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Nature volume 57, page 16 | Download Citation



THE PHOTOGRAPHY OF FAINT MOVING CELESTIAL OBJECTS.—An ingenious but simple method of photographing unseen or very faint moving but known celestial objects has recently been suggested by Prof. Barnard (Astr. Nachr. No. 3453). Every one knows that in order to photograph a faint celestial object, it is only necessary to prolong the exposure until a sufficiently burnt-out image is recorded on the photographic plate. If, however, the object has a rapid motion, then the image will not remain on one part of the plate a sufficiently long time to record its impression, since the clockwork of the instrument is regulated to counterbalance the apparent motion of the stars. Prof. Barnard's idea is to use, in the eyepiece of the guiding telescope for following the object in question, two guiding cross wires attached to a light frame which can be moved by a delicate clockwork (the works of an ordinary watch are sufficient), the speed of which can be regulated to the motion of the object. Arrangements can also be made that its direction of motion can be regulated to any position-angle. When adjusted to the eye end of the guiding telescope, the instrument is set so that the amount and direction of motion of the cross wires shall coincide with that of the comet or minor planet.

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