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detected the eighth satellite, which seems to be revolving in a retrograde orbit three times as far from its planet as the next one (seventh), in these two points agreeing with the outermost of Saturn's satellites (Phoebe). Saturn. — This planet, with its marvellous ring, was perhaps the most wonderful object of those first examined by Galileo's telescope. He was followed by Dominique Cassini, who detected bands like Jupiter's belts. Herschel established the rotation of the planet in 1775–94. From observations during one hundred rotations he found the period to be 10h. 16m. Herschel also measured the ratio of the polar to the equatorial diameter as Io : 1 1. The ring was a complete puzzle to Galileo, most of all when the planet reached a position where the plane of the ring was in line with the earth, and the ring disappeared (December 4th, 1612). It was not until 1656 that Huyghens, in his small pamphlet De Saturni Luna Observatio Nova, was able to suggest in a cypher the ring form; and in 1659, in his Systema Saturnium, he gave his reasons and translated the cypher: “The planet is surrounded by a slender flat ring, everywhere distinct from its surface, and inclined to the ecliptic.” This theory explained all the phases of the ring which had puzzled others. This ring was then, and has remained ever since, a unique structure. We in this age have got accustomed to it. But Huyghens's discovery was received with amazement.

In 1675 Cassini found the ring to be double, the concentric rings being separated by a black band — a fact which was placed beyond dispute by Herschel, who also found that the thickness of the ring subtends an angle less than o”.3. Schröter estimated its thickness at 5oo miles.

Many speculations have been advanced to explain the origin and constitution of the ring. De Sejour said " that it was thrown off from Saturn's equator as a liquid ring, and afterwards solidified. He noticed that the outside would have a greater velocity, and be less attracted to the planet, than the inner parts, and that equilibrium would be impossible; so he supposed it to have solidified into a number of concentric rings, the exterior ones having the least velocity.

Clerk Maxwell, in the Adams prize essay, gave a physico-mathematical demonstration that the rings must be composed of meteoritic matter like gravel. Even so, there must be collisions absorbing the energy of rotation, and tending to make the rings eventually fall into the planet. The slower motion of the external parts has been proved by the spectroscope in Keeler's hands, 1895.

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Saturn has perhaps received more than its share of attention owing to these rings. This led to other discoveries. Huyghens in 1655, and J. D. Cassini in 1671, discovered the sixth and eighth satellites (Titan and Japetus). Cassini lost his satellite, and in searching for it found Rhea (the fifth) in 1672, besides his old friend, whom he lost again. He added the third and fourth in 1684 (Tethys and Dione). The first and second (Mimas and Encelades) were added by Herschel in 1789, and the seventh (Hyperion) simultaneously by Lassel and Bond in 1848. The ninth (Phoebe) was found on photographs, by Pickering in 1898, with retrograde motion; and he has lately added a tenth. The occasional disappearance of Cassini's Japetus was found on investigation to be due to the same causes as that of Jupiter's fourth satellite, and proves that it always turns the same face to the planet. Uranus and Neptune.— The splendid discoveries of Uranus and two satellites by Sir William Herschel in 1787, and of Neptune by Adams and Le Verrier in 1846, have been already described. Lassel added two more satellites to Uranus in 1851, and found Neptune's satellite in 1846. All of the satellites of Uranus have retrograde motion, and their orbits are inclined about 80° to the ecliptic. The spectroscope has shown the existence of an absorbing atmosphere on Jupiter and Saturn, and there are suspicions that they partake something of the character of the sun, and emit some light besides reflecting solar light. On both planets some absorption lines seem to agree with the aqueous vapour lines of our own atmosphere; while one, which is a strong band in the red common to both planets, seems to agree with a line in the spectrum of some reddish StarS. Uranus and Neptune are difficult to observe spectroscopically, but appear to have peculiar spectra agreeing together. Sometimes Uranus shows Frauenhofer lines, indicating reflected solar light. But generally these are not seen, and six broad bands of absorption appear. One is the F. of hydrogen; another is the red-star line of Jupiter and Saturn. Neptune is a very difficult object for the spectroscope. Quite lately P. Lowell has announced that V. M. Slipher, at Flagstaff Observatory, succeeded in 1907 in rendering some plates sensitive far into the red. A reproduction is given of photographed spectra of the four outermost planets, showing (1) a great number of new lines and bands; (2) intensification of hydrogen F. and C. lines; (3) a steady increase of effects (1) and (2) as we pass from Jupiter and Saturn to Uranus, and a still greater increase in Neptune.

* Nature, November 12th, 1908.

Asteroids. – The discovery of these new planets has been described. At the beginning of the last century it was an immense triumph to catch a new one. Since photography was called into the service by Wolf, they have been caught every year in shoals. It is like the difference between sea fishing with the line and using a steam trawler. In the 1908 almanacs nearly seven hundred asteroids are included. The computation of their perturbations and ephemerides by Euler's and Lagrange's method of variable elements became so laborious that Encke devised a special process for these, which can be applied to many other disturbed orbits." When a photograph is taken of a region of the heavens including an asteroid, the stars are photographed as points because the telescope is made to follow their motion; but the asteroids, by their proper motion, appear as short lines.

The discovery of Eros and the photographic attack upon its path have been described in their relation to finding the sun's distance.

A group of four asteroids has lately been found, with a mean distance and period equal to that of Jupiter. To three of these masculine names have been given — Hector, Patroclus, Achilles; the other has not yet been named.

* Ast. Nach., Nos. 791, 792, 814, translated by G. B. Airy. Naut. Alm., Appendix, 1856,

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