James Nasmyth, an ingenuous engineer— inventor of the steam hammer, c, an excellent astronomer, draughtsman, and painter, has cjmmuYiicated to the Franklin Journal a copy of a paper read by him belore the Royal Astronomical Society, of London, on the subject indicated by the above caption. He assumes the hypothesis ot the original molten condition of the earth to be established, and going back he attributes the evidences of ancient deluges to be easily explained by the cooling of the earth, the condensation of water, and the falling in from time to time of the earth's crust towards the centre as our globe coolad. There was a time, he believes,owing to the heat of the globe, when no water could rest upon our earth in a liquid form, but as the crust of our globe cooled, some parts sunk down, the waters were condensed, and thus seas and lakes were formed. He believes that the conditions of cooling and condensation are now going on in Jupiter, and that Saturn is so hot that no water rests upon its bosom, but surrounds it in vapor, of which her rings are formed. Mr. Nasmyth's views may be correct and they may not; they do not at least explain all the deluge phenomena on our globe, nor can they answer all the objections which may be brought against them. For example, his hypothesis supposes that all the matter ol which the sun and all the planets is composed was once connected in a molten state, and that the sun is still a molten mass. Now if Mr. Nasmyth is correct, how does it happen that against all the laws ot cooling bodiesthe earthfar in the inside of Jupiter and Saturn, cooled before these planets. The only answer given is that these bodies are so much larger than the earth; but that is not a sufficient one, as Jupiter revolves on his axis in 9 hours, 56 minutes, and being twelve hundred times the bulk of the earth, his surface velocity is more than twenty-four hundred times that of the earth ; consequently his cooling action is exactly so much greater than that of the earth. His theory also cannot account for the absence of water in the moon, but would give seas and lakes to that satelite. An inhabitant of the moon, if there were one, and he a plutonist, would come to the conclusion by Mr. Nasmyth's method of speculation, that our planet was in a molten state now. Lieut. Maury in his description of the Equatorial Cloud Ring " says:'' A belt of equatorial ..alms and rains encircle the earth, were the clouds which overhang this belt luminous, and could they be seen by an observer from one of the planets, they would present to him an appearance not unlike that which the rings of Saturn do to us." Here is a phenomenon explained, which in Jupiter and Saturn would go to prove those planets to be in a different condition from that set lorth by Mr. Nasmyth.
This article was originally published with the title "Present Condition and Temperature of the Planets Jupiter and Saturn" in Scientific American 8, 41, 325 (June 1853)