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steady radiance upon the Earth. This is the beautiful planet Saturn, which, moving slowly at the rate of two minutes daily among the stars, may be readily traced from one constellation to another. Saturn is nearly nine hundred millions of miles from the Sun. . His volume is eleven hundred times that of the Earth; and while his year is equivalent to twenty-nine and a half of ours, his day is shorter by more than one-half. Receiving but one-nineteenth part of the light from the Sun that we do, it follows that the inhabitants of Saturn are not equally enlightened with us; and supposing them to be physically constituted as we are, stoves and cooking ranges undoubtedly go off at a ready sale and pretty high figure among them. Saturn differs from all the other planets, in being surrounded by three rings, consecutive to each other, which shine by reflection from the Sun, with superior brilliancy to the planet itself. It is also attended by eight satellites. Many theories have been started to account for the rings of Saturn, but none of them are satisfactory. Our own opinion is that this planet was originally diversified, like the Earth, with continents of land and vast oceans of water. By the rapid motion of the planet upon its axis, the oceans were collected near the equatorial regions, whence by the immense centrifugal force, they were subsequently thrown clear from the surface, and remained revolving about the denser body, at that distance where the centrifugal force and the attraction of gravitation, from the other planets, were in equilibrio.

The ships floating on the surface of the waters at the time of this great convulsion, of course, went with them, and it is

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a most painful reflection to the humane mind, that their crews have undoubtedly long since perished, after maintaining for a while their miserably isolated existence on a precarious supply of fish.

It is a curious and interesting fact, much dwelt on in popular treatises on Astronomy, that were a cannon ball fired from the Earth to Saturn, it would be one hundred and eighty years in getting there. The only useful deduction that we are able to make from this fact, however, is, that the inhabitants of Saturn, if warned of their danger by the sight of the flash or the sound of the explosion, would have ample opportunity in the course of the one hundred and eighty years, to dodge the shot!

Saturn was the father of all the Heathen Divinities, and we regret to say, was a most disreputable character. It will hardly be credited that he had a revolting habit of devouring his children shortly after their birth, and it was only by a pious deception of his wife, who furnished him with dogs, sheep, buffalo, and the like, on these occasions, with assurances that they were his offspring, that Jupiter and his brothers were preserved from their impending fate. A person of such a disposition could never be tolerated in a civilized community, and there is little doubt that if Saturn were a resident of the Earth at the present time, and should persist in his unpleasant practices, he would speedily be arrested and held to bail in a large amount.

HERSCHEL

We know little of this planet, except that with its six moons, it was discovered by Dr. Herschel, a native of the island of England (situated on the north-west coast of Europe), in 1781. It was named by him the “Georgium Sidus," as a tribute of respect to a miserable, blind, old lunatic, who at that time happened to be king of the Island. Overlooking the sycophancy of the man, in their admiration for the services of the Astronomer, his philosophical contemporaries re-named the planet, Herschel, by which title it is still known. An attempt made by the courtiers of the English king to call it Uranus (a Latin expression, meaning “ You reign over us”), happily failed to succeed. Herschel is supposed to be about eighty times larger than the Earth, and to have a period of revolution of about eighty-four years, but its diurnal motion has not yet been discovered.

NEPTUNE

Was discovered by a French gentleman, named Le Verrier, in 1846. It is supposed to be about forty thousand miles in diameter, and to have a period of one hundred and sixtyfour years. But of this planet, and another still more remote from the Sun, lately discovered (to which the literati and savans of Europe propose to give the name of Squibob, a Hebrew word signifying, There you go with your eye out"), we know little from actual observation. That they exist, there can be no doubt, and it is possible, to use the expressive language of a modern philosopher, “ There are a few more of the same sort left” beyond them.

Neptune is the God of the Sea, an unpleasant element, full of disagreeable fish, horrible sea-lions, and equivocal serpents, the reflection on which, or some other reasons, generally makes every one sick who ventures upon it. He married a Miss Amphitrite, who, unlike sailors' wives in general, usually accompanies her husband on all his voyages. Neptune is the tutelar deity of seamen, who generally allude to him as "Davy Jones," and speak of the ocean as his "lock

(a locker indeed, in which untold thousands of their worn-out bones are bleaching), and on crossing the Equinoctial line, it was formerly the custom among them to perform certain rites in his honor, which pagan ceremonial has gradually passed out of date.

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THE ASTEROIDS.

These are ten small planets, revolving about the Sun in different orbits, situated between those of Mars and Jupiter. They can seldom be seen without a powerful telescope; and are of no great importance when you see them. Our friend, Dr. Olbers, who paid much attention to these little bodies, is of the opinion that they are fragments of a large celestial sphere, which formerly revolved between Mars and Jupiter, and which, by some mighty internal convulsion, burst into pieces. With this opinion we coincide. What caused the explosion, how many lives were lost, and whether blame could be attached to any one on account of it, are circumstances that we shall probably remain in as profound ignorance of as the unfortunate inhabitants of the planet found themselves after the occurrence. What purpose the Asteroids now serve in the great economy of the Universe, it is impossible to ascertain; it may be that they are reserved as receptacles for the departed souls of ruined merchants and broken brokers. As the Spaniard profoundly remarks, " Quien Sabe ? "

CHAPTER II.

OF THE FIXED STARS.

For convenience of description, Astronomers have divided the entire surface of the Heavens into numerous small tracts, called constellations, to which have been given names, resulting from some real or fancied resemblance in the arrangement of the stars composing them, to the objects indicated. This resemblance is seldom very striking, but nomenclature is arbitrary, and it is perhaps quite as well to call a collection of stars that don't look at all like a scorpion, “The Scorpion,” as to name an insignificant village, with two or three hundred inhabitants, a tavern, no church, and twenty-seven grog shops, Rome, or Carthage. We once knew a couple of honest people, who named their eldest child (a singularly pug-nosed little girl), MADONNA, Madonna Smith-and that infant grew up and did well, and was lately married to a highly respectable young butcher.

A zone 16° in breadth, extending quite around the Heavens, 80 on each side of the Ecliptic, is called Zodiac.

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