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ON THE

ALGEBRAICAL AND NUMERICAL

THEORY OF ERRORS OF OBSERVATIONS


AND THE

COMBINATION OF OBSERVATIONS.

ON THE

ALGEBRAICAL AND NUMERICAL

THEORY
OF

ERRORS OF OBSERVATIONS
AND THE

COMBINATION OF OBSERVATIONS.

By SIR GEORGE BIDDELL AIRY,


ASTRONOMER ROYAL.

SECOND

'

EDITION, REVISED.

Hon&on

aIACMILLAN AND
1875.

[All Eights

reserved.]

CO.

K.C.B.

QA

Camfcrt'trge

PRINTED BY

C. J.

CLAY.

MA

AT THE UNIVERSITY PRESS

PEEFACE TO THE FIEST EDITION.


The Theory

of Probabilities

divided into two parts.

is

naturally and strongly

One of these

relates to those

chances which can be altered only by the changes of


entire units or integral multiples of units in the fundamental conditions of the problem as in the instances
;

number of dots exhibited by the upper surface


of a die, or the numbers of black and white balls to
be extracted from a bag. The other relates to those
of the

chances which have respect to insensible gradations in


as in the duration
of life, or in the amount of error incident to an astrothe value of the element measured

nomical observation.
Tt may be difficult to commence the investigations
proper for the second division of the theory without
referring to principles derived from the first. Neverit is certain that, when the elements of the
second division of the theory are established, all reference to the first division is laid aside and the original
connexion is, by the great majority of persons who use

theless,

The two

the second division, entirely forgotten.

sions branch off into totally unconnected subjects

persons

who habitually use one

for the other

and

divi-

those

part never have occasion

practically they

become two

different

sciences.

In order to spare astronomers

and observers

in

natural philosophy the confusion and loss of time which


are produced by referring to the ordinary treatises em-

bracing both branches of Probabilities,

have thought

PREFACE.

VI
it

desirable to

draw up

this tract, relating only to Errors

of Observation, and to the rules, derivable from the


consideration of these Errors, for the Combination of
the Results of Observations.

have

thus also the

advantage of entering somewhat more fully into several


points, of interest to the observer, than can possibly be

done

in a General

Xo

Theory of Probabilities.

novelty, I believe, of fundamental character, will

be found in these pages. At the same time I may state


work has been written without reference to
or distinct recollection of any other treatise (excepting
only Laplace's Theorie des Probabilites) and the methods of treating the different problems may therefore
differ in some small degrees from those commonly emthat the

ployed.
G. B.

AIRY.

Royal Obseevatoey, Greenwich,


January 12, 1861.

PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION.


The work has been thoroughly revised, but no important alteration has been made except in the introduction of the new Section 15, and the consequent
alteration in the numeration of articles of Sections 1(5
:

and 17 (formerly 15 and 10) and in the addition of the


Appendix, giving the result of a comparison of the
theoretical law of Frequency of Errors with the Frequency actually observed in an extensive series.
:

G. B.
February

20,

1875.

AIRY.

INDEX.
PART

I.

FALLIBLE MEASURES, AND SIMPLE ERRORS OF OBSERVATION.

Section

1.

Nature of the Errors here considered.


PAGE

Article

2.

Instance of Errors of Integers

3.

Instance of Graduated Errors

these are the sub-

ject of this Treatise

....

4.

Errors of an intermediate class

5.

Instances of Mistakes

C.

Characteristics of the Errors considered in this

Section

i).

The word Error really means Uncertainty

2.

ib.

ib.

Treatise
8.

Laic of Probability of Errors of any given


amount.

Reference to ordinary theory of Chances

10.

Illustrations of the nature of the law

11.

Illusfration of the algebraic


for the

12.

Laplace's investigation introduced

13.

Algebraical

causes of error assumed

of

...

ib.

form to be expected

law

combination

...

6
7

many independent
ib.

INDEX.

Vlll

PAGE
Article 15.

This leads to a definite integral

16.

Simplification of the integral

17.

Investigation of
J

S
10
11

dt.e~&

Jo

IS.

Investigation of

f"
I

.12

'

dt. cos rt. e~ 1

2
.

Jo
20.

Probability that an error will

x + 8x is found to be

between x and

fall

a- 2

t- .e~c 2

.8x

.14

cJtt

.15

21.

Other suppositions lead to the same

22.

Plausibility of this law

23.

Curve representing the law of Frequency of Error

result

table of values of

ib>

16

3.
Consequences of the Law of Probability or
Frequency of Errors, as applied to One System of
Measures of One Element.

Section

25.

It is

assumed that the law

of Probability applies

equally to positive and to negative errors

"Mean Error"

26.

Investigation of

27.

Investigation of "Error of

28.

Definition of "Probable Error"

29.

Tableof--/ dic.~ K2 and

Mean Square"
.

.IS
.19
.

investigation of Pro-

Jo

bable Error
30.

Remark on

the small

22

number

of errors of large

value
31.

32.

20

.21

/""'

7''
's/

23

Table exhibiting the relations of the Modulus and


the several Errors

ib.

Introduction of the term "Actual Error"

24

INDEX.
Section

Remarks on

4.

the application

of

these processes

in particular cases.

PAGE
"With a limited

Article 33.

number

of errors, the laws will be

imperfectly followed

24

Case of a single discordant observation

34.

PART
ERRORS IX

TIIE

.25

II.

C0MBIXATI0X OP FALLIBLE MEASURES.

Law of Frequency of Error, and values


5.
Mean Error and Probable Error, of a symbolical

Section

of
or

numerical Multiple of One Fallible Measure.

The Law of Frequency has the same form as for


the original: the Modulus and the Mean and

35.

Probable Errors are increased in the proportion


expressed by the Multiple
36.

The multiple

37.

Nor the sum

itself a

of measure here considered

is

simple measure
of

26

not

27

numerous independent measures

ih.

Law

of Frequency of Error, and values of


Error, of a quantity formed
by the algebraical sum, or difference of two independent
Fallible Measures.

Sectiox

6.

Mean Error and Probable

39.

The problem

is

reduced to the form of sums of

groups of Errors, the magnitudes of the errors


through each group being equal.
.29
.

43.

Results

that, for

the

Fallible Measures, the

sum

of two independent

Law

of Frequency has the

same form as for the originals, but the square of


the new modulus is equal to the sum of the
squares of the two original moduli

.33

INDEX.
PAGE

The same theorem of magnitudes applies to Mean


Error, Error of Mean Square, and Probable

Article 44.

Error

33

45.

But the combined

47.

The same formulae apply

Measures must be ab-

Fallible

solutely independent

34
for the difference of

independent Fallible Measures

two

.30

all cases here to be treated, the Law of Frequency has the same form as for original obser-

In

49.

vations

Section*

37

Values of Mean Error and Probable Error


combinations which occur most frequently.

7.

in

50.

Probable Error of kX+l If

51.

Probable Error of

52.

Probable Error of rIZ + sS+tT+uU+&.c.

53.

Probable Error of

3s

R + S+T+U+&C

X +A

ib.

33

where
2 + ...4-X,

the

quantities are independent but have equal probable errors


54.

bable error of
55.

Section

5G.

(b.

Difference between this result and that for the pro-

nXi

Probable Error of the Mean of

8.

40

X X
1

i} ...X

41

Instances of the application of these Theorems.

Determination of geographical eolatitude by observations of zenith distances of a star above ami

below the pole


57.

42

Determination of geographical longitude by transits of

the

Moon

43

INDEX.

XI

Section 9. Methods of determining Mean Error and


Probable Error in a gicen series of observations.
PAGE
Article 58.

The

peculiarity of the case

the quantity measured

is

is,

that the real value of

not certainly

known

59,

For the Mean Error, the rule

60,

For Error of Mean Square, and Probable Error,

is

before

the divisor of
of
61,

44

the same as
ib.

sum

n 1

of squares will be

instead

45

Convenient methods of forming the requisite numbers

47

FART

III.

PRINCIPLES OF FORMING THE MOST ADVANTAGEOUS COMBINA-

TION OF FALLIBLE MEASURES.

Section 10. Method of combining measures ; meaning of


" combination-weight ;" principle of most advantageous

combination ; caution in

its

application to "entangled

measures."
62.

First class of

measures

quantity which
are

direct

is invariable,

measures of a

or whose variations

known

49

63.

Combination by means of combination-weights

64.

The combination

to

be sought

is

that which will

give a result whose probable error

is

the smallest

possible

ib.

65.

To be found by the algebraical theory


maxima and minima

6G.

Sometimes, even for a simple


occur " entangled measures."
reduction of these

50

result,

of complex

51

there will

Caution fur the


ib.

XU

INDEX.
PAGE

Article 67.

Second

measures

class of

when

the corrections to

several physical elements are to he determined

simultaneously

this is also

....

a case of algebraical

complex maxima and minima

52

11.
Combination of simple measures; meaning
of " theoretical weight;" simplicity of results for theoretical weight; allowable departure from the strict

Section

rules.

68.

Independent measures or results are supposed


equally good the investigation shews that they
must be combined with equal weights
;

69.

53

Independent measures
good
their combination-weights must be

or results are not equally

in-

versely proportional to the square of the probable

error of each
70.

54

If the reciprocal

of

(probable error)

"theoretical weight,"

their

be

called

combination-weight

be proportional to their theoretical


and the theoretical Aveight of result
= sum of theoretical weights of original mea-

oucrht

weight

to
;

sures

">.")

72.

Instance

73.

We may depart

eolatitude by different stars

somewhat from the

strict rules for

formation of combination-weights without introducing material error of result


,

Section
74.

12.

Instance
transits

Longitude is determined by lunar


compared with those at two known

(1).

60

Reference must be made to actual errors


for combination-weights,

of result

58

Treatment of entangled measures.

stations
75.

"><;

and

for theoretical

result

weight
(jl

INDEX.

Xlll

PAGE
Article 76.

Partition of theoretical weight of result

78.

Partition

79.

Instance

is

applicable in other cases

(2).

....

theoretical weight for

each azimuth found by partition

ib.

Zenith distances of stars are observed at three stations of a meridional arc; to

Instance

(3).

find the amplitude of the first section


81.

.62
.04

Theodolite observations of the meri-

dian and of distant signals

SO.

ib.

All valid combinations must be considered, and,

being entangled observations, must be treated by

.65

actual errors
82.

Equations formed and solved

84.

The

06

and that for the


second section are entangled, and cannot be comresult for the first section

bined to form the result for the whole

difference

between actual error and probable error


86.

vations

Section
to

"

13.

several

70

Treatment of numerous equations applying


quantities; introduction of the term

unknown

minimum

squares.'"

.71

87.

General form of such equations

88.

Obvious method of combining them in order to


form the proper number of determining equa-

tions
89.

72

Symbolical equations for x, one of the unknown


quantities

90.

Symbolical
error of

91.

6S

General caution for treatment of entangled obser-

73

equations

for

making the probable

x minimum

Synthetical solution of the equations

74
.

.75

INDEX.

XIV

PAGE
Article 93.
94.

Complete exhibition of the form of solution

.77

is the same as the form of solution of


the problem, " to reduce to minimum the sum of

This form

when

squares of residual errors,


"

minimum

the errors are

Introduction of the term

properly multiplied."

Danger of using

squares."

96.

Expression for probable error of

97.

Approximate values of the

term

this

78

.79

factors will suffice in

practice

Section

14.

SI

Instances of the formation of equations ap-

plying

99.

Instance
tions

100.

to

1.

quantities.

Determination of the personal equa-

among

Instance

unknown

several

several transit-observers

.82

Consideration of a net of geodetic

2.

triangles
101.

So

The probable error


ascertained

of each measure

different

for angles

must first be
between sta-

tions, for absolute azimuths, for linear

measures

ib.

102.

Approximate numerical co-ordinates of stations are


to be assumed, with symbols for corrections
.

S6

103.

Corresponding equations for measures mentioned


above

ih.

104.

These equations

SS

105.

Generality and beauty of the theory

10G.

No

will suffice
;

it

application to any supposed measures


objection, that the

admits of
instance

measures are heteroge-

neous
107.

Solution of equations

S9

ih
is

troublesome

.90

INDEX.

XV

Treatment of Observations in which it is


15.
required that the Errors of Observations rigorously

Section

satisfy

some assigned conditions.


PAGE

Article 110.

In a geodetic triangle, of which the


three angles are observed, and their sum proves
erroneous to find the corrections for the several

Instance

1.

angles

91

111.

Equations for probable errors

112.

Assigned condition introduced

113.

Result

114.

Instance

....

92
ib.

2.
In a series of successive azimuthal
whose sum ought to be 360, the sum

angles,

proves erroneous

find

to

the corrections for

the several angles

94

115.

Result

116.

Instance

117.

Assigned conditions introduced

ib.
3.

station, all

In a geodetic hexagon, with a central


the angles are subject to error

....
.

Eliminations, and equations

118,119,120.
122.

ib.

Practical process, which

PART

may be

preferable

95
96

97,99,100

.101

IV.

OX MIXED ERRORS OF DIFFERENT CLASSES, AND CONSTANT


ERRORS.

Section

16.

Consideration of the circumstances under


of Mixed Errors of Different

which the existence


Classes

may

be recognized ;

and

investigation of their

separate values.
124.

The existence of Error of a Different Class


to be assumed without good evidence
.

125.

is
.

not

.103

Especially without evidence of possibility of such

Error

ib.

INDEX.

XVI

Articlel26.

....

Formation of result of each group

127.

Discordance of results of different groups

12S.

Investigation of

129.

Decision on the reality of a

130.

Much must depend on

Mean

li>4
ib.

Discordance, supposed to

be a mutter of chance, and

its

Probable Error

Mean Discordance

the judgment of the

105

ib.

Com-

puter
131.

PAGE

106

Simpler treatment when Discordance appears to

be connected with an assignable cause

ib.

Section 17. Treatment of observations when the values


of Probable Constant Error for different groups, and
probable error of observation of individual measures
within each group, are assumed as known.
132.

"We must not in general assume a value for Constant Error for each group, but must treat it

133.

Symbolical formation of actual errors

134.

Symbolical formation of probable error of result

135.

Resulting combination-weights

136.

Simpler treatment when the existence of a definite


Constant Error for one group is assumed
.Ill

as a chance-error

equations of

107
.

minimum

10S

109
.

.110

CONCLUSION.
137.

Indication of the principal sources of error and

inconvenience,

in the applications which have


been made of the Theory of Errors of Observations and of the Combination of Observations
.
112

APPENDIX.
Practical Verification of the Theoretical

quency of Errors

Law

for the Fre

.114

COEKIGENDA.
Page

47, dele line 1,

and

Mean Square
Page

61,

of

substitute the following:

Sum

of Errors

between lines 6 and


"
affected by the

7,

a + b + c + d + &e.
"final apparent results, as

insert

actual error of

read

,,

line 12, for


line 14, for

'

,,

actual errors of the

line 19, for

'

,,

actual error

'

'

'

read

'

'

apparent

read

'

result

'.

'

'.

apparent

'.

OF THE

UNIVERSn

ON THE

ALGEBRAICAL AND NUMERICAL THEORY


OP

ERRORS OF OBSERVATIONS
AND THE

COMBINATION OF OBSERVATIONS.

PART

I.

AND SIMPLE ERRORS OF

FALLIBLE MEASURES,

OBSERVATION.

1.

The

1.

Nature of

the

Errors here considered.

nature of the Errors of Observation which

form the subject of the following Treatise, will perhaps


be understood from a comparison of the different kinds
of Errors to

which

different Estimations or

Measures are

liable.

Suppose that a quantity of common nuts are put


and a person makes an estimate of the num-

2.

into a cup,
ber.

will

His estimate may be correct


be
A.

incorrect.

But

if

incorrect,

more probably

it

the error has this

SIMPLE ERRORS OF OBSERVATION.

peculiarity, that

it is

may be
to

This class of errors

These are not the errors

called Errors of Integers.

which

There can-

an error of whole nuts.

not be an error of a fraction of a nut.

this treatise applies.

Instead of nuts, suppose water to be put into the

3.

cup, and suppose an estimate of the quantity of water to

be formed, expressed either by


its

weight.

its

cubical content, or

Either of those estimates

any amount

(practically not

may be

in error

exceeding a certain

by

by

limit),

proceeding by any gradations of magnitude, however mi-

This class of errors

nute.

It is to the

Errors.

may

be called Graduated

consideration of these errors that

this treatise is directed.


4.

If,

instead of nuts or water, the cup be charged

with particles of very small dimensions, as grains of fine


sand, the state of things will be intermediate between the

two considered above.

Theoretically, the errors of esti-

mation, however expressed, must be Errors of Integers of

Sand-Grains

so small that

but practically, these sand-grains


it

is

may be

a matter of indifference whether the

gradations of error proceed

by whole sand-grains

fractions of a sand-grain.

In this

practically
5.

kind

In

case,

or

the errors are

Graduated Errors.
all

these cases, the estimation

is

of a simple

but there are other cases in which the process

be either simple or complex and, if it is complex, a


Suppose,
ferent class of errors may be introduced.
;

instance,

by

it is

desired to

know

may
dif-

for

the length of a given road.


NATURE OF THE ERRORS.

may

person accustomed to road-measures

length

this estimation will

and

this

method

estimate

its

be subject simply to Graduated

Another person may measure

Errors.

measure

its

length by a yard-

of measuring, from uncertainties

in the adjustments of the successive yards, &c. will also

subject to Graduated Errors.

But besides

be

this, it will

be

subject to the possibility of the omission of registry of


entire yards, or the record of too

many

entire yards

not

as a fault of estimate, but as a result of mental confusion.


/

In like manner, when a measure


meter

there

may

is

made with

represented by the fractional part of the reading

may

also be error of the

of the whole

a micro-

be inaccuracy in the observation as

number

number

but there

of whole revolutions, or

of decades of subdivisions, similar to

the erroneous records of yards mentioned above, arising

from causes totally distinct from those which produce


accuracy of mere observation.

be called Mistakes.

This class of Errors

Their distinguishing peculiarity

that they admit of Conjectural Correction.

in-

may
is,

These Mistakes

are not further considered in the present treatise.


G.

The

errors therefore, to

vestigations apply,

may be

the following conditions

which the subsequent

in-

considered as characterized by

They are infinitesimally graduated,


They do not admit of conjectural correction.
7.

will

Observations or measures subject to these errors

be called in this treatise "fallible observations," or

" fallible measures."

A2

SIMPLE ERRORS OF OBSERVATION.

we

Strictly speaking,

8.

ought, in the expression of

our general idea, to use the word "uncertainty" instead of

For we cannot at any time

"error."

that our estimate or measure, though fallible,


fectly correct

no "

and therefore

it

may happen

error," in the ordinary sense of

positively

assert

is

not per-

that there

And,

the word.

is

in

manner, when from the general or abstract idea we

like

proceed to concrete numerical evaluations, we ought, instead


of "error," to say "uncertain error;" including,

among

the uncertainties of value, the possible case that the un-

may = 0. With

certain error

may

When

still

be

the term

is

"Actual Error" or "Probable Error," there

is

used without danger of incorrectness.


qualified, as

the

this caution, however, in

interpretation of our word, the term " error "

no fear of misinterpretation.

Law

2.

of Probability of Errors of any given amount.

In estimating numerically the "probability" that

9.

the magnitude of an error will be included between two

given limits, we shall adopt the same principle as in the


ordinary Theory of Chances.
of the "probability"
shall consider

all

is

When

to be

the numerical value

determined a priori, we

the possible combinations which pro-

duce error; and the

fraction,

whose numerator

is

ber of combinations producing an error which

between the given


total

number

limits,

the

is

num-

included

and whose denominator

is

the

of possible combinations, will be the "pro-

bability

"

limits.

But when the numerical value

that the error will be included between those


is

to

be deter-

LAW OF PROBABILITY OF ERRORS.

mined from observations, then if the numerator be the


number of observations, whose errors fall within the given
limits, and if the denominator be the total number of
observations, the fraction so formed, when the number of
observations

10.

is

indefinitely great,

First, that,

two conclusions

though there

tween the two values

small

is

in

is,

any given

case, a pos-

and therefore a

magnitude of an error may

possibility that the

fall

" probability."

of a large magnitude,

sibility of errors

still it

the

very slight contemplation of the nature of

errors will lead us to

may

is

and

E + he,

where

fall
is

be-

large

more probable that the magnitude of an error


e and e + he, where e is

between the two values

he being

supposed to be the same in both.

in estimating the length of a road,

the estimator's error will

101 yards than that


11 yards.

Or,

if

it

fall

Thus,

probable that

between 100 yards and

between 10 yards and

will fall

the distance

it is less

is

measured with a yard-

measure, and mistakes are put out of consideration,


less likely that

the error will

101 inches than that

it

it is

between 100 inches and

fall

will fall

between 10 inches and

11 inches.
Second, that, according to the accuracy of the methods

used and the care bestowed upon them, different values

must be assumed

for

the errors in order to present com-

parable degrees of probability.

Thus, in estimating the

road-lengths by eye, an error amounting to 10 yards


sufficiently probable

may fall between 10

and the chance that the

yards and 11 yards

is

is

real error

not contemptibly


SIMPLE ERRORS OF OBSERVATION.

But

small.

ficant that

in measuring

by a yard-measure, the proba-

the error can amount to 10 yards

bility that

no

man

think

will

and 11 yards

will

so insigni-

worth consideration

it

the probability that the error

is

may

and

between 10 yards

fall

never enter into our thoughts.

It

may,

however, perhaps be judged that an error amounting to 10


inches

about as probable with this kind of measure as

is

an error of 10 yards with eye-estimation


lity

that the error may

mode

with this

and the probabi-

between 10 inches and 11 inches,

fall

of measuring,

may

be comparable with the

probability of the error, in the rougher estimation, falling

between 10 yards and 11 yards.

Here then we are led

11.

braical formula
error will fall

which

to the idea that the alge-

to express the probability that

is

between the limits

and

+ Be

extremely small) will possess the following properties

Inasmuch

(A)

interval of limits,

The term

(B)

The term

or parameter

probabilities
sure,

and

measure.

must be

is

c,

of the form

when

cf>

(e)

same

Be.

as e increases,

and

e is indefinitely large.

must contain a constant symbol

< (e)

which

probability in the

must diminish

<p (e)

indefinitely small

(C)

is

by multiptying our very narrow

as,

we multiply our

proportion, the formula

must be

an

(where Be

constant in the expression of the

is

under the same system of estimation or mea-

different for different systems of estimation or

If (as

seems

likely),

upon taking a proper pro-

portion of magnitudes of error, the law of declension of


the probability of errors

is

the same for delicate measures

laplace's investigation of their law.

and

then the formula

for coarse measures,

form

yjr

(-) x 8 (-)

or

i//-

(-J

where

will

be of the

c is small for

a delicate system of measures, and large for a coarse


system of measures.

[The reader

recommended,

is

in the first instance, to

pass over the articles 12 to 21.]

Laplace has investigated, by an a priori process,

12.

well worthy of that great mathematician, the form of the

Without enter-

function expressing the law of probability.

ing into

all details, for

which we must refer to the Theorie

Analytique des Probabilites,

we may

give an idea here of

the principal steps of the process.

The fundamental

13.

principle in this investigation

that an error, as actually occurring in observation,

simple origin, but


tion of a great

is

may

many independent

causes of error

chance which

produce an

different magnitude.

not of

produced by the algebraical combina-

which, according to the


pendently,

is

is,

error,

affects

of either sign

each of

it

inde-

and of

These errors are supposed to be of

the class of Errors of Integers, which admit of being

by the usual Theory

treated

of

Chances

then, supposing

the integers to be indefinitely small, and the range of their

number

to

be indefinitely great, the conditions ultimately

approach to the state of Graduated Errors.


1

This

is

not the language of Laplace, but

standing on which his investigation


t-rrors of

observation.

is

most

it

appears to bo the iinder-

distinctly applicable to single

SIMPLE ERRORS OF OBSERVATION.

Suppose then

14.
errors

may

-, -7i +

be,
l,

one source of

that, for

-?i

2,...-l,

+1,

0,

the probability of each will be ^

Suppose that,

may

also be,

-n,
and

on

Ti-2,

2, ...

n-1,

for another source of error, the errors

-ra+2, ...-1,

0,

1, 2,

...n-2, n 1,

And

for s sources of error.

wish to ascertain what

suppose that

with one error taken from the second

and

error taken from the third series,

duce an error

The

I.

if

we

first

step

is,

series,

first series,

and with one

so on,

we can prohow many

to ascertain

are the different combinations which will each produce

Now,

n,

the probability that, upon com-

is

bining algebraically one error taken from the

15.

with equal probability,

-n + 1,
so

the

error,

with equal probability,

we watch

the process of combination,

I.

we

numbers are added by exactly the same

shall see that the

law as the addition of indices in the successive multiplications of the polynomial


-n0 v'-l

by

g-(n-l) e

therefore the

be, the coefficient


coefficient of e~
f

~n0 V-l

g-(n-2) fl

V"l

('i-2)

V~l

(n-l)

supposing the operation repeated

itself,

And

V-l

),

_i_

>H

times.

number of combinations required will


of e wvM (which is also the same as the

WvM

-[n-l)0 V-l

\M

in the expansion of

g-1*-8)0\'-l

(-2!0

V"l

^"-1)0^-1

^0 v'-l

laplace's investigation of their law.

number uncom-

This coefficient will be exhibited as a

bined with any power of

by

either

mV_1 or
,

The number

(6

e~

^" 1

Wyht or
,

same

we multiply the expansion

by \

(e

of combinations required

wV-i_|_ -z0V-i\

or the

if

term independent of

as the

by

V-i

as the

_|_

16

is

^ + e' ^
1

16

).

therefore the

same

in the expansion of

-(-D

V-i _[_

& c< + e !"- 9v -i^. e0V-ii.s


/

term independent of

in the ex-

pansion of
cos 10 x {1

+ 2 cos + 2

And, remarking that


respect to

0,

from

if

to

will entirely disappear,

be multiplied by

will

combinations required

\"d6 cos 10 x
.

cos n0} s .

integrate this quantity with

= ir,

the terms depending on

and the term independent of


it

follows that the

number

of

the definite integral

+ 2 cos 6 + 2 cos 20

...

+ 2 cos n0}

s
,

[*

7T

c70

cos 10

jo

And
are,

ir,

we

+2

Jo

7T

or

(1

is

cos 20

the total

number

of possible combinations which

priori, equally probable,

is

(2n

+ l) s


SIMPLE ERRORS OF OBSERVATION.

10

Consequently, the probability that the algebraical combination of errors, one taken from each series, will produce

the error

is

1,

[2n

+ l)*'7r

2n+l

/sin

f*

dd cos
.

19

s
2

In subsequent

n and s are supposed to be very

steps,

large.

To

16.

which

is

integrate this, with the kind of approximation

proper for the circumstances of the case, Laplace

assumes

2>i+l
sin

e
(2?i

(as

the exponential

+
is

1)

sin -

essentially positive, this does not in

strictness apply further

than

2n +

= it;

but as succeed-

ing values of the fraction are small, and are raised to the

high power

with the

s,

first

powers of

6,

they

may be

safely neglected in comparison

part of the integral)

and the exponential

expanding the sines in


in powers of

it

will

be found that

AJ{n{n+ l)s}\

where

B is

a function of n which approaches, as n becomes

laplace's investigation of their law.

11

The

expres-

very large, to the definite numerical value T^.


sion to be integrated then becomes,

VG

+ 1)

7T V{H-('tt
'

S\

m
i,

a.cos

r-77-,^v<3 -,
_,.
l_Vi0H-l)sj

To simplify

fr+<xc.
H b

f,
V

this integral,

it is

'2

.(l+ +&C
2

be remarked that

to

e~ c

multiplies the whole, and that this factor decreases with

extreme rapidity as

terms

and when

in the
t is

While

increases.

small, the

is

argument of the cosine are unimportant;

large, it matters not

whether they are retained

or not, because their rejection merely produces a different

length of period for the periodical term which

by an excessively small

plied

Also

coefficient.

is
it

multi-

appears

be shewn in Article 19) that the integration of

(as will

such a term as cos mt .e f\ oBt" introduces no infinite term,

and therefore when


s,

this

may be

it is

divided by the very large

The

rejected.

integral

is

number

therefore reduced

to this,
a
\/G
7r

'

As the

17.

dt

\j\n (n

e~ \

first

There

It

at cos

1) s] J

is

'

\/{n (n

\/G

'

1) s}

step to this, let us find the value "of

no process

for this

purpose so con-

venient as the indirect one of ascertaining the solid content


of the solid of revolution in

which

is

the radius of any

SIMPLE ERRORS OF OBSERVATION.

12

= e" f\

Let # and

be the other rectangular co-ordinates, so that

f = x* + y~.

and

section,

y
Then

z the corresponding ordinate

may

the solid content

be expressed in either of the

following Yfays:

By

polar co-ordinates, solid content

= 2tT.

dt.t.~ P =7T.
Jo

By

rectangular co-ordinates, solid content

dx

dy e~^ + ^
.

oo

=(4 //- e

x (/."'^-

e-l\

=o

00

for

r^

?''

i'

what symbol

the independent variable.

Hence,

and

dt . e~^ )

18.

ac

i =i CC'

since, for a definite integral, it is indifferent

be used

cfy

"

dt

'

= -

Next, to find the value of

ir,

dt cos ri
.

e~ l \

Call

Jo

this definite integral y.

As

this is a function of r, it can

differentiated with respect to r;

and

bo

as the process of inte-

gration expressed in the symbol does not apply to

r,

can be differentiated by differentiating under the integral


sign.

Thus
dt.t:sin rt.~-\
^=-f
dr
J o

laplace's investigation of their law.

Integrating by parts, the general integral for

= - sin rt

e~

'

in which, taking the integral

jdt

from

cos rt

term vanishes, and the second becomes

13

e~ fi,

to

oo

the

first

^ y. Thus we have

dy _
di-

= ~ rv y

'

Integrating this differential equation in the ordinary

way,

y=
Now when r = 0, we

C.e'i.

have found by the


kiTT

the value
val
of y for that case

is

---

last article that

Hence we obtain

tin ally

at

19.

we
r, we

If

respect to

cos rt .e

differentiate

this

expression twice with

find,

dt.f. cos rt

e~ t2

^1

'I

and expressions

times, six times, &c.

never

infinite.

we

differentiate four

The right-hand

expressions are

of similar character if

This

is

the theorem to which

we

referred

in Article 16, as justifying the rejection of certain terms in

the integral.

14

SIMPLE ERRORS OF OBSERVATION.


Reverting

20.

now

to the expression at the

and making the proper changes

Article 18,

find for the value of the integral at the

2yV' ij[n(n+

end of

of notation,

end of Article

we

1G,

e 4(n+l) t

l)s\

This expression for the probability that the error, pro-

duced by the combination of numerous errors


be

14), will

of

I,

(see Article

based on the supposition that the changes

is

magnitude of

proceed by a unit at a time.

If

pass from Errors of Integers to Graduated Errors,


consider that

we have thus obtained

that the error will

obtain

all

and

between

lie

and

the probabilities

all
?

+ l.

In order to

the probabilities that the error will

lie

Ave derive the following expression

81,

now we
we may

between

from that

above,

fjir' \/{-in

Here

Hsa

(n

+ 1)

e in(n+lj7a

s]

very large number, expressing the magni-

tude x of an error which

is

not strikingly large, by a large

multiple of small units.

Let

= mx,

where

m is large

bability that the error falls


1

\/G

v%'
T
.Let

jl

/{4m

(n

l) .8
,/

"'
.

+ l).s}'
-

*"

e 4n.(+l).s
,

^ =
4n(n +

81= m8x and the probetween x and x + 8x is


;

c, wliere c

may

$x

be a quantity of

laplace's investigation of their law.

magnitude comparable

to the

15

magnitudes which we

shall

use in applications of the symbol x; then

we have

for the probability that the error will fall

between x and

x+

finally

Bx,

-t

1
j-

c-

Bx.

C\fir

This function,
racters

We

be remarked, possesses the cha-

it will

which in Article 11 we have indicated as necessary.

shall hereafter call c the modulus.

Laplace afterwards proceeds to consider the effect

21.

of supposing- that the probabilities of individual errors, in

the different series mentioned in Article 14, are not uniform

through each

series, as is

supposed in Article 14, but vary

according to an algebraical law, giving equal probabilities


for

+ or errors

also

we

And

same magnitude.

of the

he finds a result of the same form.

For

in this case

this,

however,

refer to the Theorie Analytique des Probabilites.

Whatever may be thought

22.

which

this

formula has been obtained,

doubted by any one that the result

is

of the
it

process

will scarcely

In

errors.

order to exhibit the numerical law of frequency (that

gives a

c2

which,

number proportioned
between x and x

falling

puted

when

be

entirely in accord-

ance with our general ideas of the frequency of

the variable factor

by

is,

multiplied by Bx,

to the probability of errors

Bx), the following table is

com-

SIMPLE ERRORS OF OBSERVATION.

16

Table of Values of e~c\

LAW OF PROBABILITY OF
which the abscissa represents -

ERRORS.

17

or the proportion of the

magnitude of an error

to the modulus,

and the ordinate

represents the corresponding frequency of errors of that

magnitude.

Here

it

will

be remarked that the curve approaches

the abscissa by an almost uniform descent from Magnitude


of Error

to

Magnitude of Error

= 1*7

x Modulus

that after the Magnitude of Error amounts to

and

20 x Modulus,

the Frequency of Error becomes practically insensible. This


A.

SIMPLE ERRORS OF OBSERVATION.

18
is

precisely the kind of law

which we should a priori have

expected the Frequency of Error to follow; and which, without such an investigation as Laplace's,

assumed generally

and

we might have

which, having assumed

for

we might have searched an algebraical law.


reasons, we shall, through the rest of this treatise,

general form,

For these

assume the law of frequency

17 e
c y7r

'

c-

Bx,

as expressing the probability of errors occurring with

nitude included between

3.

Consequences of the

mag-

x and x + Bx.

Law

of Errors, as applied

of Probability or Frequency
One System of Measures of

to

One Element.

The Law

24.

Errors,

of Probability of Errors or

to this.

being a

Suppose the

total

number

very large number


errors,

Frequency of

which we have found, amounts practically

of Measures to be A,

may

then we

whose magnitudes

fall

expect the

between x and x

number

Bx, to

of

be

-~

i e &

Bx,

C V7T

where

c is

a modulus, constant for

but different

for Different

One System

of Measures,

Systems of Measures.

It

is

partly

the object of the following investigations to give the means


of determining either the

related to
25.

it,

This

in

modulus

c,

or other constants

any given system of practical

may be

'

errors.

a convenient opportunity for remark-

ing expressly that the fundamental suppositions of La-

MEAN ERROR.

19

assume that the law of

place's investigation, Article 14,

Probability of Errors applies equally to positive and to


It follows therefore that the formula in

negative errors.

must be received as applying equally to positive


negative errors. The number A includes the whole

Article 24

and

to

may happen

of the measures, whether their errors

to be

positive or negative.

Conceive

26.

which

to be

is

sider the

now

that the true value of the Element

measured

is

known (we

more usual case when

it

shall hereafter con-

not known), and

is

that the error of every individual measm^e can therefore

The

be found.

number which
the

mean

readiest

is

of inferring from these a

Modulus

closely related to the

to take

is,

and

of all the positive errors without sign,

mean

take the

method

to

of all the negative errors without sign

(which two means,

when the number

of observations

is

very great, ought not to differ sensibly), and to take the

numerical

mean

JVTean Error.

It

is

is

Since the

included between

to the

Its relation

number

of errors

x and x + Sx

is

be called the

mere numerical

to be regarded as a

quantity, without sign.

thus found.

may

This

of the two.

Modulus

is

whose magnitude

- x~
c2

Bx,

and the

c sjTT

magnitude of each error does not


the
the

sum
sum

differ sensibly

of these errors will be sensibly


J

r e

*
.

fi2

'

2
.

x,

xSx and
;

c sjir

of all the errors of positive sign will

A r,a x

from

_*!

be

cA
B 2

SIMPLE ERRORS OF OBSERVATION.

20

The number

of errors of positive sign

CtJlTjQ

Dividing the preceding expression by

Mean

is

error
positive
1

=
V 73

this,

"

Similarly,

Mean

And

negative error

therefore,

Mean

= -=cx 0o64189.

Error

V7T

And

conversely,
c

By

= Mean

this formula, c can

of errors
27.

is

Error x 1 772454.

be found with ease when the series

exhibited.

It is

however sometimes convenient

(as will

ap-

pear hereafter, Article 61) to use a method of deduction


derived from the Squares of Errors.

The

positive

and

negative errors are then included under the same formula.

we form the mean of the squares, and extract the square


mean, we may appropriately call it the Error
of Mean Square. This, like the Mean Error, is a numerical
quantity, without sign.
To investigate it in terms of c,
we remark that the sum of the squares of errors between
x and x + Bx (formed as in the last Article) w ill be
If

root of that

-**

Bx X X2


ERROR OF MEAN SQUARE.
and the sum of

The

+0

all

the squares of errors will be

dx.e

--

and the second term


is .4.

<?

.x

+ co

Ac 2

= + -~-

i-

_*!

x.e

c2

and

oo

The whole number

Hence the Mean Square

Square

(-Ac
i~

term vanishes between the limits

first

21

is

+x

of errors

and
,

the Error of

Mean

is
'1

cj^ =cxO-707107;
or c

It

28.

= Error

of

Mean Square x T414214.

has however been customary to

make

different

number, called the Probable Error.

meant by

this

term that the number used

is

use of a

It is not

a more pro-

bable value of error than any other value, but that,


the positive sign
errors larger

attached to

is

than that value

is

it,

number

the

about as great as the num-

ber of positive errors smaller than that value

when the negative

sign

is

attached to

applies to the negative errors.


is

when

of positive

and

that,

the same remark

it,

The Probable Error itself


To ascertain the

a numerical quantity, without sign.

algebraical condition which this requires,

remark
value

that, as the
is-

number

dx.e

2
,

we have

only to

up

to the

of positive errors

and

as the

whole number

of

oo

SIMPLE ERRORS OF OBSERVATION.

positive errors

errors is

is

-_-

and half the whole number of positive

we must

find the value of

x which makes

-f'
1 p dx.e.c
or
1

C \/7T J

For

2!).

dw.e w

equal to j.
*

V 7T Jo

this purpose,

we must be prepared with

dw

table of the numerical values of

V 7r J

u2
'

It is not

our business to describe here the process by which the

numerical values are obtained (and which


the integrals of

all

expressible functions)

give the following table, which


in

Kramp's Refractions and

is

is

we

common
shall

in the Encyclopaedia Metro-

Table of the Values of -

VtJo

o-o

merely

abstracted from tables

politan, Article Theory of Probabilities.

to

dw.

e"


PROBABLE ERROR.

By
of

interpolation

which gives

0*476948
value of

among

find that the value

value of the integral 025,

for the

or the Probable Error,

is

which is the corresponding

And, conversely,

x 0476948.

x, is c

we

these,

23

= Probable

Error x 2096665.

The reader

30.

table

how

value of

nearly

or

all

will

advantageously remark in this

the errors are included within a small

For

it

be remembered that the Inte-

will

gral

when

multiplied by

and negative

or

w = 1*65

or

up

to

49

of the

from

error

that value of

w=

error

number of positive
number of errors up to

(the entire

errors) expresses the

Thus

it

appears that from

= 1*65, we

to

w = 30, we

have obtained

whole number of errors of the same


31.

have already obtained

whole number of errors of the same sign

up

w=

and

49999
f the
K
0nno

sign.

Returning now to the results of the investigations

in Articles 26, 27, 28, 29

we may

conveniently exhibit

the relations between the values of the different constants


therein found, by the following table

24

SIMPLE ERRORS OF OBSERVATION.


PROPORTIONS OF THE DIFFERENT CONSTANTS.

UNUSUALLY LARGE ERRORS.

25

we investigate the value of the modulus, first


by means of the Mean Error, secondly by the Error of
Mean Square, we shall probably obtain discordant results.
We cannot assert a priori which of these is the better.
Thus,

if

There

34.

quently that

is
it

the results of a

be found

one case which occurs in practice so


deserves especial notice.

number

of observations,

it

will frequently

that, while the results of the greater

of observations

are

fre-

In collecting

number

very accordant, the result of some

one single observation gives a discordance of large mag-

There

nitude.

under these circumstances, a strong

is,

temptation to erase the discordant observation, as having

been manifestly affected by some extraordinary cause of

Yet a consideration

error.

of the law of

Frequency of Error,

as exhibited in the last Section (which recognizes the possible existence of large errors), or

a consideration of the

formation of a complex error by the addition of numerous


simple errors, as in Article 14 (which permits a great

num-

ber of simple errors bearing the same sign to be aggregated

by addition
complex
occur

of magnitude,

error), will

and

if so,

and thereby

to

shew that such large

they must be retained.

think that where a cause of unfair error

produce a large

may fairly
may perhaps
may exist (as in

errors

We

omission of clamping a zenith-distance-circle), and where

we know by

certain evidence that in

unfair cause has actually

reason to presume that


stance before us.

come
it

some instances that

into play, there

is

sufficient

has come into play in an in-

Such an explanation, however, can only

be admitted with the utmost caution.

COMBINATION OF ERRORS.

2G

PART
ERRORS

II.

THE COMBINATION OF FALLIBLE

IN

MEASURES.

5.

Law of Frequency of Error, and values of Mean


Error and Probable Error, of a symbolical or numerical Multiple

This case

35.

portant that

ment.

of one Fallible Measure.

we

Suppose

exceedingly simple

is

make

shall

it

but

it is

so

im-

the object of distinct treat-

that, in different

measures of a quantity X,

the actual errors x v x2 x3 &c. have been committed.


Then it is evident that our acceptations of the value of the
,

quantity

Y=nX (an

algebraical or numerical multiple of

X), derived from these different measures, are affected by

y =nx

y2 =nx2 y 3 =nxs &c; and that,


is liable to any number of
the magnitudes x, x 4- Bx, or any thing between
is liable to exactly the same number of errors of

the Actual Errors

errors of

them,

the magnitudes nx

between them.

= y,

The number

nx + nSx =y

+ By,

or of

magnitudes

Therefore the expression for the Frequenc}^

of Errors in Article 24

fall

generally speaking, where

becomes

of errors of

between y and y

+ 8y, may
A

or

c%

nX, whose magnitudes

be expected to be

_**
.

C *JlT

this

Sx,

ERROR OF MULTIPLE OF A MEASURE.


which

27

the same as

is

v-

071.

nc V7r

From

this

we

at once derive these conclusions: (1)

law of Frequency of Errors


for the errors of

future combinations,

an

original measure.

nX may

(2)

be used as

The modulus

in the formula, nc.

is,

nX is exactly similar to that

an original measure X; and therefore, in

all

nX

for

(3)

of

nX will

therefore

It

Error

x mean error of X; the Error of

may be

the

useful to guard the reader against one

the measure of a simple quantity


errors (whether actual,

quantity

Mean

the

nX= n x error of mean square of X


of nX= n x probable error of X.

misinterpretation of the meaning of nX.

The

for the errors of

of

Probable Error
36.

=n

had been

if it

Referring to the constant

proportions in Articles 26, 27, 29, 31;

Mean Square

The

X cannot in

We do not mean

Y which

equal to n X.

is

mean, or probable) of the

any way be made subservient

to the

determination of the error of another simple quantity Y.


Thus, reverting to our instances in Article

ment

5,

&c, a judg-

of the possible error in estimating the length of a

road about 100 yards long will in no degree aid the judg-

ment

of the possible error in estimating the length of a

road about 10000 yards long.

The quantity

nX

is

in fact

merely an algebraical multiple or a numerical multiple of


X, introduced into some algebraical formula, and

is

not

that

we

exhibited as a material quantity.


37.

Another caution

must most

to be observed

carefully distinguish

between

is

this

nX the

multiple

COMBINATION OF ERRORS.

28
of

X (on the one hand), and the sum of a series of n inde+ X + &c. + X (on the other

pendent quantities X,
hand)

...

even though the mean error or probable error of

Xv X

&c. is equal to the mean


The value of mean error or
such a sum will be found hereafter

each of the quantities

error or probable error of X.

probable error of
(Article 53).

6.

Law

of Frequency of Error, and values of

Mean

Error and Probable Error, of a quantity formed by


the algebraical

sum

or difference of two independent

Fallible Measures.

38.

Suppose that we have the number

C of measures

of a quantity X, in which the law of frequency of errors


is

we may expect the number


between x and x + h, to be

this (see Article 24), that

of errors

whose magnitudes

r-

fall

c~.li-

C\/7T
c

being the modulus of these

errors,

and the number

being very large.

And

suppose that we have the number

F of

measures

of a quantity Y, absolutely independent of the measures


of the quantity

of errors

X,

in

which we may expect the number


fall between y and y + h, to be

whose magnitudes

-t
e

being the modulus of these

being very large.

r-.h,

errors,

and the number

ERROR OF SUM OF TWO MEASURES.

And

29

Z is formed by adding

suppose that a new quantity

X and Y together.
It

X+

^or

of

required to ascertain the law of frequency of errors

is

Instead of supposing the errors to be graduated,

39.

we

suppose that

will

Y.

all

& h have the uniform magnitude x


.

other equal intervals h in the value of x.

x n x x,
,

number

the errors whose

for

x", for

C7-

x 2h,

x h, x + h, x+

the numbers of errors of

C\Jtt

of

magnitude x

of

magnitude x

h,

2h,

and

is

so for

Thus, putting

and putting

2h,

X will be

<?

C'.e a

h;

/i

a" 2

of

magnitude

of

magnitude x +

of

magnitude x

C'.e~c .h;
3

x,

h,

C'.e e-.h;
x"-

and

it is

plain that, by

+ 2h,

making h small enough,

of things will approach as near as

graduated

Ce'^.h;
we

this state

please to that of

errors.

In like manner, the numbers of errors of


of

magnitude y+2h,

of

magnitude y

+ h,

F'.e

Y will
.h;

- vF'.e f .h;
2

be

COMBINATION OF ERRORS.

30

magnitude

of

magnitude y

h,

F'.e

of

magnitude y

2h,

F' e~

+ y = z.

Now

Let x

40.

values

possible

value of

(F

of

(0

of Z,

F'.e f-.h;

y,

v"
.

We
of

all

number

CF

the

possible
of

of combina-

(This process implies that the errors of A' are ab-

combining the two

result of

form

number) with every possible value

in

solutely independent of those of Y.)

will

h.

in order to

The number

binations of errors will be the same.

Article,

7-

we must combine every

in number), forming a total

tions.

f-.h;

we

find that the

series of

of com-

we examine

If

the

errors in the last

magnitudes of the errors formed

be
4/<,

z-Sh,

z-

shall therefore

Z in

z-

2h,

h,

have a

z,z

+ h,z + 2h,

series of

3h, z

-ih.

magnitudes of error

our result, varying by a step of magnitude h every

time, and therefore similar to those which


for the errors of

41.

Now

if

X and

we have adopted

Y.

we examine the combinations

that will produce

z,

and the numbers

tions (which apply to a step of

of errors

of these combina-

magnitude

h),

we

find the

following:

combining x

2h with y

2h, the

C'.e~*.hxF'.e S'.h

or

number

is

C'F'.hxe'* P.h;

ERROR OF SUM OF TWO MEASURES.

combining x

li

with y

the

4- h,

number

31

is

G'F'.hxtT + 'P.h;
combining x with

number

the

y,

is

C'F' h x e~*~f- .h;


.

combining x

+h

h,

with y

the

number

is

C'F'.hx e~^~%.h;
combining x + 2h with y

2h, the

number

is

r
C'F' .h x e~~^~f -.h;

and
z

for y,

If

we put

and remark that


y" = y + %h

and

both ways.

so on, continued indefinitely

= z x + 2h z x u

we

so for the others,

see that all the last factors in

the series just exhibited are the values of

when

for

XV

?/2

e~ c2

~f-

x we put
x

continued
value of

,3-2

h,

(Z-X)-

e~&~ "T*

or

h,

successively the values

h,

2h,

x,

x+

h,

x+

2h,

indefinitely both ways, without

z.

nitely small,

The sum
is

of these, supposing h

altering

made

the

indefi-

the same as
+ oo

X?

(Z-X)%

- 00

where

z is considered constant.

Introducing the

and remarking that


C'F'

F = OF
C
~-x/
^,
yvT
7
c\>7r

77"

c 7r

factors,

COMBINATION OF ERRORS.

32

number of errors of magnitude z when a step of


is made each time, or, as in Article 40, the
whole number of errors of Z whose magnitudes are included

the whole

magnitude h
between

and

+ h,
CFh

r+

is

to

_*2 _^r*l2
.

&

/a

be regarded as constant.

The index

42.

7
dx

'J-

cfrr

where

be

will

of the exponential

is

easily

changed

into this form;

Let

+/ = /,
2

Then the index

(V +/V

ef

+f

~^=- a--q~^=

c
z*
is

:,

9'

dx = d%, and z is constant for this investigation), the whole number of errors of Z, whose magnitudes
are included between z and z + h, will be
And,

(as

CFh
cpr

But (see

+ 00
-

- X

Article 17,

_|5

+c

Jy

-?

J _oc

and remark that

cf

in this case

qf

ERROR OF SUM OF TWO MEASURES.

number of errors of Z whose

Therefore, finally, the whole

magnitudes are included between z and z

CF

33

_*?

+ h,

will

be

where the whole number of combinations which can form


errors is

CF.

Comparing

43.

this expression

24, it appears that the'

precisely the

with that in Article

law of frequency of error

same as that

for

or for

for

Z is

Y; the modulus

being g or
V(c

Hence we have
two

cally to

).

remarkable

X and Y are

result.

When

added algebrai-

form a result Z, the law of frequency of error

Z will

for

+/

this very

determinations

fallible

be the same as for

X or

Y, but the modulus

be formed by the theorem,

will

square of modulus for

Z= square of modulus for X+ square

of

And

44.

modulus

for Y.

Mean

as (see Articles 26, 27, 28, 29, 31) the

Mean

Square, and the Probable Error,

are in all cases expressed

by constant numerical multiples

Error, the Error of

of the

Modulus, we have
(m.e.

(e.

m.

s.

ofZ) 2 =

(m.e.

ofX) 2 +

(m.

e.

of

Y) 2

Zf = (e. m. s. of Xf + (e. m. of Y)\


of Zf =
(p. e. of X) + (p. e. of Y)\

of

s.

(p. e.

A.

COMBINATION OF ERRORS.

34

These are the fundamental theorems

for

the Error of

They

the Result of the Addition of Fallible Measures.

but one theorem

constitute, in fact,

inasmuch

one, the others follow as matter of course.

commonly make use

of Probable Errors (as

sively adopted), unless

the reader,

"but

who

any difference

prefers

Mean

as,

using

"We

shall

most exten-

expressly noted

is

Errors,

may form

the

theorems in the corresponding shape, by merely substituting "m.

e." for

"p.e." throughout.

be too strongly enforced on the student

It cannot

45.

that the measures which determine

X must be absolutely

and entirely independent of those which determine Y.

any one of the observations, which contributes


measure of X, does

also contribute to give a

then the single measure of

to

form

its

and the

X with any possi-

which the whole investigation in Articles

40 and 41 depends,
tion

measure

single

value of Z, and with no other

freedom to combine any possible error of


ble error of Y, on

measure of Y;

X founded on that observation

must be combined with the corresponding


of

If

to give a

is

to that extent lost.

As an

illustra-

suppose that differences of astronomical latitude upon

the earth, or
of the

same

'

amplitudes,' are determined

stars at the

by observations

two extremities of a meridian arc

and suppose that X, the amplitude from a station in the


Isle of

Wight

to a station in Yorkshire, is

observing stars in the Isle of

determined by

Wight and the same

stars in

Yorkshire; and suppose that Y, the amplitude from the

Yorkshire station to a Shetland station,

is

determined by

ERROR OF SUM OF TWO MEASURES.

35

observing stars in Yorkshire and the same stars in Shetland.

First suppose that the observations of stars used

in the

measure of

X are

Then the

the measure of Y.
of

not the same which are used in


errors in the determination

are totally independent of the errors in the deter-

bined with any one determination of

Xmay be comY; and if Z= X

+ Y= amplitude

to Shetland,

mination of

Y; any one determination


from

of

Wight

Isle of

the

theorem
(p. e.

of Z)'

(p. e.

Xf + (p.

set of star-observations

made

Y (by comparison

and

of Y)*

in Yorkshire are used to

X (by comparison with

determine

e.

But suppose now that one and the same

applies strictly.

tions)

of

Then the determination

Isle of

Wight observa-

with Shetland observations).

of X, based

upon a

star-observa-

combined only with a deter-

tion in Yorkshire, will be

mination of Y, based upon the same star-observation in


be seen on taking the means of zenith

Yorkshire

(as will

distances

at the stations,

and forming the amplitudes).

The Yorkshire

observations are of no use at

mining Z, and

may be

have no influence on the result

any

star in

tions

make
is

for if

deter-

Their errors

the observations of

X too small, the same observaY equally too large, and in forming Z=X+ Y

Yorkshire

make

these errors disappear.

here

all for

completely omitted.

totally

In

fact,

the determination of

independent of those of

investigation of its

depend on those of

mean

X and

Y; and the

error or probable error will not

X and

Y.

It will

depend on the ob-

servations at the Isle of Wight and Shetland only: whereas

C2

COMBINATION OF ERRORS.

3G

the probable error of


Isle of

of

X will depend on observations at the

Wight and Yorkshire

will

Shetland

Z= X+

depend on the observations at Yorkshire and

Thus

only.

may happen

it

Y, the probable error of

although

that,

Z is less

than either the

X or the probable error of Y.

probable error of

The

and the probable error

only,

investigation of the probable error of Z,

common

portion of the stars observed are


stations, will

to

be explained hereafter (Article 80).

Suppose that we have determinations of

4G.

Y, as in Article 38, and

W=X Y;

or probable error of

required to
error

W.

The fundamental

upon which we have

supposition,

gone throughout the investigation,


the same

is

is

it

X and

and the mean

ascertain the law of frequency of errors

frequency

when a

two or three

that the

is,

for positive

and

And

is

law of

for negative errors

implied in our

final

formula for the number of errors between x and x

+ Bx,

of the

same magnitude.

namely,

Aj

and

for

positive

jp
c2

= s.

Bx,

which gives equal values

Inasmuch therefore

and negative

equal numbers,
errors as

+ Y;

this

it

follows that

Now
(p. e.

of

r
is

W= X+ (
Wf = (p.

e.

error of

Y.

Y), and therefore

of A')

=+s

liable to

liable to the

and therefore the probable

the same as the probable error of


47.

is

same magnitude

errors of the

as

for

(p. e.

of

Y)\

in

same
7

I " is

ERROR OF DIFFERENCE OF TWO MEASURES.

37

Substituting in the last term from Article 4G,


of

(p. e.

Wf =

The theorems

48.

of

(p. e.

of Article 44

tended, in the following form


[m.

e.

of

(X Y)Y =

m.

s.

of

(X

{e.

{p. e.

and. the

Y)}'

(p. e.

may

F)\

of

therefore be ex-

(m.

e.

= (e. m.

(X Y)Y =

of

X) 2 +

s.

(p. e.

law of frequency of errors

of

X) +

of

X) 2 +

of

X) +

e.

of

Y)\

s.

of

F) s

(p. e.

of

Y)\

(m.
(e.

m.

for

X+ Y will be similar

to that for a simple fallible measure.

49.

The

reader's attention is particularly invited to

the following remark.

when the

We

have found in Article 35 that

errors of a fallible

measure are subject to our

general law of Frequency of Errors, the errors of any constant multiple of that measure are subject to the

laws

and we have found in Articles

the errors of each of two

fallible

that law, the errors of their


ject to the

same

law.

44, 47, 48, that

measures are subject to

sums and

Now

all

same

when

differences are sub-

our subsequent combina-

tions of fallible quantities will consist of sums, differences,

and multiples.
of

which we

Consequently, for every

Frequency of Errors
ficient notice,

we

fallible

treat hereafter, the General

shall

will apply.

Regarding

Law

of

this as suf-

shall not again allude to the

Frequency of Errors.

quantity

Law

of

COMBINATION OF ERRORS.

38

Values of

7.

Mean Error and Probable

Error, in

combinations which occur most frequently.

To

50.

find the Probable Error of

kX+ IY,

k and

being constant multipliers.

By

Article 35, the probable error of

and the probable error of IY=1 x probable


Now, considering kX and I Y as two indepen-

error of AT;
error of Y.

dent

kX=k x probable

fallible quantities,

{p. e.

of

(kX + 1 Y)}* =

of

(p. e.

kX) 2 +

(p. e.

of

Y)\

Substituting the values just found,


{p.e. of

(7cX+lY)Y = k\(p.e.

of

X) 2 + 1 2

of

X) 2 +

(p. e.

of

Y)\

In like manner,
{m.

of

e.

51.

number

(kX+ I Y)f = k2
To

(m.

e.

(m.

find the Probable Error of the

e.

sum

of

of

F)

2
.

any

of independent fallible results,

B + S+T+ U+&c.
This

is

by repeated applications of the

easily obtained

theorem of Article 44, thus


[p. e.

of

(R +

[p.-e.of{(i2

S)}

(p. e.

+ ^) + r}]

{p. e. of (It

= (p. e.

of

of X)

(p. e.

of )

2
;

+ S)Y +

R) 2 +

(p. e.

(p. e.

of

of

S) 2 +

T) %
(p. e.

of

T) s

ERROR OF AGGREGATE OF MEASURES.


[ip.e.o{{(R +

{p. e.

= (p.
and

so

e.

3,9

S+T)+U}Y
of

of

(R +

S+ Tff +

Rf+ (p. e.

of )

(p. e.

Uf

of

+ (p. e.

of T) +(p.

of

e.

U) 2

on to any number of terms.

A similar theorem applies to the Error of Mean Square,


and the Mean Error, substituting

e.

m.

or m.

s.

e.

for p.

e.

throughout.

In like manner, using the theorem of Article

52.

the probable error of


t,

u,

rR + s8+ tT + uU+&c, where

are constant multipliers,


{p. e.

of (rR

is

+ sS + tT + u U)

Mean

Error, substituting

e.

Measures thus combined

s.

and m.

may be

U)\

Mean Square and

a similar theorem for Error of

m.

s,

given by the formula,

=r2 .(p.e. of R)*+s\(-p.e. of S) z +t\ (p.e.of T) +w2.(p.e.


And

50,

r,

e.

for p. e.

called "

Cumulative

Measures."

53.

where

To

find the Probable Error of

X Xv Xv ...X
lt

nf

are

X +X

different

. . .

+ Xn

and independent

measures of the same physical quantity, or of equal physical quantities, in


is

every one of which the probable error

the same, and equal to the probable error of

By

the theorem of Article 51,

X
COMBINATION OF ERRORS.

40

(T + X+... + Z)} 2 =(p.e.

{p.e.of

+
= (p. e.

=n
and

of

(p.e.ofX)
of A^)

(p. e.

of

A^+fc.e.

of A',)

...

+ (p. e. of XJ +
2

. . .

+ (p. e. of A^)

n terms

to

X Y;
X

therefore,
p. e. of

(X,

+ X8 + ... + XJ = *Jn

p. e. of

Xv

In Article 35, we found that

54.

nX = n x p. e.

p. e. of

of

x ;

but here we find that


p. e.

of (X,

4-

+ X ) = 01

...

of

p. e.

Xv

although the probable error of each of the quantities

&c.

is

equal to that of

Xv A

little

When we

explain this apparent discordance.

the identical quantities


is

consideration will

add together

X Xv Xv &c. to n terms; if there


1}

a large actual error of the

first

Xv there

the same large actual error of each of the other

and the aggregate has the very large actual

necessarily,

is,

X X

&c:

nx

large

error

l5

Xv But when we add together the independent


quantities X X &c,
the actual error of X
large,
error of

t,

is

if

is

it

very improbable that the simultaneous actual error of

each of the others

and the same

sign,

that the aggregate of

A"3 &c, has a value equally large


,

and therefore
all will

it is

or approaching to n x large error of A^.


of the probable error (which
error, see Article 31)

very improbable

produce an actual error equal

is

The magnitude
mean

proportional to the

depends on the probability or

fre-

ERROR OF AGGREGATE OF MEASURES.


quency of large actual

mean

error large,

be smaller than that of


of

To

55.

Xj =

X +X +

X +X +

error of

= p. e.

to

. ...

Xv X

where

+ Xn

..

will

terms, although.

of

...

the

large actual errors)

n.

find the probable error of the

X=

p. e. of

make

errors, (for in Article 26, to

we must have many

and therefore the probable

p. e.

41

are

mean

of

different

v
and

independent measures of the same physical quantity, in


every one of which the probable error

The mean

of

and the square of

J (p.
-i

(P-

J( P

and

XJ +

e f

XiY +

'

its

of

e.

X, I, ...

of

X + X2+~- + X

= p. e.

probable error, by Article 52,

of

XY+

e of

XiY +

(p. e.

"2 (P-

. . .

+ i (p. e. of X )\
n

to

w terms,

.e.ofX ) 2 = ^(p.e.ofX r;
1

therefore,
p. e. of

mean

of

Xv X

. .

p. e. of

Xr

SRStTY

'

COMBINATION OF ERRORS.

42

Instances of the Application of these Theorems.

8.

Instance

56.

station

of a

distance

The

(1).

colatitude of a geographical

determined by observing,

is

star

at

on times, the zenith-

upper culmination

its

same

observing, n times, the zenith-distance of the


its

lower culmination

being applied.
observations
p. e.

To

1.

is

star at

proper astronomical corrections

all

and by

The probable error of each of the upper


p. e. u. and that of each of the lower is

find the probable error of the determination

of colatitude.

The probable
is

error of the upper zenith-distance,

derived from the

mean

which

of to observations, is

ywi

and the probable


is

error of the lower zenith-distance,

mean

derived from the

Now

of

n observations,

the colatitude

nith-distance

= 9 upper

which
e

tj

is

'

1*
*

zenith-distance

+^

lower ze-

and the determinations of these zenith-

distances, as facts of observation, are strictly independent.

Therefore,

(p. e.

by Article

of colatitude)

= - (p.

_l

e.

1
|

'

of u. zen. dist.) 2

(p.e.Ti,)'

52,

to

(p.e.l.)

4
'

(P-

e f
-

zen

dist.)

INSTANCES OF AGGREGATES OF MEASURES.


If the observations at

43

upper and lower culmination are

equally good, so that


p. e. u.

then

(p. e.

or

e. 1.

of colatitude)

p. e.

Instance

57.

= p.

of colatitude

(2).

= p. e.,
= ^'

''
.

= ^

( +

-)

mn

In the operation of determining

geographical longitude by transits of the moon, the moon's


right-ascension

moon with

is

the

determined by comparing a transit of the

mean

of the transits of several stars

to

find the probable error of the right-ascension thus deter-

mined.

and
if

If p.

e.

m. be the probable error of moon-observation,

p. e.

s.

the probable error of a star-observation, and

the

number

of star-observations be n, then

p. e. of

p. e.

mean

of star- transits

of moon-transit

= p.

e.

"'

,*-

m.

Hence, by Article 48,


p. e. of

(moon-transit

mean

of star-transits)

we have
'

44

COMBINATION OF ERRORS.
If p.

e.

s.

= p. e. m. = p. e.,

p. e. of (moon-transit

mean

of star-transits)

=p-VS +1 )It will

amounts
little

be remarked here that, when the number of stars

to three or four, the probable error of result is very-

diminished by increasing the number of

stars.

Methods of determining Mean Error and Probable


Error in a given series of observations.

9.

In Articles

58.

26, 27, 28,

we have given methods

Mean Error, Error of Mean Square, and


when the value of every Actual Error in

of determining the

Probable Error,

a series of measures or observations

But

it

is

known.

certainly

evident that this can rarely or perhaps never

is

apply in practice, because the real value of the quantity

measured

is

not certainly known, and therefore the value

of each Actual Error

now undertake
series of

and

is

to find (from the

Error of

not certainly known.

n measures of a physical element

sures being, so far as

good)

is

the solution of this problem.

known

(all

We

shall

Given a
the mea-

to the observer, equally

measures only) the Mean Error,

Mean Square, and Probable


mean of the n measures.

Error, of one measure,

of the

59.
sult to

We

shall suppose that (in conformity with a re-

be found hereafter, Article GS,) the

mean

of the

CORRECTED DETERMINATION OF MEAN ERROR.


n measures
is

adopted as the true

is

not necessarily the true result

result.
;

Yet

4.)

mean

this

and our investigation

will naturally take the shape of ascertaining

how much

the formulEe of Articles 26, 27, 28, are altered by recognizing

its

chance of

And

error.

for

first,

Mean

In

Error.

the process of Article 26, suppose that, in consequence of

our taking an erroneous value for the true result,

+ errors are increased


errors are diminished
Then the mean

error

by a small quantity, and


(numerically)

And

the

errors

if,

is

to

this

is

different

is

+ errors,

not affected

is

sum

if,

found in

Mean

Suppose

Square.

a, b, c, d,

&c.

is

+ h + c + d + &c.
~
n

and therefore

of

2G

A result may follow from

then the Actual Error of the mean

the

of Article

been remarked in Article 33.

Secondly, for Error of

n terms

error

Thus the determination

that the Actual Errors of the n measures are


to

not be

mean +

slightly inconsistent with that to be

Article 60, as has

60.

the

and the process

be used without alteration.

which

error, will

ways (numerically), and their

sensibly unaffected.

Error

error will be, one

error are very nearly equally affected in

magnitude but in

mean
Mean

the

from the same cause, one or more of

become apparently

and the mean

all

by the same quantity,

and their mean, which forms the mean


affected.

the

by the same quantity.

and the mean

increased and the other diminished,

all

for

the process of Article 27,

of the squares of the

we form

Apparent Error of each mea-

COMBINATION OF ERRORS.

46

each measure from the

sure, that is of the difference of

mean

we do not form the squares

of a,

b, c, d,

&c, but of

a+b+c+d+ &c.
,

a+b+c+d+ &c.

+ b + c + d Jr Sec

a
c

The sum

of their squares (that

cf apparent errors)

is,

sum

the

of

is

+l +

c"

+ &c

-~(a + b + c + &c.) x(a + b + c + d + &c.)


+ nx x(a + b + c + d + &c.Y
= a + b + c- + &c 2

Now,

in the long

(a
K

+ b + c + d + &e.

run of observations,

each of the squares in the

first

or o

or c

Mean Square of Error


&c, we may put (Error of Mean

the definition of Article 27.

may

consider

part of this formula as

being equal to the


2

-we

'.
'

But

for

so that for

a",

Square)* using

+b+c+d

which enters as an aggregate quantity, we must remark


that,

by Article

51,

CORRECTED DETERMINATION OF PROBABLE ERROR.

Mean Square

= (m.

n x

(e.
v

m.

(Error of

of a measure)

s.

And from
,

m.

s.

e.

m.

s.

of a

ot

And by

(e.

s. e.

m.

Square)

we form

xn x

s.

of b)

(e.

+
.

truly

is

m.

&c.

of a measure)

s.

of a measure)

2
,

2
.

this,

measure

the

+ b + c + d + &c.)

Mean

'

e.

+ (m.

of squares which

= (n 1)

p. e.

of a)

s. e.

=n x
Thus the sum

of -Error of (a

47

mean =

/sum

of squares of apparent errors

^
711

/sum
-

V/
.

of squares of apparent errors


7i

-.

(n-

1)

the table of Article 31,

of a measure

= 06745
p. e. of

the

'sum of squares of apparent errors


A

mean

O'o/4o

sum

4
,

of squares of apparent errors

A /

7i

[n

=-r

1)

The quantities which enter into the formation of


mean error, error of mean square, and probable error,

61.

the
will

be most conveniently computed thus.

that the different measures are A, B,


their

mean

is

M.

C,

It

is

supposed

&c, and that

COMBINATION OF ERRORS.

48

the

First, for

mean

Select

error.

M:

A, B, C, &c. which are larger than

number

to be

I,

the measures

all

supposing their

form the quantity

A + B+G+&C.

Mr
,

'

which gives one value of mean

error.

Select

measures P, Q, B, &c, which are smaller than


posing their

number

to be

all

M\

the
sup-

form the quantity

s,

M P+Q + B + &C.
s

which gives the other value of mean

mean

these two values of

error

Second, for the error of

is

mean

to

error.

The mean

of

be adopted.

square and probable error.

- Mf +(B- Mf +(C- M) + &c.


This = A + +6' + &c.-2J/. (A + B+C + &c.)+n.3r.

We

wish to form (A
2

A + B+C + &c. = n.M;

But

so that the expression

= A +B*+
2

This

is

the

"Sum

C"

+ &c. - n M\
.

of squares of apparent errors," to be

used in the formula) of Article 60.

USE OF COMBINATION-WEIGHTS.

PART

49

III.

PRINCIPLES OF FORMING THE MOST ADVANTAGEOUS

COMBINATION OF FALLIBLE MEASURES.

Method of combining measures; meaning of "com-

10.

bination-weight ;"

combination

principle

caution in

its

of most

advantageous

application to " entangled

measures."
62.

The

determinations of physical elements from

numerous observations,

to

which

this treatise relates, are

of two kinds.

The

First

is,

the determination of some one physical

element, which does not vary or which varies only by

a certainly calculable quantity during the


observations,

measures.

by means

of

numerous

direct

period

Thus, in the measure of the apparent angular

distance between the components of a double star,

making

of

and immediate

direct

we

are

and immediate measures of a quantity

sensibly invariable; in measuring the difference of moon's


right ascension from the right ascension of

known

two or more known

render similar

observations at an

ing

its

longitude,

stations, in order to

unknown station
we are making

stars at

available for determindirect

and immediate

measures of quantities which are different at the two or

more

stations,

but whose difference can be accurately com-

puted.
A.

ADVANTAGEOUS COMBINATION OF MEASURES.

50

The measures thus obtained

63.

the problem before us


is

is,

How

are all fallible, and

they shall be combined

It

not inconceivable that different rules might be adopted

for this purpose,

depending

(for instance)

upon the products

of different powers of the various measures, and ultimate

But the one method


in effect)

sum

of the root corresponding to the

extraction

indices of powers: or

upon other imaginable

(to

which

all

others will approximate

which has universally recommended

only by

its simplicity,

permits

all

of the

operations.

not

itself,

but also by the circumstance that

it

the measures to be increased or diminished by

the same quantity (which

is

sometimes convenient),

is,

to

number (either different for eacli


the same for any or all) which number

multiply each measure by a


different measure, or
is

here called the "combination-weight;" to add together

these products of measures by combination-weights; and

sum by

to divide the

the

The problem

64.

becomes

combination-weights

Arid to answer

the criterion of advantage.


shall

fix

result

is:

That

correct

is

this,

The

combination

whose probable

mean square,
we can do.

of combination-weights.

of advantageous combination

What

this,

advantageous

sum

error,

or

we must

criterion
is

decide on

on which we

best which gives a

mean

error, or error of

the smallest possible.

We

now

be most

will

This

is

all

that

cannot assert that our result shall be

or that, in the case before us, its actual error shall

be small, or smaller than might be given by


combinations; but Ave can assert that

it is

actual error will be the smallest, and that

many

other

probable that
it is

its

certain that,

PROBABLE ERROR OF RESULT TO BE MINIMUM.


by adopting

we

this rule in a

very great number of instances,

on the whole obtain results which are

shall

51

liable to

smaller errors than can be obtained in any other way.

Now

65.

if

we know

the probable errors, or the pro-

portion of probable errors, of the individual observations,

(an indispensable condition,)


for

we can put known symbols

them, and we can put undetermined symbols

for the

combination-weights; and, by the precepts of Part

II,

we

can form the symbolical expression for the probable error


of the result.

This probable error

mum, the undetermined

is

Thus we fall upon the theory

weights.

and minima.

to

be made mini-

quantities being the combination-

Its application

is

of complex

maxima

in every case very easy,

because the quantities required enter only to the second


order.

Instances will be found in Articles 68 to 72.

66.

It

sometimes happens

that,

even in the measures

an invariable quantity, combinations of a complicated


Different complex measures are somecharacter occur.
of

times formed, leading to the same result; in which some


of the observations are different in each measure, but

other observations are used in

all

or in several of the

measures; and thus the measures are not strictly independent.

We

shall

The only caution

call

these

"entangled

to be impressed

measures."

on the reader

is,

to

be

very careful, in forming the separate results, to delay the


exhibition of their probable errors to the last possible
stage; expressing first the actual error of each separate
result of the

form ultimately required, by the actual error

D2

ADVANTAGEOUS COMBINATION OF MEASURES.

52

of each observation.

It will often

be found

that, in this

way, the results of observations will be totally or partially


eliminated (and justly

had been formed


the result.
(Articles

74

at

Instances

would have vitiated


given

below

the simultaneous

deter-

this

of

the probable errors

if

stage,

be

will

to 85).

The Second

G7.

which,

so),

an early

class

is,

mination of several physical elements.


trated by one of

its

It

may be

illus-

most frequent applications, that of

determining the corrections to be applied to the orbital


elements of a planet's
right ascensions

the planet

is

orbit.

The

and north polar

at

different

quantities measured are

when

distances, observed

points

in

its

and

orbit,

different positions with respect to the observer.

in

If ap-

proximate orbital elements are adopted, each having an


indeterminate symbol attached to

which

it

may

require;

it

will

it for

the small correction

be possible to express, by

orbital calculation, every right ascension

distance

by numerical

quantities, to

and north polar

which are attached

definite multiples of the several indeterminate symbols.

Equating these to the observed right ascensions and ninth


polar distances, a long series of numerous equations

is

obtained, with different multiples of the indeterminate

symbols; each equation being subject to


error of observation.

How

shall these

form exactly as

And

its

own

the question before us

numerous equations be combined

many

equations as the

number

actual
is

now,

so as to

of indeter-

minate symbols, securing at the same time the condition


that the probable error of every one of the values thus ob-

COMBINATION OF SIMPLE MEASURES.


tained shall be the smallest possible?

maxima and minima.

of complex

This

is

53
also a case

Numerous problems

in

astronomy, geodesy, and other applied sciences, require this


treatment.

be fully explained in Articles 87 to 122.

It will

Combination of simple measures; meaning of "theoretical weight;" simplicity of results for theoretical

11.

weight; allowable departure from the strict rules.

tween two

a priori;
Let

we have n independent measures

Supj)ose that

68.

some element

of observation

[e.g.

equally good, so far as

stars), all

method

to find the proper

Ev E ,...EM be the

of

the angular distance be-

of

we can judge

combining them.

actual errors of the individual

measures, which are not known, but which will affect the

Let their probable errors be

result.

which = e.

wv
as

w.
is

...

And

wn

Then the

ev

e2

...

en ,

each of

the combination-weights required be

let

actual error of the result, formed

described in Article 63, will be

w E + w E ... + wn En
w + w + ... +wn
1

w +w
1

The

(p. e.

...+

+ wn

...

of result)

w + wz
i

2
,

'

nJ

this instance

-\

w +w
1

by Article

(w t

which in

\wt

+w

...+

52, is

+w

. . .

...

+ wny

becomes
l

tu n

+W

-&2+&C

ADVANTAGEOUS COMBINATION OF MEASURES.

54

Making the

minimum with respect to w v we obtain

fraction

2w,

W* + W* ... + W n
Similarly,

W^ + M?2

2w

w + iu

+ w*

...

It follows that

That

m/j
is,

+ wn

= 0,

=w =w
2

metical

&c, but that

all

are inde-

the measures are to be combined by

equal combination-weights;

in other words, the arith-

or,

mean is to be taken. The

(probable error of result) 2

=V

or'

probable error of result


as

so for the other weights.

terminate.

= 0.

by w#

w* + w 2
and

+ wn

. . .

was found in Article


69.

results

= r-

55.

Suppose that we have n independent measures or

which are not equally good.

(For instance: the

atmospheric or other circumstances of individual observations

may be

different

individual observations are

or, if

equally good, the results of different days, formed by the

means

of different

ferent days,

tions of colatitude
of results

numbers of observations on the

would have

different values.

by means

from different

The

of different stars, the values

stars will

polar distances, as well as

(w x

may be

retained, rejecting

Thus we have for

e.

w*e* +

be affected by their north

by the other circumstances.)

notations of Article G8

only the simple letter

vr*e* ...+

dif-

In determina-

w.,

-f

wn

wny

(p. e.

of result)

8
,

THEORETICAL WEIGHT.

wv w

and

55

&c, are to be so determined as to make

this

minimum.
Differentiating with respect to

2"A'
*i

+ w2 ea

+ wn

wv

_1

^,

Differentiating with respect to

+ lU ...+Wn
tv

And

+ iv *e

'

... -I-

wn\"

J^ + w

w +w
l

...

=a
n

so for the others.

It

is

evident that w^e*

= w e* = &c. = w n e^ = G
2

CO

(p.e. of result)

_ C(w

70.

...+

We

of result)'

shall

now

w _
tl

(p. e.

+w

Or

some

Hence

indeterminate constant.

and

2w 2 e2*
w{e*

=0

'

C_

111

e*

e*

introduce a

H...H

en

new

term.

Let

(probable

error)*'

be called the "theoretical weight," or

t.

Then we have

w.

these two remarkable results:

When

independent

fallible

measures are

collateral, that

is, when each of them gives a measure of the same unknown quantity, which measures are to be combined by

combination-weights in order to obtain a

final result


ADVANTAGEOUS COMBINATION OF MEASURES.

5G

The

First.

combination-weight, for cacli measure ought

to be proportional to its theoretical weight.

When

Second.
sure

the combination -weight for each mea-

proportional to

is

its

weight of the final result

theoretical weight, the theoretical


is

equal to the

retical weights of the several collateral

When

sum of the

measures

theo-

1
.

the theoretical weights of the original fallible

measures are equal, and they are combined with equal


combination-weights, the theoretical weight of the result
is

proportional to the

number

of the original measures.

These rules apply in every case of combination of

71.

measures leading to the value of the same simple quantity,


provided that the observations on which those measures are

founded are absolutely independent.

Thus,

we may com-

bine by these rules the measures of distance or position of

double stars

made on

the same star

the results

(for

(for

different stars

different days; the zenith distances of

geographical latitude) on different days

geographical latitude) of the observations of

the results

(for

geodetic amplitude) of the

observations of different stars ; the results (for terrestrial


longitudes) of transits of the
Instance.

72.

moon on

In Article 56

different days, &c.

we have found

probable error of colatitude determined by


1

The

reader

is

cautioned, while remembering these important theo-

rems, also to bear in

When

is,

for the

m observations

mind the

independent

following (Articles 44 to 52)

measures or quantities are cumulative, that


when they are to be combined by addition or subtraction to form a new

fallible

fallible

quantity; then the square of probable error of the new fallible


is equal to the sum of the squares of probable errors of the several

quantity

cumulative measures or quantities.

'

INSTANCE, DETERMINATION OF COLATITUDE.


of a star at
its

57

upper culmination, and n observations at

its

lower culmination,

/m + n

~2\
where

mn

'

probable error of an observation,

e is the

Another

supposed equally good.

are equally good, observed

star,

all being-

whose observations

times at upper and n l times

at lower culmination, gives a result with probable error


e

/?,

+ Wj

lujT^

a third gives a result with probable error


a
L A /

&c

>

in sn 2

Their theoretical weights are


4
J
e'

The

'

mn
m+n

4
'

different results

mean)

with

m,n,

m +

'

nt

'

e"

2
-*-,

m +n

'

ought to be combined

combination-weights

&c.

(to

proportional

form a
respec-

tively to

mn

m+n

mna
+ n2
a

m,n,

+n

and the theoretical weight of the mean

and

mn

e~

\m + n

mn
l

vn,

yi a

+n

formed will be

so

m +n
%

&c .;

'

probable error will be the square root of the re-

its

ciprocal of this quantity.


It
error.

is

supposed here that the zenith-point

If

it

is

not, the case

becomes one of

observations," similar to that of Article 75.

is

"

free

from

entangled

+
ADVANTAGEOUS COMBINATION OF MEASUEES.

58

We may

73.

however depart somewhat from the

precise rule of combination laid

down

out materially vitiating our results.

in Article 70, with-

We

determined the conditions which make

mum

have in Article

p. e.

Gi)

of result mini-

and it is well known that, in all cases of algebraical


minimum, the primary variable may be altered through a
;

considerable range, without giving a value of the derived

much differing from the minimum.


we had two independent measures,

function

pose that

Thus, supfor the

physical element, whose probable errors were e and

We

ought, by the rule of Article 70, to combine

combination-weights in the proportion of 4


pose that

we use combination-weights

Put

1.

and E'

error of result will

n
the p.

e.

will

n
n

for the

1.

same

e'

= 2e.

them by
But sup-

in the proportion of

actual errors

the actual

be

n+1

n+1

be (by Article 52)

V e+
-

l)-

V e J e VOr + 4)
\= --nr+ r

[n

+ V-

3-2m

/f

Using special numbers, we find

With combination-weights

as 2

1,

the

p. e.

of result

= x
cf
o

0943.

RELAXATION OF RULE.

With combination-weights

as

4:1, the

p. e. of result

59

ADVANTAGEOUS COMBINATION OF MEASURES.

60

Treatment of Entangled Measures.

12.

The nature and treatment

74.
will

of entangled measures

be best understood from instances.

Instance
station

moon

is

to

(1).

Suppose that the longitude of an unknown

be determined by the right ascension of the

at transit (as found

by ascertaining the

tween the moon's time of transit


of transit of

stars)

same manner

(where the number of stars observed

Then, as has been found in Article


right ascension at the

by Articles 47 and

unknown

station

is e

at a

of the times

or of

any

star to

is e

and
+
/
a/CHA

48, as these

at

station

be

e.

probable error of

57, the

station

known

and suppose the

is a);

moon

probable error of transit of the

known

difference be-

mean

compared with the right ascension

transit determined in the

that at the

the

arid

/(-+

therefore

two determinations are

every respect independent, the probable error of the

in

differ-

ence of right ascensions at transit (on which the longitude


depends)

iseW^-

Supposc that a second comparison


transits at the

and

unknown

b stars at a second

error of the quantity on

station,

is

made, of the same

with transits of the

known

moon

The probable

station.

which the longitude depends

found in like manner to be

e A

+j+

is

ENTANGLED MEASURES.

Now

if

we combined

these two results, (leading to the

same physical determination, and both

we should

of Article 70,

Gl

correct,)

by the rules

obtain an erroneous conclusion.


OS.

For, the

two

results are not independent,

observations at the

To

75.

unknown

station enter into both.

we must

obtain a correct result,

In

actual errors.

strictness,

inasmuch as the

we ought to

error of each individual observation

refer to the -*

refer to the actual

but,

inasmuch as

perfectly certain that all the observations at each


stations, separately considered, are entirely
all

it is

of the

independent of

we may put a symmoon's Ii.A. above mean

the observations atjihe other stations,

bol for the aatiim error of excess of

Let these symbols

of stars' R.A. at each of the stations.

Then the

be N, A, B, respectively.

aefcfc*=eErors

quantities on which longitude depends, as found

paring the

of tin-

by com-

unknown station with each of the known stations,

are respectively

N A, N B.

Let the quantities be

combined with the combination-weights

Then the

a, /3.

hnal &e&ral error will be

And

+ /3

+ j3

+ /S

the square of probable error of final result

K ^ + dw
e of
-

To make

this

(p e
-

0{Ay
(=.

w?

minimum, w e must make


r

a (p.

e.

of A)'

+ /3

(p. e.

of

Bf

(p e of *>'}
-

ADVANTAGEOUS COMBINATION OF MEASURES.

G2

This algebraical problem

minimum.

as that of Article 69, and the result

exactly the same

is

is

G
R/3
"~(p.e.of)
"-fae.ofAy

G is

where

|(p. e. of

,
Nf
+

;e

(l

we put

^1

Af x(p.e. of
of
+ ^e.of^)4
2

(p.e. of

(1

If

this gives for

70.

'

{(p.e.ofAT

And

an indeterminate constant.

(p. e. of final result)

S!

q)(l

) )

6)

r for the "theoretical

result (see the definition in Article 70)

of the observations

weight" of

final

n, a, b, for

those

N, A, B, respectively; then the

last

formula but one becomes

11
_
1_

(a

+b

'

+ b) n

n+(a-fb)*

Let n be divided into two parts n a and n b such that


,

na

Now

if

+b

n,
'

n,b

b
,-

n.

a-t-b

the theoretical weight n a at the station

N had

more complicated character may be seen in the Memoirs of the E. Astronomical Society, Vol. xix. p. 213.
* Instances of a

PARTITION OF THEORETICAL WEIGHT.

63

been combined with the theoretical weight a at the station

A, they would have given

weight of their

for theoretical

result

a'n
a

r.

Da

+a

an
a

And

if

+b

n.

an

(a

'

b)

+b

the theoretical weight n b at the station

N had

been combined with the theoretical weight b at the station


B, they would have given for theoretical weight of their
result

b'n

r,

nb + b

_bn
a

And

+b

bn
.

(a

'

b)

consequently,
ra

And
to

+b

n,,

be

it is

+ rb = r.

easy to see that, as there are two conditions

satisfied

by the two quantities n a n b


,

quantities will produce the

77.

weight n

Hence we may conceive that the


is

no other

same aggregates n and

r.

theoretical

divided into two parts proportional to a and b,

and that those parts are combined separately with a and b


respectively,

and that they produce

rate parts ra
theoretical

D, &c.

rb

if

in the result the sepa-

which united make up the entire

The same, it would be


any number of stations A, B,

weight of result

found, applies
C,

and

there are

r.

ADVANTAGEOUS COMBINATION OF MEASURES.

G4<

The

78.

partition of theoretical weight of final result

thus obtained, producing separate theoretical weights of

with

parison of

N with

Hence

AT with

A, and com-

moon's place) to which

(as

inferred from that to

relates.

and

B, without necessarily distinguishing

whether the element


element to which

does in fact produce separate

respectively,

theoretical weights for comparison of

is

N with

depending on the combination of

result

which

relates, or

relates is inferred

relates

whether the

from that to which

applicable to such cases as the

is

it

JSf

following.

Instance

79.

(2).

geodetic theodolite being con-

sidered immoveable, observations (whose actual error

M)

are

dian,

made with

it

for the direction

and observations (subject

&c.) are

made on

is

of the north meri-

A, B, C,

to actual errors

different triangulation-signals

to find

the weight to be given to the determination of the true

azimuth

of each signal.

Using analogous notation, the theoretical weight


to

m m m

be divided into parts

a,

b,

c,

&c.

m is

and then the

weights of the determinations for separate signals are


those produced by combining

with

a,

with

b,

&c,

or are

bm

am

m + (a + b + c &c.)
80.

Instance

(3).

'

m + (a + b + c &c.)

&c.

In the observation of zenith-dis-

tances of stars for the amplitude of a meridian arc divided

f^S.

ENTANGLED MEASURES.

65

two sections by an intermediate station

into

a stars are observed

at all the stations, the

A A A

errors being respectively

are observed at the

means

of the

first

means

of actual

suppose that

and second

errors being

actual

suppose that

b stars

stations only, the

respectively

B B
t

that c stars are observed at the second and third only,

the means of actual errors being

observed at the

are

and third

first

actual errors being J) 1

C C and
only,

d stars
the means of
that

They may be represented

thus
oj

Ti

o3

fc

a>

o3

3
-S
" "S
o
h -
<K

id

O _^
w

O g
m

Or^

J**

|I
U2

I02
-4 3

OQ

r
!h -w

-4^

^4 2 ,

Stars 6

Bv

Stars c

cZ

c3

aj.jj

Stars a

Stars

a
?o
"1

S
.-<

a>

x,

Suppose the probable error of every individual observation to be

e.

It is

now

required to find the combina-

tion proper for determining the amplitude of the

first

section of the arc.

81.

Besides the direct measures of the

first section,

there are indirect measures produced by subtracting the

measures of the second section from the measures of the

OG

ADVANTAGEOUS COMBINATION OF MEASURES.

whole

arc.

All the possible measures of the

first

section

are therefore the following

A -A

I.

II.

Bt

A-^-(c -ay[

iv.

D - Dl -(A -A )\
D -D -{C -Cj]

V.

VI.

of these, III

the four measures

a mere reproduction of I

is

IV, V, VI,

I,

may be formed from


all

\ BireCt

4, -^-(4, -4,)]

in.

But

-BJ

it is

the three others

would introduce indeterminate

may be

B -B

and of
one

and the retention of

solutions.

The following

retained, as substantially different

A A
A

easily seen that

with combination-weight

w,

-A-C +C
3

x,

D -D -C +C
z

v,

y.

These are entangled measures, inasmuch as

A lt C C
2

appear in different measures.

The

82.

actual error of their

mean

will

v(A t -A )+to{Bt -B ) + x (A z -A,-Ca +Ct )+y


v + w+x + y
l

= -{v+x)A +vA
1

be

(B-D- C +
3

< [)

+xA-wB +wB +(x+ y) C -(x+y) C.-yD.+ yD,


v+w+x+y
1

ENTANGLED MEASURES.
The independent

so for the others,


p. e.

of resultN

we

are

fallible quantities

and, by Article 52, remarking that

67

(p. e.

now

of

separated

A f= -,
l

and

find

(y

Making

this

+ w + x+yf

minimum

with regard to

v,

w, x, y, as in

Article 69,

(v
v

=
+ x)-+v'a
a

C,

11

W r +W T =
(y

+ x)

'a

(J,

+ x - + {x+y) - + (x +y)
a

C,

=g

{x+y)\+ {*+y)]+y\+y\
From which
2
_ 4a +

2ac + 4<ad

~8a +

+ 6^T
4a& + She + Sbd
b n
W ~2 C
'
- 8a + 6c + 6d n
2ac 2nd

X
~8a + Gc + 6d
6c

'

'

2ad + Scd

~ 8a + 6c + 6d
E2

ADVANTAGEOUS COMBINATION OF MEASURES.

68
It

is

remarkable here that in some cases x

negative, indicating that advantage will be gained

may

be

by sub-

tracting that multiple of measure from the others.


If a

= b = c = d,

and

D = aC,

the combination- weights

become

D
83.

'

we thought

If

fit

'

to reject the combination

-A -G +G

a>

there would be no entanglement

and

it

would

easily be

found, by Article 70, that the combination-weights ought


to

cd

be proportional to

a, b,

and the

theoretical weight

of the result

fa

cd

In like manner, for the second section of the

arc,

the

measures to be used are

a -a
3

-a

and the theoretical weight of


1 (a
'

84.

Now

if Ave

zv-A-'B.+tfi;

result

bd
2b

+ 2d.

combined these two sections

to

form

the whole arc, and inferred the probable error of the whole

from the probable errors of the sections by the rule of

ENTANGLED MEASURES.
Article 44,

we should

69

obtain an erroneous result.

For, the

observations on which the determinations of value of the

two

sections are

founded are not independent both contain

the observations

A B
,

B^, C,

D D
t

and they are

therefore entangled results.

The

correct result for the

whole

an investigation exactly similar


There

A A
3

Dj

the direct measure by the

and the indirect measure obtained by adding

stars,

the result of the b stars to the result of the

B B + C Cr

error

1 fa

is

with error

c stars,

with

theoretical weight of the

be found to be

?
If the

The

result will

tion

part.

the direct measure by the a stars, with error

is

L\

be obtained by

will

to that for each

number

\2

+2+

be

26

+ 2c,

of observations at the intermediate sta-

very small,

(as if

is

small, b

and

= 0, d

large,)

the theoretical weight of the value of each section will be


small, while that of the entire arc

This instance

is

may be

great.

well adapted to give the reader a clear

idea of the characteristic difference between actual error

and probable
if

error.

So

we add the measure

to the

we

far as actual error is concerned,

of one section with its actual error,

measure of the other section with

entirely (and correctly) destroy so

its

much

actual error,
of the actual

error as depends on the observations at the intermediate


station.

But the probable

error (see Article 8)

is

a mea-

ADVANTAGEOUS COMBINATION OF MEASURES.

70

sure of uncertainty; and

if,

without looking carefully in

each case to the origin of the uncertainty,

we simply add

together the two separate measures charged with their


respective uncertainties,

we

sum with an apparently

obtain for the whole arc a

large imc&rtainty which

is

very

incorrect.

If the observations at the three stations are to be

85.

combined in one connected system

it

will

be best to use

each batch of stars separately, giving to each resulting

amplitude
only.

proper weight as deduced from that batch

For the batches B,

clear;

7G,

its

for

must be

79,

C,

D, the operation

is

perfectly

the batch A, the principles of Articles 75,


used, which here give a very simple

result.

86.

It

is

scarcely necessary to delay longer on the

The caution

subject of entangled measures.

which

in all cases suffices,

is

required,

gations by the use not of probable but of actual errors


collect

all

the

coefficients of

and

to commence the investieach actual

error,

to

and to

them from the coefficients of every other error


and when the formulae are in a state fit for the introducseparate

tion of probable errors, to investigate,


to

by a process

special

the case under consideration, the magnitudes of the

combination-weights which will produce the


probable error in the result.

minimum

DETERMINATION OF SEVERAL ELEMENTS.

Treatment of numerous

13.

unknown

several
"

minimum

87.

The

quantities

(the

to

introduction of the term

origin of equations of this class has been

&c,

x, y,

&c. which

applying

equations

squares."

explained in Article G7.


putting

71

been seen that,

the object of the problem

it is

number

It has there

for the corrections to orbital elements,

of

which elements we

discover,

to

for clearness

shall

suppose to be three, though the investigation will evidently apply in the same form to any
corrections,) every equation will

ax + by +
where

of such

cz

=f

the difference between a quantity computed

is

theoretically

served,

number

have the form

and

observation.

from assumed elements and a quantity obis

therefore subject to

the casual error of

terms of the equations, as given

If the last

immediately by observation, have not the same probable


error,

we

shall suppose that the equations are multiplied

by proper

factors (see Article 35), so that in every case

the probable error of the last term

an arbitrary number,

for

f is

made =

which sometimes

venient to substitute the abstract value


the letters

a, b,

c,f and

we

it is

We

1.

being

very conshall use

others which are to be introduced,

without subscripts, in their general sense


separate equations

but for the

shall affix the subscripts 1, 2, &c.

ADVANTAGEOUS COMBINATION OF MEASURES.

/2
88.
three,

The number
and

to three in

it

of equations being greater than

being requisite to reduce the

number the only method which


;

for giving every

equations

final

suggests

share in the formation of those three equations,

by a

to multiply the equations

and to adopt

their

sum

series of factors

series of

alx

fundamental equations

+ b y + clz=f

l,

aix+bay + c^=fs

&c.

form the three

series

h^x + k&y + \c z = \f
x

h2 a 2x

y ,

+ hp y + k,c,z = k.,f

&c.

l/i.jc+l2 b 2 y+12 c2 z

= lj],

&c.

m^x + vrijbjy + m^z = m^,


max+m b y+ m cz =m f
2

first

h1} k 2 &c,

them by another series l 1}


multiply them by another series m,,

Thus having the

Ave

is

as one fundamental equation

secondly, to multiply
thirdly, to

itself,

one of the fundamental equations a proper

&c.

2 2

2,

&c.

m, &c-

DETERMINATION OF SEVERAL ELEMENTS.


of which the

sums are

x t

(Jca)

x X

(la)

+ y 2 (kh) + z.t (Ice) = 2 (A/),


+ y.S (lb) +z.Z (Ic) = X (If),
.

2 (ma) + y S (mb)+z 2 (mc) = S


.

These are our three


x, y,

and

final

z,

for

h,

(mf).

equations for determining

and our problem now

of formation of the factors


of x, y,

73

I,

to ascertain the

is,

law

m, which will give values

may

each of which the probable error

be

minimum.
89.

Let us confine our attention,

for a short

to the investigation of the value of x.

The

time,

process of

solving the last three equations will consist, in fact, in

finding different factors wherewith the equations


multiplied, such that,

when

may be

the multiplied equations are

added together, y and z may be eliminated, and the terms


depending on x and /may alone remain. But, remarking

how the

three equations are composed from the original

equations, this multiplication of equations formed


of multiples of the original equations
of

sums

is

by sums

in fact a collection

of other multiples 'of the original equations.

Let

n be the general letter for the multipliers (formed by


this
final

double process) of the original equations


process for

solution

of the equations

hibited;

xX (na) = 2 (nf)
t{nb)=0;
$(nc)=0;

then the

is

thus ex-

ADVANTAGEOUS COMBINATION OF MEASURES.

74-

which can be solved with an

infinity of different values

of n.

From

90.

these,

= tt / +j ,+&c..
a + n a. + &c.
p

S(n/)

'

(na)

??

z
2

from which the actual error of x

1a 1

x actual error of f

+ >i a + &c
2

a +
1

n 2a 2

w x actual error

+ &c.

ofyfa2

+ &c,
and, as the probable error of each of the quantities/^,
&c.

= e,

the square of probable error of

ni

e~

(7*

= e"
The numbers
square

nv

its

+ &c

&c. are so to be chosen that the

them

we put Bnt 8n 2

(if)

shall

variation produced

variations in each of

of probable error of

therefore

If

v.

"2

a +?? 2 a 2 + &c.)
1

shall

be

be

minimum

0.

&c. for such small variations,

must have, by the formulae

and

by simultaneous small

of ordinary differentiation,

we

~0

DETERMINATION OF SEVERAL ELEMENTS.

_ n^Sw, + nj>n + &c. _ a


2

+ n* + &c.

Wj"

n,Sn, +n
~
^
0=
l

or

8n a2

Sn

w^j

+ &c.

a,$n,

+ a Sn + &c.
+ n a + &c.
2

a8i>

'

&c.
....

rin
L1J.

here, as

variations 6^, S 2 &c, are not independent


were the corresponding variations in Articles 68

and 69

for

But the

they are affected by the antecedent conditions

= 0, 2

(nb)

(mc)

=
=

from which we derive

b 8n 1
l

b 2 Sn 2

+ &c

= 0^ + c 8n +
2

[2],

&c

[3].

These three equations must hold simultaneously


the values of nv n 2 &c., which
,

91.

It

We

Let h = av

the conditions.

m =b m =b
1

to ex-

from these equations the values of n v n 2

are however able to

certain form given to the

require.

would perhaps be a troublesome matter

tract analytically

&c.

we

for

shew

numbers n v n 2
k2

=a

2>

synthetically that a

&c.

&c. satisfies

=b

b &c;
2

&c.; so that the final equations of Article

88 take the form

x t

+ y.S

+ z.X

=2

(a/)

[4],

+ y.Z(b"~)+z.Z(bc)=S(bf)

[>],

x.Z(ac)+y.Z(bc)+z.Z(c*) =S(c/)

[6].

(a

x.S(ab)

Then the

(ab)

values of

x, y, z,

(ac)

which are deduced from

these equations, possess the properties required.

ADVANTAGEOUS COMBINATION OF MEASURES.

7f>

multiplying the

by

third

being

r,

[p

first

obtain the value of x by

by

of these

+q 2
.

coefficients of

q,

the

y and

.3

Then

to vanish.
(a

the second by

p,

and taking their sum, the

made

x x

we

For, suppose that

92.

+r 2

(a b)

(ac)}

-p.S(a/) + 2 .S(J/) + r.X(o/};


p.S.(a6)
l>

+ 2.X(6s) + r.S(&c) = 0;
+ ^. 2 (Jc) + r.2

(c)

(c

=0;

which are the same as

pa+ qb + re)} = 2 [f(pa + qb+ re)} .... [7],


${b(pa+qb+rc)}=0
[8],

xx 2

(a

2{c(pa + qb + rc)} =

[9].

Comparing these equations with those


is

now

+ re.

replaced by

pa +

qb

=2

{(pa

+ qb + re)

(n~)

= p 2 (an) + q 2 [b [pa + qb +
.

The

last

of Article 89, n

Therefore

re) }

{pa

+ qb + re)}

+ r 2 (c (_/; + qb + ?*c)j
.

two quantities vanish, by virtue of equations

and [9]; and therefore


this in the first

(n

2
)

=p. 2

denominator of equation

[8]

Substituting

(an).
[1],

the equation

becomes
("i~2 Kl i) & n i
or

(#&,

+ 7'oJ
r

or

Bn 1

+ (na ~~P at)


+ (qb + re)

q
iV(bSn.l

'

1+ r (cjw,

b9Sn92
'

c8s

^n2

Sna

+ &C.))
,

+ &c.)J

+ ^ c = 0>
4- &c. =
-

[10];

DETERMINATION OF SEVERAL ELEMENTS.


which

under the new assumptions, the equivalent of

is,

equation

[1],

and on the truth of which

validity of the
is

true

one

Now

new assumptions.
hand

for its left

=0

by equation

consists of

[2],

taneously satisfied

and

will

two

parts, of

the

which

by equation

[1], [2], [3],

therefore

Article 91 gives the values of x,

depend the

the equation [10]

and the other

Consequently, the equations

[3].

7/

are simul-

assumption of

whose probable error

is

minimum.
If

93.

we

investigate,

by a

similar method, the as-

sumption which will give


error

is

for y the value whose probable


minimum, we have only to remark that the equa-

tions [4], [5], [6], are symmetrical with respect to x, y,

and

and therefore when treated

z,

manner
as for

a;;

that

is,

the probable error of


of the same
minimum.

z,

and

is
z,

minimum.

in the

same

result for

In the same manner,

as determined from the solution

equations, treated in the

The problem,

same

the probable error of y, as determined

from their solution,

y,

for

as for x, they will exhibit the

same manner,

is

therefore, of determining values of x,

to satisfy, with the smallest probable error of x, y,


z,

the numerous equations

axx

+ l y + c z =fv

aax

+ b2y + czz =/s

&c.

ADVANTAGEOUS COMBINATION OF MEASUEES.

78
is

completely solved by solution of the equations

x 2
.

a?

(a

(aft)

{ah)

iac)

=2

(a/),

+y 2

(//)

+2.2

{bo)

=2

(*/),

(Jc)

=2

(</).

+y 2

(ac)

Suppose

94.

+y 2
.

2
(

that, instead of proposing to ourselves

the condition that the probable errors of the deduced


values of

x, y, z, shall

condition

be minimum, we had proposed this

sum

that the

maining after correction

and

z,

of the squares of the errors refor the

deduced values of

x, y,

or

^.{ax + hj + cz-fy,
shall

On

be minimum.

with respect to

each equation

differentiating

and taking their sum, we should have

x,

obtained

2
and similarly

[a

for

{ax

y and

+by + cz -/)] =

Z{b.{ax + by + cz-f)}=0,

%{c.{ax+hj + cz-f)}=0;
the very same equations as those found above.

In conse-

quence of this property of the equations, of giving such


values of

x, y,

and

z,

that the

sum

of squares of errors

remaining after their application shall be minimum, the

method

is

squares."

very frequently called " the method of

This term

is

very unfortunate

it

minimum
has

fre-

quently led investigators to suppose that the subject of

MINIMUM SQUARES OF RESIDUAL ERRORS.


the

minimum

presented

is

sum

the

whereas

discordances,

it

when

79

of squares of discordances as first

ought to be the sum of squares of

have the same

so multiplied as to

probable error.

It

95.

is

easy to see that the same principles apply,

the same remarks hold, and the same result

when

the

number

of

restricted to three,

is

unknown

obtained,

is

elements, instead of being

any whatever. The rule

is

universal;

multiply every equation by such a factor that the probable error of the right-hand term will be the same for
all

multiply every altered equation by

of one

unknown

equation

and

so

on

the same for the


for every

coefficient

its

sum
second unknown

quantity, and take the

unknown quantity

for a

new

quantity

and thus a num-

ber of equations will be found equal to the number of

unknown

quantities.

In order to exhibit the probable error of x thus

96.

determined,
cess.

It

we may proceed by

will

a purely algebraical pro-

however soon be found that

results of intolerable complexity.

We

it

leads to

would recommend

the reader to introduce numbers as soon as possible for

every symbol except


all errors spring).

(that quantity

from whose error

In the following explanation, however,

of the succession of steps, the reader will easily see to

what extent he can advantageously

retain the symbols.

It is first necessary to find the factors of the equations


[4], [5], [6], of

Article 91, or the last equations of Article

SO
93,

ADVANTAGEOUS COMBINATION OF MEASURES.


which

will eliminate

y and

They

z.

are easily found

to be,

For equation

[4],

S.^xS.c -^. he)'.

For equation

[5],

For equation

[6],

There

number
trouble

no

is

ac x

& x 2 &c
.

ab x
ac

"Z

c\

x2. b".

quantities exceeds three

so great that

is

S be 2

when the

difficulty in finding the factors

unknown

of

it

will always

but the

be best to use

numbers.

Applying

these,

we

obtain

x = P.%(af)
where P,

+ Q.^(bf) + R.t(cf)

Q, B, are numbers, but af, bf,

are for the

cf,

present retained in the symbolical form.

Now

we examine the form

if

quantities

f f
lt

in

collect together all the multiples of


tity,

we

(pfli

+ Qh + Bc^f +
t

We have

here a

number

(Pa,

Qb,

we

+ Bc& f + &c.

Remarking that the probable

r.oixj

(Pa,

is

of independent fallible quan-

which the formula of Article 52

quantities f^f^, &c.


/p.

if

each individual quan-

shall find

tities, to

apply.

which the individual

&c. enter into this expression, and

will properly

error of each of the

supposed to =e, we obtain

+ Q\ + Re,) 3 +

= z.(ra + Qb + iicy;

(Pa,

+ QK + PcJ + &c.

SMALL VARIATION OF THE FACTORS

may

which

but which

by an

will

be very far easier to evaluate in numbers

entirely numerical process.

would be exactly

The

97.

for finding the probable errors of

relaxation of the rules for determining the

which in reference

is

By taking advantage of
may sometimes be materially

In actual applications, the numbers at 2 &c.


,

In prac-

desirable accuracy will be secured for the result,

striking

off,

in the factors only, all the latter decimals,

leaving only one or two significant figures.


different factors will

produce different

certainly

The use

results,

of

but not

more inaccurate results we have no means of


knowing which are the best we only know that,

necessarily

if

and

quantities,

&c, usually consist of troublesome decimals.

tice, all

by

unknown

theoretical reason.

this relaxation, the labour

diminished.

is

admissible also in the treatment

of equations applying to several

same

factors of the equations,

to the treatment of simple measures

explained in Article 73,

for the

y and

similar.

most advantageous values of the

b 1}

PERMITTED. 81

be exhibited in symbols of great complexity,

it

The operation
s

IS

we repeat the

process in an infinity of instances, the fac-

tors corresponding accurately to

with results whose errors

are,

minimum

will furnish us

on the whole, a

than those originating from other

factors.

little

smaller

ADVANTAGEOUS COMBINATION OF MEASURES.

82

Instances of the formation of equations applying to

14.

several nnknoivn quantities.

It will perhaps

98.
tions,

we

bo instructive to shew how equa-

such as those treated above,

will take

two instances

For this purpose,

arise.

one of very simple and one of

very complicated character.


Instance

99.

It is required to

1.

determine the most

probable values of the personal

equations between a

number

C,

of transit observers

A, B,

D, &c; where the

observers have been brought into comparison in

many

combinations, or perhaps in every possible combination

but never more than two at a time.

Use the symbol


sons between

(ab) to

denote the number of compari-

and B, and

AB

for the symbolical

value of the personal equation between

parisons.

And

and B, (AB)

suppose that the probable error of each

single comparison
is

numerical value deduced from the mean of com-

for its

is e.

Therefore

Then the probable

error of

(AB)

when we have formed the equation

A-B = (AB),
in

which the
e
,

/(ab)

last

we must,

term
srm

is

liable to
tc the probable

error

in conformity with the recommendation

in Article 87, multiply the equation

by

*J(ab),

and then

INSTANCE: PERSONAL EQUATIONS.


its

probable error will be

e.

Thus we

find,

83
for the dif-

ferent comparisons, the following equations, all liable to the

same probable

error e

V(aj)

V(c)

A - s/(ab) B = sjiab)

A - *J(ac) G = V(c)

(AB),

(A C),

(J5C),

&c.
Vt&c)

B-*J(bc)

C= V(6c)

&c.,

and these equations are exactly such as those


88,

though in an imperfect form.

tions

must therefore be formed by the

Thus we

The

find

first

in Article*

The determining equarule of Article 93.:

equation

be formed by the

is to

sum

of the

following,
(ah)

(ac)

A - (ab) .B = + (ab)
A - (ac) C = + (ac)
.

(AB),

(A C),

&c.

The second equation

is

to be

formed by the sum of

the following,
(ab)

B - (ab) .A = -(ab).

(bc).B-(bc).

(AB),

C= + (bc).(BC),

&c.

F 2

ADVANTAGEOUS COMBINATION OF MEASURES.

84

Thus we obtain the simple

rule

Form each equation for comparison of two


taking the mean of all their comparisons.
Multiply each such equation by

its

observers

number

by

of compari-

sum

of all the

individual comparisons of those two observers

had been

This

sons.

is,

in fact, the

same

as if the

taken.

In the various multiplied equations which contain

make

the coefficient of

changing

in every equation positive (by

the signs of the equation where necessary),

all

and then add

all

together to form a determining equation.

In the various multiplied equations which contain B,


including,

make

if

necessary, one from the last-mentioned series

the coefficient of

changing signs

if

in every equation positive (by

necessary),

and add

all

together to form

a determining equation.
In the various multiplied equations which contain
including,

make

if

necessary, one from each of the last

the coefficient of

changing signs

if

two

C,

series

in every equation positive (by

necessary),

and add

all

together to form

a determining equation.

And

so

It will

may be

through

all

the observers.

be found that one of the determining equations

produced by a combination of

and therefore

all

the other de-

termining equations

assume a value

one of the quantities, A, or B, or

C, &c.

for

it

is

necessary to

INSTANCE: GEODETIC TRIANGULATION.


100.

Instance

85

In a net (not necessarily a simple

2.

chain) of geodetic triangles

one or more sides have been

actually measured, or so determined by immediate refer-

may

ence to measured bases that they

measured; in some of the

be considered as

triangles, three angles

been measured, in others only two

at

some

have

stations, all

the angles round the circle have been observed, at others

not

all

at

observed

some
it

stations, astronomical

required

is

to lay

azimuths have been

down the

rules for de-

termination of the positions of the different stations.

101.

It

is

necessary to determine the value of

first

And

probable error in each of the observations.

this is

not to be done by a simple rule, because the observa-

For instance, the horizontal angle

tions are not all alike.

between two signals

is

liable to

error from

(1)

instrument, (2) error of pointing to one signal,


of pointing to the other signal
error

is

is

easily formed.

But

for the

of a given signal, the sources of error are,

instrument,

(2)

bable error of this last

The

azimuth

(1) error of

error of pointing to the signal, (3) error

of pointing in the direction of the meridian

mate

error

and when each probable

ascertained, the probable error of horizontal angle

between signals

others.

error of
(3)

may

and the pro-

be very different from the

linear measures will require a peculiar esti-

of probable error.

All must, however, antecedent to

all

other treatment,

be so found that the probable error of every measure, of


whatever kind, can be

specified.

ADVANTAGEOUS COMBINATION OF MEASURES.

86

The next

102.

step in this (and in all other compli-

cated cases) will be, to assume that every co-ordinate of

which we are seeking,

station

and numerically expressed.


so small in scale that

we may assume,

its

is

Thus,

area

approximately known,
if

may

the triangulation

is

be supposed a plane,

two rectangular co-ordinates of

for the

every point, numerical values, each subject to a small


correction (which corrections

it is

the object of the whole

If the triangulation

investigation to ascertain).

is

in scale that the spheroidal form of the earth

we may assume,

regarded,

and longitude of every

for

so large

must be

the astronomical latitude

point, numerical values, each sub-

ject to a small correction.

With

103.

these numerical values and symbolical cor-

rections, every fact

must be computed

which has been the subject of measure

and the computation-result must con-

of two parts, one numerical,

sist

area

is

For

and the other multiply-

Thus; suppose that the

ing the symbolical corrections.

plane, and that the rectangular co-ordinates are


1st station,

For 2d

For 3d

station,
station,

o^

+ Ba^ b^&b^

or

+Sa.,,

b,_,

bs

o3

Ba8

+ 8b^,
+

Bb&

&c.

(where a
Ba,

&c, Bb lf

direction of a

&c,

Bb, &c.
is

l\,

\, &c, are numerical, and Ba


Suppose that the
t

are symbols only).

parallel to the meridian.

of the second station as viewed from the

Then the azimuth


first is

instance: geodetic triangulation.

( 2

+(h-K)

-x)

'

(7

* ,

and where

merical, except Bat , 8l\, Ba2

quantities are nu-

all

For convenience we

Bb,

lJ

fa-ad +(K-h)
where tan

87

will

write this,

True azimuth of 2d station as seen from

=
And

a + a,

Ba

*h -A*-

>

1st station

K - A,

iu like manner,

True azimuth of 3d station

=C +A
3

lfi

8a 3

-A

lfi

as seen from 1st station

Ba,

+ B h3

cb3

l3

Bb t

Now if the azimuth of the 2d station had been observed


at the 1st,

and found <y2 (subject

then the comparison of the

first

to error of observation),

formula with this would

give the equation

A*
If,

K - A*

Sf'i

B*

Bh *

~B

i,*

hh i

= v* - G*'

however, no azimuth from the meridian had been

observed, but only the horizontal angle #23 between the

2d and 3d

stations,

which

is

the same as

subject to errors of observation

A*M -

VV

<y 3

%, and

then we should have

J '.s- A J -^ + *&* ~ B^h

is

ADVANTAGEOUS COMBINATION OF MEASURES.

88

The

distance of the 2d station from the

= V[K-
a

+ (^

1)

vKa,-a>+(K-w (K

first

-W

~ Sai)

which may be written

A+M

1A

Now

if

- SaJ + N,t (BK -

(Saa

the distance from the

had been measured, and found

Bb,).

station to the second

first

=X

subject to error of

observation; then the comparison with this formula would

give

lfi

lfi

+ NUi

Ba x

8ba

- X12

Each of these equations

104.

hand, a

-M

ca2

fallible,

quantity

the

first

S& x

=\- L

contains, on the right

contains

<y a ,

the second

The probable error


of each of these, as we have said in Article 101, must be
supposed known and then, the equation must be divided

contains #23

the third contains

X.,.

by a

divisor proportional to that probable error.

operation being effected,


tions

whose probable

we

errors are all equal

of Article 93 can be applied

and we

of determining equations equal in

of

unknown

stations.

have a

shall

quantities

that

is,

shall

number

to

scries of

This

equa-

and the rule


have a

series

number
double the number of
to the

GENERALITY OF THE THEORY.

The reader who

105.

will well

.89

examine such an

in-

stance as this will be struck with the perfect generality

and great beauty

He

of the theory.

will see that,

what-

ever has been observed, and in whatever shape, as a fact


of observation, will enter with

its

proper weight into the

He may

formation of the final determining equations.

exercise his fancy in introducing different circumstances.

Suppose, for instance, that a referring-signal has been

The

used.

ring-signal
it is

case

assumed azimuth of that

be a new unknown quantity.

v/ill

combined only with observations of


it

produces one form of equation

combined
it

correction of

also

refer-

Sometimes

signals, in

which

sometimes

it

is

with meridian-observations, in which case

produces another form of equation.

of observations,

it

may

In some batches

be necessary to use the theory of

"entangled measures" (see Articles 74 to 80) before the


probable errors can be properly found.
sure

is

Whatever mea-

made, a proper corresponding equation can be

formed, and the proper cautions accompanying

it will

soon

present themselves.

10G.

It

may

occur to the reader as a difficulty, that

the quantities concerned are not homogeneous


sure of

0,

for instance,

units of length.

measure

is

the mea-

This, however,

is

only apparent.

Any

expressed by means of certain units, and

probable error

we

being in angle, and that of X in

is

expressed by the same units

and,

divide each equation by a divisor proportional to

probable error,

we do

in fact

its

when
its

produce an equation of abs-

ERRORS OF OBSERVATIONS REQUIRED

00

numbers, whose probable error also

tract

The whole are then

number.

is

an abstract

comparable, in

strictly

whatever kinds of measure they have originated.

The

107.
tions

solution of so

numerous a

of course troublesome.

is

It

is,

series of equa-

however, no more

troublesome than the nature of the subject strictly re-

And

quires.

to

it is

be considered that

it

gives to every

observation of every kind exactly the weight that


to

it

that

it

system of results

is

the

and that that

the most probable.

Treatment of Observations in which


that

due

leads to one distinct system of results, with-

out leaving any opening for uncertainty

15.

is

it is

required

Errors of Observations rigorously satisfy

some assigned conditions.


108.
of

In the equations considered in Article 87, each

which gave the

tors,

the

unknown

effects of

combining, with different

that observations might thereby be better represented,


is

to

fac-

corrections of certain elements, in order

it

be remarked that there was no expectation that the

result

of combination of these corrections of elements

would exactly represent the observations, or that any exact


relation could be assigned as
rections

existing

among

the cor-

which were to be found; or between "the result of

applying those corrections," and "observations".


109.

But there

are instances in which the nature of

the problem requires that,

among

the corrections which

/
TO SATISFY ASSIGNED CONDITIONS.

91

are to be found, a prescribed equation shall be rigorously

The nature and treatment

maintained.

of these will best

be understood from examples.


110.

Instance

In a geodetic triangle, observa-

(1).

On comparing

tions of the three angles are

made.

sum with the quantity


that sum ought to be

+ spherical

180

equal,

it

How

requires the correction A.

is

excess, to

their

which

found that the sum

ought that correction to

be divided among the three angles, their probable errors

known

of observation being

111.

Ev E,v E

Let

be the three corrections required,

the probable errors of observation being et


the

first

consideration

E
E

is

e2

es .

Then

is,

to

be as small as possible,

here corresponds to the quantity

e[

The quantity

ax-\-by-\- cz

the latter being the residual difference

in Article 87;

between an observed quantity and a quantity computed


from corrected elements, which difference is to be made
"as small as possible."

be exhibited in the

Hence we may

The

equations are therefore to

same form.
state the equations thus

E=
E = 0,

with probable error e v

tf.>fc

0,

e2

ERROKS OF OBSERVATIONS REQUIRED

92

wo stopped at this form, we could not obtain a valid


the number of equations being tlie same as the
number of unknown quantities, in which case no solution
If

solution

depending on probabilities can be obtained.

Now we

112.

and use

it

introduce the condition

one of the quantities, as

to eliminate

Then

the equations become,

i^=0, with

probable error

ex

= 0,

e,,

A-E^E^O,

es .

E.z

Here we have three equations to determine two quantities, and the process of Article 93 may be followed.,
113.

Dividing by the probable errors, we have these

equations, in each of which the probable error

=1

!-

e3

e3

e3

and therefore, by the process of Article 93, forming a


final

equation principally for

Ev

by multiplying each

93

TO SATISFY ASSIGNED CONDITIONS.


equation here by

its.

coefficient of

and adding the pro-

ducts,

{ey

(?/

Similarly, forming a final equation principally for E,,

by multiplying each equation by

its coefficient

of

z,

and

adding the products,

WWW

&

Comparing these two equations,


at

but

once infer from this that


*it

may be more

completely.

E^ = E

-r

W e might

h has the same

value,

satisfactory to solve the equations

Eliminating

from the

first

the relation just fouud,

Therefore

^-^.jgr^q^ii

whence, by the relation found,

w+w+w

equation, by

ERRORS OF OBSERVATIONS REQUIRED

1)4*

and by subtracting their sum from A,

E-A
'

-^

\2

W+W' + to"

Hence, the corrections to be assigned to the different


angles ought to be proportional to the squares of their
respective probable errors.

Instance

114.

nals can be seen

From

(2).

a theodolite station, n sig-

the angles, between each signal and the

next in azimuth, are independently observed

which ought to be
rection

360, is 360

B to be divided

= 0,

their sum,

ought the cor-

The equations

115.

- B how

in this instance will

with probable error

e1

E,= 0,

e2 ,

K=

en .

0,

be

Then, by the equation

E^E.^&c. + E^B,
the last of the equations

is

changed into

B E E &c En_ = 0,
1

with probable error

en

and the equations are to be treated in the same manner as


in Instance (1)

and a similar

result is obtained

namely,

TO SATISFY ASSIGNED CONDITIONS.


that

the

corrections

95

be assigned to the different

to

angles must be proportional to the squares, of their respective probable errors.

The next
116.

instance will be

Instance

(3).

more complicated.

In the survey of a chain of

tri-

angles, a hexagonal combination of the following kind


occurs, in
all

to

which every angle

are liable to error

is

observed independently;

to find the correction

which ought

be made to each.

Let the angles be denoted by the simple numbers


let

their corrections

sought be

probable errors of observation

(1),

[1],

[2],

(2), &c.

&c, and their

ERRORS OF OBSERVATIONS REQUIRED

06

Then we have the

= 0,
[2] =

[1]

equations,

with probable error

(2);

[18]

And now
unknown

(1),

= 0,

(18).

have to consider how many of these

Ave

quantities can be eliminated

by virtue of the

geometrical relations.

Adding the angles

117.

comparing the sum with


[1]

[2]

Then

[3]

at the central station,

+ [4] + [5] +

[G]

= a known

quantity A:

in the six triangles,


[1]

known quantity

+ [9] + [10]
[3] + [H] + [12]
[4] + [13] + [14]
[5] + [15] + [10]
[6] + [l7] + [18]
When
we

D,
E,
F,
G.

corrections satisfying these equations are apshall

have a set of six triangles, with angles

consistent in each triangle

that they

B,
C,

[2]

plied,

and

300,

fill

up 360

and which

so adhere together

at the central station

nevertheless

TO SATISFY ASSIGNED CONDITIONS.


it

might happen

d from

c,

from

that, in calculating b
d,

from

find a value a' differing


a'

from

But

a.

be found rigorously equal to

it is

a, c

f,

from

b,

we should

necessary that

Tracing the calcu-

a.

through the several triangles,

lations

from

and a from

e,

97

it is

found that this

equation gives (with corrected angles),


sin

sin 9

sin 8

sin

10

sin 11

sin

13

sin

sin 12

sin

14

sin 16

15

sin

17

sin 18

and, taking the logarithms, with the addition of symbols


for the corrections,

log sin 7
.

log

sin 8

+ log

sin 9

log

sin

10

+ log

sin 11

log.sinl2 + log.sinl3 log.sinl4 + log.sinl5 log.sinlG


-f log sin 17 log sin 18
.

+ cot7

x[7]

-cotSx

[8]

+ cot9x [9]-&c

+ cotl7x [l7]-cotl8
=

We

x [18]

0.

shall use the

this expression,

which

symbol
is

to denote the first part of

known

quantity.

Thus we have eight equations

By means

fied.

quantities
tities to

118.

[1],

of these,

[2],

we

be rigorously

to

satis-

are to eliminate eight of the

&c, and there will remain ten quan-

be determined by eighteen equations.

Suppose

corrections [1], [2],

for instance

&c, as

[2]=

we

decide to eliminate the

far as [8].

We

have

C- [9] -[10],

[3]=D-[11]-[12],
A.

ERRORS OF OBSERVATIONS REQUIRED

98

[4]

='-[13] -[14],

= ^-[15] -[16],
[6] =-[17] -[18].

[5]

Substituting these iu the

equation,

first

[\]=A-C-D-E-F-G
+ [9] + [10] + [H]+[12]+[13]+[14]+[15]+[16]+[l7]+[18].
Then
[7]

= -[l]-[8]

=-A+B+C+D+E+F+G
-[8]-[9]-[10]-[ll]-[12]-[13]-[14]-[15]
_[1G]_[17]-[18].
Substituting this in the last equation of Article 117,

L + cot 7 x

(-

A + B + C+ D + E+ F+ G)

-cot7x{[8]+[9]+[10]+[ll]+[12] + [13]+[14]+[15]

- cot 8

[8]

-cot 12 x

+ cot

15 x

-cot 18 x

From

+ cot 9

+ cot
[15] - cot
[12]

[9]

- cot

+ [17]

10 x [10]

+[18]}

+ cot 11

x [11]

13 x [13] -cot 14 x [14]


1G x [16]

+ cot 17

x [17]

[18].

this equation, [8]

&c. as far as [18].


expression, [7]
as [18].

[16]

Thus

is

And

is

found in terms of

found in terms of

all

pressed in terms of

the corrections
[9], [10]... [18],

[9], [10],

it

in the preceding

[9],

[10], &c. as far

substituting

[1],

[2], ...[8],

are ex-

TO SATISFY ASSIGNED CONDITIONS.

The primary equations

119.

[1]

of probabilities are,

with probable error

[2]=0

(1),

(2),

[18]=0
Of

99

(18),

now be changed

these, the first eight will

into the

following
[9]

[10]+...

+ [18] = -vl+

C+D + E + F+G,
with probable error

(1)

C,

(2)

[11]

+ [12]=2>,

(3 )

[13]

+[14]=^,

(4)

[15]

+ [16]=^

(5)

[17]

[9]

("series

[10]

[18]

of multiples]

G,
r

(6)

series of
]

known

|of[9],[10]...[18],U
[

expressing [7]

series of multiples')

(7),

(quantities!
r

series of
]

i of[9],[10]...[18],l = i known

expressing [8]

The remaining equations


[9]

= 0,

(8).

[quantities'
will retain their simple form,

with probable error

(9),

[10] = 0,

(10),

= 0,

(18).

[18]

G 2

ERRORS OF OBSERVATIONS REQUIRED

100

Each

120.

be divided by

of these eighteen equations

is

then to

probable error, and we thus obtain the

its

following equations, in each of which the probable error

= i;
[9]

(i)

[10]

[18]

_ -A + C + D+E+F+G
"

(1)

with probable error

W
and so through

The

'

(2)'

(2)

1.

the equations.

all

equations so divided, having the same probable

error, are in

fit

state for application of the

method

of

Article 93.

The

for [9]) will

be formed by multiplying each equation by

the coefficient of
ducts

first

[9] in

of the final equations (principally

that equation, and adding the pro-

the second of the final equations (principally for

[10]) will

be formed by multiplying each equation by the

coefficient of [10] in that equation,

ducts; and so on to [18],

the values of

[9],

From

and adding the pro-

the equations thus formed,

[10].. .[18], are

found; and by substi-

tuting these in the formula? of Article 118, the values of


[1], [2]... [8]

121.

are -found.

It is particularly to

be observed that, although

in the changed equations of probabilities

such quantities as

[1],

[2],

corresponding probable errors

must be

left in its place.

error will be

remarked

we

eliminate

&c, we do not eliminate their


(1),

(2),

&c, each of which

This retention of the probable

in Instances (1)

and

(2).

TO SATISFY ASSIGNED CONDITIONS.


122.

The complete

solution

would scarcely ever be used in

is

101

so troublesome that

practice.

it

Probably some

process like the following would be employed, with sufficient

accuracy

Divide the error

by the process of Instance

(2),

and

use the corrected angles in the process that follows.

Divide the errors B, C,...G, by the process of Instance


(1),

and use the corrected angles in the process that

fol-

lows.

Apply the

last

equation of Article 117, by a process

nearly similar to that for A.

Repeat the process

for dividing

A'

(the discordance at

the center produced by the angles as last corrected).

Repeat the process

for dividing B',

continue this operation as often as

may be

...

G'.

necessary.

And

PART

IV.

ON 3IIXED EKKOES OF DIFFERENT CLASSES, AND


CONSTANT ERRORS.
Consideration of the circumstances under which the

16.

existence of

Mixed Errors of Different Classes may


and investigation of their separate

he recognized,
values.

When

123.

made, day
which

is

successive

after day, of the

either

series

of

observations

are

same measurable quantity,

invariable (as the angular distance be-

tween two components of a double star) or admits of being


reduced by calculation to an invariable quantity (as the
and when every
known instrumental correction has been applied (as for
still
zero, for effect of temperature upon the scale, &c.)
apparent angular diameter of a planet)

it will

sometimes be found that the

one day

differs

result

obtained on

from the result obtained on another day

by a larger quantity than could have been anticipated.


The idea then presents itself, that possibly there has been
on some one day, or on every day, some cause, special to
the day, which has produced a Constant Error in the

measures of that day.


the evidence
error.

for,

It

is

our business

and the treatment

of,

now

to consider

such constant

ADMISSIBILITY OF CONSTANT ERROR.

The

124.

103

existence of a daily constant error, that

is,

of an additional error which follows a different law from

ought not to be lightly assumed.

the ordinary error,

When

made on

observations are

only two or three days,

and the number of observations on each day


tremely great, the mere

fact, of

discordance from day to day,

The

constant error.
to a

"run

bable.

not ex-

accordance on each day and

is

not sufficient to prove a

existence of an accordance analogous

of luck" in ordinary chances

If this

is

is sufficiently

pro-

be accepted, as applying to each day, the

whole of the observations on the different days must be


aggregated as one

subject to the usual law of error.

series,

More extensive experience, however, may give greater confidence to the assumption of constant errors and then the
;

treatment of which

we proceed

to speak will properly

apply.

First, it ought, in general, to

125.

there

is

possibility of error, constant

ing from day to day.

Suppose, for instance, that the

distance of two near stars

is

observed with some double-

image instrument by the method


alternately right and

be established that

on one day but vary-

left.

of three equal distances,

It does not

appear that any

atmospherical or personal circumstance can produce a constant error; and, unless


like those to be

entertain

it.

we

are driven to

it

by considerations

mentioned in Article 129, we must not

But suppose, on the other hand, that we have

measured the apparent diameter of Jupiter.

It is evident

that both atmospheric and personal circumstances

may

MIXED ERRORS, AND CONSTANT ERRORS.

104

and here we may admit the

sensibly alter the measure;


possibility of the error.

Now

126.

separately, and,

us take the observations of each day

let

by the rules of Articles GO and

Gl, investi-

gate from each separate day the probable error of a single

We may

measure.

expect to find different values

(the

mere paucity of observations will sufficiently explain the


difference); but as the individual observations on the dif-

ferent days either are equally good, or (as well as

we can

judge) have such a difference of merit that we can approxi-

mately assign the proportion of their probable

errors,

we

can define the value of probable error for observations of


standard quality as determined from the observations of

we must then combine

each day;

these,

with greater

weight for the deductions from the more numerous observations,

and we

shall

have a

final

value of probable error

of each individual observation, not containing the effects


of Constant Error.
infer

Article

55,

Eesult

;" still

The

"

From

this

we

can,

by the

rule

of

the "Probable Error of Each Day's

not containing the effects of Constant Error.

Result of Each Day," also not containing any cor-

rection for Constant Error,

is

given by the

mean

of deter-

minations for each day.

We

must now attach to the numerical value of


"Result of Each Day" a symbol for "Actual Error of
Result of Each Day;" and take the mean of all these
127.

compound
days

quantities, numerical

and symbolical,

for all

the

(the combination-weights being proportional to the

"

PROCESS FOR DISCOVERY OF CONSTANT ERROR.

number

of observations on each day, unless

any modifying

circumstance require a different proportion).

may
is

The

be regarded as "Final Result."

to

"

105

mean

This

Final Result"

be subtracted from the "Result of Each Day;" the

remainder

is

the "Discordance of Each Day's Result."

For each day

it

consists of

series of multiples

of

two parts; a number, and a

the symbols for " Actual Error of

all

Result of Each Day."


128.

Now

the Discordance

treat

number accompanied with multiples


itself

an Error, and investigate the

by the

(consisting

of the

of symbols) as being
"

Mean

Discordance

rule of Article 26 or 59; a value of

"Mean

Dis-

cordance" will thus be obtained, consisting of a number

accompanied with a

"Actual Error."
an independent

series

of multiples of symbols

of

Consider each day's "Actual Error" as

fallible

quantity whose Probable Error

is

that obtained in Article 126, and form the "Probable

Mean Discordance" by the rule of Article 52.


Thus we have, for Mean Discordance, a formula consisting
Error of

of

two

parts,

(1)

(2)

A
A

namely,

numerical value.

number expressing the probable

error in the

determination of that numerical value.


129.

And now

it

will rest entirely in the

judgment of

the computer to determine whether the simple numerical


value

(1)

or not.

just found,

is

to

be adopted

for

Mean Discordance

It is quite clear that, if (2) exceeds (1), there is

no

MIXED ERRORS, AND CONSTANT ERRORS.

106

sufficient justification for the

that
it

is,

assumption of a Discordance,

of a Constant Error.

If (2)

is

much

less

than

(1),

appears equally clear that a Constant Error must be

assumed

and

to exist,

adapted for

Mean

(1)

or

any value near

or Probable Constant Error, will be found


this

by 08153,

may he

by multiplying

as in Article 31.

The reader must not be

130.

it

The Probable Discordance,

Discordance.

startled at our referring

these decisions to his judgment, without material assist-

The Calculus is, after all, a


of the mind are worked
but which must be directed by the

ance from the Calculus.

mere

tool

by which the decisions

out with accuracy,

mind.

In deciding on the admissibility of Constant Error,

after giving full


it will still

weight to the considerations of Article 129,

be impossible, and would be wrong, to exclude

the considerations of Article

125,

and these cannot be

brought under algebraical or numerical


131.

These investigations

rule.

suppose that

the

cordance of Each Day's Result" cannot, so far as we

"Dis-

know

antecedently, be referred to any distinct assignable cause.

But

if

there

should appear to be any such cause,

for instance, if

we

as,

conceive that the observations of one

person always give a greater measure than the observations


of another person,

it

will

be easy to apply an investigation,

analogous to that just given.

The observations

of each

person should be separated from those of other persons and


collected together;

from the collected group of each per-

son's observations, a

Mean

Result and Probable Error of

DISTINCT CAUSE OF CONSTANT ERROR.

Mean

Result for each person must be found

107

and then the

reader must judge whether, in view of the amount of Pro-

bable Errors, a Personal Difference of Results

The

or required.

investigation

is

ing, in this respect, that it arrives at

Difference

And

of Results,

the result

is

admissible

is

simpler than the preced-

a Simple Personal

and not at a Mean Discordance.

simpler than the

last,

because

it is

a Con-

stant Correction to the results of one person, instead of an

uncertain correction liable to the laws of chance.

Treatment of observations when the values of ProError for different groups, and probable

17.

bable Constant

error of observation of individual measures within each

group, are assumed as known.


132.
tions

When numerous

and extensive

series of observa-

have been made, as in Articles 126, &c,

sufficient to

determine the Probable Value of the so-called Constant


Error (which

is

in fact

an Error varying from group to

group) and the ordinary probable error of an individual


observation in each group

suppose that there are

occasional observations, in limited groups, for which


desirable to define the rides of combination.
justified, for

We

made
it is

are not

each of these limited groups, in assuming a

value for the Constant Error, or Variable Error of the

Second
as

Class, applicable to that

group; we must treat

it

an uncertain quantity, and ascertain the combination-

weights, and the probable error and theoretical weight of


final result,

under the

effects of the errors of the

two

classes,

MIXED ERRORS AND CONSTANT ERRORS.

108

by an operation analogous
the errors are only of one

In the

133.

first

to those

which are applied when

class.

group of observations,

the actual

let

value of the error of second class be ^G) in the second

group

in the third

of each being

group

And

c.

values of the errors of

being

And

e.

let

cessive groups be

be

1}

z
z
x %, t 3

E E
X ,

jn,

&c;

n,

z
2 v

the probable value

Ev E E

&c.

number

the

C, &c.

class (or ordinary errors) for the

fir^st

successive observations be

the second group

in the first group, let the actual

3>

&c.

for those in

of observations in the suc-

Let the combination factors

&c.
z
2 2

the probable value of each

z
2 3

&c.

xt

z2

z3

&c.

and

so for successive groups.

Then

the actual errors of the separate measures will be

&c.

&c.

INVESTIGATION OF COMBINATION- WEIGHTS.

And

109

the actual error of the final result, obtained by

combining the separate measures with the combinationweights above given, will be the fraction, whose numerator

is

(a +

A+ A + &c
+ (A.

-)

i#+ (a + a + &c

^ + A-A + A-A + &c.)

+ <a-A+a-A+&.)
+ (A>*^i + :* + **) + *
and whose denominator

is

(A + A + A + &C + (A + 2* + &c + (A + 3 ? + &c) +&c.


2

The square

134.
result,

of the probable error of the final

found in exactly the same way as in

ing cases, will be the fraction whose numerator

(A)

(A)

+ & c.}

and whose denominator

{(A

+ A + &c + (A +

This

is

to

+ {(^Y +

z
s

-2>

making each

is

*2

+ &c + (A + s* + &c + &c.}


-)

-)

2
.

be made minimum with respect to the varia-

&c &c
-

+ &c.}

preced-

is

tion of each of the quantities

Z
9 i>

/2 )

(,

all

sx

z# &c,

Differentiating with

differential coefficient

in former instances,

we

= 0,

z v z 2
&c,
respect to each,

and treating as

find successively,

an indeterminate constant),

(putting

for

'

MIXED ERRORS AND CONSTANT ERRORS.

110

zx

First,

therefore, for each of these

Second,

n. x z.c
n. 2z.c

n. 3 z.c

z%

= &c.

~3

we may use

z.e

= A,

= A,

= A,

z.e

z.e
ii

the symbol

z.

&c.

from which we obtain

_A_
xZ

which

n
x

+e

2 '

applicable to every observation in the

is

first

group

A
which
group

applicable to every observation in the second

is
;

and

so

on through

In the numerator of expression

135.

probable error of result,


so for other groups,

y /
.

the groups.

all

2
.

=A

c~

+ &c. +

(x

square of

for the

&c, we

insert

+ ji

2
.

and

+ &c.

+ &c),

and the same substitution converts the denominator


du

+ ^c

2
-)

and the square of probable error of result

A
n
x

z,

becomes

it

2
.

z
z
x x, x 2

if for

z
x

ji

+ &c.

to

DISTINCT CAUSE OF CONSTANT ERROR.

which with the values of

z,

z,

Ill

&c. found above, becomes

1
77

Vt-5 + &C.

Or

(probable error of result)

136.

If,

as in Article 131,

upon some

fix

group,
Error,

we

distinct cause of

-\

conceive that

the Constant

that group of results

may

then be reduced

For the determination

of the probable error of the result of the


it

group so cor-

must be borne in mind that the determination

of the Constant
to

is

Let A, B,

liable to error.

n terms, be the actual

errors,

and

a, b,

c,

C,

responding to that in which

we

assuming a Constant Error.

D, &c.

d, &c.

probable errors of the means of various groups,

for

we can

Constant Error for one

all the others being assumed free from Constant


aud can ascertain with confidence the amount of

by application of the Constant.


rected,

the
cor-

suspect sufficient reason

The

actual error of de-

termination of Constant Error will be

+ &C.
A--J3+C+D

ii

and the probable


will

error of determination of Constant Error

be

V?

b~

+ <y + d~ +
(n-lf

&c.

112

CONCLUSION.

But the

corrected result of that group will be liable to the

actual error

_B+ C+D + &C.)


n
and

its

B+G+D + &C.

probable error will be

+ c + d* + &c. \
2

ft*

In

fact,

sults,

by referring that

and

(n-iy

result to the

so determining its correction,

mean of other rewe entirely deprive

that result of any original value in the application of these


groups.

But

if,

on another occasion, there were observations

made by the same person or under the same circumstances


as the observations A, then the determination of Constant

Error and of

its

probable error just found would be pro-

perly applicable.

These

conclusions will be varied according to the

various assumptions
ficulty in

made

the reader will have

little dif-

applying the theory of preceding Articles to any

of them.

CONCLUSION.
137.

In the practical applications of the Theory of

Errors of Observations and of the Combination of Observations which have fallen under our notice, the following
are the principal sources of error and inconvenience.

ERRORS TO BE AVOIDED.

113

In some instances, measures have been combined

(1)

by a method

minimum

of "

squares " without reference to

the value of probable error of each of the separate observations

and an erroneous

result has

been deduced.

The

computer, apparently, has had his attention engrossed by


"

minimum

tained
for

squares

"

as the important result to be ob-

whereas, in reality, the satisfying of the equations

minimum

squares produces a merely accidental coinci-

dence of results in certain cases (not in all) with those


leading to the "

which

is

(2)

probable error of

final result,"

In some instances, entangled observations have

been treated as
result has
(3)

minimum

the legitimate object of search.

been

if

they were independent, and an erroneous

inferred.

In some instances, the labour of application of the

theory has been greatly and unnecessarily increased by the


use of numerical coefficients proceeding to several places
of decimals

possessing

We

all

when simple

factors

would have given results

desirable accuracy.

believe that,

by avoiding these

errors,

and by

otherwise conforming to the principles of this Treatise,

the Theory of

the Combination of Observations may,

without great labour, be

made a

putation of Physical Measures.

valuable aid in the com-

APPENDIX.
PRACTICAL VERIFICATION OF THE THEORETICAL LAW

FOR THE FREQUENCY OF ERRORS.

With

the view of examining the practical accuracy of the

formula Axe~c2 .8x (see Article 24 and preceding Articles)


for the

frequency of the occurrence of Errors of Measure &c.

between the error-magnitudes x and x +

&x, I

collected the

number) of all the observations of the N.P.B.


of Polaris made at the Royal Observatory in the years 1869
to 1873, as reduced in each year to exhibit the mean N.P.D.
at the beginning of the year from every observation in the
In every separate year the difference between each of
year.
these mean N.P.D. and the annual mean of all was taken.
Prom the large number of observations in each year, and from
the perfect certainty as to the elements of reduction from one
year to another, it was evident that there would be no appreresults (636 in

ciable error in considering these " differences

from the mean

in each year as identical with the " diffei'ences from the

of

all

which would have been obtained

if all

"

mean "

the results had

been referred to one epoch of time and treated in one group.


I therefore extracted from the various groups all the " differences
from the mean," and arranged them in order of magnitude,
from the largest negative "difference" 2"*35 to the largest

positive "difference"

3"*51.

veritable errors of observation.

was-215"

88,

These

may

be considered as

The sum of negative

errors

and the sum of positive errors +213"*73

(the

APPENDIX.
small discordance between

the

in

succeeding

215"-88 + 213"-73
-^rp;

ooo

them

decimal

was

in Article 31, the

115

arising from the loss of figures

The

places).

* eK
= -0755

mean

,.,

error

or

from which, by the table

Modulus was found

to be 1" 1973,
,

and the

Probable Error 0"'57 11.

The errors were then divided into small groups, each group
extending over an error-range of 0" 05 ; from 0" 03 to 0" 07,
#

0"*08 to 0" 12, 0"-13 to 0""17, and so on, both in the positive
-

and

But, as the frequency of errors

in the negative direction.

was very small, one group was extended


- 2"-13, one from - 2"-12 to - l"-98, one from

for the large values

from - 2"-38 to

- 1"'72 to - l"-58, one from + l"-58


1"73
to + l"-72, one from +
to + l"-97, one from + l"-98 to
+ 2"-12, one from + 2"\L3to + 2"-38, one from +2"-39 to +3"-58.
l"-97 to l"-73, one from

The only

result extracted

from these groups was, the number

in each group

of observations

and

this

was considered as

representing the frequency through an error-range of 0"'05,

corresponding in formula to the magnitude of the central error


of the group as the independent variable

thus the number of

between 0""63 and 0"*67 was taken to represent the


frequency through an error-range of 0"-05, which must correspond in any mathematical formula to the independent
errors

For those

variable 0""65.

cases in

which longer groups were

employed, the actual number of observations was reduced so


as to

make

it

extending from
range of 0""25,
actual

number

number of

justly comparable with the

vations in other parts of the series of groups

2"'38
or five

to 2"-13,

obser-

thus in the group

which extends over an error-

times the ordinary error-range, the

of observations was divided by 5 to

make

it

comparable with the others, and the resulting quotient was


held to correspond to the error or independent variable

2"

30.

APPENDIX.

116

was no marked

It soon became evident that there

dis-

cordance between the laws of distribution for positive and for


negative values

and therefore the corresponding numbers


Then, in order to remove small irregunumber was added to the second, the second

were added together.


larities,

the

first

to the third,

&c, and then the

first

sum was added to the


sum of the second
second original number

second, the second to the third, &c, the first

order being held to correspond to the

The extreme first and last were adopted


The numbex^s thus formed are evidently, on
The
the whole, eight times as large as the original numbers.
numbers thus produced were laid down in a graphical repre-

and

so throughout.

without change.

sentation,

in

which the abscissa was the magnitude of the


observation, and the ordinate was

"difference," or error of

the corresponding

number

Then

for eight times the frequency.

a free curve was drawn by hand passing through the points


And this terminated the rerepresenting these numbers.
It appeared that, in the

ference to the facts of observation.

hand-drawn curve, the ordinate

for error

might be taken

as 124.

For a similar exhibition of the

numbers given by the formula

1-1973, and where

results of theory, or of the


x e

<?

evidently =124,

it

where

= Modulus

was only necessary

to calculate the expression,


-**
'

(1
frequency = 124 xe

1973)

or
log.

frequency =2-0934217-

^^r^

x (Error)

2
.

This calculation was made for every value of Error


0-10, 0-15,

<fcc.

to 1-G5,

and then

for 1-75, 2-10, 2-30, 2-50.

05,

APPENDIX.
The comparison of the observed and the
is

Observation.

of

Error

given in the followin table.

117
theoretical results

number of errors in each group ranging


through 0-"05 of magnitude, multiplied by the factor 8.

Ordinate representing the

APPENDIX.
It is evident that the

119

formula represents with

all practicable

accuracy the observed Frequency of Errors, upon which

all

applications of the Theory of Probabilities are founded

the validity of every investigation in this Treatise

is

or THE

'IYERSITY
or

C. J.

the

and

thereby

established.

CAMBRIDGE: PRINTED BY

CLAY. M.A..AT TIIE UNIVERSITY PRESS.

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