Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 2.djvu/244

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232
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

beyond question, than appears on the surface. Rightly understood, it exhibits the sidereal system itself as a scheme utterly unlike what has hitherto been imagined. The vastness of extent, the variety of structure, the complexity of detail, and the amazing vitality, on which I have long insisted, are all implied in that single and, as it were, local feature which I had set as a crucial test of my theories. I cannot but feel a strong hope, then, that those researches which my theories suggest, and which I have advocated during the last few years, will now be undertaken by willing observers. The system of star-gauging, which the Herschels did little more than illustrate (as Sir W. Herschel himself admitted), should be applied with telescopes of different power to the whole heavens,[1] not to a few telescopic fields. Processes of charting, and especially of equal surface charting, should be multiplied. Fresh determinations of proper motions should be systematically undertaken. All the evidence, in fine, which we have, should be carefully examined, and no efforts should be spared by which new evidence may be acquired. Only when this has been done will the true nature of the galaxy be adequately recognized, its true vastness gauged, its variety and complexity understood, its vitality rendered manifest. To obtain, indeed, an absolutely just estimate of these matters, may not be in man's power to compass; but he can hope to obtain a true relative interpretation of the mysteries of the stellar system. If any astronomer be disposed to question the utility or value of such researches, let him remember that Sir W. Herschel, the greatest of all astronomers, set "a knowledge of the constitution of the heavens" as "the ultimate object of his observations."—Popular Science Review.

 
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HOW WAS HERCULANEUM DESTROYED?
By M. BEULE, of the French Institute.
TRANSLATED FROM THE REVUE DES DEUX SONDES.

HISTORY points out marked differences between Herculaneum and Pompeii. The first, settled by the Greeks, was devoted to intellectual culture and refined leisure; the latter, of Oscan origin, concerned itself solely about commerce; one was inhabited by Romans of fortune, and loaded with favors; the other endured the hostility of Rome, and often incurred her chastisement. There is reason to believe that Herculaneum gave a model for many details of civilization to Pompeii, and we may safely assert that Pompeii taught Herculaneum nothing. Besides, the earthquake which was so fatal to

  1. This is a work in which telescopes of every order of power would be useful. The observations, also, would be very easily made and would tell amazingly.