Joseph Henry Distributes Instructions for Observing Aurora

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Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry issues instructions for observations of the Aurora Borealis, accompanied by a map of the stars near the North Pole, to the Smithsonian's network of meteorological observers. The instructions are adopted from those used by the Toronto Observatory in Canada. The instructions are also included in the Annual Report for 1855.


Henry, Joseph 1797-1878


Chronology of Smithsonian History


  • Henry's "Instructions for Observations of the Aurora" can be found at
  • Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 65, Box 1, p. 10, 11.
  • Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution for the year 1855. Washington, D.C.: A.O.P. Nicholson, 1856, p. 247-250.

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20024-2520,


March 1, 1849


  • Secretaries
  • Astronomy
  • Memorandums
  • Meteorology

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