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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/356

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

astronomical speculation, and make of the striped and spotted sphere of Jove just such a world as may please his fancy—for a world of some kind it certainly is.

For many observers the satellites of Jupiter possess even greater attractions than the gigantic ball itself. As I have already remarked, their movements are very noticeable and lend a wonderful animation to the scene. Although they bear classical names, they are almost universally referred to by their Roman numbers, beginning with the innermost, whose symbol is I, and running outward in regular order II, III, and IV. The minute satellite much nearer to the planet than any of the others, which Mr. Barnard discovered with the Lick telescope in 1892, is called the fifth, although in the order of distance it would be the first. In size and importance, however, it can not rank with its comparatively gigantic brothers. Of course, no amateur's telescope can show the faintest glimpse of it.

Satellite I, situated at a mean distance of 261,000 miles from Jupiter's center—about 22,000 miles farther than the moon is from the earth—is urged by its master's overpowering attraction to a speed of 320 miles per minute, so that it performs a complete revolution in about forty-two hours and a half. The others, of course, move more slowly, but even the most distant performs its revolution in several hours less than sixteen days. The plane of their orbits is presented edgewise toward the earth, from which it follows that they appear to move back and forth nearly in straight lines, some apparently approaching the planet, while others are receding from it. The changes in their relative positions, which can be detected from hour to hour, are very striking night after night, and lead to a great variety of arrangements always pleasing to the eye.

The most interesting phenomena that they present are their transits and those of their round, black shadows across the face of the planet; their eclipses by the planet's shadow, when they disappear and afterward reappear with astonishing suddenness; and their occultations by the globe of Jupiter. Upon the whole, the most interesting thing for the amateur to watch is the passage of the shadows across Jupiter. The distinctness with which they can be seen when the air is steady is likely to surprise, as it is certain to delight, the observer. When it falls upon a light part of the disk the shadow of a satellite is as black and sharply outlined as a drop of ink; on a dark-colored belt it can not so easily be seen.

It is more difficult to see the satellites themselves in transit. There appears to be some difference among them as to visibility in such circumstances. Owing to their luminosity they are best