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From the archive: comet observation, and the explorer Dr Livingstone found safe

100 Years Ago

Dr. Crommelin in his valuable “Comet Notes,” B. A. A. Journal, March 1922 … speaking of Reid’s comet … says “the comet must have been quite well placed for Northern observers last October and November, being of the 9th magnitude.” It seems that Mr. Reid discovered the comet only a short time before it passed out of sight. This incident reminds us of the fact that a considerable number of these objects must escape observation altogether owing to the want of observers. It is remarkable that English astronomers appear hitherto to have taken little interest in cometary work, and that very few comets have been discovered from this country. This is a regrettable circumstance. Yet the discovery and observation of comets include a comparatively easy and very attractive field of work open to amateurs with moderately powerful instruments. There are a great number of telescopic observers in the United Kingdom who have the means and the time at their disposal to accomplish valuable work in this department if they would only engage in it in an earnest manner. It is a branch which offers special inducements to amateurs, and holds out a greater prospect of brilliant success than perhaps any other sphere of labour. It is hoped, therefore, that some enthusiasts will turn their practical attention to it.

From Nature 13 May 1922

150 Years Ago

After we went to press last week, a most cheering telegram was received in this country respecting the fate of Dr. Livingstone, as follows: — “Aden, May 1, 1872. —The Abydos has returned from Zanzibar. She brings news that Dr. Livingstone is safe with Stanley ...” It may fairly be hoped that still more authentic intelligence will shortly be received respecting the fate of the great traveller, with respect to whom such anxiety has been manifested in this country.

From Nature 9 May 1872



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