to il lustrate the etheric vibrations or rif fles, or, as he terms it, in 'more tech nical phraseology, "a disc showing the floating- molecules of the atmosphere as , viewed through the telescope's tube without the eyepiece." Dr. See and Professor Douglass have even counted the twinkles or riffles. i With the average fair weather conditions at Flagstaff there are just twenty-two of the -a in ten seconds. When they pass with greater rapidity the "seeing" is bad, . for th speed* with- which the eye can discern is soon exceeded by the rapid motion. The observation of binary stars has been ' attended with j not an inconsider able degree of labor - at Flagstaff. caused chiefly by the necessity for an exceeding nicety and accuracy of adjustment of the immense tube as each member of the myriad host of the heavens is successively brought into focus. .Through the coldest, of nights, with never a fire— for artificial warmth would disturb the "seeing" qualities of the instrument— Dr. See and Mr. Cogshall, his assistant, lie side be side swathed in overcoats and Nava jo blankets. Mr. Cogshall's weatl er eye is glued to the "finder," a lesser telescope of no mean power; Dr. Sec; has his vision riveted through the eye piece of the larger tube, pencil i> hand- prepared to record observatior. by the occasional flash from" a con venient bullseye lantern.. Observa tions of about 300 stars is considered a fairly good night's "work ' by these men. The work of the Lowell Observatory at Flagstaff has not been limited .to binary observations or to any* special lines of heavenly research. The entire planetary system has been viewed and much of interest to the astron omer has been discovered. Among th*. notable achievements of this station is the work done by Professor Douglass in his numerous observations of the moons of Jupiter. He has accurately mapped the fourth satellite. It is but a mere point of light when viewed through the, ordinary telescope, yet or. its surface have been discerned mark ings analogous to those on Mars. The rotative periods of both the' third and fourth satellites have been deter mined through the lens of the Lowell Observatory, and the fact established that each presents only one face' to the sun, as do Venus and Mercury. From this last important circum stance a very significant law of re tarding tidal action has been deduced The diameters of the third and fourth satellites of Jupiter are, respectively, 3100; and 3700 miles,; each being about the size of Mercury, and the first and second satellites are, respectively, 2SOO and 2200 miles in diameter. . The min ute and newly discovered Zero, the nearest to Jupiter of all its moons, has been found and clearly defined by the Lowell observers during their station at Flagstaff. These lunar markings have never been observed by any other I telescope, and they are a source ol | pride to the Lowell astronomers. I "We are not a little proud of what has been done in the Lowell Observa i tory," says Dr. See, "yet we appreciate j the fact that we have been favored | with advantages far beyond those en ! joyed by any other observatory in the world. First among these advantages i is the portable character of our appa : ratus, which enables us to move to j points where the best 'seeing' is to be I had. In this regard Flagstaff is very | much the best point I have ever vis i ited. In Boston you see through hole? |in the clouds— if there happen to be j any holes. Chicago's atmosphere i ; murky, and the blue Italian skies c I Southern Europe are a fraud, scier. i tifically speaking. Many of the mai. i observatories of the world have as lo\ as only six days of good 'seeing' ' ; the year. "Another point in our favor is tl superb glass in our observatory, whi "s of as great power as could have bee desired. It is recognized by astrouo mers that for most kinds of work th. mere size of a telescope, after a cer tain aperture has been reached, is of small importance, the main considera tion being the condition 'of- the atmos phere through which the observer must look. ; "Perhaps," too, as important a favor ing feature as any in our work has been the fact that the observatory is owned and supported by a single indi vidual, who is wholly actuated by a pure love for his science. It is a la mentable'fact that many observatories are run as mere adjuncts to " colleges, and are conducted more in the politi cal or personal interests of their direct ors than for the benefit of astronomical research." The glass that accompanies this per ambulating observatory was ground by Alvin Clark & Sons of Cambridge-port, Mass., and was the last piece of work lone by the famous old lens maker be 'ore his death. This glass took the dace of an eighteen-inch lens through hich the work. of the observatory had en done the first year. The old tele scope is now at Flower Observatory of '.he University of Pennsylvania. The new lens has an aperture of twenty our inches with a focal length of thirty-one feet, and weighs about "■SO ;>ounds. . The telescope case is of siv.., and its iron pier, of the most massive mist ruction. . Altogether this itinerant •bservatory weighs about thirteen tons. The power of the Lowell telescope in ludes stars up to the fifteenth magni tude, while the Lick telescope, of thir y-six Inches diameter, is rated only to stars of the sixteenth magnitude. AMATEUR JOURNALISTS IN CON FERENCE. The amateur journalists of the Eng lish-speaking j world propose holding an international convention in Paris during the year 1900 — the great exhibi tion year. This will be the first meet ing of the kind ever, held, and the credit of the idea is due. to America — the home of amateur journalism. The arrangements are ' upon a somewhat ambitious scale, and include the char tering of a special steamer from New York, the founding of a private board ing-house in Paris during the exhibi tion's run, and probably the publica tion of an amateur newspaper in i Paris. ■ - '.•--■• ■ ■ *-'. •'• — exico I ran across a quaint old town called Axaca. There "was New Axaca on the railroad and Old Axaca four miles away. I made my home in the new town, but spent most of my time in the old. "From the first I was impressed with he aspect of the old place. The semi ruin and desolation of what was once *a beautiful and prosperous city ap pealed to my love of the picturesque .-.nd romantic. I was rapidly growing into the slow, comfortable life of the people down there and had nearly for gotten there was another part to the world. I felt at home, and for a long time had no desire to ever change my ; residence. "Shortly after my arrival in Axaca I i bought a horse, a handsome black fel- I : ow, and the pair of us became much I ittached to one another. I spent whole lays riding through the half ruined •illages in the vicinity and became ell acquainted with the people for dies around, all of whom treated me I i the most corteous manner. ' "When I became familiar with the oads, which were very intricate, I sed to take rides at night, especially f the moon was shining. I did this for four months, and during all that time never met a single person on the roads after S o'clock, except when there was a ball or party, and then I generally Joined one of the company myself. The streets of the old city were always dark and deserted by 9 o'clock. "I flattered myself, and often told my friends that I knew every road, nook and corner within a radius of ten miles; but last Christmas eve I changed my mind about this. "Christmas in Mexico means a good deal more than it does here. The whole country becomes a scene of festivity. "The morning of the day before Christmas was a perfect day. In the afternoon I rode out to a small settle ment, where there was a quaint old fashioned tavern. There was a party going on and I had been invited. "On my way out to the tavern it began to cloud up and grow cold, but I paid no attention to it, as such changes in the weather are frequent in the vicinity of Axaca. I reached my destination in good time, put »iy horse in the stable and was soon one of the merry party in the tavern. "How fast the hours slipped by! Be fore I knew it 10 o'clock had come. * I must be going. The landlqrd urged me to stay, but I thought of the urged me to stay, but I thought of the long, cold land lonely ride across the mesa in the #rnorning, and decided to go. '.» "I found my horse in splendid con dition from his long rest, and was soon ■j-'Ut of the canyon/ and on the broad, oarren *■• 1 deserted mesa. Out here 39