Excerpt: ...illustrated by excellent engravings. Previous to his time such instruments were made of wood. Tycho always used metal. He paid the greatest attention to the stability of mounting, to the orientation of his instruments, to the graduation of the arcs by the then new method of transversals, and to the aperture sight used upon his pointer. ...
Excerpt: ...illustrated by excellent engravings. Previous to his time such instruments were made of wood. Tycho always used metal. He paid the greatest attention to the stability of mounting, to the orientation of his instruments, to the graduation of the arcs by the then new method of transversals, and to the aperture sight used upon his pointer. There were no telescopes in his day, and no pendulum clocks. He recognised the fact that there must be instrumental errors. He made these as small as was possible, measured their amount, and corrected his observations. His table of refractions enabled him to abolish the error due to our atmosphere so far as it could affect naked-eye observations. The azimuth circle of Tycho's largest quadrant had a diameter of nine feet, and the quadrant a radius of six feet. He introduced the mural quadrant for meridian observations.2 The French Jesuits at Peking, in the seventeenth century, helped the Chinese in their astronomy. In 1875 the writer saw and photographed, on that part of the wall of Peking used by the Mandarins as an observatory, the six instruments handsomely designed by Father Verbiest, copied from the instruments of Tycho Brahe, and embellished with Chinese dragons and emblems cast on the supports. He also saw there two old instruments (which he was told were Arabic) of date 1279, by Ko Show-King, astronomer to Koblai Khan, the grandson of Chenghis Khan. One of these last is nearly identical with the armillae of Tycho; and the other with his "armillae aequatoriae maximae," with which he observed the comet of 1585, besides fixed stars and planets.3 The discovery by Galileo of the isochronism of the pendulum, followed by Huyghens's adaptation of that principle to clocks, has been one of the greatest aids to accurate observation. About the same time an equally beneficial step was the employment of the telescope as a pointer; not the Galilean with concave eye-piece, but with a..."
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