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high antiquity, having been in use among the ancient Hindoos and Egyptians. The Zodiac is divided into twelve equal parts—of 30° each—called Signs, to each of which a fanciful name is given. The following are the names of the
"The first, r, indicates the horns of the Bam; the second, », the head and horns of the Bull; the barb attached to a sort of letter m, designates the Scorpion; the arrow, t, sufficiently points to Sagittarius; v3 is formed from the Greek letters rp, the two first letters of rpayos, a goat. Finally, a balance, the flowing of water, and two fishes, tied by a string, may be imagined in a, and H, the signs of Libra, Aquarius, and Pisces."
The Solar System is mainly comprised within the limits of the Zodiac. It consists of—
1. The Sun—the centre.
2. The major planets—Vulcan (undetermined), Mercury,
Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune.
3. The minor planets, at present (1880) over two hundred
4 The satellites or moons, twenty in number, which revolve around the different planets.
5. Meteors and shooting-stars.
6. Nine comets whose orbits have been computed, una
over two hundred of which little is known.
7. The Zodiacal Light
HOW WE ARE TO IMAGINE THE SOLAR SYSTEM TO OURSELVES.—We are to think of it as suspended in space; being held up, not by any visible object, but in accordance with the law of Universal Gravitation discovered by Newton, whereby each planet attracts every other planet and is in turn attracted by all. First, the Sun, a great central globe, so vast as to overcome the attraction of all the planets, and compel them to circle around him; next, the planets, each turning on its axis while it flies around the sun in an elliptical orbit; then, accompanying these, the satellites, each revolving about its own planet, while all whirl in a dizzy waltz about the central orb; next, the comets, rushing across the planetary orbits at irregular intervals of time and space; and finally, shooting-stars and meteors darting hither and thither, interweaving all in apparently inextricable confusion. To make the picture more wonderful still, every member is flying with an inconceivable velocity, and yet with such accuracy that the «olar system is the most perfect timepiece known.
Sign, 0, a buckler with its boss.
Distance.—The sun's average distance from the earth is about 91ij million miles. Since the orbit of the earth is elliptical, and the sun is situated at one of its foci, the earth is nearly 3,000,000 miles further from the sun in aphelion than in perihelion. As we attempt to locate the heavenly bodies in space, we are immediately startled by the enormous figures employed. The first number, 91,500,000 miles, is far beyond our grasp. Let us try to comprehend it. If there were air to convey a sound from the sun to the earth, and a noise could be made loud enough to pass that distance, it would require over fourteen years for it to come to us. Suppose a railroad