Page:Mars - Lowell.djvu/213

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157
DEVELOPMENT

of suspicion of markings of any sort. A like state of things was the case with the same region at its next presentation, on the 7th of November. Four months later, when the diameter of the disk had been reduced by distance to 5".7, or, in other words, when the planet had receded to four times its previous distance from the earth, the canal called the Indus appeared, perfectly visible, in the region mentioned. At the next opposition, in 1881, similar effects occurred; the canals in this region remaining obstinately invisible while the planet was near the earth, and then coming out conspicuously when it had gone farther away. Distance, therefore, is not, with the canals, the great obliterator.

As to their veiling by Martian cloud or mist, there is no evidence of any such obscuration. The coast line of the dark areas appears as clear-cut when the canals are invisible as when they become conspicuous.

A canal, then, alters in visibility for some reason connected with itself. It grows into recognition from intrinsic cause. But, during all its metamorphoses, in one thing, and in one thing only, it remains fixed,—in position. Temporary in appearance, the canals are apparently permanent in place. Not only do they not change in position during one opposition; they seem not to do so from one opposition to