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


THE Copernican or Newtonian theory of astronomy requires that the "axis of the earth is inclined 23° 28´ to that of the ecliptic."

"And from observation it is found that the sun does not every year cut the equator in the same point. If on a certain day he cuts the equator at a certain point, on the same day in the next year he cuts it at another point situated 50″.103 west of the former, and thus arrives at the equinox 20´ 23″ before having completed his revolution in the heavens, or passed from one fixed star to another. Thus the tropical year, or the true year of the seasons, is shorter than the sidereal year. . . . Retrograding every year 50″.103 to the west, the equinoxes

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make a complete revolution in 25,868 years. Thus the first point of Aries which formerly corresponded to the vernal equinox, is now 30° more to the west, though by a convention amongst astronomers it always answers to the equinox. . . . This change in the obliquity of the equator to the ecliptic is confirmed by the observations of ancient astronomers, and by calculation. We can convince ourselves of it by comparing the actual situation of the stars with respect to the ecliptic to that which they occupied in the earliest times. Thus we find that those which, according to the testimony of the ancients, were situated north of the ecliptic, near the summer solstice, are now more advanced towards the north, and have receded from this plane; that those which were south of the ecliptic, near the summer solstice, have approached this plane; and that some have passed into it, and even beyond it, on their course northward. The contrary changes take place near the winter solstice." 1

That the sun does not "cut the equator" every year in the same point, and that "the stars which were, in earliest times, situated north of the summer solstice, are now, in relation to the sun's position, more advanced towards the north," cannot be doubted; but because the earth is not a globe, and neither rotates on axes nor moves in an orbit round the sun, these changes cannot be attributed to what has been called the "precession of the equinoxes, It has been found, as stated at page 105-9 of this work, that the path of the sun is always over the earth, and concentric with the northern centre, and that the distance of the annual path has been gradually increasing ever since observations have been made--more than a quarter of a

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century. And when we consider that in Great Britain, and countries still more to the north, evidences have been found of a more tropical condition having once existed, we are forced to the conclusion that this gradual enlargement of the sun's course has been going on for centuries; and that at a former period the northern centre, and places such as Greenland, Iceland, Siberia, &c., at no great distance from it, have been tropical regions.

"People have dug down in the earth in Scotland, and in Canada--colder still--nay, even on the icy shores of Baffin's Bay; and on Melville Island, the most northern region of the earth that has ever been reached by man, there have been found--what? magnificent buried forests, and gigantic trees, which could only live now in the warmest countries of our earth--palm trees, and immense ferns, which, in our day, have scarcely light and heat enough to grow, even in the torrid zone." 1

"It is well known, as a matter of history, that when Green-land was discovered, it possessed a much warmer climate than it does at present. The ice packs have been extending south from the polar regions for some centuries. The cause of this is not well understood, the fact only is known." 2

As a natural result of the same enlargement of the sun's path, the south must have been gradually changing--its frost and darkness diminishing; and many have declared that such is really the fact.

"This climate appears to be in general much more temperate now (1822) than it was forty years ago. . . . Immense bodies of ice were then annually found in the latitude of 50° S.

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[paragraph continues] During the three voyages which I have made in these seas, I have never seen southern ice drifting to the northward of South Georgia (54° S.) Great changes must therefore have taken place in the south polar ice." 1

When comparing the accounts of voyages, both to the north and south, made by the earliest navigators, with the statements made by those of recent periods, many incidental proofs are found of the increase of cold in the arctic regions, and corresponding decrease in the antarctic. Hence we find that the various changes which have been attributed to the "procession of the equinoxes," are really due to the sun's gradually increasing distance from the northern centre, and his advance towards the south. How long the sun's path has been moving southwards, or how near it was to the polar centre when the advance commenced, or whether it was once vertical there, are questions which cannot yet be answered. If ever the sun had a vertical position over the northern centre there could not, of course, be alternations of heat and cold, or day and night, but one perpetual day and tropical summer. It is evident then that ever since day and night commenced, the sun must have moved in a concentric path at some distance from the polar centre; but because the path was much nearer than it is at the present day, the whole of the northern region must have been tropical, with long days, and scarcely darkness during the nights; but long continued day, gently gliding into evening or twilight, and summer alternating with spring and autumn, but never with darkness and winter. Hence,

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with so much day and so little night, such gentle alternations of temperature, and the sun-light almost continually playing at a considerable altitude, this region must have teemed with animal and vegetable life of the most beautiful character. Everything must have been developed with the most perfect structure, the most brilliant colours, the greatest physical powers, and the most intense moral and mental capacities. Such a region could not be less than a paradise, as beautiful and perfect as any ever recorded in the sacred books of ancient theologists, or of which it is possible for the human mind even now to conceive. There are frequent and singular references to be found in the sacred books, legends, and poems, of various nations, to the north as having been the abode of happy, powerful, and highly intelligent beings.


324:1 "Lecture on Astronomy," p. 105, by M. Arago.

325:1 "Lectures on Astronomy," by M. Arago.

326:1 "Professor L. Gaussen "World's Birthday," p. 174.

326:2 "London Journal," February 14, 1857.

327:1 "Voyages to the South," by Captain James Weddell, F.R.S.E., p. 95.

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