Letter | Published:

On the Climate of North Northumberland as Regards its Fitness for Astronomical Observations


IN May, 1880, I became possessed of the telescope, observatory, and astronomical instruments belonging to the late Rev. Henry Cooper Key, M.A., F.R.A.S., and I erected the telescope and observatory at my vicarage at Alnwick, Northumberland. The instrument is a silver-on-glass reflector, the speculum being by Mr. Calver, of Chelmsford, of 181/4 inches aperture; as regards perfection of figure, I believe it cannot be excelled. As a specimen of the work it is capable of performing under the best conditions I may say that last November I measured γ2 Andromedæ, the components of that exceedingly difficult double star being now separated by only 0″.28 according to the Washington observers. The weather, however, for observational purposes during the last six months of 1880 was so bad here, that I determined to keep a record, as far as possible, of every night in the year 1881, as regards its fitness for astronomical work, and this record I now lay before your readers. I may premise that no fault can be found with the situation of the observatory. It is 250 feet above sea-level, four miles from the sea, there are no mountains or streams sufficiently near to affect the definition, no collieries or manufactories in the immediate neighbourhood; and, if the definition be bad, no cause can be assigned for it but atmospheric disturbance. The following is the record for each month:—

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