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Nor nearer does he wind, nor farther stray,
But finds the point whence first he roll'd away.
Beyond the orb of Mars behold we find
Four smaller bodies of the planet kind
The first, though last reveal'd to human sight,
Is VESTA* call'd; of feeble, dusky light;
Whose bulk and distance are to us unknown,
Nor have her revolutions yet been shown.
Still farther off (with telescopic eye)
The late discovered CERES we descry;
diameter is four thousand, one hundred and eighty-nine miles ;-his diurnal rotation is performed (at the rate of
fifty-five thousand miles an hour) in twenty-four hours and forty minutes.--His bulk, compared with that of the earth, is as one is to six.
* The planet Vesta was discovered on the 29th of March, 1807, by Olbers, a German astronomer ---It appears like a star of the sixth magnitude. Its mean motion is greater than that of either of the three next mentioned planets ;—and her inclination less than that of either of them.
Of size minute, and various in her hue,
Sometimes a red, at others, white or blue,*
See PALLAS, gliding on in annual round,
The minimus of planet-stars, is found ; +
Of size so small, as well as feeble light,
No wonder she so long escap'd our sight.
* From some peculiar properties in her atmosphere, she is found to assume those various appearances of colour. This planet was discovered on the 1st of January, 1801, by Piazzi, an Italian astronomer. She is about one hundred and sixty-two miles in diameter ;-placed at two hundred and fifty-nine millions of miles from the sun ;-round which she performs her annual circuit in about four years, one hundred and eighty-nine days. She is but the one hundred and eighteen thousand, eight hundred and eighth part of the bulk which the earth is.
+ The diameter of this planet is no more than about righty miles. She was discovered on the 28th of March, 1802, by Dr. OLBERS, before-mentioned. Her distance from the sun is two hundred and sixty-five millions of miles ;-and she performs her annual course in about four years and two hundred and forty-three days.--This very diminutive planet is in solidity only the nine hundred and seventyfive thousand and thirty-sixth part of that of the earth. C.
In path elliptic, Juno* wings her way,
And feebly sheds on us her silver ray ;
Her length of days (as yet to us unknown)
By future observations, will be shown.
Whate'er her bulk, her days how short or long,
Creative judgment has not made them wrong.
In ev'ry world, in ev'ry part, we find
Th’ unerring wisdom of th' eternal mind.
More yet remote from day's all-cheering source,
Vast JUPITER performs his constant course :
Four friendly moons, with borrow'd lustre, rise,
Bestow their beams, benign, and light his skies. †
This planet was discovered by HARDING, a German astronomer, in December, 1804.--All that we yet learn respecting her is, that her distance from the sun is abont two hundred and ninety millions of miles:-and that her periodical revolution round the sun is performed in about four years, one hundred and
C. + Jupiter, the largest planet in our system, is eighty-nine In distance greater yet from Phæbus’ ray,
Through his large orbit, SATURN wheels his way.
thousand, one hundred and seventy miles in diameter ;-is placed at four kundred and ninety millions of miles from the sun; round which he revolves (at the rate of twenty-nine thousand miles an hour,) in eleven years, three hundred and fourteen days, twelve hours, und twenty minutes : and turns round on an axis in the short space of nine hours and fifty-six minutes, which is at the amazing velocity of twenty-six thousand miles an hour. He is, in bulk, one thousand five hundred times greater than the earth. He is accompanied by four satellites, or moons; which to the inhabitants of that planet, appear of the size that our moon does to us. Their distances from the planet, and times of revolution round it are as follow :
Jupiter and his moons frequently eclipse each other, like as our earth and moon do :-which eclipses furnish the navigator and astronomer with the means of determining the longitude of places. This planet is accompanied also by sundry zones or belts; which so vary their number and appearances, that they are supposed to be clouds, thrown more immediately up towards his equator, by the extreme velocity of his revolution. Sometimes only one belt is perceivable, at other times, six or more; they are, also, sometimes broad, sometimes narrow.
How great the change, could we he wafted there!
How slow the seasons ! and how long the year !*
One Moon, on us, reflects its cheerful light:
There sev'n attendants, brighten up the night,
Here, the blue firmament bedeck’d with stars,
There, over-head, a lucid arch appears.
Saturn's diameter is seventy nine thousand and forty-two miles; -his distance from the sun is about nine hundred and two millions of miles ;—he performs his annual round (at the rate of about twenty-two thousand miles an hour) in twenty-nine years, three hundred and seven days, six hours, and thirty-four minutes ;--and is nearly cleven hundred times greater in bulk than the earth.
This planet has two wonderful luminous rings (one within the other) surrounding his body, evidently designed to furnish additional lights to him. These rings have their rotation in about ten hours and half;—the extreme diameter of the outer ring is about two hundred and four thousand, eight hundred and eighty-three miles,-the inner diameter of the same is one hundred and ninety thousand, two hundred and forty-eight. The outer diameter of the inner ring is one hundred and eighty-four thousand, three hundred and ninety-three, and the inner one hundred and forty-six thousand, thrce hundred and forty, five miles. The breadth of the outer ring is fourteen thousand, six hundred and thirty-five miles ;--that of the inner is thirty-eight