Humboldt, in his Cosmos, gives the following beautiful illustrative proofs of this phenomenon:
If, for a moment, we imagine the acuteness of our senses preternaturally heightened to the extreme limits of telescopic vision, and bring together events separated by wide intervals of time, the apparent repose which reigns in space will suddenly vanish; countless stars will be seen moving in groups in various directions; nebulæ wandering, condensing, and dissolving like cosmical clouds; the milky way breaking up in parts, and its veil rent asunder. In every point of the celestial vault we shall recognise the dominion of progressive movement, as on the surface of the earth where vegetation is constantly putting forth its leaves and buds, and unfolding its blossoms. The celebrated Spanish botanist, Cavanilles, first conceived the possibility of “seeing grass grow,” by placing the horizontal micrometer wire of a telescope, with a high magnifying power, at one time on the point of a bamboo shoot, and at another on the rapidly unfolding flowering stem of an American aloe; precisely as the astronomer places the cross of wires on a culminating star. Throughout the whole life of physical nature—in the organic as in the sidereal world—existence, preservation, production, and development, are alike associated with motion as their essential condition.
Titolo: Science Curiosities
Autore: John Timbs;
Editore: John Timbs
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