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REMARKABLE METEORS.

REMARKABLE METEORS.

and from which fell large quantities of from the rest of New England, and from meteoric stones in Weston, Connecticut, New York and Canada, about 10 o'clock was seen from Rutland in this state and the in the evening of the 9th of March, 1822. observation there made formed one of the From observations made at Burlington elements in Dr. Bowditch's calculations and Windsor, Prof. Dean computed its of its velocity, distance and size. A me course to be $. 35o W., its distance from teor of the same kind passed over New Burlington 59 miles and from Windsor 83 England and New York in a southwest- miles, and its height above the earth about erly direction a little before 10 o'clock in 37 miles when it first appeared, and when the evening of the 23d of February, 1819, it disappeared its distance from Burlingand was seen from many parts of Ver- ton was 144 miles and its distance from mont. We had the pleasnre of witness- Windsor 133 miles and its height 29 miles. ing it at Bridgewater in this state. The According to these computations, at the meteor there made its appearance about first appearance of the meteor, it was ver. 10° south of the zenith, and, descending tical over the unsettled parts of Essex rapidly towards the southwest, it disap- county in the state of New York, and at peared when about 25° above the horizon. its disappearance, it was over the western Indeed, its velocity was such over Wind- part of Schoharie county in the same sor and Rutland counties as to give to all, state. who observed it, though at the distance of Several other meteors of this kind have 10, 20 and even 30 miles from each other, been observed, the most remarkable of along the line of its course, the impres. which was seen from the northern part of sion that its fall was nearly perpendicular; the state and from nearly the whole of and each observer supposed that it fell Lower Canada, about 4 o'clock in the within a few hundred yards of himself. morning of the 28th of May, 1834. It beNow as this meteor was probably moving ing a time when people generally were in nearly parallel to the horizon, the decep bed and asleep, comparatively few had the tion must have arisen from the rapid dim. opportunity of seeing it. Many, however, inution of the visible angle between the were awakened by its light, and still more meteor and the horizon, occasioned by the by its report. Residing then at Hatley in great horizontal velocity of the meteor in Canada, which is 15 miles north of the its departure from the zenith of the ob- north line of Vermont at Derby, we were server. These facts should teach us to suddenly awakened by a noise resembling guard against the illusions of our own that of a large number of heavy carriages senses and to admit with caution the tes driven furiously over a rough road or timony of others respecting phenomena pavement, and by a shaking of the house, of this nature.

which caused a rattling of every door and According to the best of our judgment, window. Supposing it to be an earth. the meteor was visible three or fonr sec- quake, we sprung out of bed and reached onds, in which time it passed through an the door two seconds at least before tho arc of near 50% of the heavens. Its ap. sound ceased. The atmosphere was calm parent diameter was about 20', or two and the sky was perfectly clear, with the thirds that of the moon, and the color of exception of a narrow train of cloud or its light was very white and dazzling, like smoke,extending from southwest to norththat of irop in a furnace in a state of fu- east, and at considerable distance to tho sion. It left a long train of light behind northward of the zenith. It was nearly it, and just at the time of disappearance a motionless, and was apparently at a vastly violent scintillation was observed, and the greater height than clouds usually lie. fragments detached continued luminous Indeed there was something so peculiar at considerable distance from the main in its appearance as to make it the subbody of the meteor, but no meteoralites ject of remark and careful observation till are known to have fallen. Five or six after sunrise, when it gradually vanished, minutes after the disappearance of the although at this time we had no reason to meteor, a very distinct report was heard suspect its connexion with the noise and accompanied by a jarting of the earth, like shaking of the earth, which had awaken. the report of a cannon at the distance of ed us. We, however, soon learned that five of six miles. Now, assuming the a remarkable meteor had been seen, and Correctness of the above data, and that that its course lay along the very line octhe report was given at the time of the cupied by the remarkable cloud above scintillation, the distance of the meteor mentioned. From an intelligent young was then between 70 and 80 miles, and man, who was fishing at the time on Masits diameter about one third of a mile. suippi lake in Hatley, and who had a full

Another, and still more remarkable me- view of the meteor during the whole time teor, was seen from this state as well as it was visible, we learned that it made its PT.i.

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NEW ENGLAND EARTHQUAKES.

AURORA BOREALIS.

appearance at a point a little north of horizon towards a point not far from the west at an elevation of about 35o, passed zenith; but at times it assumes forms as the meridian at a considerable distance various and fantastic as can well be imnorth of the zenith and disappeared in the agined, and exhibits all the colors of the northeast with an altitude of about 25o. rainbow. It is not uncommon that it takes He thought its apparent magnitude to be the form of concentric arches spanning the 8 or 10 times that of the moon, and that heavens from west to east, usually at the it was visible about 10 seconds. It was north, but sometimes passing through the of a fiery red color, brightest when it first zenith, or even at considerable distance appeared, and gradually decreased in brill- to the south of it. At times the meteor is iancy, all the time throwing off sparks, apparently motionless, but it is not an untill it disappeared. About 4 minutes af- common thing for it to exhibit a violent ter the vanishing of the meteor, a rumb- undulating motion like the whipping of a ling or rattling sound, which sensibly Aag in a brisk wind. But it is so variable agitated the surface of the lake, com- in its appearance, that it is vain to attempt menced in the point where the meteor its description. We will, however, men. was first seen, and following the course tion a few of the remarkable occurrences of the meteor died away at the point where of this meteor which have fallen under the meteor vanished. This meteor was our own observation, and some of the atvertical on a north and south line,about 50 tending circumstances. miles to the northward of Derby in this On the 12th of October, 1819, at about state, or nearly over Shipton in Canada, 7 o'clock in the evening, the Aurora Boand its altitude must have been at least realis assumed the form of three luminous 30 miles, and still the agitation it pro- resplendant arches, completely spanning duced in the atmosphere was such as to the heavens from west to east. The low. break considerable quantities of glass in est arch was in the north a little below the windows at Shipton, Melbourne and the pole star, the second about midway some other places. The course of this between the pole star and the zenith, and meteor was mostly over an unsettled the third 100 or 15° to the sonthward of country. The most remarkable circum- the zenith. These belts gradually spread stances attending this meteor were the out till they became blended with each train of smoke which it left behind, and other, and the whole concave heavens was the long continued noise and shaking of lit up with a soft and beautiful glow of the earth.

white light. It would then concentrate Since the settlement of New England, to particular points whose brightness there have been recorded a considerable would equal that of an ordinary par. number of earthquakes, and several have helion, and around them would be exhib. been noticed in Vermont. The sound ited the prismatic colors melting into each accompanying these is usually described other in all their mellow loveliness. The as having a progressive motion ; and that, motions of the meteor were rapid, undu. and the shaking of the earth have been latory and from north to south varying a supposed to be produced by the rushing of little towards the zenith. The sky was steam through the cavities in the interior clear and of a deep blue color where it of the earth,

but the effect known to have was not overspread by the meteor. It was been produced by the meteor last de- succeeded in the morning of the 13th by scribed, farnishes strong reasons for sus a slight_fall of snow with a northwest pecting that the cause of many, and per- wind. The aurora exhibited itself in a haps of all the earthquakes which have manner very similar to the above in the occurred in New England, has been in evening of the 3d of April, 1820, and sev. the atmosphere above instead of the earth eral times since. beneath. ‘Had this meteor passed with. But the most remarkable exhibition of out being seen, the sound and shaking of this meteor, which has fallen under our the earth, which it produced, would have own observation, was in the evening of the been regarded as a real earthquake, and 25th of January, 1837. It first attractits origin in the atmosphere would not ed our attention at about half past 6 have been suspected.

o'clock in the evening. It then consisted Aurora Borealis.--This meteor has been of an arch of faint red light extending very common in Vermont, ever since the from the northwest and terminating nearly first settlement of the state ; but in some in the east, and crossing the meridian 15 years it is of more frequent occurrence, or 20° north of the zenith. This arch and exhibits itself in a more interesting soon assumed a bright red hue and grad. and wonderful manner than in others. Its ually moved towards the south. To the most common appearance is that of streams northward of it, the sky was nearly black, of white light shooting up from near the in which but few stars could be seen. Next

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AURORA BOREALIS.

MAGNETIC VARIATION. to the red belt was a belt of white light,, This meteor,when very brilliant, is usually and beyond this in that direction, the sky regarded as an indication of an approachwas much darker than usual, but no clouds ing storm, but, like other signs, it often were any where to be seen. The red belt, fails. It is most common in the months increasing in width and brightness, ad- of March, September and October, but it vanced towards the south and was in the is not unusual in the other months. zenith of Burlington about 7 o'clock. The Magnetic Variation.-Very few obser. light was then equal to the full moon, and vations have hitherto been made in Verthe snow and every other object from mont for the purpose of determining the which it was reflected, was deeply tinged variation of the magnetic needle, and with a red or bloody hue. Between the these few have generally been made with red and white belts, were frequently ex- a common surveyor's compass, and, probhibited streams of beautiful yellow light, ably, in most cases, without a very cor. and to the northward of the red light rect determination of the true meridian; were frequently seen delicate streams of and hence they cannot lay claim to very blue and white curiously alternating and minute accuracy. But since such obserblending with each other. The most vations may serve to present a general prominent and remarkable belt was of a view of the amount and change of varia. blood-red color, and was continually va- tion, since the settlement of the state, we rying in width and intensity. At eight have embodied those to which we have o'clock, the meteor, though still brilliant, had access, in the following table. had lost most of its unusual properties.

Magnetic Variation in Vermont.
Place of Observation. Date. Vari. west. Latitude. Lon.w.G'. Authorities.
Burlington,

1793 7° 38' 44° 28' 730 Dr. S. Williams.
1818
7 30

J. Johnson, Esq.
1822 7 42
1830 8 10
1831 8 15
1832

8 25 1834 8 50 1837 8 45

Prof. Benedict. 1840 9 42

J. Johnson, Esq. Rutland, 1789 7 3 43 37

Dr. S. Williams. 1810

6 4 1811

6 1 Ryegate,

1801 7 0 44 10 72 Gen. J. Whitelaw, Holland,

1785 7 40 45 0 71 St. Johnsbury,

1837

9 16 44 26 71 Prof. A.C. Twining. Barton,

1837 10 51 44 44 Montpelier,

1829 12 25

44 17 72 Exec. Documents. Pownal,

1786 5 52 42 46 72 Dr. S. Williams. Canaan,

1806 9 00 45 0 71 From repeated observations and from Magnetic Variation at Burlington. a careful examination of the lines of the Year., Var.w Year., Var.w Year., Var.w Year., Var.w original surveys, John Johnson,Esq.was of the opinion that in 1785, the westerly 1785 70121800 6°27'1815 7°12'1830 8°42' variation at Burlington was about 70 1786 7 91801 6 24 1816 7 181831 8 48 12' and that it diminished till the year 1787 7 61802 6 21 1817 7 241832 8 54 1805 when it was about 6° 12". From 1788 7 31803 6 18 1818 7 30 1833 9 0 1805 the variation has been increasing 1789 7 01804 6 15 1819 7 36 1834 9 6 up to the present time, 1842; and is now 1790 6 57 1805 6 12 1820 7 42 1835 9 12 9o 54. This would give a mean annual 1791 6 54 1806 6 181821 7 481836 9 18 change of variation of 6' since 1805, and 1792 6 51 1807 6 24 1822 7 541837 9 24 of 3' previous to that time. And al. 1793 6 481808 6 30 1823 8 0 1838 9 30 though he thought the change of varia- 1794 6 451809 6 361824 8 61839 9 36 tion may not have been perfectly uni- 1795 6 42 1810 6 42 1825 8 121840 942 form, yet he was of opinion that a table 1796 6 391811 6 481826 8 181841 9 48 constructed with the above variation 1797 6 361812 6 54 1827 8 24 1842 9 54 would not differ materially from the 1798 6 34 1813 7 0 1828 8 301843 10 0 truth. The following is such a table. 1799 6 30/1814 7 6 1829 8 36.184410 6

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BLNARXABLL SEASONS.

GREAT TRESHIT.

COMPARISON OF CLIMATES.

Remarkable Seasons. Although the July 15. Thursday,

940 mean temperature of Vermont has not

16. Friday,

92 usually varied much from year to year,

17. Saturday,

92 - yet seasons have occasionally occurred,

18. Sunday,

92 which became, for a time, proverbial on 19. Monday,

90 account of their unusual coldness, or heat, 20. Tuesday,

91 or on account of an excess or deficiency

21. Wednesday,

94 of snow or rain. Of the years, which Nor was the heat much diminished in were remarkable on any of these ac- the absence of the sun. In some cases counts in early times, we have no accu- the thermometer stood as high as 80° rate records. But it is universally con- during the whole night, and it sunk but ceded that the year 1816, was the coldest, little below 80' during any part of the and perhaps the dryest during the early time included in the above table. Another part of summer, ever known in Vermont, such succession of hot days and nights although we have no meteorological ob was perhaps never experienced in the servations for that year, and are therefore state. From the 15th up to Saturday the unable accurately to compare the temper- 24th, the weather was for the most part ature of its seasong with other years. clear and calm. On Saturday afternoon, Snow is said to have fallen and frosts to the rain commenced and continued with have occurred at some places in this State only short intermissions, till Thursday in every month of that year. On the 8th following. During the 5 days from Satof June, snow fell in all parts of the State, urday noon to Thursday noon, the fall of and upon the high lands and mountains, water at Burlington, exceeded 7 inches, to the depth of five or six inches. It was and of this 3.85 inches fell on the 26th in accompanied by a hard frost, and on the the space of about 16 hours, and this is morning of the 9th, ice was half an inch believed to be one of the greatest falls of thick on shallow, standing water, and water, in that length of time, ever known icicles were to be seen a foot long. The in Vermont. The Winooski, which was weather continued so cold that several most affected of any of our large streams, days elapsed before the snow disappear- was at its greatest height in the afternoon ed. The corn, which was up in many of Tuesday the 27th, and was then from places, and other vegetables, were killed 4 to 20 feet, according to the width of the down to the ground, and, upon the high channel, higher than had ever before been lands, the leaves of the trees, which were observed. Although the county of Chitabout two thirds grown, were also killed tenden, and the northern parts of the and fell off. The summer was not only county of Addison, seemed to be the secexcessively cold, but very dry. Very tion upon which the storm spent its greatlittle Indian corn came to maturity, and est force, yet its disastrous effects were many families suffered on account of the felt with unusual severity throughout the scarcity of bread stuffs and their conse- valley of lake Champlain, and in all the quent high prices.

northern and central parts of the state, The year, 1828, was nearly as remark- and the destruction of property in bridges, able for warmth as 1816 was for cold. mills, buildings and growing crops was The mean temperature of all the months great, almost beyond computation. But of this year, with the exception of April, its most melancholly effect was the de. was higher than their average mean, and struction of human life. By a change of the temperature of the year 3° higher than the channel of New Haven'river, in the the mean of the annual temperatures town of New Haven, during the night, which have been observed. The broad between the 26th and 27th, several build. parts of lake Champlain were not frozen ings containing families were insulated, over during the winter.

and afterwards swept away by the waters. The year 1830 was distinguished on ac. Of 21 persons, who were thus surprized count of the great quantity of water which and washed away, 7 only escaped ; the fell in rain and snow, and especially for remaining 14 found a watery grave.* one of the most extensive and destruc. The whole quantity of water which fell tive freshets ever known in Vermont. at Burlington, in 1830, measured 59.3 in. Up to the 15th of July, the weather was being half as much again as the mean anexceedingly cold as well as wet. It then nual quantity, and probably exceeding changed, and became suddenly and ex. the amount in any other year since the cessively warm. The following table state was settled. shows the height to which the ther- Comparative view of the Climate.-As mometer rose in the shade, on each day Vermont extends through 20 16' of lati. from the 15th of July to the 21st, inclu- tude, there is, as might be expected, sive.

* See part III. Article, New Haven.

CLIMATE OF AMERICA AND EUROPE.

CAUSES OF DIFFERENCE.

sensible difference between the tempera- | ical observations. A comparison of the ture of the northern and southern parts, journals kept in this country with those and there is a difference still more mark- kept in Europe shows us that the climate ed between the elevated and mountainous of Vermont, which lies in the latitude of parts and the lower country along our the southern part of France, is as cold as lakes and rivers; but observations are too that of Denmark, situated il or 12° furlimited to enable us to form any accurate ther north. The following table exhibits comparison between the different sections pretty nearly the mean temperatures aof the state.* Between the climate of this long the coasts of the two continents, with state and that of those portions of other the differences, from the 30th to the 60th states, lying in the same latitude, there is degree of latitude. no material difference, with the excep

Table.
tion, perhaps, of the sea-coast of New
Hampshire and Maine, whose mean an-

Lati-
Europe. .

America. Differ

tude. Mean Temp. Mean Temp. ences. nual temperature may be a little higher. But between Vermont and the countries

309 70.19 66.80 3.30 of Europe, lying in the same latitude,

35 66.5 60.5 6.0 there is a remarkable difference, the tem

40

63.1 54.2 8.9 perature of the latter being no less than

45 56.8 45.0 (11.8 11f! higher than ours; and there is a

50 50.8 37.9 12.9 like contrast, increasing towards the

55 460 28.0 18.0 north, between the whole western coast

60 40.0 18.0 22.0 of Europe and the eastern coast of North America.

A contrast so remarkable, as is exhibitThis singular contrast was observed by ed in the preceding table, has been the the earliest navigators, who visited the source of much speculation, but, as it apcoast of North America, and has since pears to us, without throwing much light been confirmed by numerous meteorolog. upon the true cause of the phenomenon.

Among the earliest writers who at* As the extremes of heat and cold were not no- tempted to account for it was Father Brescold which have been entered at sun-rise upon his life in Canada. He says that “a cercollected in the following table the extremes of ani, an Italian Jesuit, who spent most of journals kept at three different places within the tain mixture of dry and moist makes ice, itate since 1829. Degrees in all cases below zero.

and that in Canada there is a remarkable Year. Williamstoon. Burlington. Hydepark.

mixture of water and dry sandy soil; and hence the long duration of cold and great

quantities of snow.” To this he adds an1830 Jan.31, 1831 Dec. 22.

other cause, which is “the neighborhood Dec. 14° 1832 Feb. 24, 22 Jan. 26, 16

of the northern sea, which is covered 1833 Jan. 19, 26 Jan. 19, 20 Dec.15, 120 with monstrous heaps of ice, more than Dec. 15, 18

Jan, 24, 28

8 months of the year." FatherCharlevoix, 1835 Feb. 4,

Jan. 4, 36
Feb. 2,

Feb. 18, 34

who visited Canada in 1720, and from Jan. 4,

Dec. 22, 15 Jan. 26, 34 whose travels the forgoing opinions of 1838 Dec. 13, 15 Jan. 21, 13

Bresani are taken, says* that, in his opin1839 Jan. 24, 24

Feb. 10, 22 1840 Jan, 16, 17 Jan, 18, 16

ion,” “ no person has explained the cause, 1841 Feb. 9, Jan. 4,

why this country is so much colder than

France in the same latitude.” “Most It would appear from varions observations and circumstances, that during calm weather, when writers," he continues, "attribute it to the son does not shine, the temperature of vallies the snow lying so long and deep on the and low situations is lower than that of the high ground. But this only makes the difficul. lands, but in windy weather and when the sun shines, it is coldest on the high lands. In confir- ty worse. Whence those great quantimation of this statement, in part, we give the fol- ties of snow?" His own opinion is that lowing extract of a letter to the author from the the cold and snow are to be attributed to Hon. Elijah Paine, of Williamstown, (see pages the mountains, woods and lakes. Many tremely cold, still weather, the mercury in the European writers have supposed the great thermometer at Burlington, Montpelier, at North- lakes, which abound in the country, to field, on Dog river, on the low lands at the be the cause of the coldness of our climeeting-house in this town, at Woodstock, Hanover, N. H., and even at Albany, N. Y., has some

mate; while others have imagined that times been 14 degrees lower than in mine. Some- there must be a chain of very high mountimes, even in March, I have found the difference tains in the interior of the continent, runequally great, when the wind was, light and the ning from southwest to northeast, which is the case in extremely cold, windy weather. I produce the coldness of our north westerhave known my thermometer in such weather 11 iy winds. Doct. Dwight supposes these degrees lower than some of those I have mentioned."

* Charlevoix's Travels in America, Vol. 1. p. 136.

1829

Feb. 5.

11° 22 18

1834

24

1836 1837

26
16

Feb. 2,

22

Jan, 24, 16

9

10

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