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Memoir of the founding and progress of the United States Naval Observatory

Author: J E Nourse
Publisher: Washington, D.C. : G.P.O., 1873.
Edition/Format:   Book : National government publication : English
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
Congressional action for instituting a National Observatory originated in the earliest movement for establishing a first meridian in the United States for which further dependence on Great Britain or any other foreign nation for such meridian may be entirely removed. The Hon. Mr. Pitkin, Representative from Connecticutt, and chairman of a select committee on a memorial from Mr. William Lambert, of Virginia, reported  Read more...
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Details

Material Type: Government publication, National government publication
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: J E Nourse
OCLC Number: 18473723
Notes: Washington Observations, 1871. Appendix 4.
Description: 52 pages ; 29 cm
Responsibility: prepared at the U.S. Naval Observatory by J.E. Nourse by order of B.F. Sands.

Abstract:

Congressional action for instituting a National Observatory originated in the earliest movement for establishing a first meridian in the United States for which further dependence on Great Britain or any other foreign nation for such meridian may be entirely removed. The Hon. Mr. Pitkin, Representative from Connecticutt, and chairman of a select committee on a memorial from Mr. William Lambert, of Virginia, reported that Lambert made calculations to determine the longitude of the Capitol at the seat of Government from Greenwich Observatory, England. Establishing the first meridian at Washington would resolve existing confusion of assumed "first meridians" within the United States already published on various maps and charts. Lambert's calculations founded on an occultation by the moon of [eta] Pleiadum, Alcyone, observed near the President's House on the night of October 20, 1804, from which Lambert deduced the approximate longitude of the Capitol to be 76 degrees 53 minute 6 seconds .920 west from Greenwich. The committee complimented Mr. Lambert's astronomical ability and recommended authorizing further observations by different methods. The committee reported the following resolution: "That it is expedient to make provision by law authorizing the President of the United States to cause the longitude of the city of Washington from the Observatory at Greenwich to be ascertained with the greatest degree of accuracy, and, for that purpose, to procure the necessary astronomical instruments."

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