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Our Astronomical Column

    Abstract

    THE APPROACHING RETURN OF OLBERS' COMET.—Now that the comet of Pons is drawing away from us, attention may be directed to another comet belonging to the same group as regards length of revolution, viz. that discovered by Olbers at Bremen on March 6, 1815, and last observed by Gauss at Göttingen on August 25. While it was still under observation an elliptic orbit was assigned by several astronomers, including Bessel and Gauss, who found the period between seventy and eighty years. Bessel subsequently discussed all the observations available to him, in a memoir published in the Transactions of the Berlin Academy and, after determining the most probable orbit in 1815, he calculated the planetary perturbations to the time of ensuing return to perihelion, which he fixed to 1887, February 9, the effect of the perturbations being to accelerate the return by about 825 days.

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