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into a difficulty and immediately asks for aid to get out of it, is not likely to make any great progress. It is the battling with difficulties, the habit of regarding a problem from various points of view, and the practice of "getting at the bottom of things," which impresses truths and principles on the mind, and a few facts so learned are worth ten times the number acquired by the question and answer method.

The statement I have just made appears to me to apply with special force to the use of instruments. Many present have no doubt been struck, as I have, by the character of numerous queries respecting the use and adjustment of instruments which, from time to time appear in print. These questions suggest the idea that those proposing them are of opinion that scientific instruments should be made on the "You-touch-the-button-and-we-do the-rest" principle, and that their employment should require no special knowledge on the part of the user. Now this is a frame of mind which is much to be deprecated. Nothing is more essential to secure the best results with any instrument than a clear comprehension of the principles on which such instrument is constructed. It is only by the possession of such knowledge that the user of a telescope, a spectroscope, or other astronomical appliance can determine whether or not any defect in performance is due to a radical fault in such instrument or to a comparatively trivial fault in adjustment. For this reason I would thoroughly urge beginners, when they take up actual observing, to study carefully the theory of any instrument they may employ, and make themselves familiar with its principles and construction. Were this more generally done, much disappointment and loss of time would be saved, and instrument makers would be spared many unjust complaints and much worry.

I am afraid that my remarks on the section of our members which I have classed as "beginners," have run to an undesirable length, but it must be remembered that the "beginners" of to-day are those from which we shall at an early date expect work which will promote the interests and strengthen the position of our Association, and any suggestion which may aid in their training may thus possibly be regarded as excusable.

In conclusion I may quote a passage from the works of Bacon, which was written to have a wide significance, but which appears to me to apply with peculiar force to the science to which we are all devoted. Says the great philosopher:-"Knowledge "is not a couch whereon to rest a searching and restless spirit; "nor a terrace for a wandering and variable mind to walk up

"and down with a fair prospect; nor a tower of state for a "proud mind to raise itself upon; nor a fort or commanding 'ground for strife and contention; nor a shop for profit or sale; "but a rich storehouse for the glory of the Creator and the re"lief of man's estate."

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THE STUDY OF ASTRONOMY. II.

W. W. PAYNE.

In the last number of this publication (p. 24) we began to say some things about the study of astronomy, as the same is now pursued. It was there pointed out that the writer believes some important changes are now being made both in regard to the method of teaching, and, in studying the elements of this branch of science. It was said that representative school men who have been occupied in teaching branches kindred to astronomy have been so interested in the so-called "laboratory methods that they have quite forgotten that elementary astronomy is a branch of general physics, and that the methods that serve well in elementary chemistry and the elements of natural philosophy must equally well apply to astronomy. Not only this, but the further and more serious complaint must be made, that these same school men in science who are offering and requiring schemes of study in the secondary schools, and strongly urging them publicly, very generally exclude from these schemes the study of elementary astronomy altogether. They do this for two reasons: The first is because they want more time for laboratory work in elementary physics and chemistry. Some are claiming that this laboratory work in elementary physics should be extended over the time of a full year continuously to cover necessary themes and to do the work as it ought to be done. But those instructing in chemistry say no to this, and claim that two-thirds of this time is ample for the work of chemistry in such schools, and that teachers of physics should be satisfied with so large a change in their favor as that which has come into practice recently.

The second reason why elementary astronomy is dropped from the courses of study in the secondary schools is because those who form these courses say the subject is too difficult for students in those schools, and, therefore those who want to study elementary astronomy should wait until they reach college. The writer of this article would never have believed that any leading super

intendent or high school teacher in a country town would have made such a public statement as this, if he had not heard it with his own ears. Much less would he have believed that the instructors in some of our large cities should be found advocating the same thing for the same reason.

Now, certainly one of two things is plainly evident, wherever such reasoning is allowed to prevail; either the superintendents or teachers or both do not themselves know enough of elementary astronomy to teach it, or they do not know how to teach it. For no one who is at all observant can have failed to notice that nothing interests the old and the young alike, as much as the simple rehearsals of a little knowledge of the Moon, Sun, planets, stars and meteors. Miss Mary Proctor, of New York, is largely employed in giving public talks to children about astronomical subjects for compensation and interested adults are often found in these gatherings. We know that students of astronomy in all parts of the United States are giving familiar talks on astronomy to audiences including persons of all ages with acceptance and very general favor. Almost every week country papers published in California, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Iowa, Illinois, or some other states come to us with marked articles, showing that the readers of POPULAR ASTRONOMY have been setting forth some important matters of current astronomical interest for interested readers in their respective rural localities. For the same reason, viz: the popular interest in elementary themes of astronomy, associations have sprung up in the United States, Canada and England partly for the study of what people do not generally get in the secondary schools and, of course, partly for the purpose of keeping abreast with the progress of astronomy in later years.

Now, what does all this mean? To our mind it plainly means that our secondary schools, and some of our colleges and academies are not giving to the branch of elementary astronomy the attention it should receive. Our teachers are not informed as they should be. They do not generally know how to teach elementary astronomy as it should be taught.

Enough has been said to call attention to the widespread interest in the themes of elementary astronomy for all classes of people, and, also, to indicate how very far from the truth, the statement is which claims that elementary astronomy is a branch too difficult for the grasp of the students in secondary schools. If this be true, it is certainly necessary that instructors in these schools look into this matter more thoroughly, that

they prepare themselves to judge of the value of elementary astronomy as an important theme for place in their courses of study, and above all, that they prepare themselves to teach the branch in all grades of instruction, including the high school and those above it which are not entered by examination, at least, in the elementary part of the subject.

This last part of the instructor's qualification for his work is all important. We believe that the root of the difficulty which has brought about present lethargy, conscious inability and manifestly weak judgment on the part of prominent school men and instructors lies in the fact that teachers have not known how to instruct well, if they have some knowledge of the branch of elementary astronomy. We wish to offer some suggestions on ways and means to this end. This brings us to the unfinished point we were considering in our last when we found that all our space was taken. In continuing the thought of how to teach the elements of astronomy we may illustrate this in several ways. The first, because it is as simple as any, is the celestial sphere and the fixed stars. In our first volume of POPULAR ASTRONOMY is found a series of articles by Professor Winslow Upton, Director of Ladd Observatory of Brown University, Providence, R. I., who has taken great pains to write out a course of study of the constellations in a way to make it easy for any interested student or teacher to inform himself fully and well about the bright stars and the constellations that may be seen by common observers. There is no question in our mind, whether or not a teacher of elementary astronomy thould know the constellations familiarly, and the stars of the first and second and, at least, some of the third magnitude at sight. That much is so easy to learn and the information is so useful in many ways, that we need only to mention the matter, that any teacher who has not thought about it will at once see the advantages. If teachers should ask their pupils what bright stars are visible. at particular hours of the early evening and at what places in the sky they may be seen, ordinary high school students would surely be interested in looking after the stars, and probably they would be anxious to learn the names of such as should attract their attention, and if the teacher can not impart this information readily and certainly, that teacher must rightly take a lower place in that student's estimation than he should hold.

Again, suppose some bright student should ask the instructor at what time Vega or Sirius passes the meridian on a given day, it ought not to be difficult for any teacher to give an approximate answer that would fully satisfy the bright student, and

also furnish the natural opportunity of saying something about the ways in which astronomers know how to get very accurate answers to all such interesting questions. This kind of thought and work, for and with students in the simplest lines of observation will certainly quicken and deepen an interest that will always make instruction easy and very delightful. Those who have tried it know that these statements are not overdrawn; such know that they are but the common and the natural results that flow from the use of natural and rational methods of study.

When the publication of POPULAR ASTRONOMY was begun a few years ago, a great deal of expense was incurred and much valuable aid was given freely from very competent sources in order to bring before teachers of astronomy in college, academy and the high school just such methods of instruction as we have have been hinting at in what has gone before. We secured the series of articles from Professor Upton who is an acknowledged authority on star-charting. He has since published an excellent star atlas neatly printed by Messrs. Ginn & Co., of Boston, Mass.

Before the Upton articles were completed we began the publication of the large colored star-charts which were reduced from the planisphere published by the Poole Brothers of Chicago in 1894, and each month a map of the constellations was presented in POPULAR ASTRONOMY, appropriate to the time, until a complete series of twelve covering an entire year had been given. Messrs. Poole Brothers, who own the plate and still have this excellent planisphere on sale, made the step of publishing these large colored star-charts possible to us, by themselves most generously incurring all the expense of reduction and the printing of the charts in colors. We have lately learned that the Poole planisphere has had considerable sale in the colleges and universities of this country and also abroad. We greatly wonder that it has not had larger sale in the colleges and academies and the leading high schools, for it is certainly a very meritorious piece of work. We have used the planisphere with elementary classes in astronomy for several years and we know of its value. We have one hundred copies of volumes I and II of POPULAR ASTRONOMY, in pamphlet form, so as to accommodate teachers of the elements of astronomy who may wish to try the plan sug. gested above in regard to this one theme, the celestial sphere and the constellations. These volumes are selling for $2.50 when whole sets are furnished. In order to induce teachers to try this plan we will sell them to teachers, and teachers only, for one dol

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