Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/81

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in order to appreciate its color, to glance from it to Alpha Cephei, which is a white star. Mu is variable, changing from the fourth to the sixth magnitude in a long period of five or six years. Its color is changeable, like its light. Sometimes it is of a deep garnet hue, and at other times it is orange-colored. Upon the whole, it appears of a deeper red than any other star visible to the naked eye.

If you have a good field-glass, try its powers upon the star Delta (δ) Cephei. This is a double star, the components being about forty-one seconds of arc apart, the larger of four and one half magnitude, and the smaller of the seventh magnitude. The latter is of a beautiful blue color, while the larger star is yellow or orange. With a good eye, a steady hand, and a clear glass, magnifying not less than six diameters, you can separate them, and catch the contrasted tints of their light. Besides being a double star, Delta is variable.



OF all the ornaments with which vanity, superstition, and affection have decorated the human form, few have more curious bits of history than the finger-ring. From the earliest times the ring has been a favorite ornament, and the reasons for this general preference shown for it over other articles of jewelry are numerous and cogent. Ornaments whose place is on some portion of the apparel, or in the hair, must be laid aside with the clothing or head-dress; are thus easily lost and often not at once missed. Pins, brooches, buckles, clasps, buttons, all sooner or later become defective in some part, and are liable to escape from an owner unconscious of the defect in the mechanism. The links of a necklace in time become worn, and the article is taken off to be mended; the spring or other fastening of a bracelet is easily broken, and the bracelet vanishes. With regard to ornaments fastened to parts of the savage body, mutilation is necessary, the ear must be bored, the nose be pierced, the cheeks or lips be slit, and, even after these surgical operations are completed, the articles used for adornment are generally inconvenient, and sometimes, by their weight or construction, are extremely painful.

In striking contrast with decorations worn on the clothing, in the hair, round the neck and arms, or pendent from the ears, lips, and nose, is the finger-ring, the model of convenience. It is seldom lost, for it need not be taken off; requires no preparatory mutilation of the body, is not painful, is always in view, a perpetual reminder, either of the giver, or of the purpose for which it is worn.

The popularity of the ring must, therefore, be in large measure due to its convenience, and that this good quality was early learned may