Some Problems of Sidereal Astronomy

H. N. Russell
1919 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America  
The main object of astronomy, as of all science, is not the collection of facts, but the development, on the basis of collected facts, of satisfactory theories regarding the nature, mutual relations, and probable history and evolution of the objects of study. Before the existing data appear sufficient to justify the attempt to form such a general theory, two policies of investigation may be followed: (1) to collect masses of information, as accurate and extensive as possible, by well tested
more » ... ine methods, and leave it to the insight of some fortunate and future investigator to derive from the accumulated facts the information which they contain regarding the general problems of the science; (2) to keep these greater problems continually in mind, and to plan the program of observation in such a way as to secure as soon as practicable data which bear directly upon definite phases of these problems. Much valuable and self-sacrificing work has been done by astronomers who adopted the former policy. In the opinion of many investigators, however, the progress of astronomy would be hastened if fuller consideration were given to the second method of attack, especially with a view to the widest possible co6peration between different observers and institutions.
doi:10.1073/pnas.5.10.391 pmid:16576410 pmcid:PMC1091622 fatcat:c2u4pgposvaenniso732fpulse