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OUR ASTRONOMICAL COLUMN

    Abstract

    NEAREST APPROXIMATIONS OF SMALL PLANETS TO THE EARTH'S ORBIT.—Out of the 187 minor planets now known there are ten which approach the earth's orbit at their perihelia within 0.9 of her mean distance from the sun, and which may therefore afford the most advantageous opportunities for determination of the solar parallax by one or other method of observation of these bodies, already successfully applied: Medusa is omitted on account of uncertainty of elements. The nearest approach, 0.798, is made by Clio, discovered by Luther in August, 1865. Æthra, detected by Watson in June, 1873, makes the nearest approach to the sun 1.614; but the great depression of the planet below the plane of the ecliptic, at perihelion, prevents so near an approximation to the earth's orbit as in the case of Clio. The following is a tabular view of the distances in the ten cases referred to:—

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