Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 79.djvu/200

This page has been validated.
196
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

Professor H. A. Newton, of Yale University, was a constant observer of meteors and published many observations, and in recent years Professor E. E. Barnard, of the Yerkes Observatory, has added some important records of long-enduring trains.

Meteor trains are by no means as rare as might be supposed, and it is safe to predict that if a plan were organized for their observation on nights of the year when meteoric showers occur, many trains would be observed. This would be a source of new records which would throw more light on the subject. That trains would be seen if systematically looked for is demonstrated by the fact that nine different trains were seen by an observer in England during one night with the aid of a small telescope. The watch was kept at the time of an ordinary August Perseid shower.

PSM V79 D200 Greenish comet train observed at jamaica plain mass on nov 14 1901.pngFig. 6. Greenish Train observed at Jamaica Plain, Mass., November 14, 1901. Meteor fell at 5:09 a. m. A as the train appeared at 5:12 a. m., B at 5:17 a. m., at 5:25 a. m. Mr. Denning and Professor Barnard have pointed out that meteor trains visible to the naked eye for one or two minutes have been seen in the telescope for a quarter of an hour or more, and that by the use of a small low power telescope they can be studied to greater advantage than by the naked eye alone. If the track of every bright meteor could be examined with a field glass, it is probable that many persistent trains would be observed which would be invisible to the naked eye. Moreover, Mr. Denning has shown that a great many meteors can be seen with a telescope which are otherwise invisible, and he also cites instances where he has detected persistent trains by the telescope.

In England a large number of trains were observed in the meteoric shower of November, 1866; two of these trains are shown in the illustrations. During that shower the long-enduring trains were so numerous that one meteor observer at Birmingham stated that the trains frequently were seen to be branched out from the radiant point, the constellation of