National Geographic : 1890 Apr
National Geographic Magazine. matic method, in use on land lines, then with the Funchal chro nometer over the cable using the mirror galvanometer. Finally a second automatic comparison was made with Lisbon. From the data furnished by these comparisons it was an easy matter to com pute the difference between the chronometers at Lisbon and Funchal. The Lisbon party had been received with great courtesy by the director of the Royal Observatory, Capt. Oom of the Portuguese Navy, and had been given the use of a small detached observatory near the main building. The party at Funchal selected a site on the ramparts of an old fort, which afforded a clear view and was near the landing place of the cable. Here occurred an accident to the transit instrument, which fortu nately was easily remedied. Near the beginning of the observa tions on the first night the wind, which was blowing almost a gale, lifted a part of the roof off the observatory, and dropped one section of it inside. The transit was knocked off the pier, and was at first thought to be much injured. Fortunately the precaution had been taken to bring along a couple of spare instru ments, borrowed from the Transit of Venus Commission for use in case of such an accident. The Funchal party was provided with one of these, which was set up for use by the next night, and the injured one was sent to Lisbon for repairs. The injury proved to be less than supposed and the repairing was an easy matter. Upon the completion of this measurement the Lisbon party proceeded to St. Vincent one of the Cape de Verde Islands. This is a barren and desolate spot of volcanic forma tion, but being on the route of steamers from Europe to Africa and South America is of much importance as a coaling station. Measurements were made from this point to Funchal and to Per nambuco in Brazil, and the Guard then sailed for Rio Janeiro. Upon arriving at that point after a long passage, it was found that the cable between Rio and Pernambuco was broken, and there being no immediate prospect of its being repaired, the Per nambuco party was ordered by mail steamer to Rio, and thence to Montevideo. A measurement was made between Rio and Montevideo and then between the latter place and Buenos Ayres, Lieut. Com. Green occupying the Montevideo station for that pur pose. The position of the observatory at Buenos Ayres was referred to that occupied by Dr. B. A. Gould, Director of the Argentine National Observatory, in a similar measurement a short time before between that place and Cordova.