Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 24.djvu/264

This page has been validated.
252
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

an orange-yellow color; these shadows become darker by degrees, concentrate themselves and absorb bodies by changing into groups of more or less black lines; at the same time the orange color extends, and finally, with but little exception, covers the whole of the so-called continental zone.

The large areas of the so-called "Alcionia" ocean and gulf, which in 1879 appeared to belong to the "ocean," resolved themselves into complicated bunches of definite lines. Finally, one could see what we have every reason to believe is the true aspect of the planet. Besides this, we noticed the peculiar and unexpected phenomena of the doubling of the canals, which will probably tend to considerably alter the present views of the physical characters of the planet. This doubling is clearly not an optical effect, dependent upon the increased optic power, as is the case in the double stars; nor is it produced by the longitudinal division of a canal. It takes place under the following circumstances: To the right or left of an existing line, without any change in its direction or position, another parallel line is produced which differs from the first in appearance and direction only in exceptional cases. Between the lines so produced, the distance varied from 12° to 6° (350 to 700 kilometres). Among certain of the lines doubling could only be suspected, but not observable at the small distance (5°) separating them. Sometimes a line was darker or broader at two or more points, and the accompanying line would also show this peculiar feature. The length of each pair may differ considerably, and vary from 15° to 80°. Some were of a reddish-brown color, somewhat darker than the ground from which they could be distinguished; others, generally the finer ones, were very dark. The broader ones formed true bands, the sides of which were perfectly parallel. They followed (as far as could be judged without exact measurements) the direction of the large circles of the planet, and only in a few cases were they bent off toward the side. No irregularities could be observed among them with the magnifying (417) power used. Certain of them show such great regularity that they might be designated as a series of parallel lines drawn by the aid of a ruler. In some cases, several pairs would combine, one behind the other, and form a double polygonal line; with very definitely marked angles such a series would occupy a great extent. This phenomenon of doubling appears to be connected with certain epochs—and it takes place almost simultaneously over the entire surface of the planet, covered by the bright portions (continents?). Not a trace of these was observed in 1877 during the weeks which followed the southern solstice of the planet. A single isolated instance was noticed in 1879 on the 26th of December. The appearance of this doubling was the more surprising, as a careful examination on December 23d and 24th gave no cause for suspecting any such change. During the last opposition, a reappearance of this phenomenon was impatiently looked for, but it did not show itself for