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and that at the time Ibn Junis made his observations at Cairo, about the year 1000, the Arabians were in the habit of employing the vibrations of the pendulum in their astronomical observations.

One of the most immediate and striking effects of a gravitating force external to the earth is the alternate rise and fall of the surface of the sea twice in the course of a lunar day, or 24h 50m 48s of mean solar time. As it depends on the action of the sun and moon, it is classed among astronomical problems, of which it is by far the most difficult and the least satisfactory. The form of the surface of the ocean in equilibrio, when revolving with the earth round its axis, is an ellipsoid flattened at the poles; but the action of the sun and moon, especially of the moon, disturbs the equilibrium of the


If the moon attracted the centre of gravity of the earth and all its particles with equal and parallel forces, the whole system of the earth and the waters that cover it, would yield to these forces with a common motion, and the equilibrium of the seas would remain undisturbed. The difference of the forces, and the inequality of their directions, alone trouble the equilibrium.

It is proved by daily experience, as well as by strict mechanical reasoning, that if a number of waves or oscillations be excited in a fluid by different forces, each pursues its course, and has its effect independently of the rest. Now in the tides there are three distinct kinds of oscillations, depending on different causes, producing their effects independently of each other, which may therefore be estimated separately.

The oscillations of the first kind which are very small, are independent of the rotation of the earth; and as they depend on the motion of the disturbing body in its orbit, they are of long periods. The second kind of oscillations depends on the rotation of the earth, therefore their period is nearly a day and the oscillations of the third kind depend on an angle equal to twice the angular rotation of the earth; and consequently happen twice in twenty-four hours. The first afford no particular interest, and are extremely small; but the difference of two consecutive tides depends on the second. At the time of the solstices,


this difference which, according to Newton's theory, ought to be very great, is hardly sensible on our shores. La Place has shown that this discrepancy arises from the depth of the sea, and that if the depth were uniform, there would be no difference in the consecutive tides, were it not for local circumstances: it follows therefore, that as this difference is extremely small, the sea, considered in a large extent, must be nearly of uniform depth, that is to say, there is a certain mean depth from which the deviation is not great. The mean depth of the Pacific ocean is supposed to be about four miles, that of the Atlantic only three. From the formulæ which determine the difference of the consecutive tides it is also proved that the precession of the equinoxes, and the nutation in the earth's axis, are the same as if the sea formed one solid mass with the earth.

The third kind of oscillations are the semidiurnal tides, so remarkable on our coasts; they are occasioned by the combined action of the sun and moon, but as the effect of each is independent of the other, they may be considered separately.

The particles of water under the moon are more attracted than the centre of gravity of the earth, in the inverse ratio of the square of the distances; hence they have a tendency to leave the earth, but are retained by their gravitation, which this tendency diminishes. On the contrary, the moon attracts the centre of the earth more powerfully than she attracts the particles of water in the hemisphere opposite to her; so that the earth has a tendency to leave the waters but is retained by gravitation, which this tendency again diminishes. Thus the waters immediately under the moon are drawn from the earth at the same time that the earth is drawn from those which are diametrically opposite to her; in both instances producing an elevation of the ocean above the surface of equilibrium of nearly the same height; for the diminution of the gravitation of the particles in each position is almost the same, on account of the distance of the moon being great in comparison of the radius of the earth. Were the earth entirely covered by the sea, the water thus attracted by the moon would assume the form of an oblong spheroid, whose greater axis would point towards the moon, since the columns of water under the moon and in the direction diametrically opposite to her are ren

dered lighter, in consequence of the diminution of their gravitation; and in order to preserve the equilibrium, the axes 90° distant would be shortened. The elevation, on account of the smaller space to which it is confined, is twice as great as the depression, because the contents of the spheroid always remain the same. The effects of the sun's attraction are in all respects similar to those of the moon's, though greatly less in degree, on account of his distance; he therefore only modifies the form of this spheroid a little. If the waters were capable of instantly assuming the form of equilibrium, that is, the form of the spheroid, its summit would always point to the moon, notwithstanding the earth's rotation; but on account of their resistance, the rapid motion produced in them by rotation prevents them from assuming at every instant the form which the equilibrium of the forces acting on them requires. Hence, on account of the inertia of the waters, if the tides be considered relatively to the whole earth and open sea, there is a meridian about 30° eastward of the moon, where it is always high water both in the hemisphere where the moon is, and in that which is opposite. On the west side of this circle the tide is flowing, on the east it is ebbing, and on the meridian at 90° distant, it is everywhere low water. It is evident that these tides must happen twice in a day, since in that time the rotation of the earth brings the same point twice under the meridian of the moon, once under the superior and once under the inferior meridian.

In the semidiurnal tides there are two phenomena particularly to be distinguished, one that happens twice in a month, and the other twice in a year.

The first phenomenon is, that the tides are much increased in the syzigies, or at the time of new and full moon. In both cases the sun and moon are in the same meridian, for when the moon is new they are in conjunction, and when she is full they are in opposition. In each of these positions their action is combined to produce the highest or spring tides under that meridian, and the lowest in those points that are 90° distant. It is observed that the higher the sea rises in the full tide, the lower it is in the ebb. The neap tides take place when the moon is in quadrature, they neither rise so high nor sink so low as the

spring tides. The spring tides are much increased when the moon is in perigee. It is evident that the spring tides must happen twice a month, since in that time the moon is once new and once full.

The second phenomenon in the tides is the augmentation which occurs at the time of the equinoxes when the sun's declination is zero, which happens twice every year. The greatest tides take place when a new or full moon happens near the equinoxes while the moon is in perigee. The inclination of the moon's orbit on the ecliptic is 5° 9'; hence in the equinoxes the action of the moon would be increased if her node were to coincide with her perigee. The equinoctial gales often raise these tides to a great height. Beside these remarkable variations, there are others arising from the declination of the moon, which has a great influence on the ebb and flow of the waters.

Both the height and time of high water are thus perpetually changing; therefore, in solving the problem, it is required to determine the heights to which they rise, the times at which they happen, and the daily variations.

The periodic motions of the waters of the ocean on the hypothesis of an ellipsoid of revolution entirely covered by the sea, are very far from according with observation; this arises from the very great irregularities in the surface of the earth, which is but partially covered by the sea, the variety in the depths of the ocean, the manner in which it is spread out on the earth, the position and inclination of the shores, the currents, the resistance the waters meet with, all of them causes which it is impossible to estimate, but which modify the oscillations of the great mass of the ocean. However, amidst all these irregularities, the ebb and flow of the sea maintain a ratio to the forces producing them sufficient to indicate their nature, and to verify the law of the attraction of the sun and moon on the sea. La Place observes, that the investigation of such relations between cause and effect is no less useful in natural philosophy than the direct solution of problems, either to prove the existence of the causes, or trace the laws of their effects. Like the theory of probabilities, it is a happy supplement to the ignorance and weakness of the human mind. Thus the problem of the tides does not admit of a general solution; it is certainly

necessary to analyse the general phenomena which ought to result from the attraction of the sun and moon, but these must be corrected in each particular case by those local observations which are modified by the extent and depth of the sea, and the peculiar circumstances of the port.

Since the disturbing action of the sun and moon can only become sensible in a very great extent of water, it is evident that the Pacific ocean is one of the principal sources of our tides; but in consequence of the rotation of the earth, and the inertia of the ocean, high water does not happen till some time after the moon's southing. The tide raised in that world of waters is transmitted to the Atlantic, and from that sea it moves in a northerly direction along the coasts of Africa and Europe, arriving later and later at each place. This great wave however is modified by the tide raised in the Atlantic, which sometimes combines with that from the Pacific in raising the sea, and sometimes is in opposition to it, so that the tides only rise in proportion to their difference. This great combined wave, reflected by the shores of the Atlantic, extending nearly from pole to pole, still coming northward, pours through the Irish and British channels into the North sea, so that the tides in our ports are modified by those of another hemisphere. Thus the theory of the tides in each port, both as to their height and the times at which they take place, is really a matter of experiment, and can only be perfectly determined by the mean of a very great number of observations including several revolutions of the moon's nodes.

The height to which the tides rise is much greater in narrow channels than in the open sea, on account of the obstructions they meet with. In high latitudes where the ocean is less directly under the influence of the luminaries, the rise and fall of the sea is inconsiderable, so that, in all probability, there is no tide at the poles, or only a small annual and monthly one. The ebb and flow of the sea are perceptible in rivers to a very great distance from their estuaries. In the straits of Pauxis, in the river of the Amazons, more than five hundred miles from the sea, the tides are evident. It requires so many days for the tide to ascend this mighty stream, that the returning tides meet a succession of those which are coming

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