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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/416

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

searches; nor does any one feel that he has attained to any degree of usefulness until this has been accomplished; accordingly, all unite in expressing the hope that we shall now push on in the field of astronomical activity." Encouraged by such expressions, he declared as the sentiment that should actuate the future course of the institution, that "the pursuit of abstruse astronomical investigations, and the utilization of practical astronomy are equally important to the true interests of the observatory, and should be simultaneously cultivated."

In the more detailed plan for the future activity of the observatory which be outlined in his inaugural report, Professor Abbe gave a prominent place to the particular subjects, in connection with which he has won fame. It was his desire, primarily, to extend the field of activity so as to embrace, on the one hand, scientific astronomy, meteorology, and magnetism, and, on the other, the application of these sciences to geography and geodesy, to storm predictions, and to the wants of the citizen and the land-surveyor. In meteorology, he remarked, the observatory ought to keep record of regular hourly observations of all phenomena depending upon observations of the atmosphere: "The science of meteorology is slowly advancing to that point at which it will begin to yield most valuable results to the general community. Although we can not yet predict the weather for a week in advance, yet we are safe in saying that, with a proper arrangement of outposts, we can generally predict three days in advance any extended storm, and six hours in advance any violent hurricane. This may be effected simply by constituting the observatory a central station, to which telegraphic reports of the weather are regularly daily transmitted. The careful study of these dispatches enables the meteorologist safely to make the predictions mentioned, which can be at once disseminated through the public papers or otherwise. In France, Italy, and England, and on our own eastern coast, such storm-warnings are considered of very great importance." The co-operation of the Smithsonian observers and those of the army had already been promised; and at the end of the year, in consideration of the fact that the most of our storms appear on this side of the Rocky Mountains and move eastward, observers had been secured at Omaha, Cheyenne, Sherman, and Salt Lake City. It would also be one of his objects to secure and supply more accurate determinations of time, and for this purpose the observatory would furnish the hour regularly to all the watchmakers who would apply for it; an offer was also made to the municipal government to furnish it to the city.

The location of the observatory in the smoke-saturated atmosphere of Cincinnati had been for some time recognized as unfavorable, and efforts were making to secure a more suitable position for it. While this was going on there could be but little heart in such measures as might be proposed for permanent improvements in the building or the fixed apparatus. It therefore seemed evident that the remaining time