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THE

NATIONAL ALMANAC AND ANNUAL RECORD

FOR THE YEAR

1863,*

Being the latter part of the 87th and the beginning of the 88th year of the Independence of the

United States of America; also,
The year 6576 of the Julian Period;

7371-72 of the Byzantine era;
5623-24 of the Jewish era;
2616 since the foundation of Rome, according to Varro;
2610 since the beginning of the era of Nabonassar, which has been assigned to Wednesday,

the 26th of February, of the 3967th year of the Julian Period, corresponding, according
to the chronologists, to the 747th, and, according to the astronomers, to the 746th year

before the birth of Christ; 2639 of the Olympiads, or the third year of the 660th Olympiad, commencing in July, 1861,

if we fix the era of the Olympiads at 775) years before Christ, or near the beginning

of July of the year 3938 of the Julian Period; 2175 of the Grecian era, or the era of the Seleucidæ;

1579 of the era of Diocletian. The year 1280 of the Mohammedan era, or the era of the Hegira, begins on the 18th of June, 1863.

The first day of January of the year 1863 is the 2,401,507th day since the commencement of the Julian Period.

Chronological Oyoles.
Dominical Letter
D Solar Cycle........

24 Epact 11 Roman Indiction.....

6 Lunar Cycle or Golden Number............... 2 Julian Period........

6576

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Eclipses.t
There will be four eclipses this year,--two of the Sun, and two of the Moon.

I. A Partial Eclipse of the Sun, May 17, visible in Europe, the northern coast of Asia, and the northwestern part of North America. This eclipse is not visible in any of the United States except Minne.

* Prepared for the National Almanac by George Searle, Professor Naval Academy, Newport, R. I.

† The times given for the eclipses are the local times of the places referred to, unless otherwise stated.

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sota, California, and Oregon. The line north of which it is visible connects the western extremity of Lake Superior with Los Angeles, on the California coast. This eclipse

Begins on the Earth generally, May 17, 5h. 4m. A.M., in longitude 69° 4' W. of Washington, and latitude 32° 57' N.

Ends on the Earth generally, May 17, 7h. 25m. P.M., in longitude 80° 0' E. of Washington, and latitudo 47° 13' N.

The greatest obscuration is about 7 digits, and takes place May 18, 1h. 27m. A.M., in longitude 1560 18' W. of Washington, and latitude 69° 18' N.

II. A Total Eclipse of the Moon, June 1, partially visible in the Atlantic States.
The times of this eclipse are as follows:

H. M.
First contact with the Penumbra.....

June 1, 3 41.1 P.M.
Shadow

4 37.8 " Beginning of Total Phase

5 44.8 "

Mean time at Middle of the Eclipse

6 17.8 " End of Total Phase

6 50.8

Washington. Last contact with the Shadow

7 57.8 " Penumbra

8 54.5 6 For any other place, the times will be obtained by adding its longitude from Washington to the above times if it is east, and subtracting it if it be west. But, as the longitudes in common use are given in degrees and minutes, we must turn them into time first.-remembering that each degree of longitude is equal to four minutes of time, and each minute of longitude equal to four seconds of time.

III. An Annular Eclipse of the Sun, November 11, visible in the Antarctic Continent as annular, and in the southern extromity of Africa, and the southern coast of Australia, as a partial eclipse. This eclipse

Begins on the Earth generally, November 11, 5h. 14m. A.M., in longitude 67° 58' E. of Washington, and latitude 23° 0' S.

Ends on the Earth generally, November 11, 6h. 50m. P.M., in longitude 157° 13' W. of Washington, and latitude 420 30 S.

Central eclipse at noon, in longitude 126° 32' E. of Washington, and latitude 80° 33' S.
IV. A Partial Eclipse of the Moon, November 25, visible throughout the United States.
The times of this eclipse are as follows:-

H. M.
First contact with the Penumbra................ November 25, 0 55.4 A.M.
Shadow

2

Mean time at Middle of the Eclipse.

3 47.8

Washington. Last contact with the Shadow

5 28.0 Penumbra ...

6 40.2 4 For any other place, the times will be obtained as for the other eclipse of the Moon, above. This eclipse will be nearly total, only one-seventieth of the Moon's disc remaining unobscured.

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Morning and Evening Stars.

Venus will be evening star till September 25, then morning star for the rest of the year. Mars will be evening star till September 28, then morning star for the rest of the year. Jupiter will be morning star till April 12, then evening star till October 31, then morning star the rest of the year. Saturn will be morning star till March 23, then evening star till October 2, then morning star the rest of the year.

Visibility of Mercury. This planet will be seen most easily for a few days about May 18, in the evening, when it sets about lh. 58m. after the sun. On January 26, the interval between its setting and that of the sun reaches a maximum of about 1h. 34m., and on September 5 of about Oh. 52m. On February 28, the interval between its rising and that of the sun reaches a maximum of about 1h. 12m., and on October 27 of about 1h. 36m.

Duration of Twilight.

The following table exhibits the duration of twilight, morning and evening. It is calculated for a latitude of about 40° 20', but will answer for all the Northern States.

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The past year has made the following additions to the already very numerous group of minor planets :Name of Planet.

By whom, where, and when discovered.
Feronia...

Safford, at Cambridge, Jan. 29.
Clytia ..

Tuttle, at Cambridge, April 7. The first of these was first seen by Dr. C. H. F. Peters, at Clinton, New York, May 29, 1861, but was supposed by him to be Maia (66), which he had been observing a few days before. It was found to be new by Mr. Safford's calculations, made subsequently. Its distance from the sun is the least of any of the group,-being only about 204 millions of miles.

Two others were also found, on the nights of August 30 and 31, by Tempel, at Marseilles, and Luther, at Bilk.

These new discoveries make the whole number of asteroids now known seventy-five, as follows: 1. Ceres. 16. Psyche. 31. Euphrosyne. 46. Hestia.

61. Echo. 2. Pallas. 17. Thetis. 32. Pomona. 47. Aglaia.

62. Erato. 3. Juno. 18. Melpomene. 33. Polyhymnia. 48. Doris.

63. Ausonia. 4. Vesta. 19. Fortuna. 34. Circe. 49. Pales.

64. Angelina. 5. Astræa. 20. Massilia. 35. Leucothea. 50. Virginia.

65. Cybele. 6. Hebe. 21. Lutetia. 36. Atalanta. 51. Nemausa.

66. Maia. 7. Iris. 22. Calliope. 37. Fides. 52. Europa.

67. Asia. 8. Flora. 23. Thalia. 38. Leda. 53. Calypso.

68. Leto. 9. Metis. 24. Themis. 39. Lætitia.

54. Alexandra. 69. Hesperia. 10. Hygeia. 25. Phocea. 40. Harmonia. 55. Pandora.

70, Panopæa. 11. Parthenope. 26. Proserpina. 41. Daphne.

56. Melete.

71. Niobe. 12. Victoria. 27. Euterpe. 42. Isis. 57. Mnemosyne.

72. Feronia. 13. Egeria. 28. Bellona. 43. Ariadne.

58. Concordia. 73. Clytia. 14. Irene. 29. Amphitrite. 44. Nysa.

59. Elpis.

74. 15. Eunomia. 30. Urania. 45. Eugenia. 60. Danaë.

75. Two comets have also been found.

1. Found by Schmidt, at Athens, Greece, July 2. This comet was remarkable for its near approach to the earth, and its very rapid motion, as seen from it. On July 4 it was distant only 9,300,000 miles, and moved at the extremely rapid rate of about 24° a day. It passed the perihelion on the 22d of June, at a distance of about 93,000,000 miles from the sun, or ten times its distance from the earth.

II. Found hy Tuttle, at Cambridge, July 18. This comet became easily visible to the naked eye in the latter part of August, its distance from us on the 30th being about 32,000,000 miles. Its tail was 10° or 150 in length. It passed its perihelion on the 23d of August, at a distance almost exactly the same as that of the first comet.

It seems not impossible that this comet is identical with the great comet of 1811, as suggested by Professor Secchi, of Rome; as the elements of its orbit agree tolerably well with those of that interesting body, whose brilliancy was scarcely surpassed even by our magnificent visitors of 1858 and 1861,which last, by the way, remained visible in large telescopes as late as June of the past year. It is not improbable that a comet should lose in brilliancy at its successive returns, -as has been to a marked degree the case with the first periodic comet ever discovered,—that of Halley,-which at its earlier apparitions, in 1378, 1456, and 1531, presented a magnificent appearance, but at its last return, in 1835, was hardly more conspicuous than the comet of this year.

Besides these new-comers, the regular periodical return of Encke's comet took place in the beginning of the year. This comet is interesting not only as having the shortest period of any known (completing its circuit as it does in the space of three years and four months), but also as indicating by its movements the existence of a resisting medium, of a very subtle character, in space. It also shows well the complete knowledge of the movements of these erratic bodies which is given us by the theory of gravitation; for at the first observation by Dr. Winnecke, of Pulkowa, of this comet, he found it within about a minute and a half of the place predicted by Professor Encke,--a quantity equal to about one-twentieth of the apparent diameter of the sun,-and this when it had not been visible for three years.

The number of stars known to be variable in brightness has also been increased this year, and one such star has been found among those visible to the naked eye. The cause of this phenomenonwhich has been observed in seventy or eighty stars, most of which are telescopic-has not yet been ascertained. Some of them vary slowly and regularly, occupying many days in their periodic changes; while others pass through the most surprising variations in a few days, or even hours. In one case, the brightness of the star is increased some two-hundredfold for a few days; after which it subsides to its former condition, in which it is scarcely discernible with the most powerful telescope. And, in another, the star passes, in a period of about 330 days, from a brilliancy which makes it conspicuously visible to the naked eye, to one 5000 times less, and returns to its original state. In others, the variation takes place at perfectly regular intervals of time, even to the minute; in some cases the color varies as well as the brightness : in short, there are all varieties.

Besides these variable stars, we have accounts from Professor D'Arrest, of Copenhagen, and others, of the discovery of several variable nebulæ. This phenomenon seems even more unaccountable than that of the variable stars; as nebulæ, if consisting, as has been proved in very many cases, of immense numbers of stars clustered together at an inconceivable distance from us, would require for their perceptible variation the variation of not merely seventy or eighty, but of thousands—even of millionsof their components.

A very interesting discovery was made, on the evening of January 31, by Mr. Alvan Clark, of Cambridge, with his great refractor. This magnificent instrument, being directed, on the first favorable evening after its completion, to the star Sirius, showed plainly what had before been suspected to exist,-viz. a faint companion to this, the brightest of all the fixed stars. The reason for the suspicion of the existence of this companion was, an apparent circular motion which had been for some time observed in the large star, similar to what is noticed in each of the components of double stars, but which could not be easily accounted for in a star apparently single. This companion, however, both in its direction and distance from Sirius, probably will explain the movement of the latter, and is also interesting as the first fruit of the largest refracting telescope in the world.

It would appear from this discovery that the size of the fixed stars is not necessarily at all in proportion to their light; as this small star, whose light is hardly one ten-thousandth part that of Sirius, would seem to be large enough to perceptibly affect its movements.

Another important event of the year is the publication of another part of the “Durchmusterung" of Professor Argelander, Director of the Observatory at Bonn. The completion of this gigantic work involves the observing and mapping of all the stars of the northern heavens, as far as the 9f magnitude, which embraces stars twenty times as faint as any visible to the naked eye. In the present portion of the work we have the places of 105,075 stars, charted with so great accuracy that a good instrument and careful observing would be necessary to detect any error in the positions given. Mr. Pogson, Director of the Observatory at Madras, intends, it is understood, to complete this work by charting the southern heavens,-thus making, as it would seem, almost all that could be desired in the way of celestial maps.

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TABLE showing the Rise and Fall of the Tide, in Feet, at various Sea-Ports of the

United States.

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The sun's and moon's rising and setting are calculated for four points,-viz. Boston, a point midway between New York and Philadelphia, a point midway between Baltimore and Washington, and San Francisco. They will serve, however, for other points not differing much in latitude,-though for the moon's rising and setting we should add as we go west, and subtract as we go east, about one minute and a half for every ten degrees of longitude.

The time of high water is only given for one of the two daily tides; the other will be half-way between the two given in the table, on each side of it. Thus, we have given the morning high tide at New York, March 7, 9h. 29m.; the evening tide occurs half-way between 9h. 29m. and 10h. 9m., or at 9h. 49m.

The letters m. and e. in the tables for the rising and setting of the planets, and for the eclipses of the satellites of Jupiter, signify morning and evening. The former tables are calculated for New York, Philadelphia, or a latitude of 400 20', and will be only approximately true elsewhere.

The times of the eclipses of Jupiter's satellites are given for Washington. The columns for sun's
and moon's southing are also given for Washington: the former is sufficiently accurate for any place
in the United States; but to the latter we should add as we go west, and subtract as we go east, about
one minute and a half for every ten degrees of longitude, as for the rising and setting, above.
The following signs are used in the column of Phenomena, &c.:-
PLANETS.

Signs or TIE ZODIAC, ASPECTS, ETC.
The Sun.

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Aries.
The Moon.

Cancer.
Mercury.

Libra.
Venus.

Capricornus.
Mars.

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Conjunction.
Jupiter.

Quadrature.
Saturn.

8

Opposition.
Uranus.

2

Ascending Node. ..... Neptune.

8

Descending Node.

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