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ON THE NATURE AND CONSTRUCTION OF THE SUN

AND FIXED STARS. BY WILLIAM HERSCHEL, LL. D. F. R. S. READ AT THE ROYAL SOCIETY.

AMONG the celestial bodies, the From the particulars here enumerate sun is certainly the first which should ed, it is fufficiently obvious, that we attract our potice. It is a fountain of have already a very clear idea of the light that illuminates the world! it is vast importance, and powerful influence the cause of that heat which maintains of the sun on its planetary system. And the productive power of nature, and if we add to this the beneficent effects makes the earth a fit habitation for man! we feel on, this globe from the diffusion it is the central body of the planetary of the folar rays; and consider that, by fystenı ; and what renders å knowledge well traced analogies, the fame effects of its nature still more interesting to us have been proved to take place on other is, that the numberless stars which com- planets of this system ; I should not wonpose the universe, appear, by the strict- der if we were induced to think, that elt analogy, to be similar bodies. Their nothing remained to be added in order innate light is so intense, that it reaches to complete our knowledge : and yet it the eye

of the observer from the remot. will not be difficult to fhew, that we are est regions of space, and forcibly claims still very ignorant, at least with regard his notice.

to the internal construction of the sun. Now, if we are convinced that an in- The various conjectures which have been quiry into the nature and properties of formed on this subject, are evident marks the sun is highly worthy of our notice, of the uncertainty under which we have we may also, with great satisfaction, re- hitherto laboured. flect on the considerable progress that The dark spots in the fun, for inhas already been made in our know. stance, have been supposed to be folic ledge of this eminent body. It would bodies involving very near its surface. require a long detail to enumerate all They have been conjectured to be the the various discoveries which have been smoke of volcanoes, or the scum Roate made on this subject; I shall therefore ing upon an ocean of Auid matter. They content myself with giving only the have also been taken for clouds. They most capital of them.

were explained to be opaque masses, Sir Ifaac Newton has shewn, that the swimming in the fluid matter of the sun, sun, by its attractive power, retains the dipping down occasionaliy. It has been planets of our system in their orbits. supposed that a fiery liquid surrounded He has also pointed out the method the fun, and that, by its ebbing and whereby the quantity of

matter it

flowing, the highest parts of it were octains may be accurately determined. Dr casionally uncovered, and appeared unBradley has assigned the velocity of the der the shape of dark spots, and that, solar light with a degree of precision by the return of this fiery liquid, they exceeding our utmost expectation. Gaa were again copered, and in that manlilco, Scheiner, Heyelius, Callini, and ner successively affumed different phases. others, bave ascertained the rotation of The sun itself has been cailed a globe the fun upon its axis, and determined of fire, though perhaps metaphorically. the position of its equator." By means. The waste it would undergo by a gras of the transit of Venus over the disc of dual consumption, on the supposition of the sun, our mathematicians have cal. its being ignited, has been ingeniously culated its distance from the earth; its calculated. And in the fame point of real diameter and magnitude; the dep- view, its immense power of heating the Gty of the matter of which it is com- bodies of such comets as draw very near pored; and the fall of heavy bodies on to it, has been assigned. its surface.

The bright spots, or faculæ, have Vol. LVIII.

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been

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been called clouds of light, and lami. to be divided into parts. The largest nous vapours.

The light of the fun it. of the two, on the 19th of April, meafelf has been supposed to be directly in. sured r' 8",06 in diameter, which is evisible, and not to be perceived unless qual, in length, to more than 31,000 by reflection ; though the proofs, which miles. Both together must certainly are brought in support of that opinion, have extended above 50,000. seem to me to amount to no more than The idea of its being occasioned by what is sufficiently evident, that we can. a volcanic explosion, violently driving pot see when rays of light do not enter away a fiery fluid, which on its return

would gradually fill up the vacancy, and But it is time to profit by the many thus restore the sun, in that place, to valuable observations that we are now its former splendour, ought to be rejectin poffeßlion of. A list of successive e- ed on many accounts. To mention onminent aftronomers

may

be named, from ly one, the great extent of the spot is Galileo down to the present time, who very unfavourable to that supposition. have furnished us with materials for ex. Indeed a much less violent and less

peramination.

nicious cause may be assigned, to acIn fupporting the ideas I shall pro- count for all the appearances of the spot. pose in this paper, with regard to the When we see a dark belt near the equaphysical construction of the lan, I have tor of the planet Jupiter, we do not reavailed myself of the labours of all these cur to carthquakes and volcanoes for its astronomers ; but have been induced origin. An atmosphere, with its natu, thereto only by my own actual obferva. ral changes, will explain such belts. tion of the solar phænomena ; which, Our spot in the sun may be accounted befide verifying those particulars that for on the same principles. The earth had been already observed, gave me such is surrounded by an atmosphere, comviews of the folar regions as led to the posed of various elastic fluids. The fun foundation of a very rational system. also has its atmosphere, and if some of For, having the advantage of former ob- the fluids which enter into its compofi. servations, my

latest reviews of the bo. tion should be of a shining brilliancy, dy of the fun were immediately direct in the manner that will be explained ed to the most effential points ; and the hereafter, while others are merely transwork was by this means facilitated, and parent, any temporary cause which may contracted into a pretty barrow com- remove the lucid fluid will permit us to pass.

see the body of the fun through the The following is a short abstract of transparent ones. If an observer were my observations on the fun, to which I placed on the moon, he would see the have joined the consequences I now be- solid body of our earth only in those lieve myself entitled to draw from them. places where the transparent fluids of When all the reafonings on the several out atmosphere would permit him. In phænomena are put together, and a few others, the opaque vapours would res additional arguments, taken from ana- flect the light of the fun, without perlogy, which I shall also add, are properly mitring his view to penetrate to the furconfidered, it will be found, that a ge- face of our globe. He would probably neral conclusion may be made, which also find, that our planet bad occasion seems to throw a considerable light up.. ally some shining Huids in its almo. on our present subject.

sphere ;, as not unlikely, some of our : In the year 1770, there was a spot northern lights might not escape his noon the sun which was farge enough to tice, if they happened in the unenlightBe feen with the naked eye. By a view ened part of the earth, and were seen of it with a feven feet reflector, charge by him in his long dark night. Nay, ed with a very high power, it appeared we have pretty good reason to believe, that probably all the planets emit light may be explained by a gentle and grain some degree ; for the illumination dual removing of the shining Auid, which remains on the moon in a total which permits us to see the globe of the eclipse cannot be entirely ascribed to the fun. As to the uncommon appearance Jight which may reach it by the refraction of the broadest margin being on thật of the earth's atmosphere. For instance, side of the spot which was farthest from in the eclipse of the moon which hap- the limb when the spot came near the pened October 22. 1790, the rays of edge of it, we may furmise, - that the zhe sun, refracted by the atmosphere of sun has inequalities op its surface, which the earth toward the moon, admitting may possibly be the cause of it. Forg the mean horizontal refraction to be when mountainous countries are ex30' 50",$, would meet in a focus above posed, if it should chance that the high189,000 miles beyond the moon; fo eft parts of the landscape are situated so that consequently there could be no il. as to be near that side of the margin, lumination from rays refracted by our or penumbra of the spot, which is toatniosphere. It is, however, not im- ward the limb, it may partly intercept probable, that about the polar regions our view of it, when the spot is seen of the earth there may be refraction very obliquely. This would require enough to bring off the solar rays to a elevations, at least five or fix hundred fhorter focus. The distance of the moon miles high ; but considering the great at the time of the eclipse would require attraction exerted by the sun upon boa refraction of 54' 6" equal to its hori. dies at its surface, and the now revolu. zontal parallax at that time, to bring tion it has upon its axis, we may readi. them to a focus so as to throw light on ly admit inequalities to that amount. the moon.

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From the centrifugal force at the sun's The unenlightened part of the planet equator, and the weight of bodies at Venus has also been seen by different its surface, I compute that the power perfons, and not having a satellite, those of throwing down a mountain, by the regions that are turned from the fun exertion of the former, balanced by the cannot possibly shine by a borrowed light; superior force of keeping it in its situaso that this faint illumination must de- tion of the latter, is near lix and a half note some phosphoric quality of the at- times less on the sun than on our equamosphere of Venus.

torial regions : and as an elevation fin In the instance of our large spot on milar to one of three miles on the earth the fun, I concluded from appearances would not be less than 334 miles on that 1 viewed the real solid body of the the sun, there can be no doubt but that sun itself, of which we rarely see more a mountain much higher would stand than its shining atmosphere.

very firmly. The little density also of In the year 1783, I observed a fine the folar body seems also to be in fa. large spot, and followed it up to the vour of its mountains ; for, cæteris paria edge of the sun's limb. Here I took bus, dense bodies will fogner come to notice, that the spot was plainly depřes- their level than rare ones. The dif. fed below the surface of the fun ; and terence in the vanishing of the shelving that it had very broad shelving fides. side, instead of explaining it by mounI also fufpected some part, at least of tains, may also, and perhaps more fathe shelving sides to be elevated above tisfactorily, be accounted for from the the surface of the sun ; and observed, real difference of the extent, the arthat, contrary to what usually happens, rangement, the heights and the inten. the margin of that side of the spot, fity of the shining fluid, added to the which was farthest from the limb, was occasional changes that may happen in the broadest.

these particulars, during the time in The luminous Shelving sides of a spot which the spot approaches to the edge

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of the disc. However, by admitting vated spots on its furface will seem to
Jare mountains on the surface of the be cavities, and all cavities will assume
fun, we fhall account for the different the shape of mountains. But then, at
opinions of two eminent astronomers; the lane time, the moon, instead of
one of whom believed the spots depref- having the convex appearance of a
fed below the fun, while the other fup- globe, will seem to be a large concave
posed them elevated above it. For it is portion of a hollow sphere. As soon
not inprobable, that some of the solar as, by the force of imagination, you
mountains may be high enough, occa- drive away the fallacious appearance of
fionally, to project above the shining a concave moon, you restore the moun-
elastic Auid, when, by some agitation tains to their protuberance, and fink
or other cause, it is not of the usual the cavities again below the level of the
height; and this opinion is much furface. Now, when I saw the spot
Itrengthened by the return of some re- lower than the shining matter of the sun,
markable spots, which ferved Calfini to and an extending plane, also depressed,
ascertain the period of the fun's rota with shelving fides rising up to the level,
tion. A very high country, or chain I also found that the sun was convex,
of mountains, may oftener become vi- and appeared in its natural globular
Sible, by the removidgʻof the obstructing state. Hence I conclude, that there
fluid, than the lower regions, on ac- could be no deception in those appear-
count of its not being so deeply covered ances.
with it.

How
very

ill would this observation 'In the year 1791, I examined a agree with the ideas of solid bodies bobi large spot in the fun, and found it evi- bing up and down in a fiery liquid? dently depressed below the level of the With the smoke of voicanoes, or scum surface; about the dark part was a broad upon an ocean? And how easily it is margin, or plane of considerable extent, explained upon our foregoing theory. less bright than the fun, and also lower The removal of the shining atmosphere, than its surface. This plane seemed to which permits us to see the sun, must rise, with shelving sides, up to the place naturally be attended with a gradual diwhere it joined the level of the surface. minution on its borders; an instance

In confirmation of these appearances, of a similar kind we have daily before I carefully remarked that the disc of us, when through the opening of a the fun was ' visibly convex ; and the cloud we see the sky, which generally reason of my attention to this particular, is attended by a surrounding haziness of was, my being already long acquainted fome short extent ; and seldom transits, with a certain optical deception, that fron á perfect cleárness, at once to the takes place now and then when we view greatest obfcurity. the moon ; which is, that all the ele.

(To be continued.) AN HISTORICAL ACCOUNT OF THE TRANSLATION AND

DIFFERENT VERSIONS OF THE SCRIPTURES. SOME attempts at rendering the fa- ing to some writers, à translation of the cred writings into our 'native tongue whole Bible was made, within a few took place in yery early times. About years of this period, by the venerable the year 706, Adelme, Bishop of Sher- Bede; But of this fact there is much borne, is faid to have translated the reason to doubt. No fatisfactory eviPsalms ioto Saxon ; and nearly about dence of such a translation appears in the same time; a version of the four the best" accounts of his life, and the Gospels, into the fame language, is un: most accurate catalogues of his works. derstood to have been executed by Eg. Equally

, doubtful is the truth of Fuller's bert , Bishop of Laddesfern. Accard. affertion, that Bede translated the

Psalms

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Psalms and New Testament into Eng. ecuted in 1397. The fact, however is, lish. . He wrote, indeed, many com- that he translated only a few texts, mentaries upon the Scriptures, which which were either painted on the walls were chiefly collections, from the anci- of his patron's chapel in Berkley-castle, ent Fathers ; but there is no direct evi. or are scattered in fundry parts of his dence of his having done more than the works. The success which Wickliff making of a version of the Gospel of met with, gave encouragement to some St John into the Saxon language, for of his followers to review his translathe benefit of the church. This was tion, or' rather to make another,, less one of the last employments of his life. strict and verbal, and more agreeable to A Saxon translation of the Pentateuch, the sense. Io Wickliff's original un. Joshua, parts of the Books of Kings, dertaking he did not act without proEsther, Judith, and the Maccabees, is per affistants, and the pains they took also attributed to Elfric, or Elfred, or were very laudable, and indeed judiAluricius, who was Archbishop of cious. Canterbury from the year 993 to 1006. The next translation, which is of Whether the narrative be itrictly exact, fufficient consequence to be here para is not of material consequence in this ticularly mentioned, was that by T'in. place to inquire. There were several dall. It included the whole New Telother attempts of the fame kind before tament, and was finished at Antwerp, the time of Wickliff ; but they extend- where, or at Hamburgh, it was published only to some parts of the facred ed in the year 1526. Such was the writings. Nor do any of these versions offence taken at it by Archbishop Warappear to have been published; having ham and Bishop 'i'onstall, that they been made only for the use of the re- hurled furious censures against the transspective translators, or of the particular lator and his adherents; and the latter churches to which they belonged. of these prelates purchased far the

The first person who appears upon greater part of the impression, to prevent undoubted evidence to have translated its dispersion among the of the the whole Bible was the famous John people. This circumstance was of Wickliff. This work was finished and lingular advantage to the work; for published by him sometime before the Tindall was enabled, by the fale of his year 1381. The translation was made book, to give more correct editions of from the Latin bibles then in common it to the public. Not content with use, or which were usually read in the opening the treasures of the New Telchurch ; for though he was seosible of tament to the Christian world, he formthe preference that was due to the au. ed the design of adding to it a version thority of the Greek and Hebrew text, of the Old Testament.

This design he was not sufficiently acquainted with he did not live to complete.

The these languages to make them the foun- Pentateuch was translated by him, and dation of his verfion. Notwithstanding printed at Hamburgh in 1530 ; and in this disadvantage, Wickliff's translation the next year he published an English was a production of great importance version of the prophet Jonah. It has and utility, having been a considerable been supposed that, previously to his Atep in that seformation in religion which decease, he finished all the Bible, exwas begun by him, and which paved cepting the Apocrypha, which was the way

for the more eminent altera. traplated by Rogers. But it appears tions that afterward took place. An most probable that he translated only English version of the Bible has been the historical parts. That Tindall's attributed to John Trevisa, a native of version has many faults, will be acCornwall, and vicar of Berkley in Glou- knowledged by every one who is concestershire, and is said to have been ex- versaạt with the subje& : Devertheless,

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