CHAP. XIV - Objections from the Nature of the Planets  pp. 233-252

Objections from the Nature of the Planets

By David Brewster

Image View Previous Chapter Next Chapter



Having sullied the glories of the sidereal world by converting the stars and systems which compose it, into vapour, gas, and comets' tails, the Essayist proceeds to apply the same process to the planets of the Solar system, converting those exterior to the Earth into water and mud, and the interior ones into cinder or sheets of rigid slag like the moon!

This process commences with Neptune, which he describes as a dark and cold world, where the light and heat of the Sun is incapable of “unfolding the vital powers, and cherishing the vital enjoyments of animals;”—an assumption without any evidence to support it. It is true, that if we consider the solar influences as emanations following a geometrical law, their power upon the surface of Neptune must be immensely enfeebled; but such a law does not exist. Although the Sun is nearest the Earth in winter, his light and heat are, from different causes, greatly reduced, and we know, as we have shewn in a former chapter, that there may be conditions of the atmosphere of the remoter planets which may procure for them more genial influence from the Sun, or there may be temperatures in their interior which may supply the place of radiated heat.

The same observations which apply to Neptune are applicable to Uranus, Saturn, and Jupiter,—the same objections on the part of the Essayist, and the same reply to them.