How American Astronomers Solved the Mystery of Variation

Book - 2002
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Baker & Taylor
Tells the story of American actuary Seth Chandler's 1891 discovery which explained the variations in astronomical observations which were baffling astronomers in 19th century Europe.

Book News
Although the variation of the earth's latitude was first suggested in the mid-18th century as a means to explain inconsistencies in astronomical observations, all efforts to directly observe the phenomenon failed until an American amateur astronomer named Seth Chandler announced his detection of latitude variation using a device of his own invention in 1891. Another American, Simon Newcomb would go on to provide the theoretical explanation of Chandler's discovery. Bill Carter (civil and coastal engineering, U. of Florida) and Merri Carter (an astronomer at the U.S. Naval Observatory) present a biography of the two men that concentrates on how they were able to accomplish a task that had eluded the efforts of European scientists at a time when American science was considered significantly inferior. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

& Taylor

The author chronicles the remarkable scientific story of America's first great contribution to astronomy--solving the problem of "variation" in latitude. (Science & Mathematics)

Publisher: Annapolis, Md. : Naval Institute Press, c2002
ISBN: 9781557500168
Branch Call Number: 526.61 CAR
Characteristics: viii, 252 p. : ill. ; 21 cm
Additional Contributors: Carter, Merri Sue 1964-


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