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INTRODUCTION The Science of Astronomy is sublime and beautiful. Noble, elevating, consoling, divine, it gives us wings, and bears us through Infinitude. In these ethereal regions all is pure, luminous, and splendid. Dreams of the Ideal, even of the Inaccessible, weave their subtle spells upon us. The imagination soars aloft, and aspires to the sources of Eternal Beauty. What greater delight can be conceived, on a fine spring evening, at the... more...

PREFACE The object of this book is to give an account of the science of Astronomy, as it is known at the present day, in a manner acceptable to the general reader. It is too often supposed that it is impossible to acquire any useful knowledge of Astronomy without much laborious study, and without adventuring into quite a new world of thought. The reasoning applied to the study of the celestial orbs is, however, of no different order from that... more...

It is very easy to gain a knowledge of the stars, if the learner sets to work in the proper manner. But he commonly meets with a difficulty at the outset of his task. He provides himself with a set of the ordinary star-maps, and then finds himself at a loss how to make use of them. Such maps tell him nothing of the position of the constellations on the sky. If he happen to recognize a constellation, then indeed his maps, if properly constructed,... more...

CHAPTER I. A HALF-HOUR ON THE STRUCTURE OF THE TELESCOPE. There are few instruments which yield more pleasure and instruction than the Telescope. Even a small telescope—only an inch and a half or two inches, perhaps, in aperture—will serve to supply profitable amusement to those who know how to apply its powers. I have often seen with pleasure the surprise with which the performance even of an opera-glass, well steadied, and... more...

CHAPTER I. EARLY OBSERVERS OF MARS. Few persons except astronomers fully realise that of all the planets of the Solar system the only one whose solid surface has been seen with certainty is Mars; and, very fortunately, that is also the only one which is sufficiently near to us for the physical features of the surface to be determined with any accuracy, even if we could see it in the other planets. Of Venus we probably see only the upper surface... more...


CHAPTER I.APPARENT ATTRIBUTES OF THE STARS. 1. Our knowledge of the stars is based on their apparent attributes, obtained from the astronomical observations. The object of astronomy is to deduce herefrom the real or absolute attributes of the stars, which are their position in space, their movement, and their physical nature. The apparent attributes of the stars are studied by the aid of their radiation. The characteristics of this radiation... more...

ASTROLOGY. Signs and planets, in aspects sextile, quartile, trine, conjoined, or opposite; houses of heaven, with their cusps, hours, and minutes; Almuten, Almochoden, Anahibazon, Catahibazon; a thousand terms of equal sound and significance.—Guy Mannering. ... Come and see! trust thine own eyes.A fearful sign stands in the house of life,An enemy: a fiend lurks close behindThe radiance of thy planet—oh! be warned!—Coleridge.... more...

CHAPTER I. INTRODUCTORY. The Sun. The sun's position in the great field of energy is daily becoming more exalted in the estimation of philosophic minds. His labors are being revealed to us with a distinctness never before conceived. He it is that stored the coal in the bosom of the earth, and piled up the polar ice. He it is that aids the chemist, drives the engine, ripens the harvest, dispenses life and health. The study of the sun and solar... more...

CHAPTER I INTRODUCTORY Other worlds and their inhabitants are remarkably popular subjects of speculation at the present time. Every day we hear people asking one another if it is true that we shall soon be able to communicate with some of the far-off globes, such as Mars, that circle in company with our earth about the sun. One of the masters of practical electrical science in our time has suggested that the principle of wireless telegraphy may... more...

Page 3 RECREATIONS IN ASTRONOMY. I. CREATIVE PROCESSES. During all the ages there has been one bright and glittering page of loftiest wisdom unrolled before the eye of man. That this page may be read in every part, man's whole world turns him before it. This motion apparently changes the eternally stable stars into a moving panorama, but it is only so in appearance. The sky is a vast, immovable dial-plate of "that clock whose pendulum... more...