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(1) Der Bau des Weltalls (2) Die Planeten

Nature volume 81, pages 3637 (08 July 1909) | Download Citation



(1) THE series “Aus Natur und Geisteswelt” is well known. It consists of a number of little treatises, in which men of science occupying prominent positions have attempted to explain in an accurate and comprehensive manner the results of past inquiries, and the position to which our knowledge has extended in various directions. In the former of the two specimens before us, Dr. Scheiner gives the substance of six popular lectures delivered in Berlin to a number of high-school teachers in the course of which he attempted to describe so much of the universe as comes within the range of our telescopes. He endeavoured to bring home to his audience the magnificent scheme of distances on which the planetary and stellar systems are planned; he traced the detection of proper motion of the fixed stars, and showed how the sun's movement in direction and amount can be determined. The phenomena of the sun are explained in some detail, preparatory to the examination of the spectra of stars, a subject which is discussed somewhat fully, as might be expected from a member of the staff of the Potsdam Observatory. Herein, as the author points out, he is on the sure ground of observation. But in his last chapter he approaches the more speculative subject of the origin and constitution of the universe. The subject is handled with skill, and, notwithstanding the limited space to which the author is restricted, he has succeeded in making his subject both clear and interesting. We do not wonder thai the little work has passed through three editions, for apart from that longing to satisfy an intelligeni curiosity which appeals to so many, the material is put in a very attractive form, which should appeal tc many readers.

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