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Frank, is this larger than our globe? I think you can easily answer this question.
Why, it must be one hundred and ten times the diameter of our earth.
And do you think, Father, that any one can live in the sun?
Most likely it has its inhabitants. We see that this is the case with every leaf and little plant; and it is highly probable, that such an immense globe is not destitute of animated ex
How can any thing live, Father, in so much light and heat?
I cannot tell, Frank. Herschel supposes that the brilliant light around the sun is the solar atmosphere, and by no means forms the body of the luminary. He thinks that the spots on the sun, as they change, and become greater or smaller, and sometimes disappear altogether, are evidently openings in this atmosphere, through which the sun himself is
We are sure, however, Father, that we should have no light or heat, if it were not for the sun.
Certainly not; nor any of the beautiful colors which every where charm the eyes; indeed, without the cheering rays of the sun, nothing could exist on the face of the globe; every plant and flower would fade and die; and every creature that moves and breathes would expire.
What a blessing is the sun, Father; how ought we to thank God for his rays!
Yes, we ought; light is one of those mercies, which, as a sacred writer expresses it, are new every morning."
Did you not say, Father, that the sun is distant from us about ninety-five millions of miles?
Yes, Frank; yet, in about eight minutes, his light visits us every morning. But who can comprehend what we mean by ninety-five millions of miles? Suppose there was a road to the sun, and that a horse could gallop two hundred miles in a day; how many years would he be going to it?
I must first learn how far he would go in one year; must I not, Father?
Let me see; 200 multiplied by 365, the days in a year, is 73,000. And 95,000,000 of miles, the distance between the earth and the sun, divided by 73,000, gives the number of years; and see, Father, it is 1300! A horse, then, that would gallop two hundred miles in a day, would be 1300 years in going to the sun. What a distance it must be
You are right. We are however, but just entered on the Solar System. You have carefully read, I hope, the account in the volume I lent you.
Yes, Father. MERCURY is the planet which
is nearest to the sun. He revolves around him in eighty-eight days. He is much smaller than our earth. His diameter is about 3200 miles. He is so near the sun, that he is usually lost in the brightness of his rays. The author says, Father, that water would be kept perpetually boiling on its surface.
Yet, near as he seems to the sun, he is distant from him thirty-seven millions of miles. It has been supposed, that if the heat which falls on Mercury fell on the earth, that it would turn every drop of liquid into vapor, and, indeed, burn up the whole world.
The sun must appear very large and glorious to the inhabitants of Mercury, Father, as they are so near it.
It must appear full seven times as large as it does to us. No doubt, from the wisdom which we see every where displayed in the works of God, we may rationally conclude that those who reside in this planet have constitutions suited to their situation. But which is the next planet which rolls around the great orb of day?
VENUS, Father, is the next. She is a fine planet; there she is! How beautifully she shines! She goes round the sun in 224 days, which form her year. She is nearly as large as the earth; her diameter is 7,700 miles. She is the brightest and most beautiful of the
How far is she from the sun?
The EARTH, with its beautiful Moon, are the next objects in the Solar System which revolve around the sun. The Earth performs its course in about 365 days. It is ninety-five millions of miles from the sun. The Moon is her bright, her perpetual attendant. She turns round the earth in twenty-seven days and eight hours; she is the nearest to us of all the heavenly bodies. Her diameter is only 2,180 miles. It is 240,000 miles distant.
Our Earth, Frank, is a moon to the moon ; but it appears to the people in the moon, thirteen times larger than the moon does to us. From an examination of it through the telescope, it appears probable that there are rivers, and mountains, and lakes in it. Its light is deliciously soft and sweet; but that of the sun is two hundred thousand times greater. But which is the next planet in our system?
MARS, Father; and he is longer in going round the sun than our globe: he is one of our years and ten months on his journey.
He has a larger orbit or circle to travel, as he is farther removed from the sun than our earth: he is distant 145,000,000 of miles. He moves in his course at the rate of 55,000 miles an hour. He is 50,000,000 of miles from us, when he is nearest the earth, and about 240,000,000 of miles when he is far
thest removed. He is known from the other planets by his ruddy appearance. When nearest to us, he appears larger than at other times; I think, about twenty-five times larger. Do you think the people in Mars can see our globe, Father?
Yes, and it appears to them sometimes as a morning, and som mes as an evening star. JUPITER, Father, is the next planet in our system.
This is not quite accurate, Frank; four very small planets, named Ceres, Pallas, Juno, and Vesta, have been discovered between Mars and Jupiter. It is very singular, their orbits cross each other; the orbit or path of Ceres crosses the orbit of Pallas; and the orbit of Vesta crosses all the other three. Astronomers have supposed, I think without sufficient ground, that these planets are only fragments of a mighty world which has been dashed to pieces. But what have you learnt about Jupiter? He is a remarkable planet.
He is the largest planet in the Solar System; he is 89,000 miles in diameter; he travels more than 28,000 miles an hour.
He is fourteen hundred times larger than our earth, and fifteen hundred times larger than Venus.
He is four hundred and ninety millions of miles distant from the sun, and goes round him in about twelve of our years. He has