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Shooting Stars

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Dr. Lew is Swift in a recent letter .to tlie Rochester, N. Y., Express, give the following information concerning these remarkable heavenly bodies Meteoric astronomy now takes rank a a distinctive body of astronómica science, Not forty years have elapsee since it was ascertained that star showers were periodical. Even then and for many years after, it was sup posed there were but two, called the August and November showers. Now not less than one hundred have been detected, and others are being con stantly added to the list. The ac counts of the showers that occurred in ancient times carne down to us clotbec in such extravagant language that until the great star shower of November 13, 1833, astronomers were loth to believe them. Now they know nol only the cause, but are able to predict their recurrence with almost as much exactness as eclipses, and the popular inind observes these displays with equanimity and delight instead with fear and alarm, or thinking the day of judgment has come. Science has disarmed not only them, but eclipses and comets as well, of their terrors. All know what a shooting star looks like, but no living man can teil us what it really is, for no one has ever been known to reach the earth. Those heavy, stony, and still more weighty metalic masses, called meteorities, meteoric stones, etc, which occasionally fall to the earth from the celestial regions, of which the one that recently feil in Iowa was a remarkable example, belonging to another class of objects entirely, of the origin of which man knows nothing. A shtooting star is only visible while undergoing the process of combustión, which lasts from one to tluee seconds, seldom longer. Previous to this they exist in a dark, probabïy solid condition, not much, if any larger than peas, too small to be seen by daylight, and in the night, being in the earth's shadow, are eclipsed, and consequently invisible. Only while being burned are they visible to us, as they then shine by their own light. Each meteoroid moves in an orbit, revolving around the sun witli as much regularity as the larger planets. In fact, each is in every sense of the word a planet, obeying strictly the laws of gravitation and planetary motion. All space is filled with them; they are as numerous as the sand. The earth and they in their journey round the sun encounter each other; the earth by its superior attraction draws them toward it, but to reach them they must pass through the atmosphere, which not one is able to do. Only meteoric stones are able to reach the earth, and they have their surface blackened, and converted to scoria by terrible heat engendered by the lriction with the atmosphere and by arrested motion. Shooting stars move in all directions, and at velocities equal to the earth's, nearly nineteen miles a second. One moving retrograde, therefore (from east to west), would plunge into the atmosphere at a relative velocity of some thirty-eight miles a second, and, if allowance be made for accelerated motion caiised by the earth's attraction, probabïy doublé that, or seventy-five miles a second. The encounter isfearful, and but for the atmosphere which acts as a cushion, the effect would be disastrous, for not less than 800,000,000 would rain upon the earth every day. The source from whence these meteoroids come is comets, especially from their tails. The tail of the great cornet of 1811 was 150,000,000 miles in length and 150,000,000 in diameter, It is improbable in the highest degree that the cornet could gather its tail to itself again. It is let't behind, forming part of a ring, which in time may become continuous. Another cornet comes and it does the same, and during the ages which are past this process has been going on till the inter planetary spaces are fllled with not only meteoroids, but something still more marvelous. A grotesque and very Western idea of the scope and object of American editorial life is furnished by a SanFrancisco newspaper man, who says: "A young gent, who is at least sufficiently educated to write on one side of hls paper only, sends us a long essay on 'The True Aim of Journalism.' We haven't read the article, but suppose the author, like almost every one else, prefers the navy size, No 44 bre, to any other pistol. In this locality especially is the aim of the journalist of the greatest importance, and the man whose hand shakes. and who can't hit an outraged cornmunity's third vest button three times out of five, has no business trying to run a paper in California."


Old News
Michigan Argus