Page:A Voyage in Space (1913).djvu/234

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in their hands, so little do they reckon of eight minutes. But even travelling by telescope, at the enormous speed of light, we should take years to get to the stars—very different from the eight minutes to the Sun. Hence you see how close the Sun is compared with any other star. He is so close that we can see details on his surface, whereas even in our most powerful telescope the stars are mere points of light.

Let us look again at some of the representations of the Sun's surface made at different times. Sir William Huggins, a great English astronomer, whom we lost recently, drew the surface as a kind of mosaic pattern, while Mr. James Nasmyth (the inventor of the steam hammer, of which there is a fine working model in the machinery museum at South Kensington—I hope you all know that museum) drew a pattern of what he called willow leaves. There is a good deal of difference between their pictures, but they agree in claiming that the surface is made up of numerous bright grains—another observer compared them to rice grains—packed fairly close together excepting near a spot. Small as they appear in the pictures, these rice grains or willow-leaves must be of enormous size in the sun, say 1000 miles long by 500 wide. That these observers were not deceived has been amply proved by photography, especially the photographic enlargements taken by a Russian astronomer, M. Hansky. By a tragic accident he was drowned while bathing, and no one else has paid the same attention to photographing these rice grains on the Sun; but he obtained a sufficient