name = Elias Loomis
image_width = 150px
caption = Elias Loomis (1811 - 1889)
August 7, 1811
birth_place = Willington,
Connecticut, United States
August 15, 1889
New Haven, Connecticut, United States
Mathematics, Terrestrial Magnetism
work_institutions = Western Reserve College,
New York University, Yale College
Elias Loomis (August 7, 1811 – August 15, 1889) was an American
Life and work
Loomis was born in
Willington, Connecticutin 1811. He graduated at Yale Collegein 1830, was a tutor there for three years, 1833-36 and then spent the next year in scientific investigation in Paris. On his return, Loomis was appointed professorof mathematics in the Western Reserve College, Ohio. From 1844 to 1860 he held the professorship of natural philosophy and mathematics in the University of the City of New York, and in the latter year became professor of natural philosophyin Yale. Professor Loomis published (besides many papers in the " American Journal of Science" and in the "Transactions of the American Philosophical Society") many textbooks on mathematics, including "Analytical Geometry and of the Differential and Integral Calculus", published in 1835. In 1859 Alexander Wylie, assistant director of London Missionary Pressin Shanghai, in cooperation with fellow Chinese scholar Li Shan Lan, translated Elias Loomis's book on Geometry, Differential and Integral Calculus into Chinese. The Chinese text was subsequently translated twice by Japanese scholars into Japanese text and published in Japan. Elias Loomis thus played an important role in the transfer of analytical mathematical knowledge to the Far East.
Great Auroral Exhibition of 1859
In his memoir [http://books.nap.edu/html/biomems/eloomis.pdf Memoir Elias Loomis 1811-1889.] by H. A. Newton, Read Before the National Academy,
April 16, 1890] of Professor Loomis, Professor R. A. Newton summarized Loomis' work on the historical Geomagnetic Storm of 1859.
Closely connected withThe following are the nine papers published by Professor Loomis pertaining to the Geomagnetic Storm of 1859. Note that none of the original papers are currently online, as the
terrestrial magnetism, and to be considered with it, is the Aurora Borealis. In the week that covered the end of August and the beginning of September, 1859, there occurred an exceedingly brilliant display of the Northern Lights. Believing that an exhaustive discussion of a single aurorapromised to do more for the promotion of science than an imperfect study of an indefinite number of them, Professor Loomis undertook at once to collect and to collate accounts of this display. A large number of such accounts were secured from North America, from Europe, from Asia, and from places in the Southern Hemisphere; especially all the reports from the Smithsonianobservers and correspondents, were placed in his hands by the Secretary, Professor Henry.
These observations and the discussions of them were given to the public during the following two years, in a series of nine papers in the
American Journal of Science.
Few, if any, displays on record were as remarkable as was this one for brilliancy or for geographical extent. Certainly about no
aurorahave there been collected so many facts. The display continued for a week. The luminous region entirely encircled the North Poleof the earth. It extended on this continent on the 2d of September as far south, as Cuba, and to an unknown distance to the north. In altitude the bases of the columns of light were about fifty miles above the earth's surface, and the streamers shot up at times to a height of five hundred miles. Thus over a broad belt on both continents this large region above the lower atmosphere was filled with masses of luminous material. A display similar to this, and possibly of equal brilliancy, was at the same time witnessed in the Southern Hemisphere.
The nine papers were mainly devoted to the statements of observers. Professor Loomis, however, went on to collect facts about other
auroras, and to make inductions from the whole of the material thus brought together. He showed that there was good reason for believing that not only was this display represented by a corresponding one in the Southern Hemisphere, but that all remarkable displays in either hemisphereare accompanied by corresponding ones in the other.
He showed also that all the principal phenomena of
electricitywere developed during the auroraldisplay of 1859; that light was developed in passing from one conductor to another, that heat in poor conductors, that the peculiar electric shock to the animal system, the excitement of magnetismin irons, the deflection of the magneticneedle, the decomposition of chemical solutions, each and all were produced during the auroral storm, and evidently by its agency. There were also in America effects upon the telegraphthat were entirely consistent with the assumption previously made by Walker for England, that currents of electricitymoved from northeast to southwest across the country. From the observations of the motion of auroral beams, he showed that they also moved from north-northeast to south-southwest, there being thus a general correspondence in motion between the electricalcurrents and the motion of the beams. American Journal of Sciencefor these years is only available on microfilm.
The great auroral exhibition of August 28 to September, 1859.
Am. Jour. Sci. (2), vol. 28, pp. 385-408. November, 1859.
The great auroral exhibition of August 28 to September 4, 1859—2nd article.
Am. Jour. Sci. (2), vol. 29, pp. 92-97. January, 1860.
The great auroral exhibition of August 28 to September 4, 1859—3rd article.
Am. Jour. Sci. (2), vol. 29, pp. 249-266. February, 1860.
The great auroral exhibition of August 28 to September 4, 1859—4th article.
Am. Jour. Sci. (2), vol. 29, pp. 386-399. May, 1860.
The great auroral exhibition of August 28 to September 4, 1859, andthe geographical distribution of auroras and thunder storms—5th article.
Am. Jour. Sci. (2), vol. 30, pp. 79-100. July, 1860.
The great auroral exhibition of August 28 to September 4, 1859—6th article.
(Selected from the Smithsonian papers.)
Am. Jour. Sci. (2), vol. 30, pp. 339-361. November, 1860.
The great auroral exhibition of August 28 to September 4, 1859—7th article.
Am. Jour. Sci. (2), vol. 32, pp. 71-84. May, 1861.
On the great auroral exhibition of August 28 to September 4, 1859, andauroras generally—8th article.
Am. Jour. Sci. (2), vol. 32, pp. 318-335. September, 1861.
On electrical currents circulating near the earth's surface and theirconnection with the phenomena of the aurora polaris—9th article.
Am. Jour. Sci. (2), vol. 34. pp. 34-45. July, 1862.
(On the action of electrical currents and the motion of auroral beams.)
As part of a 2006 review [ [http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=PublicationURL&_tockey=%23TOC%235738%232006%23999619997%23635314%23FLA%23&_cdi=5738&_pubType=J&_auth=y&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=2386405&md5=ec2cbc7919b3c9c69062345990b04609 The Great Historical Geomagnetic Storm of 1859: A Modern Look] Edited by C.R. Clauer and G. Siscoe; Advances in Space Research, Volume 38, Issue 2, Pages 115-388 (2006)] of the Geomagnetic Storm of 1859, M.A. Shea, and D.F. Smart edited a compendium [ [http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0273117706004480 Compendium of the eight articles on the “Carrington Event” attributed to or written by Elias Loomis in the American Journal of Science, 1859–1861] by M.A. Shea, and D.F. Smart; Advances in Space Research, Volume 38, Issue 2, 2006, Pages 313-385] of eight articles published by Elias Loomis in the
American Journal of Sciencefrom 1859 to 1861. The ninth and final paper was omitted and not referenced. Of the eleven pages in the ninth paper, only half a page deals with the great auroral exhibition of 1859, previously reported by Loomis, while the bulk of the paper deals with auroral events predating 1859.
In the Compendium, for the 5th article in the series, the section on thunderstorms totaling six pages, is omitted with footnotes documenting the removal by the editors. In the citation to the 5th article the page range is given as 79–94, the correct range is 79–100.
The citations for the 3rd and 4th articles gives the page ranges as 249–265 and 386–397; the correct values are 249-266 and 386-399, but the content is complete for both articles in the Compendium.
In a November 21, 1861 paper [ [http://www.jstor.org/pss/108745 On the Great Magnetic Disturbance Which Extended from August 28 to September 7, 1859, as Recorded by Photography at the Kew Observatory] by Balfour Stewart, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Vol. 151, (1861), pp. 423-430 ] to the
Royal Society Balfour Stewartacknowledged the work of Professor E. Loomis.
It is unnecessary to enter into further particulars regarding this meteor, as the description of it given by observations at places widely apart have been collected together by Professor E. Loomis, and published in a serious of papers communicated to the American Journal of Science and Arts. I shall only add that, both from the
European, the American, and the Australianaccounts, there appear to have been two great displays, each commencing at nearly the same absolute time, throughout the globe, —the first on the evening of the 28th of August, and the second on the early morning of the 2nd of September, Greenwich time.
Great Auroral Exhibition of 1859, Other Reports
Reports Associated With the Stewart Super Flare
Balfour Stewartreported that the magnetic stormfrom the Steward Super Flare began at 22:30 GMT on the evening of August 28, 1859as recorded by self-recording magnetographat the Kew Observatory. This was equivalent to approximately 17:30 EST and the sun would have been one hour and five minutes from sunset (18:35 EST) on that date in New York City; therefore, conditions would have been impossible for observing the onset of the magnetic stormon the East Coast of the United States, during the period of maximum intensity, and the rest of the country would have been in full sunlight for several more hours. Standardized Time Zones would not be established in the United Statesuntil 1883.
* [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9506E5DC1230EE34BC4850DFBE668382649FDE&scp=3&sq=Aurora&st=p THE AURORA BOREALIS.; THE BRILLIANT DISPLAY ON SUNDAY NIGHT. PHENOMENA CONNECTED WITH THE EVENT.]
Mr. Meriam's Observations on the Aurora--E. M. Picks Up a Piece of the Auroral Light.
The Aurora as Seen Elsewhere--Remarkable Electrical Effects.;
New York Time, August 30, 1859, Tuesday; Page 1, 3087 words [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9506E5DC1230EE34BC4850DFBE668382649FDE&scp=3&sq=Aurora&st=p THE AURORA BOREALIS.; THE BRILLIANT DISPLAY ON SUNDAY NIGHT. PHENOMENA CONNECTED WITH THE EVENT.] Mr. Meriam's Observations on the Aurora--E. M. Picks Up a Piece of the Auroral Light. The Aurora as Seen Elsewhere--Remarkable Electrical Effects.; New York Time, August 30, 1859, Tuesday; Page 1, 3087 words]
New York Timesreport on the Stewart Super Flare for August 30, 1859was on page one, above the fold, upper right corner and two full columns in length. This was the major news story for that date. The later reports on the Carrington Super Flare did not enjoy the same level of coverage, even though some of the displays may have been more spectacular given the timing of the events.
Reports Associated With the Carrington Super Flare
Balfour Stewartreported that the magnetic stormfrom the Carrington Super Flare began at 05:00 GMT on the morning of September 2, 1859 as recorded by self-recording magnetographat the Kew Observatory. This was equivalent to approximately midnight 00:00 EST in New York City. In all areas of the United States, not obscured by clouds, viewing conditions would have been ideal while the magnetic storm was at maximum intensity. Note that some locations in the Western United Statescould have reported events for late in the evening of September 1, 1859.
* [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9F05E6DB1638E033A25750C0A96F9C946892D7CF&scp=2&sq=Aurora&st=p AURORA AUSTRALIS.; Magnificent Display on Friday Morning.]
Mr. Merlam's Opinions on the Bareul Light--One of his Friends Finds a Place of the Aurora on his Lion-corp.
The Aurural Display in Boston.;
New York Times, September 3, 1859, Saturday; Page 4, 1150 words [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9F05E6DB1638E033A25750C0A96F9C946892D7CF&scp=2&sq=Aurora&st=p AURORA AUSTRALIS.; Magnificent Display on Friday Morning.] Mr. Merlam's Opinions on the Bareul Light--One of his Friends Finds a Place of the Aurora on his Lion-corp. The Aurural Display in Boston.; New York Times, September 3, 1859, Saturday; Page 4, 1150 words]
New York Timesreport from Bostonis of particular note because it may provide enough information to calculate the minimum illuminationgenerated by the Aurora.
The Auroral Display in Boston [ [http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.asr.2005.12.021 Eyewitness reports of the great auroral storm of 1859] Advances in Space Research, Volume 38, Issue 2, 2006, Pages 145-154, Green, et al.] [ [http://books.google.com/books?id=xesBAAAAYAAJ&pg=RA1-PA132&lpg=RA1-PA132 The Journal of Education for Upper Canada; The Late Aurora Borealis and the Telegraph] 1858, Page 132, Ryerson, et al.]
Boston, Friday, Sept. 2
There was another display on the
Auroralast night, so brilliant that at about one o'clock ordinary print could be read by the light. The effect continued through this forenoon considerably affecting the working of the telegraph lines. The Auroralcurrents from east to west were so regular that the operators on the Eastern lines were able to hold communication and transmit messages over the line between this city and Portland, the usual batteries being discontinued from the wire. The same effects were experienced upon the Cape Codand other lines.
Bostontime on Friday September 2, would have been 6:00 GMT and the self-recording magnetographat the Kew Observatorywas recording the geomagnetic storm, which was then one hour old, at its full intensity; this is amazingly accurate news reporting.
* [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9A05EEDB113CEF34BC4D53DFBF668382649FDE&scp=1&sq=Aurora&st=p AURORAL PHENOMENA.; Remarkable Effect of the Aurora Upon the Telegraph Wires.] ;
New York Times, September 5, 1859, Monday; Page 2, 1683 words [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9A05EEDB113CEF34BC4D53DFBF668382649FDE&scp=1&sq=Aurora&st=p AURORAL PHENOMENA.; Remarkable Effect of the Aurora Upon the Telegraph Wires.] ; New York Times, September 5, 1859, Monday; Page 2, 1683 words]
Reports Associated With Both Super Flares
* [http://books.google.com/books?id=NK83AAAAMAAJ History, Theory, and Practice of the Electric Telegraph]
By George Bartlett Prescott (1860); 468 pages [http://books.google.com/books?id=NK83AAAAMAAJ History, Theory, and Practice of the Electric Telegraph] By George Bartlett Prescott (1860); 468 pages]
In George Bartlett Prescott’s book, [http://books.google.com/books?id=NK83AAAAMAAJ&printsec=titlepage&source=gbs_summary_r&cad=0#PPA305,M1 Chapter XIX on Terrestrial Magnetism (pp. 305-332)] contains multiple reports of
Auroralevents disrupting telegraph communications, the times for which are in remarkable good agreement with the times reports by Balfour Stewartfor the two magnetic storms between August 28and September 2, 1859. Detailed descriptions of the events and stations involved are provided in the narratives.
* [http://books.google.com/books?id=CCXxGAAACAAJ The Telegraph in America: Its Founders, Promoters and Noted Men]
By James D. Reid (1879); 846 pages; [http://books.google.com/books?id=CCXxGAAACAAJ The Telegraph in America: Its Founders, Promoters and Noted Men] By James D. Reid (1879); 846 pages]
* [http://books.google.com/books?id=SI_WAAAACAAJ The Telegraph in America: Its Founders, Promoters and Noted Men]
By James D. Reid (1974); ISBN:0405060564; 846 pages; [http://books.google.com/books?id=SI_WAAAACAAJ The Telegraph in America: Its Founders, Promoters and Noted Men] By James D. Reid (1974); ISBN:0405060564; 846 pages]
James D. Reid's book while printed in 1879 is not available online because there is modern edition which is out of print but still under copyright. The book is recommended by the author of the report [http://www.rainbowriderstradingpost.com/article1.html "The Aurora Borealis and the Telegraph"] [ [http://www.rainbowriderstradingpost.com/article1.html "The Aurora Borealis and the Telegraph"] By Patti Norton] ]
See pages i – xxii of "The American Journal of Science" (1890, volume 39, number 234) for a list of Loomis's publications. [cite journal | title = Publications of Professor Elias Loomis | journal = The American Journal of Science | year = 1890 | volume = 39 | issue = 234 | pages = i – xii | url = http://books.google.com/books?id=BPcQAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA427-IA2&dq=Elias+Loomis&as_brr=1#PRA1-PR1,M2] Among these are the following:
* [http://books.google.com/books?id=o0IDAAAAQAAJ The recent progress of astronomy; especially in the United States] (1850)
* [http://books.google.com/books?id=lcQEAAAAYAAJ Elements of Analytical Geometry and of the Differential and Integral Calculus] (1851)
* [http://books.google.com/books?id=1EwAAAAAYAAJ The Elements of GeologyAdapted to the Use of Schools and Colleges] (1852)
* [http://books.google.com/books?id=6b0AAAAAMAAJ Elements of Natural Philosophy Designed for Academies and High Schools] (1858)
* [http://books.google.com/books?id=TjMAAAAAQAAJ An Introduction to Practical Astronomy With a Collection of Astronomical Tables] (1860)
* [http://books.google.com/books?id=IcWjjBFSWZEC Elements of Geometry and Conic Sections] (1861)
* [http://books.google.com/books?id=BRBDAAAAIAAJ Elements of Plane and Spherical Trigonometry] (1862)
* [http://books.google.com/books?id=BtNHAAAAIAAJ Tables of Logarithms of Numbers and of Sines and Tangents] (1862)
* [http://name.umdl.umich.edu/ABV0244.0001.001 A Treatise on Algebra] (1868)
* [http://www.archive.org/details/treatiseonmeteor00loomrich A treatise on meteorology : with a collection of meteorological tables] (1868)
* [http://www.archive.org/search.php?query=creator%3A%28Elias%20Loomis%20%29 Books by Elias Loomis in the Internet Archive]
* [http://books.google.com/books?q=inauthor%3AElias+inauthor%3ALoomis+date%3A1811-1900 Books by Elias Loomis in Google Books]
* [http://scholar.google.com/scholar?as_sauthors=Elias+Loomis&as_ylo=1811&as_yhi=1900 Papers by Elias Loomis in Google Scholar]
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