The Sun: Ruler, Fire, Light, and Life of the Planetary System

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Page 449 - I have seen the wild stone-avalanches of the Alps, which smoke and thunder down the declivities with a vehemence almost sufficient to stun the observer. I have also seen snow-flakes descending so softly as not to hurt the fragile spangles of which they were composed ; yet to produce from aqueous vapour a quantity, which a child could carry, of that tender material, demands an exertion of energy competent to gather up the shattered blocks of the largest stone-avalanche I have ever seen, and pitch...
Page 182 - Hence he concludes that the sun has a very extensive atmosphere, which consists of elastic fluids that are more or less lucid and transparent ; and of which the lucid ones furnish us with light. This atmosphere, he...
Page 115 - I obtained a tolerably bright solar spectrum, and brought a flame coloured by sodium vapour in front of the slit. I then saw the dark lines D change into bright ones.
Page 437 - The sun's rays are the ultimate source of almost every motion which takes place on the surface of the earth. By its heat are produced all winds, and those disturbances in the electric equilibrium of the atmosphere which give rise to the phenomena of lightning, and probably also to those of terrestrial magnetism and the aurora.
Page 223 - Looked at in this point of view, we cannot refuse to regard them as organisms of some peculiar and amazing kind ; and though it would be too daring to speak of such organization as partaking of the nature of life, yet we do know that vital action is competent to develop both heat, light, and electricity.
Page 355 - The silvery rays were longest and most prominent at four points of the circumference — two upon the upper, and two upon the lower portion, apparently equidistant from each other . . . giving the spectacle a quadrilateral form. The angles of the quadrangle were about opposite the northeastern, north-western, south-eastern, and south-western points of the disc" (an arrangement corresponding precisely with the observations made at lower levels).
Page 192 - The spots, in this view of the subject, would come to be assimilated to those regions in the earth's surface, in which for the moment hurricanes and tornadoes prevail — the upper stratum being temporarily carried downwards, displacing by its impetus the two strata of luminous matter beneath, (which may be conceived as forming an habitually tranquil limit between the opposite upper and under currents,) the upper of course to a greater extent than the lower, and these wholly or partially denuding...
Page 186 - From experience we can affirm, that the performance of the most salutary offices to inferior planets, is not inconsistent with the dignity of superior purposes ; and, in consequence of such analogical reasonings, assisted by telescopic views, which plainly favour the same opinion, we need not hesitate to admit that the sun is richly stored with inhabitants.
Page 455 - Still, presented rightly to the mind, the discoveries and generalisations of modern science constitute a poem more sublime than has ever yet been addressed to the imagination. The natural philosopher of to-day may dwell amid conceptions which beggar those of Milton.
Page 456 - And still, notwithstanding this enormous drain in the lapse of human history, we are unable to detect a diminution of his store. Measured by our largest terrestrial standards, such a reservoir of power is infinite ; but it is our privilege to rise above these standards, and to regard the sun himself as a speck in infinite extension — a mere drop in the universal sea. We analyse the space in which he is immersed, and which is the vehicle of his power.

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