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Zetetic Astronomy, by 'Parallax' (pseud. Samuel Birley Rowbotham), [1881], at

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As the earth has been proved to be fixed, the motion of the sun is a visible reality. If it be observed from any latitude a few degrees north of the line called the "Tropic of Cancer," and for any period before or after the time of southing, or passing the meridian, it will be seen to describe an arc of a circle. The following simple experiment will be interesting as demonstrating the fact that the sun's path is concentric with the centre of the earth's surface. Let the observer take his stand, half-an-hour before sunrise (in the month of June, or any of the summer months will be better than winter, as the results will be more striking), on the head of either the old or the new pier at Brighton, in Sussex. Let him draw a line due north and south; and a second line due east and west, across the first. Now stand with his back to the north. Being thus at his post and ready for observation, let him watch carefully for the sun's first appearance above the horizon; and he will find that the point where the sun is first observed is considerably to the north of east, or the line drawn at right angles to north and south. If he will continue to watch the sun's progress until noon, it will be

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seen to ascend in a curve southwards until it reaches the meridian; and thence to descend in a westerly curve until it arrives at the horizon, and to set considerably to the north of due west, as shown in the following diagram, fig. 59. An object which moves in an arc of a circle, and


FIG. 59.
FIG. 59.

returns to a given point in a given time, as the sun does to the meridian, must, of necessity, have completed a circular path in the twenty-four hours which constitute a solar day. To place the matter beyond doubt, the observations of Arctic navigators may be referred to. Captain Parry and several of his officers, on ascending high land near the arctic circle repeatedly saw, for twenty-four hours together, the sun describing a circle upon the southern horizon. Captain Beechy writes

"Very few of us had ever seen the sun at midnight; and this night happening to be particularly clear, his broad red disk, curiously distorted by refraction, and sweeping majestically along the northern horizon, was an object of imposing grandeur, which rivetted to the deck some of our crew, who would perhaps have beheld with indifference the less imposing effect of the icebergs. The rays were too oblique to illuminate more than

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the irregularities of the floes, and falling thus partially on the grotesque shapes either really assumed by the ice, or distorted by the unequal refraction of the atmosphere, so betrayed the imagination, that it required no great exertion of fancy to trace in various directions, architectural edifices, grottos, and caves, here and there, glittering as if with precious metals.

In July, 1865, Mr. Campbell, United States Minister to Norway, with a party of American gentlemen, went far enough north to see the sun at midnight. It was in 69 degrees north latitude, and they ascended a cliff 1000 feet above the arctic sea. The scene is thus described:--

"It was late, but still sunlight. The arctic ocean stretched away in silent vastness at our feet: the sound of the waves scarcely reached our airy look-out. Away in the north the huge old sun swung low along the horizon, like the slow beat of the tall clock in our grandfather's parlour corner. We all stood silently looking at our watches. When both hands stood together at twelve, midnight, the full round orb hung triumphantly above the wave--a bridge of gold running due north,, spangled the waters between us and him. There he shone in silent majesty which knew no setting. We involuntarily took off our hats--no word was said. Combine the most brilliant sunrise you ever saw, and its beauties will pall before the gorgeous colouring which lit up the ocean, heaven, and mountains. In half an hour the sun had swung up perceptibly on its beat; the colours had changed to those of morning. A fresh breeze had rippled over the florid sea; one songster after another piped out of the grove behind us--we had slid into another day." 1


107:1 "Brighton Examiner," July 1st, 1870.

Next: Chapter VII. The Sun's Path Expands and Contracts Daily for Six Months Alternately