Planet Suppositive.


    In *Harper's New Monthly Magazine Vol. LVIII , December, 1878, To May 1879, reference is made, in the astronomical notes, to the work of the eminent astronomers Dr. Watson and Leverrier, on the supposed planet Vulcan, the existence of which has been affirmed and denied by our astronomers for years and still remains an unsettled question. Dr. Watson claims to have seen the planet during an eclipse of the sun and Leverrier during its transit across the Sun's disk. Leverrier in computing the orbit of this globe calls for an axial tilt or inclination of about 12 degrees; Dr. Watson in his calculations claimed a tilt or inclination of about 6 degrees. No succeeding researches by these scientists or others have ever proved or disproved the truth of their deductions.

*Astronomy.—Dr. Peters discovered his twenty-ninth and thirtieth minor planets (Nos. 188 and 189) on July V and September 17. Professor "Watson is not too much engaged in his work on a new major planet to add occasionally an asteroid to our system. His twenty-third planet, No. 190, was discovered September 20. Swift's comet of July 7 was observed well by Dr. Peters, and is possibly the same as one announced by P. Ferrari, of Rome, as having been discovered in July. No news of this came to this country by telegraph, but it was only heard of by a telegram in the London Times. With regard to Vulcan, the following deductions appear not to have been noticed: 1. Leverrier's orbits were said by himself only to be possible if the inclination of Vulcan was large—say 12° or over; 2. Watson's observation fits one of Leverrier's orbits, as shown by Gaillot, but necessitates a small inclination—say 6° or thereabouts; 3. If, then, Watson's eclipse Vulcan and Leverrier's transit Vulcan are one and the same, this new planet must be on the face of the sun several times a year; but it has never been seen on the thousands of photographs, drawings, etc. Thus the ephemeris of Gaillot is meaningless.

    Additional article in **Harper's New Monthly Magazine Vol. LVIII , December, 1878, To May 1879, reference is made, in the astronomical notes, to the work of the eminent astronomers Dr. Oppolzer, who says, "The existence of such an intra-Mercurial planet therefore appears probable."! Edward Latch calls this planet "Suppositive."

**Astronomy. — Dr. Oppolzer, of Vienna, has collected in Astronomische Nachrichten 2239, all observations of small bodies seen on the sun's disk which might have been Vulcan, and from the well-known ones used by Leverrier, and others added by himself, finds that possible transits may have taken place in 1800 (March 29), 1802 (October 10), 1819 (October 9), 1839 (October 2), 1849 (March 12), 1857 (September 12), 1859 (March 26), 1862 (March 19). These observations, comprising all that arc recorded during the period, are tolerably well satisfied by the elements given. The inclination is 7.0°; the mean distance, 0.123. The residual errors in longitude are respectively +0.6° +0.4° +0.2° +0.5°, -0.8° +0.1°, 0.0° +0.1°; and in latitude, +14', -14', -13', -7', -7', +7', +10', +2'. The existence of such an intra-Mercurial planet therefore appears probable to Dr. Oppolzer. According to his results, it can not be the same body as either of those described by Professor Watson. There must be a transit of Oppolzer's planet at least twice a year—in March and October. On March 18 of this year (1879) a nearly central transit of Oppolzer's planet occurs between 18 h. 8 m. and 23 h. 15 m. Berlin mean time, or 12 h. (midnight) and 17 h. Washington mean time. The question of its existence is thus easily to be decided.

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Planet Suppositive


    Twenty years after, Mr. Latch in his astronomical reading of the Codex Argenteus Page, found that the Mosaic System called for a planet between Mercury and the Sun he recognized that the tenth member of the Solar family must be the elusive Vulcan of astronomy. He named it the Suppositive Planet and from the Codex Page alone. By the Mosaic System he calculated its axial and orbital periods. The inclination or tilt of this planet he found to be 9 degrees — exactly the mean between Watson's 6, and Leverrier's 12 degrees. He had no knowledge of the work of Watson and Leverrier and never saw any matter printed or otherwise on the movements of this invisible member of the solar group.