Observations of the Planet Eros

Boston Herald

Eros, the minute planet discovered by De Witt of Berlin, August 13, 1898, returned to view last September, after completing the cycle of visible positions it offered then, and is about to be lost to view again. Two series of observations are now available for the work of the computers, and in the course of several months the busy mathematicians may be able to reduce the enormous mass of work done. Nearly every observatory in the world worthy of the name has done all it could to note its position day by day, and a mass of data has been accumulated that presents an appalling task for the astronomers from which to reach the ultimate results expected.

After all, it may be asked: Supposing Eros was discovered, what of it? Why should the discovery of a vagrant body like it, twenty miles in diameter, as Eros is estimated to be, never visible to the naked eye, be regarded as one of the great events of the century, occupying the energies of the most expert observers for months, and the work of the most expert computers for many more months? What great munificent reward repays for all this effort? Are there not celestial questions, countless in number, pressing for solution that need not be postponed for this insignificant affair? What is there about this rara avis that the astronomical world should go mad on its appearance?

The Lectures
March 21, 1901

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