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One effect of this disturbing force in the spheroid of Jupiter is to occasion a direct motion in the greater axes of the orbits of all his satellites, which is more rapid the nearer the satellite is to the planet, and very much greater than that part of their motion which arises from the disturbing action of the sun. The same cause occasions the orbits of the satellites to remain nearly in the plane of Jupiter's equator (N. 87), on account of which the satellites are always seen nearly in the same line (N. 88); and the powerful action of that quantity of prominent matter is the reason why the motions of the nodes of these small bodies are so much more rapid than those of the planet. The nodes of the fourth satellite accomplish a tropical revolution in 531 years, while those of Jupiter's orbit require no less than 36,261 years ; -a proof of the reciprocal attraction between each particle of Jupiter's equator and of the satellites. In fact, if the satellites moved exactly in the plane of Jupiter's equator, they would not be pulled out of that plane, because his attraction would be equal on both sides of it. But, as their orbits have a small inclination to the plane of the planet's equator, there is a want of symmetry, and the action of the protuberant matter tends to make the nodes regress by pulling the satellites above or below the planes of their orbits; an action which is so great on the interior satellites, that the motions of their nodes are nearly the same as if no other disturbing force existed.
The orbits of the satellites do not retain a permanent inclination, either to the plane of Jupiter's equator, or to that of his orbit, but to certain planes passing between the two, and through their intersection. These have a greater inclination to his equator the farther the satellite is removed, owing to the influence of Jupiter's compression; and they have a slow motion corresponding to secular variations in the planes of Jupiter's orbit and equator.
The satellites are not only subject to periodic and secular inequalities from their mutual attraction, similar to those which affect the motions and orbits of the planets, but also to others peculiar to themselves. Of the periodic inequalities arising from their mutual attraction the most remarkable take place in the angular motions (N. 89) of the three nearest to Jupiter, the second of which receives from the first a perturbation similar to that which it produces in the third ; and it experiences from the third a perturbation similar to that which it communicates to the first. · In the eclipses these two inequalities are combined into one, whose period is 437.659 days. The variations peculiar to the satellites arise from the secular inequalities occasioned by the action of the planets in the form and position of Jupiter's orbit, and from the displacement of his equator. It is obvious that whatever alters the relative positions of the sun, Jupiter, and his satellites, must occasion a change in the directions and intensities of the forces, which will affect the motions and orbits of the satellites. For this reason the secular variations in the excentricity of Jupiter's orbit occasion secular inequalities in the mean motions of the satellites, and in the motions of the nodes and apsides of their orbits. The displacement of the orbit of Jupiter, and the variation in the position of his equator, also affect these small bodies (N. 90). The plane of Jupiter's equator is inclined to the plane of his orbit at an angle of 3° 5' 30", so that the action of the sun and of the satellites themselves produces a nutation and precession (N. 91) in his equator, precisely similar to that which takes place in the rotation of the earth, from the action of the sun and moon. Hence the protuberant matter at Jupiter's equator is continually changing its position with regard to the satellites, and produces corresponding mutations in their motions. And, as the cause must be proportional to the effect, these inequalities afford the means, not only of ascertaining the compression of Jupiter's spheroid, but they prove that his mass is not homogeneous. Although the apparent diameters of the satellites are too small to be measured, yet their perturbations give the values of their masses with considerable accuracy-a striking proof of the power of analysis.
A singular law obtains among the mean motions and mean - longitudes of the first three satellites. It appears from observation that the mean motion of the first satellite, plus twice that of the third, is equal to three times that of the second; and that the mean longitude of the first satellite, minus three times that of the second, plus twice that of the third, is always equal to two right angles. It is proved by theory, that, if these relations had only been approximate when the satellites were first launched into space, their mutual attractions would have established and maintained them, notwithstanding the secular inequalities to which they are liable. They extend to the synodic motions (N. 92) of the satellites ; consequently they affect their eclipses, and have a very great influence on their whole theory. The satellites move so nearly in the plane of Jupiter's equator, which has a very small inclination to bis orbit, that the first three are eclipsed at each revolution by the shadow of the planet, which is much larger than the shadow of the moon : the fourth satellite is not eclipsed so frequently as the others. The eclipses take place close to the disc of Jupiter when he is near opposition (N. 93); but at times his shadow is so projected with regard to the earth, that the third and fourth satellites vanish and reappear on the same side of the disc (N. 94). These eclipses are in all respects similar to those of the moon: but, occasionally, the satellites eclipse Jupiter, sometimes passing like obscure spots across his surface, resembling annular eclipses of the sun, and sometimes like a bright spot traversing one of his dark belts. Before opposition, the shadow of the satellite, like a round black spot, precedes its passage over the disc of the planet; and, after opposition, the shadow follows the satellite.
In consequence of the relations already mentioned in the mean motions and mean longitudes of the first three satellites, they never can be all eclipsed at the same time ; for, when the second and third are in one direction, the first is in the opposite direction ; consequently, when the first is eclipsed, the other two must be between the sun and Jupiter. The instant of the beginning or end of an eclipse of a satellite marks the same instant of absolute time to all the inhabitants of the earth ; therefore, the time of these eclipses observed by a traveller, when compared with the time of the eclipse computed for Greenwich, or any other fixed meridian (N. 95), gives the difference of the meridians in time, and, consequently, the longitude of the place of observation. The longitude is determined with extreme precision whenever it is possible to convey the time instantaneously by means of electricity from one place to another, since it obviates the errors of clocks and chronometers. The eclipses of Jupiter's satellites have been the means of a discovery which, though not so immediately applicable to the wants of man, unfolds one of the properties of light-that medium without whose cheering influence all the beauties of the creation would have been to us a blank. It is observed, that those eclipses of the first satellite which happen when Jupiter is near conjunction (N. 96), are later by 16' 26":6 than those which take place when the planet is in opposition. As Jupiter is nearer to us when in opposition by the whole breadth of the earth's orbit than when in conjunction, this circumstance is to be attributed to the time employed by the rays of light in crossing the earth’s orbit, a distance of about 190,000,000 of miles ; whence it is estimated that light travels at the rate of 192,000 miles in one second. Such is its velocity, that the earth, moving at the rate of nineteen miles in a second, would take two months to pass through a distance which a ray of light would dart over in eight minutes. The subsequent discovery of the aberration of light has fully confirmed this astonishing result. Objects appear to be situate in the direction of the
which proceed from them. Were light propagated instantaneously, every object, whether at rest or in motion, would appear in the direction of these rays; but, as light takes some time to travel, we see Jupiter in conjunction, by means of rays that left him 16m 26*.6 before; but, during that time, we have changed our position, in consequence of the motion of the earth in its orbit : we therefore refer Jupiter to a place in which he is not. His true position is in the diagonal (N. 97) of the parallelogram, whose sides are in the ratio of the velocity of light to the velocity of the earth in its orbit, which is as 192,000 to 19, or nearly as 10,000 to 1. In consequence of the aberration of light, the heavenly bodies seem to be in places in which they are not. In fact, if the earth were at rest, rays from a star would pass along the axis of a telescope directed to it; but, if the earth were to begin to move in its orbit with its usual velocity, these rays would strike against the side of the tube ; it would, therefore, be necessary to incline the telescope a little, in order to see the star. The angle contained between the axis of the telescope and a line drawn to the true place of the star is its aberration, which varies in quantity and direction in different parts of the earth's orbit; but, as it is only 201481, it is insensible in ordinary cases (N. 98).
The velocity of light deduced from the observed aberration of the fixed stars perfectly corresponds with that given by the eclipses of the first satellite. The same result, obtained from sources so different, leaves not a doubt of its truth. Many such beautiful coincidences, derived from circumstances apparently the most unpromising and dissimilar, occur in physical astronomy,
and prove connections which we might otherwise be unable to trace. The identity of the velocity of light, at the distance of Jupiter, and on the earth's surface, shows that its velocity is uniform ; and as light consists in the vibrations of an elastic medium or ether filling space, the uniformity of its velocity shows that the density of the medium throughout the whole extent of the solar system must be proportional to its elasticity (N. 99). Among the fortunate conjectures which have been confirmed by subsequent experience, that of Bacon is not the least remarkable, “It produces in me,” says the restorer of true philosophy, a doubt whether the face of the serene and starry heavens be seen at the instant it really exists, or not till some time later: and whether there be not, with respect to the heavenly bodies, a true time and an apparent time, no less than a true place and an apparent place, as astronomers say, on account of parallax. For it seems incredible that the species or rays of the celestial bodies can pass through the immense interval between them and us in an instant, or that they do not even require some considerable portion of time.”
Great discoveries generally lead to a variety of conclusions : the aberration of light affords a direct proof of the motion of the earth in its orbit; and its rotation is proved by the theory of falling bodies, since the centrifugal force it induces retards the oscillations of the pendulum (N. 100) in going from the pole to the equator. Thus a high degree of scientific knowledge has been requisite to dispel the errors of the senses (N. 237).
The little that is known of the theories of the satellites of Saturn and Uranus is, in all respects, similar to that of Jupiter. Saturn is accompanied by eight satellites. The seventh is about the size of Mars, and the eighth was simultaneously discovered by Mr. Bond in America, and that distinguished astronomer Mr. Lassell, of Liverpool. The orbits of the two last have a sensible inclination to the plane of the ring; but the great compression of Saturn occasions the other satellites to move nearly in the plane of his equator. So many circumstances must concur to render the two interior satellites visible, that they have very rarely been seen. They move exactly at the edge of the ring, and their orbits never deviate from its plane. In 1789 Sir William Herschel saw them like beads, threading the slender line of light which the ring is reduced to when seen edgewise