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The Star Sirius

The Star Sirius image
Parent Issue
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OCR Text

On a olear ui'rht wlion thfi atmosplioro is freo fi'oin smofco and hazo, as wo some times have it in winler, we havo preken 1 el to lis (lio most sublimo speotaplc Lhïit nature bas to oiï'er lor our iontoinplation. ïuni tho cyes in any direction above tbc horizon, and wo soo stars innumerable, f i-om those of' the iirst magnitude to otheïs so small that we caloli only a ülinipso of tliem by ïneans of-fi sUie view, the stars disappeoriiag when wo turn tho eyes and tbc attent ion directly on tbem. Those stars whieh we distinctly seo on any iright, leavin tlie planets out ofconsidei-ation, appoar to occupy the saino relativo positions with respect to olie auoiher muht alter night and year alter year. We see tbem all appear to move toyranl tlio west eaeh nijjUt, and we nolicc at'ler a suitablo lapse of time that thoy seta little earlieroach night, so that al tho end of a year they all come back to tho place of starting. W'hon WO relleet that all these stars ure as lroo to move as the earth or tho inuuii, how woiulorlul it is that tbey thus appuar to reta in their relativo positions so exactly, oven lor centurles. We must conclude that their roal motionsai'c very slow, or tlio stars aro very lar trom us. Wa are noW sure (ijut the aii'úcnt astronomei" was not) lliat in many iu-jtauces tuu stars are in rajiid lllotlon, BfH we ilid not eominenco to writo about 'uil' thii stars, but only one of tliein, íSriu, or llio Dog-títar; tliis star sliines tlnfing our wiiuerevcnings and it may be easily recognized by its yreat brilliancy, an l its maijfjiitiidc whiuli is yroater than that of any other tix'eil star. It lias received tho name ot Dog-Mar, l'rom the constellation, or colioction of sf.irs which it occupies. i'or uuiiveuiéiieo ot rocog-nition and rcferuuce the ancient aïCtoiioinoia clividud tiie stirry lieavcn.s mto conStúUtttioilí, each uno a soinowliat deliuite outlino which could be traced by meaiis of the stars. Tlie nauiO C'uiiS Mujot, or the Greater Dog', was given to lliat ono which cunlains ihe sLar Sirias; and smee this is tlio principal star in the conslellalion, it is oiien callod tho Dog-títar. Tiiis star, has playo lasoinewiiat important part in tlio biotory of ïnankiml. it was to a cortain ex ten t the almanao ot the Aucient Egypiians. Tho presi.'UL position of Sirius Í3 in right ascensión )'J cleg. o niiu. oU sijc., an.i in sou LU (Leclination lü dog. nuil. 'S sec. Tuis pu.sition is t-ubjeot botn to an ap parent aud a real variatiou. The apparont variation is tluo to a gvratory motioii of the earlh, whieh o.iuscs tlie ]joh;s of the lieavous (the nortli poie is nuiv near the uorik tur) to revolve aioiind tlie Jjolos of Utt) ecliiitic, or tlio ViUiishing points al a slraiym luiu uwwii türougu tüc centre ol liiií eurtu, and perpendicular to Uiü iiiunu ol' the suu's apparent orbit. Tuis revolution ia coiúpleted in ílboUt '25,000 yeais, nuil it glTBS risa to tlie prtcessiou oj tha equinotces. Bluoe tlie oUir's riyht aeouuswu ís recUouuil Irom tUo spiiny, or vernal equiuox, tUe proceuiuii causes it to incruaso at a sloW rata Thu ilecliuatiou wiil also vary l'roin tlie same cause. Tlie real variation of tlio position of Sirius is duo to iLs proper molion, as it la callad. Thougli the stars are ealludjixcd atars, yét tla-y really are uot so, uuiuuuii one has an iiidepcudeut niotiou oí its own, by which it il oarried througli space with greater or lesa rapi uty. This niotiou oL' tlie stars is owing to the atlraotive inlluenco wliicli they exert ou onu auother. The wliole proper mutiuii, liowever, is not real, but a part ot it is apparent anu üue to the real, or proper inoliuii oi' the sun, earryiua wuu Uiiu Hui pkuielury sysumi. Tlic proper niotwii of Öi'rius is subject to soiüoirrejfuiurUy, but tUe matter lias oeen preUy tliorou-liiy diseusseil by Dr. Auwers, so tliat il is novv very weli uuaeistooi-t.


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