Page:Philosophical Transactions - Volume 095.djvu/264

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Dr. Herschel on the Direction of the

translation in space from theoretical reasons, can only be admitted as a very plausible hypothesis.

It would be worth while for those who have fixed instruments, to strengthen this argument by observing the stars which are known to change their magnitudes periodically. For as we have great reason to ascribe these regular changes to a rotatory motion of the stars,[1] a real motion in space may be expected to attend it; and the number of these stars is so considerable that their concurring testimony would be very desirable.

Perhaps Algol, which according to these ideas must have a very quick rotatory motion, may be found to have also a considerable progressive one; and if that should be ascertained, the position of the axis of the rotation of this star will be in a great measure thereby discovered.

An argument from the real motion to a rotatory one is nearly of equal validity, and therefore all the stars that have a motion in space may be surmised to have also a rotation on their axes.


Symptoms of parallactic Motions.

But, setting aside theoretical arguments, I shall now proceed to such as may be drawn from observation; and, as all parallactic motions are evident indications that the observer of them is not at rest, it will be necessary to explain three sorts of motions, of which the parallactic is one; they will often engage our attention in the following discussion.

Let the sun be supposed to move towards a certain part of the heavens, and since the whole solar system will have the

  1. See Phil. Trans. for the year 1795, page 68.