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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 29.djvu/85

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ets are existing. As, however, they move but very slowly, and at the same time emit but little light, it has not yet been possible to discern them among the millions of little fixed stars. But, when once the entire heavens, even to the very smallest of visible stars, shall have been photographed, and if this work be repeated after a period of about ten years, the charts thus obtained will solve the problem as to the most remote planets, and the latter must be found. Ay—even more. The photographic plate is superior to the observant eye, in perceiving and reproducing the smallest stars, inasmuch as it shows objects in those places in the heavens where, with the most powerful telescopes, nothing more is to be seen.

In this connection the brothers Henry have recently made a most singular discovery. On the 16th of November they directed their large photographic telescope to that spot in the heavens where the star Maja is in the Pleiades, and afterward found on their plate, besides numerous stars, a spiral, nebulous spot, which, to a certain extent, seemed to come from the star Maja. As, even with the greatest telescopes of the observatory at Paris, no signs of such vapor could be perceived in that particular part of the heavens, a new photograph was taken on the 8th of December; this also showed the vapor, and a third picture, obtained the following day, once more bespoke its presence.

There can, then, be no doubt as to the existence of a spiral-like nebulous spot in the vicinity of that star, but of which the eye, even with the aid of a most powerful telescope, can perceive naught. What wonderful prospects for the future here open to view! A veritable astronomy of the invisible begins. Celestial orbs, ever veiled from our direct gaze, are rendered perceptible—ay, trace their own picture. Therein lies the highest triumph of the human mind, that it is able, in the true sense of the word, to force Nature to reveal her secrets; that a ray of light, called into being in the most remote depths of space, created at a time ere perhaps the foot of man had ever trodden the earth, should to-day itself trace on a plate the outline and the form of that orb from which it emanated myriads of years ago.—Translated for the Popular Science Monthly from Die Gartenlaube.



WHATEVER may be our individual views or prejudices in relation to the use and abuse of alcoholic liquors, the process of their manufacture is a very interesting chemical operation. Proof-spirit is defined by the United States internal revenue laws to be that mixture of alcohol and water which contains one half of its volume of