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till, at last, they would be precipitated on the surface of the planet. The rings of Saturn must therefore be irregular solids, of unequal breadth in different parts of the circumference, so that their centres of gravity do not coincide with the centres of their figures. Professor Struve has also discovered that the centre of the rings is not concentric with the centre of Saturn. The interval between the outer edge of the globe of the planet and the outer edge of the rings on one side is 11"-272, and, on the other side, the interval is 11"-390, consequently there is an excentricity of the globe in the rings of 0"-215. If the rings obeyed different forces, they would not remain in the same plane, but the powerful attraction of Saturn always maintains them and his satellites in the plane of his equator. The rings, by their mutual action, and that of the sun and satellites, must oscillate about the centre of Saturn, and produce phenomena of light and shadow whose periods extend to many years. According to M. Bessel the mass of Saturn's ring is equal to the its part of that of the planet.
The periods of rotation of the moon and the other satellites are equal to the times of their revolutions, consequently these bodies always turn the same face to their primaries. However, as the mean motion of the moon is subject to a secular inequality, which will ultimately amount to many circumferences (N. 108), if the rotation of the moon were perfectly uniform and not affected by the same inequalities, it would cease exactly to counterbalance the motion of revolution; and the moon, in the course of ages, would successively and gradually discover every point of her surface to the earth. But theory proves that this never can happen ; for the rotation of the moon, though it does not partake of the periodic inequalities of her revolution, is affected by the same secular variations, so that her motions of rotation and revolution round the earth will always balance each other, and remain equal. This circumstance arises from the form of the lunar spheroid, which has three principal axes of different lengths at right angles to each other.
The moon is flattened at her poles from her centrifugal force, therefore her polar' axis is the least. The other two are in the plane of her equator, but that directed towards the earth is the greatest (N. 142). The attraction of the earth, as if it had drawn out that part of the moon's equator, constantly brings the greatest axis, and consequently the same hemisphere, towards us, which makes her rotation participate in the secular variations of her mean motion of revolution. Even if the angular velocities of rotation and revolution had not been nicely balanced in the beginning of the moon's motion, the attraction of the earth would have recalled the greatest axis to the direction of the line joining the centres of the moon and earth; so that it would have vibrated on each side of that line in the same manner as a pendulum oscillates on each side of the vertical from the influence of gravitation. No such libration is perceptible; and, as the smallest disturbance would make it evident, it is clear that, if the moon has ever been touched by a comet, the mass of the latter must have been extremely small. If it had been only the hundred thousandth part of that of the earth, it would have rendered the libration sensible. According to analysis, a similar libration exists in the motions of Jupiter's satellites, which still remains insensible to observation, and yet the comet of 1770. passed twice through the midst of them.
The moon, it is true, is liable to librations depending upon the position of the spectator. At her rising, part of the western edge of her disc is visible, which is invisible at her setting, and the contrary takes place with regard to her eastern edge. There are also librations arising from the relative positions of the earth and moon in their respective orbits ; but, as they are only optical appearances, one hemisphere will be eternally concealed from the earth. For the same reason the earth, which must be so splendid an object to one lunar hemisphere, will be for ever veiled from the other. On account of these circumstances, the remoter hemisphere of the moon has its day a fortnight long, and a night of the same duration, not even enlightened by a moon, while the favoured side is illuminated by the reflection of the earth during its long night. A planet exhibiting a surface thirteen times larger than that of the moon, with all the varieties of clouds, land, and water, coming successively into view, must be a splendid object to a lunar traveller in a journey to his antipodes. The great height of the lunar mountains probably has a considerable influence on the phenomena of her motion, the more so as her compression is small, and her mass considerable. In the curve passing through the poles, and that diameter of the moon which always points to the earth, nature has furnished a permanent meridian, to which the different spots on her surface have been referred, and their positions are determined with as much accuracy as those of many of the most remarkable places on the surface of our globe. According to the observations of Professor Secchi at Rome, the mountains of the moon are mostly volcanic and of three kinds. The first and oldest have their borders obliterated, so that they look like deep wells; the second, which are of an intermediate class, have elevated, and, for the most part, regular unbroken edges, with the ground around them raised to a prodigious extent in proportion to the size of the volcano, with generally an insulated rock in the centre of the crater. The third, and most recent class, are very small, and seem to be the last effort of the expiring volcanic force, which is probably now extinct.
The distance and minuteness of Jupiter's satellites render it extremely difficult to ascertain their rotation. It was, however, accomplished by Sir William Herschel from their relative bright
He observed that they alternately exceed each other in brilliancy, and, by comparing the maxima and minima of their illumination with their positions relatively to the sun and to their primary, he found that, like the moon, the time of their rotation is equal to the period of their revolution about Jupiter. Miraldi was led to the same conclusion with regard to the fourth satellite, from the motion of a spot on its surface.
Rotation of the Earth invariable Decrease in the Earth's mean Temperature — Earth originally in a state of Fusion – Length of Day constant
- Decrease of Temperature ascribed by Sir John Herschel to the variation in the Excentricity of the Terrestrial Orbit — Difference in the Temperature of the two Hemispheres erroneously ascribed to the Excess in the Length of Spring and Summer in the Southern Hemisphere; attributed by Sir Charles Lyell to the Operation of existing Causes - Three principal Axes of Rotation Position of the Axis of Rotation on the Surface of the Earth invariable Ocean not sufficient to restore the Equilibrium of the Earth if deranged - Its Density and mean Depth
Internal Structure of the Earth.
THE rotation of the earth, which determines the length of the day, may be regarded as one of the most important elements in the system of the world. It serves as a measure of time, and forms the standard of comparison for the revolutions of the celestial bodies, which, by their proportional increase or decrease, would soon disclose any changes it might sustain. Theory and observation concur in proving that, among the innumerable vicissitudes which prevail throughout creation, the period of the earth's diurnal rotation is immutable. The water of rivers, falling from a higher to a lower level, carries with it the velocity due to its revolution with the earth at a greater distance from the centre; it will therefore accelerate, although to an almost infinitesimal extent, the earth's daily rotation. The sum of all these increments of velocity, arising from the descent of all the rivers on the earth's surface, would in time become perceptible, did not nature, by the process of evaporation, raise the waters back to their sources, and thus, by again removing matter to a greater distance from the centre, destroy the velocity generated by its previous approach ; so that the descent of rivers does not affect the earth's rotation. Enormous masses projected by volcanoes from the equator to the poles, and the contrary, would indeed affect it, but there is no evidence of such convulsions. The disturbing action of the moon and planets, which has 80 powerful an effect on the revolution of the earth, in no way influences its rotation. The constant friction of the trade winds on the mountains and continents between the tropics does not impede its velocity, which theory even proves to be the same as if the sea, together with the earth, formed one solid mass. But, although these circumstances be insufficient, a variation in the mean temperature would certainly occasion a corresponding change in the velocity of rotation. In the science of dynamics it is a principle in a system of bodies or of particles revolving about a fixed centre, that the momentum or sum of the products of the mass of each into its angular velocity and distance from the centre is a constant quantity, if the system be not deranged by a foreign cause. Now, since the number of particles in the system is the same whatever its temperature may be, when their distances from the centre are diminished, their angular velocity must be increased, in order that the preceding quantity may still remain constant. It follows, then, that, as the primitive momentum of rotation with which the earth was projected into space must necessarily remain the same, the smallest decrease in heat, by contracting the terrestrial spheroid, would accelerate its rotation, and consequently diminish the length of the day. Notwithstanding the constant accession of heat from the sun's rays, geologists have been induced to believe, from the fossil remains, that the mean temperature of the globe is decreasing.
The high temperature of mines, hot springs, and above all the internal fires which have produced, and do still occasion, such devastation on our planet, indicate an augmentation of heat towards its centre. The increase of density corresponding to the depth and the form of the spheroid, being what theory assigns to a fluid mass in rotation, concurs to induce the idea that the temperature of the earth was originally so high as to reduce all the substances of which it is composed to a state of fusion or of vapour, and that in the course of ages it has cooled down to its present state ; that it is still becoming colder; and that it will continue to do so till the whole mass arrives at the temperature of the medium in which it is placed, or rather at a state of equilibrium between this temperature, the cooling power of its own radiation, and the heating effect of the sun's rays.
Previous to the formation of ice at the poles, the ancient lands of northern latitudes might, no doubt, bave been capable of producing those tropical plants preserved in the coal-measures, if