Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 37.djvu/74

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64
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

the prevailing habits of American family life, it is becoming with us every day more and more impossible to obtain from pupils the proper amount of work, associated with the proper regime as to exercise and recreation—and diet even—so long as they remain under the parental roof. Such a school could not fail to soon stand as an exponent of the development of a higher, better, and truer secondary education. It would be a model for the encouragement of other schools of a similar character that would soon come into existence, and it would make its impress upon the programmes of public secondary schools. Any man of wealth who is animated by the ambition of sending his name down to a grateful posterity linked with a noble educational benefaction, could not to-day find a more deserving field for the investment of a spare million than in the founding of such a school. To the colleges, to the universities, to the schools of industrial science, would the money thus invested be of as great benefit as if donated directly to them. For, as the gentle rain sinking far down into the earth among the rootlets refreshes and revives the mature tree, so would a preparatory school of this character give to the higher institutions of learning strength at a vital point where it is peculiarly needed.

 

SCENES ON THE PLANET MERCURY.[1]
By G. V. SCHIAPARELLI,

OF THE OBSERVATORY OF MILAN, ITALY.

NO one of the planets that were known in ancient times is so difficult to observe as Mercury, and none presents so many obstacles to the study of its orbit and physical constitution. As to its orbit, Mercury is the only planet the course of which seems even now to have partly cut loose from the laws of universal gravitation, and the theory of which, although well built up by the genius of Leverrier, is still in considerable disagreement with the observations. The little we know of its physical construction is derived from the observations made a hundred years ago by Schroeter at Lilienthal. A telescopic examination of this planet is really a difficult affair. Describing a small orbit around the sun, Mercury is never seen so far from it as to make it possible to observe it, in temperate latitudes, in the full darkness of night. It is rarely possible to observe it in the twilight before sunrise or after sunset; it being then so near the horizon and so affected by the agitations and unequal refractions of the lower strata of the atmosphere that it usually presents itself to the telescope with

  1. Address before the Royal Academy Dei Lincei, December 8, 1889.