upon it the three numbers that give its position, then we have something comparable with a measure with numbered subdivisions; only we now have to do, one might say, with a good many imaginary measures in three common perpendicular directions. In this "system of co-ordinates" the numbers that fix the position of one or the other of the bodies may now be read off at any moment.
This is the means which the astronomers and their mathematical assistants have always used in dealing with the movement of the heavenly bodies. At a determined moment the position of each body is fixed by its three co-ordinates. If these are given, then one knows also the common distances, as well as the