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us, we find that their motions are all regulated with the greatest of nicety, that things are all similar in shape, the one to the other, and governed by the same laws; that their motions on their axes or their orbits are similar to our own, with satellites in proportion to the magnitude of the body. When we see all this, how can we suppose that there would be such a great divergence in the construction of the beings that inhabit them; but, granting that the people in Mercury would feel quite comfortable in one of our coal-furnaces, how about the water with an average temperature of about 400°? Water could only exist in a state of vapour—therefore, there can be none; and, if there is no water, there can be no vegetation; and with no vegetation, they can grow nothing to live on; so that I am afraid their diet will be much drier than our proverbial “lime biscuit.” Although the want of water would be a great drawback to the people here, still the Mercuranians have one advantage over us, viz., on the very hottest day in summer they will never feel thirsty. No; they can have no “ginger-pop," no ice cream, no whisky! Is it

any better in Neptune? Very little. If the heat in Neptune is 900° less than it is with us, then it follows, as a natural corollary, that the cold will be 900 times greater; in this case, water could exist as a solid, which in itself will be an advantage, as the people will not be bothered with meters, rusty pipes, or bad taps, but, like Arbroath pavement, it will be carted about and sold by the square yard. Neither will they be put to the trouble and expense of procuring tanks and vessels to hold their water. Summer and winter they will be enabled to pile it up in their back-yards like stacks of fire-wood. But, stop! in drawing the reader's attention to the absence of water in Mercury, I am injuring my own argument. By-and-bye, I will be told that there is plenty of water in Mercury, only it will not boil under 1000°.

Let the reader take two tumblers, and fill them half full of water; then put a little soda in one and some acid in the other, and, when you stir the mixture about with a spoon, the water simply becomes discoloured; but, otherwise, there is nothing very particular to be seen in either tumbler. Now, empty the contents of the two tumblers into a third tumbler, and see what a remarkable change takes place; and so it is with the sun's rays and our atmosphere. There is nothing in the sun's rays and our atmosphere when by themselves, but when the sun's rays come in contact with our atmosphere, a chemical action takes place, and heat is either greater or less in accordance with the depth and uniform VOL. III.-No. 15.


density of the lower stratum of our atmosphere. The barometer does not tell us the density of our atmosphere, it merely gives us its weight or pressure; and, if our atmosphere was brought within a space of twenty miles, or extended to a distance of eighty miles, it would merely indicate its weight in pounds, without telling us whether our atmosphere was thicker or thinner. Our atmosphere is said to extend to a depth of forty miles; but, it is not stationary at that depth. It is constantly expanding and contracting; and, if its contraction was caused by outside pressure, the barometer would not only tell us the weight of the atmosphere, but the pressure that was forcing it into a smaller space. This pressure cannot come from the outside; because, above our atmosphere, there is a great vacuum, and a vacuum is a space that contains nothing; therefore, the causes of its expansion or contraction must lie within the atmosphere itself. When it contracts, it does not increase the density of the lower stratum, because the weight is the same; but there is an increase in its depth of a uniform density, the sun's rays have a thicker body to act upon, and the heat becomes greater. When it expands, the lower part rises to fill up the vacancy, the uniform depth of the lower stratum is reduced, the sun's rays have less power upon it, and the consequence is cooler weather. In other words, if our atmosphere were to settle down upon us, or if it were to expand to any considerable extent, the earth would become uninhabitable--in the one case with heat, and in the other through cold. From the above, the reader will understand that, when I speak about adding to the density of our atmosphere, I refer to increasing the depth of the lower stratum, which is of a uniform density.

It is actually necessary, that the inhabitants of the other bodies in the solar system should have water, both for domestic and sanitary purposes, and, according to the present theory of solar heat, it is equally as evident that several of those bodies must be destitute of water in a liquid state. If there is no water, there can be no animal or vegetable life; therefore, we are forced to the conclusion that it was a mere waste of time to create those bodies, because they serve no useful purpose for themselves, for us, or for any other body. But I do not believe they were made to be barren wastes, and whether they are near the sun or far from the sun, they were made to enjoy light and heat just as much as we do. It is only our own blindness in sticking to this curious theory, that prevents us from seeing how the desired object may be accomplished, and in a

much more rational manner. Before I proceed to describe the way in which affairs are arranged, I must draw the reader's attention to two points, which he must not lose sight of in reading this paperFirst, it is the rays from the sun's atmosphere acting upon the atmospheres which surround the various bodies in the solar system that creates light and heat; second, the sun's rays are emitted from a body that is 800,000 miles in diameter, and these rays radiate and extend until they fill up a space that is 6,000,000,000 miles* in diameter. Therefore, it follows that the sun's rays at Neptune must be greatly reduced in number and power as compared with the earth, and even with the earth as compared with Mercury, to counterbalance the increased number and power of the sun's rays at Mercury. As compared with the earth, Mercury may have an atmosphere whose densest part at the surface of the body may be no greater than our own atmosphere at a height of six or seven miles; and although the blood would be frozen in our veins long before we arrived at that altitude, still a thin atmosphere of this density may be sufficient to give Mercury the same amount of light and heat we enjoy ourselves,

On the other hand, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune may have atmospheres much heavier than that which surrounds the earth. Neptune's may be double or triple the weight of ours, and still its inhabitants, although constituted the same as we are, would feel no evil effects from the increased pressure. Divers and others, who go down to the bottom of the sea in bells, feel no inconvenience from the great pressure that is required to keep the water out; their greatest difficulty is in obtaining a constant supply of fresh air, and not its density. Or the atmospheres which surround the several bodies may be no heavier than our own, but thicker or more compact, because it is the depth and uniform density of the lower stratum that gives the heat required, although by adding to the weight or quantity you attain the same object. However, whether they are thicker or heavier, you may depend upon it, affairs are so arranged as would allow any of us to live and enjoy life in Mercury or Neptune just as well as we do upon this earth.

In old times, it was the common belief, and may be so with millions at the present day, for anything I know, that the earth was to be destroyed by fire; and lately we were told that if the Creator wished to destroy this earth, He had only to make the sun's atmo

This is the diameter of the plane of the orbit of Neptune. How much further they may go beyond this is unknown at present.

sphere a little thinner, and allow the rays from the red-hot body behind to pass through freely, when the earth would be burned to a cinder; also, that there was a probability of some comet colliding with the sun this summer, which collision would bring speedy destruction upon us all. Now, you see, I do not believe in either the red-hot body or the comet, therefore, I am not the least bit afraid of the amalgamation of the two bodies; but, for the sake of argument, I will allow the sun to be a red-hot body. What then? Does the reader suppose, if the Creator wished to destroy the earth, that He would draw the sun's atmosphere to accomplish His purpose? No, I should think not. If He was to do so, He would not only destroy the earth but the whole solar system. It is an old saying that the son is often punished for the sins of his father; but I cannot see the justice of punishing all the bodies in the solar system for us. If He wished to destroy the earth, He had only to set our atmospheric influences to work, when our atmosphere would slowly settle down, and the heat would becoine so great that rivers, lakes, seas and oceans, all would be dried up, and the earth would become a burning waste. On the other hand, if our atmosphere was jifted up gently until it had lost its present density at the surface, then the earth would become one huge iceberg. In both cases, the destruction of the earth would be complete, while the other bodies would be moving in their orbits, and never know that there was anything the matter.

In the same lecture, « The Life and Death of a World," Mr. Proctor says, “the sun's surface was in a state of great disturbance, and no amount of noise and tumult we could conceive would equal the uproar then prevalent. Such uproar must at one time have also been prevalent on the earth. Not only was the sun surrounded by an envelope of many-coloured flames, thousands of miles in depth, but mighty uprushes of glowing vapour sometimes occurred. Professor Young had under observation a cloud of ruddy matter 80,000 miles in length, and 40,000 miles above the sun's surface. He was called away for three-quarters of an hour; when he returned to his observations, he found the cloud had been torn into fragments, which travelled upwards like long threads of glowing hydrogen,” &c. &c. From this, we are led to suppose that there is always something dreadful taking place in the sun; but when you think over the thing calmly, and consider the brilliancy and the immense size of the body, there is nothing so very surprising in the above. The same or similar scenes are to be seen in our own

atmosphere, and not a word is said about it. For instance, if the reader will look at the Australasian of 19th June, 1880, page 774 (“ Professor Nordenskjold's North-east Passage”), he will find the following:

"It was about ten o'clock, on the night of the 21st of September, there arose against the horizon a jet of flame, having its centre in the north, which was soon followed by other jets, that became less intense in proportion as they approached the zenith, but increased in brilliance as they emerged into the southern horizon. The light they shed was of a shining whiteness, and soon the sky was encompassed by arches, against which the sombre starry firmament formed a magnificent back-ground. Later on, the heavens assumed another aspect. At the zenith, appeared a luminous band, emitting gleams which undulated in form of waves of fire, having all the colours of the rainbow, but taking no determinate course. The eastern portion of this brilliant band became gradually agitated, and suddenly there emerged from it; in a sheet which overspread the horizon, an immense flaming torch, discharging powerful wares of light. Then the band itself grew pale and indistinct, but the torch, scattering sheets of flame, increased. In the meantime,” &c., &c.

What does the reader think of that? Is the one professor's account not as dreadful as the other's? I think it is, and a great deal more.

If an astronomer in Jupiter had been observing the earth (who knows but there might have been) when this ship's crew was looking at the above scene at the North Pole, what a horrible account this astronomer would be able to give of the state of affairs here; and if he was fortunate enough to be looking through his glass at us when one of our aurora australes was to be seen, the people in Jupiter would be reading in the morning papers that the Southern Hemisphere was enveloped in flames, and that the earth was little less than a roaring furnace.

In another part, he says that the quantity of heat in the sun, in every second of time, was equal to that which would result from the combustion of 11,700 millions of millions of tons of coal. Can the reader form any idea of what this quantity of coal would be if it was all in one pile? No; the human mind could not grasp the tenthousandth part of such a quantity. But although we cannot realise the bulk or quantity, we can make a comparison in another way. If we take the output of coal in Great Britain at the present time, then it would take the miners a period of twenty-four million years to raise the quantity referred to. If the sun was emitting this heat for a day, a week, a month, or a year, it would be wonderful even at that. But when you come to think that it has been going on at this rate for millions of years, one is lost in amazement, not at the magnitude of the fire referred to, but to think that any person could be found to entertain such an idea. Astronomers have been calmly observing the sun for over 3000 years, and up to the present time they

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