Page:Mars - Lowell.djvu/110

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it was estimated, on a scale of ruled lines made for the purpose, to be about 100 miles wide. On June 15 it was similarly found to measure 220 miles.

Meanwhile an interesting phenomenon occurred in the cap on June 7. On that morning, at about a quarter of six (or, more precisely, on June 8, 1h. 17m., G. M. T.), as I was watching the planet, I saw suddenly two points like stars flash out in the midst of the polar cap. Dazzlingly bright upon the duller white background of the snow, these stars shone for a few moments and then slowly disappeared. The seeing at the time was very good. It is at once evident what the other-world apparitions were,—not the fabled signal-lights of Martian folk, but the glint of ice-slopes flashing for a moment earthward as the rotation of the planet turned the slope to the proper angle; just as, in sailing by some glass-windowed house near set of sun, you shall for a moment or two catch a dazzling glint of glory from its panes, which then vanishes as it came. But though no intelligence lay behind the action of these lights, they were none the less startling for being Nature's own flash-lights across one hundred millions of miles of space. It had taken them nine minutes to make the journey; nine minutes before they reached Earth they had ceased to be on Mars, and, after their travel of