Of all the sciences, astronomy lends itself best to be a source of entertainment for the amateur. Ormsby MacKnight Mitchel (1810–1862), a lecturer and popularizer of astronomy in the U.S.A. in the nineteenth century, described the wonder in the heavens that commenced thousands of years ago. He speculated that primitive men first recognized the Sun and the Moon, and patterns in the stars. The observant early astronomers would recognize deviations from these patterns caused by the motions of the planets, probably in the order of Venus, Jupiter, Mars, Saturn and finally Mercury (Mitchel 1867, pp. 42–68). Infrequent events, such as the appearances of comets, meteor showers, novae, supernovae and eclipses, would further pique their interest.
KeywordsNineteenth Century Solar Eclipse Meteor Shower Total Solar Eclipse Infrequent Event
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