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is doubtless capable of supporting all of the lower orders of life, yet it is doubtful if beings constituted like ourselves could exist there.
When long ages shall have passed away, and her atmosphere rarefied and become more like the environments of Earth and of Mars, then may follow the appearance of beings resembling man. When that period in the history of Venus is reached, the inbabitant of Earth will be infinitely higher in the great path of progress, owing to the refinement of the elements by which man is enveloped and upon which he subsists.
It may be counted a certainty that space abounds in opaque bodies which were destined to subserve the same, or higher, ends and purposes which Earth subserves at the present time. Wherever a sun exists, about that sun as a centre, numerous worlds are performing their periods of revolution and rotation in their several creative states, even as the worlds within our own system.
Many years ago the theory was advanced that variable stars, like Algol in the head of Medusa, Mira in the Whale, and others with regular periods of variability,owed their changes to the influence of opaque bodies. It was supposed that these bodies regularly came between their primaries and the Earth, thus shutting off a part of the source of light to such an extent as to cause a star of second magnitude to appear, for a limited period, of third, fourth, and even of less magnitude.
This theory, like many others connected with astronomical research, seems most reasonable when it is least thought upon or investigated. Divine law in the sidereal system must be very different from anything known to man, in order to reconcile this with the laws and principles already known relative to the Solar System. An opaque body of sufficient size to dim the lustre of our own primary, at a distance where he would appear of a brightness comparable with the nearest fixed star, must be vastly larger than any member of the planetary family. A body large enough to cause the changes known to take place in certain variable stars, would approach the volume of the star itself, and consequently would, in the natural order of creative processes, be self-luminous, and nearly as plainly visible as the star eclipsed.
Our own Sun is supposed to be a variable star with a period of eleven years. The maximum period of the number and extent of spots upon the Solar disc occurs at intervals of eleven years, and it is probably to a like influence that we must look for an explanation of the variability of fixed stars.
The phenomena attending stars known as “new,” or temporary, must be accounted for upon some principle other than the possibility of the existence of opaque bodies lying in range of earthly vision, and causing such phenomena, for, while these bodies might, in a small degree, arrest the light of distant suns for a short period, they could not by any means completely hide the light of enormous suns for
ages. Another cause of variability in the light and heat manifested by certain stars, may be the fact that such stars owe their full brilliancy to the favorable situation of double, triple, or multiple members, the collection appearing as one star to the naked eye, and, in some cases, even to the most powerful telescope yet invented. Especially may this be true of stars whose variability progresses very slowly.
The star Castor, of the constellation Gemini, is made up of at least two members, a larger and a smaller, and may be classed with those stars whose changes in lustre proceed by steps almost indiscernible. The revolution of these two members around their centre of gravityisperformed in about 350 years, and if, at certain sections of their orbits, they appear nearly in line with each other and the terrestrial observer, and at other points they are at right angles with the point of observation, then the slow change in appearance of Castor may be accounted for.
If successive observations have confirmed the supposition that Castor and other stars are slowly decreasing in brilliancy, the period must also arrive when the order will be reversed, and these stars will regain their former magnitude, if the changes are due to variation in orbital movements.
The variations in Algol mentioned above, are comparatively rapid, the entire period occupying less than three days, and they can scarcely be supposed to be caused by the same influences that may produce the wane of Castor's light.
The phenomenon known as the zodiacal light, which all have admired, is now a pleasing spectacle of our summer evenings.
It is supposed to be reflected light from an innumerable band of meteors, the position of which is somewhere inside the orbit of the planet Mercury.
Too minute to be examined individually, and too near the Sun for continued observation, they come prominently to notice after sunset and before sunrise, when the atmospheric conditions of Earth are most favorable.
The plane of their orbit is supposed to correspond nearly to the path of the ecliptic. This conclusion is arrived at from consideration of the fact that the zodiacal light is always extended nearly in the same direction which the Sun seems to follow in his daily journey across the heavens.
There are many theories concerning this phenomenon and its effects, and it is enveloped in more or less of the inexplicable.
It has been asserted that a planet of considerable volume, almost equal to Mercury, in fact, occupies a place within the limits of the space where the zodiacal light is seen. At each eclipse of the Sun careful search has been made for this intra-Mercurial member. There was a time when “ Vul
(for such the new planet was named) was an accepted fact, but later and more careful observations have brought no confirmation of the existence of a body of any considerable size between Mercury and the Sun.
To be continued.
THOUGHT is not the product of the human mind, but external to it ; that is to say, it is not original in, or created by, the human mind. Say to a man that he does not create his strength, but borrows it from the grain and flesh which he eats, and he at once comprehends and agrees with you; but inform him that this physical truth has an exact mental and spiritual analogue, and he is dumfounded. He cannot bring himself to see that his brain is nothing more than an ineffably delicate seismograph registering the subtle tremors occurring in its environment. Those minds which have the keenest perceptions possess, as it were, magnetic needles so wonderfully wrought that they swing into line with truths utterly unperceived by those less acute minds belonging to the mass of mankind.
A PRAYER FOR KNOWLEDGE.
BY MELVIN L. SEVERY.
Sak Akbar's Vision.
(CONTINUED FROM JULY NUMBER.)
Thine answering draught to taste. O hear me, O
(To be continued.)
IN THE ASTRAL.
BY MAURICE ST. CLAIRE.
The Black-Art. CAPTAIN Faunce had sailed on Saturday. A few days later I received the following letter.
On board the Liverpool,
At Sea, JULY 16, 18Dear Lang :
We speak the “Glasgow” this evening, and I feel constrained to write you a few words in partial explanation of my hasty leavetaking, and shall send my letter by that steamer, which should reach Boston Thursday morning.
First, I must tell you something of my past. I cannot tell all, since a recital of details so harrows my soul that I am unfit for anything but bitterness and grieving after having indulged in meditating upon what my life has been.
At seventeen I was heir to half a million. I loved, with all the intensity of my boyish nature, a lady of my own age, but far below me in social standing this, however, was of no moment to me. The day was set for our marriage. My guardian objected to the union in a mild way, on the ground that we were both so young. This objection, however, I easily overruled, for I was headstrong, and used to having my own way in all things.
One day I was sitting in an arbor on the grounds surrounding the oldfashioned mansion of my ancestors, musing on my approaching wedding, and the bliss which would be mine when at last" I really possessed the object of my love. I seemed in full possession of my faculties, and yet, from subsequent experiences, I know that I was but semi-conscious. A form appeared to me,-a lady of such rare beauty that I was at first startled, and then attracted to her by a power so irresistible that I felt as if being her abject slave would be an honor and a pleasure beyond comparison. She was slightly above medium height, had dark hair, a clear, white complexion, and eyes of such brilliancy and expression that my own fell in confusion before them.
She did not speak, but simply looked her meaning, which I seemed readily to understand. I arose and followed her to what seemed to me a distance of many miles, although no effort was put forth, and we appeared to float over the ground rather than to walk. "At last we approached a castle, which, from years of desertion, was in a very neglected, ruinous condition. She led me to the tower, and when we arrived at the top I witnessed a scene which I can never forget. The sun was just disappearing in the west, and the golden reflections of the gorgeous twilight across such a landscape as only France possesses, impressed me with feelings of reverence and peace which will ever abide with me.
The beautiful woman at my side then spoke for the first time ; “ Here is a representation of what your future may be, if you will renounce the world and its fleeting scenes of joy, and follow me. The marriage which you contemplate will only serve to sink you more deeply into your animal nature, although it seems to you that all your happiness depends upon it.