The origin of meteoric astronomy, as a science, dates from the memorable star-shower of 1833. Soon after that brilliant display it was found that similar phenomena had been witnessed, at nearly regular intervals, in former times. This discovery led at once to another no less important, viz.: that the nebulous masses from which such showers are derived revolve about the sun in paths intersecting the earth's orbit. The theory that these meteor-clouds are but the scattered fragments of disintegrated comets was announced by several astronomers in 1867:- a theory confirmed in a remarkable manner by the shower of meteors from the débris of Biela's comet on the 27th of November, 1872.
To gratify the interest awakened in the public mind by the discoveries here named, is the main design of the following work. Among the subjects considered are, cometary astronomy; aerolites, with the phenomena attending their fall; the most bril liant star-showers of all ages; and the origin of comets, aerolites, and falling stars.
It may be proper to remark that the language used by the writer in a volume published several years since, and now nearly out of print, has been occasionally adopted in the following treatise.