Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 22.djvu/822

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legitimizing the conception that suns and stars are evolved, not out of débris, and weak statical force, but from the primordial plenum itself, equipped with latent power in equilibrium, we can view them as they apparently are—perennial fountains of energy—incandescent lamps of eternity—drawing their supplies from the mysterious stoppage of primordial motions, with the accompanying evolution of chemical elements, and the radiation of liberated energy in torrents.

Energy of position is undoubtedly a factor, among others more important, in an evolving nebula or sun. It should be given its due value, but no more. There is evidence to show that even the translatory motions of suns and worlds can not be wholly accounted for by gravity alone. This is furnished by the large proper motion of some of the stars, particularly the notable instance of 1830 of Groombridge's catalogue, with a linear velocity of at least two hundred miles per second, if observations are to be trusted. An analysis by Newcomb proves conclusively that all the stars of the visible portion of the universe, and all the possible dark masses which could exist there, are widely incapable either of furnishing a star with such an amount of motion, or of stopping it.

The recognition of kinetics, then, in conjunction with dynamics, is what I desire to call attention to, in our philosophical attempts to extend our generalizations. We need to take note of all the forces and factors which we can perceive; and even then it is probable that our field of inspection will be too restricted to yield a satisfactory insight into that which was born from eternity. But that should not induce us to settle down on a "good enough universe" for finite comprehension, nor plead for boundaries to the infinite and eternal. Some mathematicians have invented a space cut down to finite comprehension. The trouble with these finite infinities and limited universes is, that they do not satisfy the mind, nor the definitions.

Although the course of the present order of creation is far longer than can be assigned or imagined, and, even as to our solar system, illimitable as measured by our cycles, no doubt it runs its course, for we can see the evidence of progressive change. The struggle for the elimination of energy in its entanglement with mass is a fiercer and more protracted one than we dreamed of, but it goes surely on to its termination. The energy by which the small vehicles were possessed escapes by slow dissipation back into the great storehouse of equilibrated power whence it was arrested, as gases return to the parent atmosphere from the rotting wood of the forest. The molecule is never finally taken apart, that we can see. The skeleton-heaps, in rigid and icy bonds, wander forever as débris and dust through the streams of space. Their amount, however, is so infinitesimal compared with the infinite magazine of their elements which has never been subject to change throughout the eternities, that they may be regarded as but the calculi resulting from the merest nodules of local and tem-