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The San Francisco call. (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913, August 23, 1908, Image 2

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Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85066387/1908-08-23/ed-1/seq-2/

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Mary Procter
Wtcnc* art thou, «ty. tbon p«le winded nietsea-
And Tvhltliw jrof*tT What thy history! ,
And what thy future? Tell \u25a0 waiting world
Ere vl*itln* wr»ln you ellent 4e<v«-
RFTER an absence of 75 years
Halley's comet (so named after
the astronomer who determined
Its orbit) is on a return trip.
The magnified eyes provided by sci
entists in the giant lenses of the tele
scopes at' Uie Lick and Yerkes observa
tories will be enabled to get a glimpse
of the returning: wanderer from space
in the fall of the present year. As the
comet approaches nearer and nearer
to our planet the smaller telescopes
will have their chance.
The surprising fact, however, is
noted by Prof. E.. E. Barnard of the
Yerkes observatory, that the comet
will be found by the camera before
It can be picked up by the greatest
In reply to questions regarding the
expected return of Halley's comet I
have received the following interesting
reply from Professor Barnard. He is
an eminent authority on the subject
and Is well known for* his remarkable
\u25a0work In celestial photography, espe
cially in the photographs he has taken
of comets. In this way we have
learned much of the marvelous changes
these celestial visitants from the sky
undergo while Journeying: through
By means of photography a new
chapter will be added to our knowledge
of the peculiar characteristics of Hal
ley's comet, and doubtless many fine
photographs of the wanderer will be
obtained before it recedes on Its return
trip through space.
"I think you can say with absolute
certainty," says Professor Barnard,
*»that Halley's comet will be visible in
the 40 inch telescope in the winter of
1908. It ought to be a bright object
then In a. good telescope, and should be
visible in any telescope of five or six
inches aperture, because, according to
Holetchek (Astr. Xach. for 190S, June
IS) it will on October 2. 1909, be of
the fourteenth magnitude. It will, of
course, get brighter after that date.
"On October 2, 1908, it will be un
usually faint, because its computed
magnitude will be 18.2 m. According to
Dr. Holetchek the brightness of the
comet at its best will be 3.7 m. This
would make it not very different from
the brightness of- Daniel's comet of
that year. But you must bear in mind
that a comet is an uncertain quantity,
so far as a prediction of its brightness
Is concerned, and it may come up- to
some of its glory of the middle ages,
though this Is not probable, for the
comet at each return must lose a great
deal of its tail producing material,
and hence- at each successive return
it must present a less brilliant aspect.
the position of Halley's
|*Soomet at the return is not. yet
. known with any decided accuracy.
Cowell and Cromclin (Monthly. Notice,
Royal Astronomical society, Vol. 68)
give the perihelion passage April 3,
1310. They are doubtless nearer it
than others, but there Is an uncertainty
of perhaps several weeks. The largest
field of view of the 40 Inch telescope
is less than clx minutes Of arc. This
.will be covered many times by the lit
tle finger nail held at arm's length.
The astronomer, therefore, can see but
a small speck of space. If the position
of an object be closely known, it can
be readily picked^ up if bright enough
to be seen In the 40 inch. But if the
place is uncertain by some degrees it
would be a great loss of time to hunt
for it with the 40 inch.
*'At the same time, the photographic
plate is far more sensitive than the
naked «ye to the light of a comet. The
field of view of a photographic tele
scope is far greater than that of the
visual telescope so that it can readily
take In, in one picture, ail the region
that is lil:e!y to contain the comet.
There are much greater chances of the
comets being picked up with some of
the reflecting tetescopes, or with some
of the portrait lenses, by aid of the
photographic plate. Though the comet
will- be very faint the coming fall and
winter I have, no doubt that It -will be
found v photographically."
The comet is now out between the
orbits of Jupiter and Saturn. It will
be within the distance of Jupiter/s orbit
after March I, l»0». It Is possible that
some one with the aid of a great tele
scope or photographic camera may
catch sight of the expected visitor dur
ing the Winter of 1908-1909. We may
begin to search for it as early a* Sep
tember. 1808, provided good epheraer
ldes are at hand. Almost certainly it
may be found by September or October.
It will then be only a round nebula,
whatever tail it has being almost di
rectly behind it as seen from the earth.
The date of Its nearest approach to the
sun, according to 11. C. Wilson, should,
be March 10. 1910.
After October, 1909, the comet will
probably be visible to the unaided eye.
Even now It Is nearer to us than
Saturn and Is rushing forward at the
rate of 620 miles a minute. After it
passes Jupiter, the next planet on Its
way, the speed will Increase to 783
miles a minute. It will then plunge
through the zone of asteroids, or tiny
planets which wander between Jupiter
and Mars. Woe to any small asteroid
it may encounter on the way, but
worse still for the comet, should It
crash .head on In Its mad career Into
the giant planet Jupiter, the great dis
turber of comets.
It is a well known fact that the
giant planet has a way of annexing
comets and even tiny asteroids which
may happen to drift his way in a most
unprincipled fashion. Suspicions have
been aroused concerning two new
moons acquired 'of late years "which '
doubtless were once members of the
asteroid family. Jupiter has been,
gravely accused by some learned as
tronomers of exerting his mighty In
fluence on the helpless woridlets and
adding them to his own family plrcle.
Not only that, but he has reached out
for passing comets and captured no
less than 80, which are now recognized
and spoken of as Jupiter's "family of
AT its appearance in 1885 Halley's
'comet made a fairly near ap
proachto Jupiter, which caused
the' comet to hasten Its return some
what However, on its present Journey
no unnecessary alarm need be felt re
garding a possible encounter with the
celestial robber, Jupiter, as the comet
will not approach that planet within
several million 'miles. In fact, none of
tfte other large planets comes anywhere
near the comet on this trip, and In the
case of Neptune' this is fortunate, for
when the elements of the 1910 orbit
were computed Neptune had not been
discovered. Consequently no allowances
had been made for the possible effect
of a close encounter with this planet.
It is the outermost in the solar system
and possesses no small attractive pow
ers of its own, though not to be com
pared with that exerted by Jupiter.
At present Neptune Is credited with
a family of six comets, including Hal
ley's comet, and providing all, goes
well with the latter on Its return trip
it will continue a member of the Nep
tunian retinue. After "passing Jupiter,
the asteroids and Mars the comet will
Increase Its speed to 1,284 miles a min
ute, dashing onward past our planet
at the increased rate of 1,548 miles a
minute, and rushing frantically «around
the sun as though to escape its in
tense heat at the rate of 1,878 miles a
minute. By that time it will have
reached the limit of the 'pace that kills,*
for an increase In speed of about 17
miles a minute would end disastrously.
The comet would be drawn along, a
path so changed in direction that we
would never see It again.
On May 2, 1910, or one day before
the comet makes lts.nearest approach
to the sun, it will pass Venus. Seen
from that planet, the comet would* oc-v
cupy a position within two degrees of '
the pole star. This is equivalent to,
nearly half the distance separating the
so called pointers In the Great Dipper,
their distance apart being five degrees. \u25a0
Y~v N June 12, 1910, the comet 'Will
II pass within live to ten million miles
of the earth's orbifand-then grad
ually recede Into space, after, making
its obeisance to its mighty ruler, the
sun. As it recedes the comet's pace
will decrease, as though, it felt
• out .by the stupendous efforts ; already
made. Passing by Neptune, its. speed
will have slowed ; down to 65 xnllc3 a
minute, and by the time it has. reached
its 'greatest distance from, the ,«un -it
will have attained the rate of 39 miles
a minute, an "aphelion crawl," as it has
been Jocosely termed by scientists. \u25a0"»-,/
As another 75 year cycle must pass
awayrbQfore the_comet' wili again come
within our ken, it behooves us" to fol
low the example .of the astronomers
and be on the lookout for the 'arrival;
of oar celestial guest. The advance
guard to welcome it on Its return will
be stationed at the Lick and the Yerkes
telescopes; . then the owners of smaller 1
telescopes will get their opportunity,
until finally by October, 1909, It will be
possible for all to see the comet with
the unaided eye. \
It is impossible to say^ anything re
garding the position of the* comet in
the sky, as observable from the earth,
until certain . computations have been
made. A prize has been offered by the
German astronomical society of 1,000
marks for the most exact \u25a0 calculation,
and when it is made we shall know ;
exactly where to ; look for the cornet.,;
As seen from the sun its position when',
nearest to that luminary will be about
four or five degrees from Theta In the
constellation of the^ Eagle,*: a distance ;
eaulvalent to that separating the Point-"
ers. ..'.\u25a0\u25a0' .' V -
\u25a0 • ........ . \u25a0\u25a0 \u25a0\u25a0\u25a0 \u25a0\u25a0 .
\u25a0As to the" appearance of the comet on:;
its return it depends entirely upon Its ,-'
position : with regard to the earth' and
sun. If the earth happens to," be near,
the comet about the time of Its passage
round the sun, when the comet's light
is necessarily : greatest i and the train '
most extended, then we shall have a
splendid view of. the glorious spectacle.
At Its return in 1769 the. comet. had a
train 50 feet -in . length and was best
seen ln_the:southern hemisphere. That
is, the train of the comet extended to,
a distance equivalent to: a little more
than half the way from the zenith^ to
the horizon.
At its next return, : in '1835, it was
somewhat. shorn of its splendor," for its
train wag but 15 degrees in length.
Even so, that means a length three
times as great as that- separating- the
Pointers, ;whlch forms , a very : conven
ient scale for denoting distances of ob
jects \u25a0\u25a0 observed . in - the sky; ; How ; the '
comet will look on its next return it isi
impoßßible to conjecture, J but "*. it is to
be hoped that itwlll treat us,*to>a^dis^
play worthy of its former reputation.
UNFORTUNATELY, ''.. r cornets^ /are S
made of; such flimsy material and:
: use it : in ! such an- extravagant ;
fashion in;,the formation of traiiTs,: lri.
order that they may be presentable, as
it. were, when they visit the Tsuni. that
many such visits ultimately >lead -to,
bankruptcy. ' Halley's comet . has f* the (,
reputation for; being specially \~ reckless
in ; this way, -.; "adorning : itself with!;
trains long enough to reach from the
earth to the - sun and millions of miles';
beyond." :* No court bt-auty ; about : to ..be f
presented to her. monarch "could vie i in \u25a0
vanity with this celestial couuettu.
\u0084 \u25a0 " V" ," ",' . _ - :\u25a0;;-. '" ' *
Millions of dollars spent on arielabo- 1
rgte presentation gown fade Into In? •
significance compared with -the -millions,
of millions of /miies of glittering! gold.
dust\formlng- the .comet's train. This'"
•gorgeous raiment can be I, worn but
once, for as the comet recedes In Bpace
the material forming the train Is scat- ;
tered.far and wide, and the comet grad
ually withdraws into the : obscurity of
spae'e, devoid of adornment of any klndi'i
As it drifts by Neptune it f will present
the; appearance., of 'an insignificant;
fluffy ball, Just as it wllT doubtless ap-i
pear whenwo get our first glimpse of
it in the sky. , . f' : \
' A- comet's photograph is absolutely •
useless so far as/ identifying; the wan-,
derer on its return is a concerned. Some- /
'times a comet will blaze out with three -j
trains, as in the case of the comeVob
served by Donati in 1858, . and \ at -its
next' return /will without 'any ;
'train at all, or surprise us -Btill more,;.
as in the case of Biela's comet, which ,
split In. two nrid^eventually ; went tto\;
- pieces. /.- •'."'.• > , }' \u25a0•: - ' .
,', - s • j \u25a0"-'•-\u25a0'.. \u25a0\u25a0 '\u25a0 \u25a0 \u25a0 '..'•. - - '
: Then again it -"is to. be hoped 'that
Halley's comet will treat' us better than
\ th*^expected /shower J of the .33 year
roundtrlp November meteors on the oc
casion of their 'return in 1899. Mar-;
/velous accounts had been given i of ipre-/*
vious displays • in ,1833 and ' 1866, /when v
the meteors were said to' fall as thickly,;
.^as snbwnakes'.; Consequently x our /ex- '\u25a0:
pectationsfor, the 'display. In 1899 were
\u25a0\ great, but tall those who /watched ;ifpr^
. the _: shower ; one; bitter cold / night - in '
November will recall the miserly, hand
rful of meteors 'which'/ rewarded 'them '
; for their trbubl e.:; Apparently trie me
\u25a0 teors have been', scattered - far and /wide, ?
or, through 'some 1 celestial catastrophe'
unknown to ,us have been
from itheir path. Let us hopeCthat,
nothing has happened to detain the ex
pected [comet, or to -mar its glory, , and
] that when.it returns It will be adorned
in raiment befitting . its presentation' 1
of its supreme" ruler, the sun. •
A' pretty Providence girl has : been
honored by an appointment as Carnegie
assistant at the I-ick observatory.- She
is' th« only New England'; woman 7 in
California's 'famous -observatory. She
has attained one \ot the. highest pbsl
tions in jastronomlcaliresearch* She -is
an, expert sailor -and voarswoman. and
one; of "the best in; Provi
dence. ' ' :•". . : / \u25a0/: ,
'\u25a0;\u25a0 A..girl who ". : mans her own^sailboat,
,and, brings if safely to shore in a-- bad'
gale^'jwho- crosses the; continent" alone
rwhenvnecessary and' proves herself an
\u25a0 example of v tne twentieth? century
' success in /women— such /is Miss " Leah
B. Allen,, who' did special work 'in
; astronomy "under Professor Winslow
; Upton /at . Brown" and has , recently, left
•for theJ-University of California, where
: will be .Carnegie assistant at the
Lick observatory. \u0084."'/':
i .: Miss .Allen; was graduated from the
, Hope ; street school '. f oiir^ years ago, and
entered Brown two years later.- Always
: ; interested in astronomy, her two years'
course*; advanced her educationMn these
nines so much ; that Professor Upton/ap
plied ''for 'apposition ;-for her at* thie
•University^ of; California: / .;
:'itYwas "a* thing; she had dreamed of
-all /her ilife.^butV did not . think, of/ at
' tempting ;• uhtiPshe could ; take a : third
; year/1 and .: a r government ; examination,
The San Francisco Sunday Call h
'but. much to her surprise*- she received
'the enviable appointment. When Pres
ident Wheeler of the university sent
her appointment he r.dtled ,a very pret
ty'letter—a note of v welcome-^-ln com
Fattening Properties of the Potato
W/ HEN. the lawyers of Harry Thaw
\\V;made a plea a short time ago to
have i the ; prisoner removed from one
institution; to another on the ground
that ,he/was being kept^ exclusively on
a. diet'of :bread and potatoes, they at
briceV/sounded a, note of cheer to the
enormous Army of tjie Thin. For the
argument 6f counsel was that the po«,
tato diet made Thaw take on weight,'
which he didn't at alliwant to take
on,' and it is this argument which has
caused the attentuated to make a care
ful inquiry" into the antecedents and
actions' of the .potato, with a view to
its' possible adoption as a cure for
the lean. " ' •
\u25a0 One physician who was asked about
the effect- of potato eating upon the
system, salut "Yes, undoubtedly the
'eating; o*f 'potatoes kwill make one fat
If anything will. But I do not believe
an exclusive diet of potatoes would long
agree with any- person. Not: that the
potato/ in Itself is not a very valuable
food *< product, for It is. but because it
does not contain all "the elements re
quired by the system: ' A person could
not /live -very long .on ".a: potato diet
without "harm. ; Many would become a
prey to iniligestlon-.t Bur a diet of, say,
jbread and butter. and. potato mightinot
'prove", injurious if the"; person taking it
would' also take a great deal of bodily
exercise; It . lsrbecause of the, starch :
and water in the potato that it is bound
to \u25a0 fatten'^ those *\u25a0 who eat /It regularly,
and \u25a0 It is because of the starch ; that ; the
potato y should be avoided- by j ' persons
with.'a/tendency^to VheuTiatisih and In
digestion.': Taktn with other f foods,*. the
potatois one of .the greutest fatteners
kno\vii't6 the medical profes3lon."jj^Ja
/ ;- And lthis'; fshow^ Mr. Potato is* made
iup, getting an analysis '. from many dif
ferent potatoes examined:
, : *\u25a0 Per cent.'
Water r. "«.ix>
Starch 19. 6S
Sntrar .r..7:<"T. .-I.ZQ
.Albumen ' . V. . . ...;...". .........;. . .70
«;uin '\u0084.................: ......... . .41)
Asparaßln '...' ". .30
\u25a0Fat •. .30
> Solunln ........".........\u25a0..... .05
' Other ' nitrocenous substances ;..". ..:.. ---.is
"ln-wlnble -matter ..•;.". . .... .......... ...--.40
:&*K. .". : . . :. -. . • •• • — ..........^ ../. .&:
: Total ' . ... •••• •-V .100.00
: .When -you,. get .a" food ? containing 95
per; cent- of water and -starch you get
something .that's, bound -to" put 'oh the
;<*The trouble with the ; potato diet, in
mendatlon of her achievement
Her work for the present will be
chiefly tabulating each day the results
of , each -.night's observations: also in
the .microscopic examination of the
photographic negatives made in the ob
servatory for the purpose of locating
if possible -new stare or nebulae, not
visible to . the naked eye of the 'ob
server, even when aided by the pow
erful telescopes, but showing more
plainly on the photographic plates.
Miss Allen was very studious while
in college, but not a bookworm. She
delighted in every department of out
door and social recreation and always
sailed her own sailboat.
That sh« Is' an expert in handling
her 21 foot craft is averted by her
youpger sister, who declares: "I feel -,
perfectly safe to go out with sister. , j
when I wouldn't step- into the boat if
half a dozen men were at the helm.
"But onee — but once! My! We got too
far Into the outer harber when a bis
storm was coming up. Sis said rt was
all right, so I Just hung on and let
her sail. Some saucy waves came
right Into the boat, and once I thought
we were going over sure. Didn't seem
to worry sis much, though she was very
white. . \
-We got ashore all right The lire
saving captain said he had given us
-up for lost Our boat was half full
of water and sis and I were drenched."
Miss Allen has a delightful personal
ity. She is a typical New England
the opinion of one doctor, is that it is
too bulky. For, said he: "Even srant
\u25a0 ing that^ six pounds of potatoes per
day is sufficient to supply fully all the
needs of the body, it must be evident
that this quantity is still unduly bulky.
. weighing, as it does, about twice as
much as an ordinary mixed diet. The •\u25a0
result of Its continued use would be
the undue burdening of the stomach
and bowels, culminating probably in
dilatation of these organs. The so
called potato belly of the Irish peasant
is an example of this result.
- "In addition to being bulky the po
tato contains too little proteid in pro
portion to its starch. It would re
quire about 22 pounds of potatoes to
yield even 11 S grams of proteid daily,
while, this quantity of potatoes' would
contain more than four times as much
carbohydrate as one really needs. As a
matter of fact, however, Rubner has
found that six and one-half pounds of
potatoes are enough to furnish 3.000
calories of energy and to prevent any
loss of bodily proteid. This is prob
ably *to be explained by, the relatively
enormous quantity..-- of carbohydrates—
that is, proteid sparers— which the po
j tato- contains.";
So, despite the scientific objections of
. certain of the > profession, the practical
experiment demonstrates the fattening g
Cpower of the -"spud." Then, of course,"
everybody wants. to. know what sort of
a potato is going to produce the best
results— that is, the best results from
/the point ; of view "of the skinny — and
'the answer is the potato cooked with
the Jacket ! on. It has been .calculated
that If a bushel of potatoes were peeled
and soaked before being boiled — and
this Is the way that mo3t of our wives,
/mothers,,, house keepers and cooks go
about the preparation for the mashed
\u25a0potato— the loss of nutrients would be
nearly equivalent : to the amount con
, talned In one pound of beefsteak.
•That is wherb you get a line on the
' sustaining value of the vegetable and
| also see how important it is that the
skin be not taken off before cooking.
It -follows then that potatoes should
I- either be steamed , or" cooked In their
; skins.-. Two /mediUgm sized potatoes.
I weighing, together 'five and one-third
ounces,\when boiled and eaten in the.
•usual way.'. remain from two to two and^
a* half hours'in'.the stomach, and that is
' /atshbVteV time than a similar weight of
bread ,would: require.

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