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Document number: 6447
Date: 01 Aug 1851
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: HUMBOLDT Alexander von
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Collection number historic: LA51-33
Last updated: 7th March 2011

En remerciant encore une fois Monsieur Talbot des precieux moments qu’il a bien voulu me donner à Potsdam et à Berlin malgré l’extreme briéveté de son séjour, je pense lui etre agréable en lui indiquant un livre de l’Astronome de Breslau, Mr de Boguslawsqi [sic], décédé: il y a apeine deux mois, Ephemerides très repandu dans les Observations pour le nom d’Uranos.<1>Uranos de l’année 1851 Second Semestre p 60–62 que la probabilité de la liaison entre les nuages rouges et des taches crateriformes qui arrivées au bord du Soleil, forme une échancrure, est longuement discutée. Mr de Boguslawsqi inciste fortement sur la necessité d’observer le disque du soleil avant l’eclipse et de voir si sur les points qui ont offert les spectres rouges ou fantomes rouges des taches la formest [sic] plus fragmenté après l’[illegible deletion] éclipse. Veuillez aussi jetter les yeux sur l’admirable developpement que déjà dans l’annuaire 1846 p 465 Mr Arago<2> a donne sur l’action des traces et des facules.

Mille affectueux hommages
A Humboldt

ce 1 Aout 1851

Les plus anciennes observ. des spectres rouges [illegible] Gottenburg 2 Mai 1733 Phil Tr vol 38 p 135

a Monsieur
Monsieur Talbot
Minlands Hotel
A Humboldt


While thanking Mr Talbot once again for the precious moments which he was kind enough to spend with me in Potsdam and Berlin, in spite of his very short stay there, I hope to please him by telling him of a book by the Breslau astronomer, Mr Boguslawski, who died barely two months ago, Ephemerides which is very widely used in the observatories, by the name of Uranos It is in this book, (Cahier d’Uranos) from the Second Semester of 1851, pp. 60–62, that the probability of the connection between the red clouds and the crater-shaped spots, which, arriving on the surface of the Sun, form an indentation, has been discussed at great length. Mr Boguslawski is most insistent that it is necessary to observe the disc of the sun before the eclipse and to see if, at those points where the red spectra or fantasms appear before the eclipse, it looks more fragmented afterwards. Please cast a glance at the admirable development given by Mr Arago to the action of traces and faculae, and which was already in the 1846 yearbook p 465.

Many affectionate regards
A Humboldt

1 August 1851

The oldest observations of red spectra [illegible] Gottenburg 2 May 1733 Phil Tr vol 38 p135

Mr Talbot
Minlands Hotel
A Humboldt


1. A phonetic spelling for Palon Heinrich Ludwig von Boguslawski (1789–1851), astronomer and Director of the Breslau Observatory (modern Wroclaw, Poland). He produced an annual table of astronomical positions as seen from the Observatory at Breslau: Uranus Synchronistisch Geordnete Ephemeride Aller Himmelserscheinungen. An ephemeris (plural ephemerides) is a table giving the positions of astronomical objects.

2. Dominique François Jean Arago (1786–1853), French physicist, astronomer & man of science. Arago was Director of the Paris Observatory until 1846, and also main contributor to the Annuaire du Bureau de Longitudes. In the 1846 Annuaire (handbook and calendar), he proposed that the facula (bright spot) phenomenon should be studied immediately before a solar eclipse.

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