|Hutton, Charles Mathematical and Philosophical Dictionary 1795|
, in Electricity, denotes the appearance of the electric matter on a point into which it enters. Beccaria supposes that the Star is occasioned by the difficulty with which the electric fluid is extricated from the air, which is an electric substance. See Brush.
, in Fortification, denotes a small fort, having 5 or more points, or saliant and re-entering angles, flanking one another, and their faces 90 or 100 feet long.
, in Pyrotechny, a composition of combustible matters; which being borne, or thrown aloft into the air, exhibits the appearance of a real Star.—Stars are chiefly used as appendages to rockets, a number of them being usually inclosed in a conical cap, or cover, at the head of the rocket, and carried up with it to its utmost height, where the Stars, taking fire, are spread around, and exhibit an agreeable spectacle.
To make Stars.—Mix 3lbs of saltpetre, 11 ounces of sulphur, one of antimony, and 3 of gunpowder dust: or, 12 ounces of sulphur, 6 of saltpetre, 5 1/2 of gunpowder dust, 4 of olibanum, one of mastic, camphor, sublimate of mercury, and half an ounce of antimony and orpiment. Moisten the mass with gumwater, and make it into little balls, of the size of a chesnut; which dry either in the sun, or in the oven. These being set on fire in the air, will represent Stars.
Star-Board denotes the right hand side of a ship, when a person on board stands with the face looking forward towards the head or fore part of the ship. In contradistinction from Larboard, which denotes the left hand side of the ship in the same circumstances.— They say, Starboard the helm, or helm a Starboard, when the man at the helm should put the helm to the right hand side of the ship.
Falling Star, or Shooting Star, a luminous meteor darting rapidly through the air, and resembling a Star falling.—The explication of this phenomenon has puzzled all philosophers, till the modern discoveries in electricity have led to the most probable account of it. Signior Beccaria makes it pretty evident, that it is an electrical appearance, and recites the following fact in proof of it. About an hour after sunset, he and some friends that were with him, observed a falling Star directing its course towards them, and apparently growing larger and larger, but it disappeared not far from them; when it left their faces, hands, and clothes, with the earth, and all the neighbouring objects, suddenly illuminated with a diffused and lambent light, not attended with any noise at all. During their surprize at this appearance, a servant informed them that he had seen a light shine suddenly in the garden, and especially upon the streams which he was throwing to water it. All these appearances were evidently electrical; and Beccaria was confirmed in his conjecture, that electricity was the cause of them, by the quantity of electric matter which he had seen gradually advancing towards his kite, which had very much the appearance of a falling Star. Sometimes also he saw a kind of glory round the kite, which followed it when it changed its place, but left some light, for a small space of time, in the place it had quitted. Priestley's Elect. vol. 1, pa. 434, 8vo. See Ignis Fatuus.
Star-fort, or Redoubt, in Fortification. See Star, Redoubt, and Fort.
, or Sterlings, or Fettecs, a kind of case made about a pier of stilts, &c, to secure it. See Stilts.
, a branch of mathematics which considers weight or gravity, and the motion of bodies resulting from it.
Those who define mechanics, the science of motion, make Statics a part of it; viz, that part which considers the motion of bodies arising from gravity.
Others make them two distinct doctrines; restraining mechanics to the doctrine of motion and weight, as depending on, or connected with, the power of machines; and Statics to the doctrine of motion, considered merely as arising from the weight of bodies, without any immediate respect to machines. In this way, Statics should be the doctrine or theory of motion; and mechanics, the application of it to machines.
For the laws of Statics, see Gravity, Descent, &c.
, or Stationary, in Astronomy, the position or appearance of a planet in the same point of the zodiac, for several days. This happens from the observer being situated on the earth, which is far out of the centre of their orbits, by which they seem to proceed irregularly; being sometimes seen to go forwards, or from west to east, which is their natural direction; sometimes to go backwards, or from east to west, which is their retrogradation; and between these two states there must be an intermediate one, where the planet appears neither to go forwards nor backwards, but to stand still, and keep the same place in the heavens, which is called her Station, and the planet is then said to be Stationary.
Apollonius Pergæus has shewn how to find the Stationary point of a planet, according to the old theory of the planets, which supposes them to move in epicycles; which was followed by Ptolomy in his Almag. lib. 12, cap. 1, and others, till the time of Copernicus. Concerning this, see Regiomontanus in Epitome Almagesti, lib. 12, prop. 1; Copernicus's Revolutiones Cœlest. lib. 5, cap. 35 and 36; Kepler in Tabulis Rudolphinis, cap. 24; Riccioli's Almag. lib. 7, sect. 5, cap. 2: Harman in Miscellan. Berolinens, pa. 197. Dr. Halley, Mr. Facio, Mr. De Moivre, Dr. Keil, and others have treated on this subject. See also the articles Retrograde and Stationary in this Dictionary.
, in Practical Geometry &c, is a place pitched upon to make an observation, or take an angle, or such like, as in surveying, measuring heights-anddistances, levelling, &c.
An accessible height is taken from one Station; but an inaccessible height or distance is only to be taken by making two Stations, from two places whose distance asunder is known. In making maps of counties, provinces, &c, Stations are fixed upon certain eminencies &c of the country, and angles taken from thence to the several towns, villages, &c.—In surveying, the instrument is to be adjusted by the needle, or otherwise, to answer the points of the horizon at every Station; the distance from hence to the last Station is to be measured, and an angle is to be taken to the next Station; which process repeated includes the chief practice of