Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 46.djvu/307

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PLEASURES OF THE TELESCOPE.

of the light-waves in the atmosphere provokes many expressions of impatience from the astronomer, but it is often a beautiful phenomenon nevertheless.

Between η and δ is a fifth-magnitude double star, Σ 725, which is worth a moment's attention. The primary, of a reddish color, has a very faint star, eleventh magnitude, at a distance of 12·7" p. 88°.

Still retaining the five-inch in use, we may next turn to the other end of the Belt, where, just under ζ, we perceive the fourth-magnitude star σ. He must be a person of indifferent mind who, after looking with unassisted eyes at the modest glimmering of this little star, can see it as the telescope reveals it without a thrill of wonder and a cry of pleasure. The glass, as by a touch of magic, changes it from one into eight or ten stars. There are two quadruple sets three and a half minutes of arc apart. The first set exhibits a variety of beautiful colors. The largest star, of fourth magnitude, is pale gray; the second in rank, seventh magnitude, distance 42", p. 61°, presents a singular red, "grape-red" Webb calls it; the third, eighth magnitude, distance 12", p. 84°, is blue; and the fourth, eleventh magnitude, distance 12", p. 236°, is apparently white. Burnham has doubled the fourth-magnitude star, distance 0·23". The second group of four stars consists of three of the eighth to ninth magnitude, arranged in a minute triangle with a much fainter star near them. Between the two quadruple sets careful gazing reveals two other very faint stars. While the five-inch gives a more satisfactory view of this wonderful multiple star than any smaller telescope can do, the four-inch and even the three-inch would have shown it to us as a very beautiful object. However we look at them, there is an appearance of association among these stars, shining with their contrasted colors and their various degrees of brilliance, which is significant of the diversity of conditions and circumstances under which the suns and worlds beyond the solar system exist.

From σ let us drop down to see the wonders of Orion's Sword displayed just beneath. We can use with advantage any one of our three telescopes; but since we are going to look at a nebula, it is fortunate that we have a glass so large as five inches aperture. It will reveal interesting things that escape the smaller instruments, because it grasps more than one and a half times as much light as the four-inch, and nearly three times as much as the three-inch; and in dealing with nebulæ a plenty of light is the chief thing to be desired. The middle star in the Sword is θ, and it is surrounded by the celebrated Nebula of Orion. The telescope shows θ, separated into four stars arranged at the corners of an irregular square, and shining in a black gap in the