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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 4.djvu/457

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NEWS FROM JUPITER.

It may be asked whether I regard the ruddy glow of Jupiter's equatorial zone, during the period of disturbance lately passed through, as due to the inherent light of glowing matter underneath his deep and cloud-laden atmosphere. This appears to me on the whole the most probable hypothesis, though it is by no means certain that the ruddy color may not be due to the actual constitution of the planet's vaporous atmosphere. In either case, be it noted, we should perceive in this ruddy light the inherent lustre of Jupiter's glowing mass, only in one case we assume that that lustre is itself ruddy, in the other we suppose that light, originally white, shines through ruddy vapor-masses. It is to be remembered, however, that, whichever view we adopt, we must assume that a considerable portion of the light received, even from these portions of the planet's disk, must have been reflected sunlight. In fact, from what we know about the actual quantity of light received from Jupiter, we may be quite certain that no very large portion of that light is inherent. Jupiter shines about as brightly as if he were a giant cumulus-cloud, and therefore almost as white as driven snow. Thus he sends us much more light than a globe of equal size of sandstone, or granite, or any known kind of earth. We get from him about three times as much light as a globe like our moon in substance, but as large as Jupiter, and placed where Jupiter is, would reflect toward the earth; but not quite so much as we should receive from a globe of pure snow of the same size and similarly placed.. It is only because large parts of the surface of Jupiter are manifestly not white, that we seem compelled to assume that some portion of his light is inherent. But the theory that Jupiter is intensely hot by no means requires, as some mistakenly imagine, that he should give out a large proportion of light. His real solid or liquid globe (if he have any) might, for instance, be at a white heat, and yet so completely cloud-enwrapped that none of its light could reach us. Or, again, his real surface might be like red-hot iron, giving out much heat but very little light.

I shall close the present statement of evidence in favor of what I begin to regard as in effect a demonstrated theory, with the account of certain appearances which have been presented by Jupiter's fourth satellite during recent transits across the face of the planet. The appearances referred to have been observed by several telescopists, but I will select an account given in the monthly notices of the Astronomical Society, by Mr. Roberts, F.R.A.S., who observed the planet with a fine telescope by Wray, eight inches in aperture. "On March 26, 1873," he says, "I observed Jupiter about 8 p. m., and found the fourth satellite on the disk. I thought at first it must be a shadow; but, on referring to the Nautical Almanac, found that it was the fourth satellite itself. A friend was observing with me, and we both agreed that it was a very intense black, and also was not quite round. We each made independent drawings, which agreed perfectly, and consider that the observation was a perfectly reliable one. We could