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After describing the manner in which the zodiacal light was first strongly represented to him in South Africa in 1843, and which seemed to imply that some of the received opinions with regard to it were erroneous, Smyth describes an equatorial instrument which he contrived for the purpose of measuring the right ascension and declination of the apex of the light; some instrumental method of determining these data, and thence the principal phenomena of the appearances, being evidently desirable on account of the immense extent to which the judgement may be biased by prejudice or casual circumstances, when the mere senses are trusted to for determining the extent, situation, and character of so faint and vague a body.

Followed by eight pages of figures relating to astronomical observations and apparatus.

Subject: Astronomy / Scientific apparatus and instruments

Received 13 April 1848. Withdrawn 2 November 1848. Communicated by Capt W H [William Henry] Smyth.

Whilst the Royal Society declined to publish this paper in full, an abstract of the paper was published in volume 5 of Abstracts of the Papers Printed in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London [later Proceedings of the Royal Society] as 'Attempt to apply instrumental measurement to the zodiacal light'.

Reference number
Earliest possible date
25 March 1840
Physical description
Ink on paper
Page extent
38 pages

Creator name

Charles Piazzi Smyth

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Charles Piazzi Smyth, Unpublished paper, 'Attempt to apply instrumental measurement to the zodiacal light' by Charles Piazzi Smyth, 25 March 1840, AP/30/18, The Royal Society Archives, London,, accessed on 17 April 2024

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    Dates: 1768-1989

    The 'Archived Papers' collection is comprised of original manuscript scientific papers and letters submitted to the Royal Society which remained unpublished or were abstracted in the journal 'Proceedings of the Royal Society' published from 1830 onwards.

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