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flutters its wing, and utters its short warble to the listening ornithologist.
If the weather should become mild towards the end of the month, the busy earth-worm will attract notice. “Great is the utility of this animal. Its operations loosen the soil, thus rendering it more porous and able to admit water, so essential to the nutriment of plants. But this is not all: the earth-worm absolutely raises the surface of the soil, and that very rapidly. So much is this the case, that stones and other objects which cumber the ground become in a few months-or, if large, years—buried beneath an accumulation of rich mould, the rejected nutriment of myriads of these beings, the effect of whose agency is to level and smooth, and fit the soil for herbage. Worms, then, are pasture-makers. It is by their means that a stony, sterile field becomes an uniformly grass-covered mead ; that the stones disappear beneath the turf; and that a light and porous surface is perpetually maintained. In the multitudes of these creatures we see the wisdom of the Almighty, who has destined them, feeble as they are, for the promotion, in a remote sense, of man's interest."- Sights in Winter.
Many a shrub and tree will still continue without leaves. Treasured up in their vessels, there is, however, hidden life. Gloomy as they appear, they inust not be considered as perishing :
“For let the months go round; a few short months,
February, upon the whole, is a cheerless month; but such is the changeability of the weather in our climate, that it sometimes turns out to be the coldest month in the year. In 1845 it was particularly cold, the mean temperature being several degrees below the general mean of February. In 1846, on the other hand, it was remarkably mild, and even, at times, very warm; its mean temperature greatly exceeding the general mean.
BRIEF ASTRONOMICAL NOTICES,
FOR FEBRUARY, 1847. By Mr. William Rogerson, of the Royal Observatory, Greenwich.
“I MEDITATE on Him who ever was,
And is, and shall be,--self-existing One !
Of every creature now, or ages gone :
The grand, the secret soul of nature's laws
Wherever being is to gaze upon:
The above is a representation of the Sun and certain planets, as they are situated with respect to one another on the 22d of this month, when Saturn is in conjunction with the Sun, as seen from the Earth. The principal design in giving this figure, is to convey to the youthful reader a familiar idea of what has been so much talked about in the scientific world, “ the perturbations of the newly-discovered planet on Uranus." The body in the centre represents the Sun: in the innermost circle is the Earth, with the Moon: in the next circle is Jupiter, with his four satellites : in the next is Saturn, with his ring and seven moons, and as seen from the Earth must be in conjunction with the Sun: in the circle next to this is Uranus and his six attendants, distant from the Sun eighteen hundred millions of miles. Nearly double this distance, in the uttermost circle, (a part of which could only be conveniently exhibited,) is the planet lately discovered. New observations all show that of late years the longitude of Uranus, (which is reckoned from west to east,) after proper allowances are made for the attractions of all the known planets, is found to be less than the calculations from the best astronomical tables give : and the cause is plain; for the new planet, being to the west of Uranus, will draw it that way, and of course cause its observed longitude to be less than that to be derived from the tables. The geocentric longitudes of the planets here represented on February 22d, are-Jupiter, seven degrees of Gemini; Saturn, three degrees of Pisces; Uranus, twelve degrees of Aries; and the new planet, about twenty-seven degrees of Aquarius : these places can easily be marked out on a celestial globe.
Respecting the discovery of the planet beyond Uranus by M. Le Verrier, a certain writer says: “From the simple knowledge of one great law of nature, M. Le Verrier has been able to fix the place, and describe the magnitude, of a world before unknown. Thus the finite intelligence of man connects itself with the infinite intelligence of Deity, traces its operations beyond the limits of sight, and confirms the assurrance of the divine origin of the human soul.”
M. Le Verrier said, “ Theory and observation appear to contradict each other when Uranus is concerned, of this planet which gravitates on the confines of our planetary system. Well, neither the one nor the other are wrong. In order to re-establish this argument, broken in appearance, it only requires us to admit the existence of a star of the same nature, but more distant, disturbing by its influence the regular movement of Uranus. This star no one has seen, but it exists. I have measured its distance, weighed its bulk, and estimated its diameter; it is there : seek, and you will discover it.” He wrote thus to M. Galle, at Berlin ; who the same night directed his telescope to the exact point of the heavens indicated by the French astronomer, and immediately he found the predicted planet, which for so many centuries had remained hidden from us.
" Le Verrier first his learned eyes upraised,
And on the problem with fix'd purpose gazed :
On the 13th of November last, a memoir of the highest interest was read by the Astronomer-Royal, at the meeting of the Royal Astronomical Society, on the history of the discovery of the newlyfound planet; in which he remarks, “ The principal steps in the theoretical investigations have been made by one individual, and
hed discovery of the planet was necessarily made by one individual. To these persons the public attention has been principally directed ; and well do they deserve the honours which they have received, and which they will continue to receive. Yet we should do wrong if we considered that these two persons alone are to be regarded as the authors of the discovery of this planet. I am confident that it will be found that the discovery is a consequence of what may properly be called a movement of the age ; that it has been nearly perfected by the collateral, but independent, labours of
various persons possessing the talents or powers best suited to the ditferent parts of the researches.”
The Sun rises on the 1st, at Greenwich or London, at forty-one minutes past seven, and set at forty-seven minutes after four : on the same day he rises at Edinburgh at one minute before eight, and sets at twenty-eight minutes past four. The Sun rises on the 21st, at Greenwich, at five minutes past seven, and sets at twenty-three minutes after five : on the same day he rises at Edinburgh at sixteen minutes past seven, and sets at thirteen minutes after five. The Sun is a beautiful object, even in the depth of winter :
“Thou mightiest work of Him
MERCURY is invisible.
VENUS now becomes visible in the evening : she sets on the 6th at six o'clock, on the 15th at half-past six, and on the 26th at five minutes after seven: she is in conjunction with Saturn on the 7th.
Mars is to be seen near the south-eastern horizon, about two hours before sunrise : on the 12th this planet is in the neighbourhood of the Moon.
JUPITER, during this month, appears the most splendid of the planetary train; he is due south on the 4th at a quarter past seven, and on the 20th at twenty-three minutes after six, in the evening. This brilliant orb is in the vicinity of the Pleiades, Aldebaran, and the bright stars of Orion : on the 22d he is in the neighbourhood of the Moon.
SATURN may be seen, if the evenings prove very clear, during the first week of this month, near the western horizon, in the vicinity of Venus, soon after sunset ; but throughout the last three weeks he is obscured in the rays of the Sun.
Note. On the 10th of February, 1698, Bouguer was born.
He was one of the most eminent astronomers that Franee ever possessed. He was on the commission with Condamine and Godin, sent in 1735 to South America to measure an arc of the meridian, to determine the figure of the earth.
On the 15th of February, 1564, Galilei Galileo was born. This great astronomer fortified the Copernican system with new proofs, derived both from reason and the senses. “Galileo,” says Hume, “is a lively and agreeable, though somewhat a prolix, writer."
BASKET OF SPECIMEN FRAGMENTS.-No. VI.
(From Pollok's “ Course of Time.”)
FALSE LIBERTY, OF MERELY HUMAN AND HEATHEN ORIGIN.
This was that liberty renown'd,
• Cowper. See “ Task,” book v.; the latter two-thirds are devoted to the subject.
See Daniel vii. 7.