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afforded an excellent opportunity of corroborating the facts respecting this principle, which have been detailed in the preceding pages. Although I could detect no traces of iron, by the usual modes of analysis, minute portions of that metal 'may, and probably do exist in it, as well as in the other animal fluids which I have examined; but the abundance of colouring matter in this secretion should have afforded a proportional quantity of iron, did any connection exist between them. It has been observed that the artificial solutions of the colouring matter of the blood, invariably exhibit a green tint when viewed by transmitted light: this peculiarity is remarkably distinct in the menstruous discharge.*
I hope that some of the facts furnished by the above experiments, may prove useful to the physiological inquirer: they account for the rapid reproduction of perfect blood after very copious bleedings, which is quite inexplicable upon that hypothesis which regards iron as the colouring matter, and may perhaps lead to the solution of some hitherto unexplained phenomena connected with the function of respiration. There can, I think, be little doubt that the formation of the colouring matter of the blood is connected with the removal of a portion of carbon and hydrogen from that fluid, and that its various tints are dependent upon such modifications of animal matter, and not, as some have assumed, upon the different states of oxidizement of the iron which it has been supposed to contain.
• I could discover no globules in this fluid; and although a very slight degree of putrefaction had commenced in it, yet the globules observed in the blood would not have been destroyed by so trifling a change.
V. Observations of a Comet, with Remarks on the Construction of its different Parts. By William Herschel, LL.D. F.R. S.
Read December 19, 1811.
THE HE Comet which has lately visited the solar system has moved in an orbit very favourably situated for astronomical observations. I have availed myself of this circumstance, and have examined all the parts of it with a scrutinizing attention, by telescopes of every degree of requisite light, distinctness, and power.
The observations I have made have been so numerous, and so often repeated, that I shall only give a selection of such as were made under the most favourable circumstances, and which will serve to ascertain the most interesting particulars relating to the construction of the comet.
As my attention in these observations were every night directed to as many particulars as could be investigated, it will be most convenient to assort together those which belong to the same object; and in the following arrangement I shall begin with the principal part, which is
The planetary Body in the Head of the Comet.
By directing a telescope to that part of the head where with the naked eye I saw a luminous appearance not unlike a star; I found that this spot, which perhaps some astronomers may call a nucleus, was only the head of the comet; but that within
its densest light there was an extremely small bright point, entirely distinct from the surrounding glare. I examined this point with my 20 feet, large 10 feet, common 10 feet, and also with a 7 feet telescope; and with every one of these instruments I ascertained the reality of its existence.
At the very first sight of it, I judged it to be much smaller than the little planetary disk in the head of the comet of the year 1807; but as we are well assured that if any solidity resembling that of the planets be contained in the comet, it must be looked for in this bright point; I have called it the planetary body; in order to distinguish it from what to the naked eye or in small telescopes appeared to be a nucleus, but which in fact was this little body with its surrounding light or head seen together as one object.
With a new 10 feet mirror of extraordinary distinctness, I examined the bright point every fine evening, and found that although its contour was certainly not otherwise than round, I could but very seldom perceive it definedly to be so.
As hitherto I had only used moderate magnifiers from 100 to 160, because they gave a considerable brightness to the point, it occurred to me that higher powers might be required to increase its apparent magnitude; accordingly the 19th of October, having prepared magnifiers of 169, 240, 300, 400, and 600, I viewed the bright point successively with these
With 169 it appeared to be about the size of a globule which in the morning I had seen in the same telescope and with the same magnifier, and which by geometrical calculation subtended an angle of 1",39.
I suspected that this apparent size of the bright point was
only such as will spuriously arise from every small star-like appearance; and this was fully confirmed when I examined it with 240; for by this its magnitude was not increased; which not only proved that my power was not sufficient to reach the real diameter of the object, but that the light of this point was, like that of small stars, sufficiently intense to bear being much magnified.
I viewed it next with 300, and here again I could perceive no increase of size.
When I examined the point with 400, it appeared to me somewhat larger than with 300; I saw it indeed rather better than with a lower power, and had reason to believe that its real diameter was now within reach of my magnifiers. Curiosity induced me to view it in the 7 feet telescope with a power of 460; and notwithstanding the inferior quantity of light of this instrument, the magnitude was fully sufficient to show that the increase of size in this telescope agreed with that in the 10 feet.
Returning again to the latter I examined the bright point with 600, and saw it now so much better than with 400, that I could keep it steadily in sight while it passed the field of view of the eye-glass.
With this power I compared its appearance to the size of several globules, that have been examined with the same telescope and magnifier, and by estimation I judged it to be visibly smaller than one of 1",06 in diameter, and rather larger than another of o",68.
It should be noticed that I viewed the globules, which were of sealing wax, without sunshine, in the morning after the observation as well as the morning before; referring in one
case the bright point to the globules, and in the other the globules to the bright point.*
The apparent and real Magnitude of the planetary Body. The size of the bright point being much more like the smallest of the two globules, I shall add one quarter of their difference to o",68, and assume the sum, which is o",775 as the apparent diameter of the planetary disk.
Then by a calculation from some corrected elements of the comet's orbit, which, though not very accurate, are however sufficiently so for my purpose, I find that the distance of the comet from the earth, at the time of observation, was nearly 114 millions of miles; from which it follows that the bright point, or what we may admit to be the solid or planetary body of the comet, is about 428 miles in diameter.
The Eccentricity and Colour of the planetary Body.
The situation of the bright point was not in the middle of the head, but was more or less eccentric at different times.
The 16th of October that part of the head, which was towards the sun was a little brighter and broader than that towards the tail, so that the planetary disk or point was a little eccentric.
The 17th I found its situation to be a little beyond the centre, reckoning the distance in the direction of a line drawn from the sun through the centre of the head.
The 4th of November it was more eccentric than I had ever seen it before.
* A similar method was used with the comet of 1807. See Phil. Trans. for 18c8, page 145.