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万物简史(MP3+中英字幕) 第67期:事物的测定(15)

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At his urging, the Royal Society agreed to engage a reliable figure to tour the British Isles to see if such a mountain could be found. Maskelyne knew just such a person—the astronomer and surveyor Charles Mason. Maskelyne and Mason had become friends eleven years earlier while engaged in a project to measure an astronomical event of great importance: the passage of the planet Venus across the face of the Sun. The tireless Edmond Halley had suggested years before that if you measured one of these passages from selected points on the Earth, you could use the principles of triangulation to work out the distance to the Sun, and from that calibrate the distances to all the other bodies in the solar system.
在他的敦促之下,英国皇家学会同意聘请一位可靠的人去考察英伦三岛,看看能否找到这样的一座山。马斯基林恰好认识这样的一个人--天文学家和测量学家查尔斯·梅森。马斯基林和梅森11年前已经成为朋友,他们曾一块儿承担一个测量一起重大天文事件的项目:金星凌日现象。不知疲倦的埃德蒙·哈雷几年前已经建议,要是在地球上选定几个位置测量一次这种现象,你就可用三角测绘法的定律来计算地球到太阳的距离,并由此计算出到太阳系所有其他天体的距离。
金星凌日.jpgUnfortunately, transits of Venus, as they are known, are an irregular occurrence. They come in pairs eight years apart, but then are absent for a century or more, and there were none in Halley's lifetime. The next transit will be on June 8, 2004, with a second in 2012. There were none in the twentieth century. But the idea simmered and when the next transit came due in 1761, nearly two decades after Halley's death, the scientific world was ready—indeed, more ready than it had been for an astronomical event before.
不幸的是,所谓的金星凌日是一件不规则的事。这一现象结对而来,相隔8年,然后一个世纪甚至更长时间都不发生一次。在哈雷的生命期里不会发生这种现象。下一次将会是在2004年的6月8号,2012年也将持续几秒。可是20世纪里不会出现那种现象。但是,这个想法一直存在。1761年,在哈雷去世将近20年以后,当下一次凌日准时来到的时候,科学界已经作好准备工作--准备得比观测以往任何一次天文现象都要充分。
With the instinct for ordeal that characterized the age, scientists set off for more than a hundred locations around the globe—to Siberia, China, South Africa, Indonesia, and the woods of Wisconsin, among many others. France dispatched thirty-two observers, Britain eighteen more, and still others set out from Sweden, Russia, Italy, Germany, Ireland, and elsewhere.
凭着吃苦的本能--这是那个时代的特点--科学家们奔赴全球100多个地点--其中有俄罗斯西伯利亚、中国、南非、印度尼西亚以及美国威斯康星州的丛林。法国派出了32名观测人员,英国18名,还有来自瑞典、俄罗斯、意大利、德国、冰岛等国的观测人员。
重点单词   查看全部解释    
astronomer [ə'strɔnəmə]
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n. 天文学家
 
planet ['plænit]
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n. 行星
 
astronomical [.æstrə'nɔmikəl]
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adj. 天文学的,巨大的
 
engage [in'geidʒ]
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v. 答应,预定,使忙碌,雇佣,订婚
 
surveyor [sə:'veiə]
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n. 测量员,检查人员
联想记忆
irregular [i'regjulə]
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n. 不合规格之物
adj. 不规则的,不整齐
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figure ['figə]
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n. 图形,数字,形状; 人物,外形,体型
v
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measured ['meʒəd]
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adj. 量过的,慎重的,基于标准的,有韵律的 动词me
 
instinct ['instiŋkt]
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adj. 充满的
n. 本能,天性,直觉
联想记忆
measure ['meʒə]
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n. 措施,办法,量度,尺寸
v. 测量,量
联想记忆
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