show whatever color the actual surface of the ground might possess when viewed as a whole. But it seems altogether impossible to explain in this way a change or series of changes occupying many years, as in the case of the recent color-changes of Jupiter's belt. Let me not be misunderstood. I am not urging that the changes in Jupiter are not due to the formation and dissipation of clouds in his atmosphere. On the contrary, I believe that they are. What seems to me incredible is, the supposition that we have here to deal with such changes as occur in our own air in consequence of solar action.
I do not lose sight of the fact that the Jovian year is of long duration, and that whatever changes take place in the atmosphere of Jupiter through solar action might be expected to be exceedingly slow. Nay, it is one of the strongest arguments against the theory that solar action is chiefly in question, that any solar changes would be so slight as to be in effect scarcely perceptible. It is not commonly insisted upon in our text-books of astronomy—in fact, I have never seen the point properly noticed anywhere—that the seasonal changes in Jupiter correspond to no greater relative change than occurs in our daily supply of solar heat from about eight days before to about eight days after the spring or autumn equinox. It is incredible that so slight an effect as this should produce those amazing changes in the condition of the Jovian atmosphere which have unquestionably been indicated by the varying aspect of the equatorial zone. It is manifest that, on the one hand, the seasonal changes should be slow and slight so far as they depend on the sun, and, on the other, that the sun cannot rule so absolutely over the Jovian atmosphere as to cause any particular atmospheric condition to prevail unchanged for years.
If, however, Jupiter's whole mass is in a state of intense heat—if the heat is in fact sufficient, as it must be, to maintain an effective resistance against the tremendous force of Jovian gravitation—we can understand any changes, however amazing. We can see how enormous quantities of vapor must continually be generated in the lower regions to be condensed in the upper regions, either directly above the zone in which they were generated, or north or south of it, according to the prevailing motions in the Jovian atmosphere. And, although we may not be able to indicate the precise reason why at one time the mid zone or any other belt of Jupiter's surface should exhibit that whiteness which indicates the presence of clouds, and at another should show a coloring which appears to indicate that the glowing mass below is partly disclosed, we remember that the difficulty corresponds in character to that which is presented by the phenomena of solar spots. We cannot tell why sun-spots should wax and wane in frequency during a period of about eleven years; but this does not prevent us from adopting such opinions as to the condition of the sun's glowing photosphere as are suggested by the behavior of the spots.