« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
THE VOLUME OF THE SKIES
When I survey the bright
And heavenward flies,
All that I know
Of a certain star
(Like the angled spar)
Now a dart of blue;
They would fain see, too,
They must solace themselves with the Saturn above it. What matter to me if their star is a world? Mine has opened its soul to me; therefore I love it.
THE STARS AND THEIR STORIES
Silently one by one, in the infinite meadows of heaven, Blossomed the lovely stars, the forget-me-nots of the angels.
THE stars that twinkle so beautifully on any clear night, and that look so small, are really all of them great suns like our own. Most of them, in fact, are larger than our sun. If they were not, we could not see them, they are so far away from us. If you could stand on the nearest fixed star, and look back to our sun, you would see it as one of the very smallest of all the stars. And then this Earth, that seems so big to us, and Venus, and Mars, and Jupiter, and the other planets, you could not see at all. It is possible, indeed it is almost probable, that every star has a family of planets about it, just as our sun has; perhaps, too, the light and heat it sends out nourish life on its planets, just as the light and heat of our sun make possible the life around us here on the Earth.
From the beginning, men have looked at the stars, and wondered what they are and what they mean. Are they scattered about in haphazard fashion, without any order at all ? So far as
we have yet been able to learn, they really are. But if you will watch a little while, you will see that the brighter ones seem to be grouped together, so that you can make pictures with them. On the plains of Asia, or in rainless Egypt, cen
turies before Christ-nobody knows just when-men began to see such pictures in the heavens. As they saw these pictures, they began to tell stories of how they came to be up there. Each picture, as they saw it, is called a constellation, which simply means a cluster of stars; and each story has for its hero some king or demigod, some beast or bird, who, it was supposed, was, after his death, transported to the sky and changed to a group of stars, to remind men of all times of his glory and his achievements.
Of course, to you and me, there is nothing real about the figures they saw; it is only in our imaginations that we can see the Lion, the Swan, and the others. Yet we ought to learn to recognize the constellations, in order to be able to find our way among the stars. It is an easy matter to learn them, and to be able to recognize them whenever we see them. To be sure, not all the stars can be seen at any one time. Some of them go down in the west as others rise in the east. And, indeed, if you will watch at the same hour for three or four weeks in succession, you will observe that the sky changes slightly from night to night. But by noting them through the seasons, we can, in the course of a year, see all but those so far to the south that they appear only to people living near the equator, or on the other side of it. And as we look upon the constellations in their procession, each will remind us of its own story.
Not only the stories told in the long ago are interesting. Those told by modern men of science, though of a very different kind, are quite as interesting. These latter-day stories tell the adventures, not of earth-born heroes who were changed into stars, but of the stars