Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 60.djvu/318

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

the sun's disk. When photographed with an instrument which excludes from the sensitive plate all light except that which is characteristic of the vapor of calcium, its surface is found to be dotted over with extensive luminous regions. Associated with these are the sun-spots, the minute study of which has revealed some strikingly beautiful phenomena, which have been most successfully drawn by Langley. The surface of the sun in the regions devoid of spots is shown by the photographs of Janssen to consist of brilliant granules separated by darker spaces. Much might be said of the peculiar law of rotation of the sun, which causes a point near the equator to complete an axial rotation in much less time than a point nearer the poles. Much might also be said of the periodicity of sun-spots, which at times are

PSM V60 D318 Eruptive prominences seen on march 25 1895.png
a Fig. 11. b
Eruptive prominence photographed in full sunlight at the Kenwood Observatory, Chicago, March 25, 1895. a, at 10h. 40m. (height, 162.000 miles), b, at 10h. 58m height, 281,000 miles). (Figs. 10 and 11 are reproduced on the same scale.)

very numerous and again, as at present, are absent from the sun's disk for weeks together. But enough has already been told to indicate some of the chief characteristics of this central star of the solar system, which has thousands of counterparts among other stars of the same spectral class.

We are now approaching the last chapters in the life history of a star. After the solar stage has passed the color changes from yellow to orange, and subsequently to red, as the temperature falls. The spectral lines of hydrogen become fainter and fainter and finally disappear completely. The lines of the metallic elements, on the contrary, become more and more complex and the changes in their relative intensities are those which are characteristic of lower temperatures. But curiously enough.