Astronomy by William T. Skilling; Robert S. Richardson

By William T. Skilling; Robert S. Richardson

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In 1600 William Gilbert, covirt physician to Queen Elizabeth, in his famous work called De Magnete, described his experiments on a sphere cut from loadstone. He examined the distribution of magnetism over which were free to turn in any magnetism of the sphere agreed the sphere with small magnets direction, and found that the 38 EARTH AND MOON IN ASTRONOMY it, Fig. 20. The magnetic field about the earth. ) with what little was known of the behavior of the compass needle at that time. Gilbert therefore concluded that the earth itself is a great magnetized sphere and that its magnetism proceeds from within.

Hence the equinoxes move westward 50 a year along the ecliptic. This westward motion of the equinox shortens the year by about 20 minutes compared with the length it would have if the equinoxes did 34 EARTH AND MOON not move. A IN ASTRONOMY year, in the ordinary sense of the word, tech- is the time taken by the sun in going from an equinox to the same one again. It takes about 20 minutes longer to go from a fixed star to the same fixed star again than from equinox to equinox. This time of motion from a star back to the same star is called a sidereal year.

ILven this little deflection from the perpendicular was sufficient to give the attraction of the mountain. A cylinder of iron weighing 140 pounds used in another experiment exerted only as much force on a 1 -ounce ball of gold near it as would be about equal to the weight of ink in a period in print! How can such a minute force be measured? Heyl's experiment. The most recent determination of was made by Paul Heyl of the U, S. Bureau the earth's mass of Standards in Washington, D. C. in 1930. To measure the slight gravitational pull exerted by a known mass, he placed a torsion balance between two steel cylinders each weighing 145 pounds.

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