National Geographic : 1904 Nov
MOUNT WEATHI a research meteorological observatory at Mount Weather, Bluemont, Virginia, about 65 miles northwest of Washing ton. The site contains 85 acres of land, located on the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains, 1,8oo feet above sea-level, and overlooking the Piedmont and the Shenandoah valleys. It is far enough away from any probable trolley line,such as one through the Snicker's Gap, to escape the electric currents which might injure the magnetic observations. The rocks are non-magnetic to a remarkable degree, and the magnetic field is uni form, so that the place is a good one for the observatory. We have a large building for administration and com mon meteorology already completed, a fine balloon and kite plant in process of construction, and operations have been begun on a first-class variation and absolute observatory for atmospheric magnetism. Plans are being studied for an excellent physical laboratory to accommodate experiments in meteoro logical physics, in the improvement of instruments, in atmospheric electricity, ionization and radioactivity of the air and of soils, and other research investi gations. We are working out a com prehensive scheme for a solar physics observatory for studying the visible signs in the sunspots, prominences, fac ulae, and photosphere by a photographic telescope, a horizontal spectro-helio graph, and a spectrum analyzer; also, it will contain a high-grade bolometer if the site proves sufficiently favorable for this line of radiation observations. There are numerous small pieces of ER OBSERVATORY 445 auxiliary apparatus which will be de veloped and added as time and experi ence suggest. To coordinate and organize so large a scientific plant will require time and money, but it is felt that we can in no other way suitably serve the American public in this branch of science. While there is similar work of the kind going on in different parts of the world, it is not possible for us to make use of it in practical forecasting. Except for some preliminary notices of results to be found in current scientific journals, the pub lished reports are usually delayed two or three years behind the date of the obser vations. Furthermore, coming from so many sources, different countries, and different observers, the data are not ho mogeneous. It takes so much time and labor to work over and render compara ble this miscellaneous material that it is better to bring all the necessary lines of study under one management and make the observations and computations ho mogeneous from the beginning, so as to keep the data in form for immediate de ductions regarding the trend of the gen eral meteorological conditions in the United States. We are looking to the future needs of a rapidly developing and intensely interesting branch of science, and are trying to build the very best ob servatory possible. We shall seek to equip it with the most satisfactory in struments which are available. There will be no haste in order to reach sensa tional forecasts, and it is believed that the public will indorse the strictly scien tific method here outlined.