March 7, 2017

The Outline of Science: A Plain Story Simply Told by John Arthur Thomson

By John Arthur Thomson

Was once it now not the good thinker and mathematician Leibnitz who stated that the extra wisdom advances the extra it turns into attainable to condense it into little books? Now this "Outline of technological know-how" is unquestionably no longer a bit ebook, and but it illustrates a part of the which means of Leibnitz's clever announcing. For the following inside of average compass there's a library of little books--an define of many sciences.

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Our system, in fact, is shaped something like a lens, and our sun is situated near the centre of this lens. In the remoter part of this lens, near its edge, or possibly outside it altogether, lies the great series of star clouds which make up the M ilky Way. All the stars are in motion within this system, but the very remarkable discovery has been made that these motions are not entirely random. The great majority of the stars whose motions can be measured fall into two groups drifting past one another in opposite directions.

We may also pass over the nearest planet to the sun, M ercury. We have reason to believe that it turns on its axis in the same period as it revolves round the sun, and it must therefore always present the same side to the sun. This means that the heat on the sunlit side of M ercury is above boiling-point, while the cold on the other side must be between two and three hundred degrees below freezing-point. The Planet Venus The planet Venus, the bright globe which is known to all as the morning and evening "star," seems at first sight more promising as regards the possibility of life.

Besides the formless gaseous nebulæ there are hundreds of thousands of "spiral" nebulæ such as we have just mentioned in the heavens. They are at all stages of development, and they are visible to us at all angles—that is to say, some of them face directly towards us, others are edge on, and some are in intermediate positions. It appears, therefore, that we have here a striking confirmation of the nebular hypothesis. But we must not go so fast. There is much controversy as to the nature of these spiral nebulæ.

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