The annexed engraving is a perspective v lew ot the planet Saturn, with its third ring, as seen through the great telescope of Mr Craig, at Wandsworth Common, London. In 1838, Dr. Galle, of Berlin, had noticed a gradual shaking of the inner ring of Saturn f-o-wards the body of the planet, and had published au account of his observations in the Transactions of the Berlin Academy. This memoir was so Ettle known, that Prof. Bond ot Cambridge, Mass., discovered this third ring in 1850, and published an account of the same The Rev. Mr. Dawes, of Watering-bury, in November 1850, also succeeded in making out some additional facts about tins new appendage. The London Illustrated News states that Prof. Challis, of Gambridge, England, failed to discover this third ring with the telescope of that university, and an observation made with the great reflector ot Lord Rosse was equally fruitless. The new telescope of Mr. Craig, when turned upon Saturn resolved the third or interior ring, so as to leave no doubt, upon the subject, in color, it is a brilliant slate Saturn is one of the most interesting ofthe lieavenly bodies, owing to the rings by which it is surrounded. Galileo was the first to notice some strange phenomena connected with Saturn, but Huyghens, the German philosopher, was the first to discover the ring which was announced by him in 1656. Dominic Cassini, an astronomer at Paris discovered a second ring in 1675, and now Prof. Bond truly may be said to have discovered the third ring, that darker colored one seen in the inside of tw o luminous ones in the engraving. The rings of Saturn are broad and flat, and situated precisely iu.tiie plane u'ftne pianette equator Dark divisions have also been discovered in the outer or exterior ring of Saturn, but the dark interior ring for some time will excite great attention in the astronomical world. The thickness of the rings does not exceed 100 miles, according to the estimate of Sir John Herschel, and Prof. Bond, it is said, believes that the substance ofthe dark ring is aqueous. The question may be asked,4t of what sub-strict soldier of the nebular hypothesis should stick to his theory and arms by asserting that the planet'and rings were once in a fluid state, and the planet cooled, contracted, and shrunk aE likelihood, aqueous, and it is probable that if we could view our own globe from the moon, we would perceive that it also has a ring, and perhaps rings This is the opinion of Lieut. Maury. He says " the belt of equatorial calms and rains encircles the earth. Were the clouds which overhang this belt luminous, and could they be seen by an observer trom one of the planets, they would present to him an appearance not unlike the rings of Saturn do to us." Mr. Fishbough, the materialist philosopher of WilEamsburgh, N. Y., with a remarkable absenceof correct knowledge and reasoning, adduces what he considers " a new argument inprootof the nebular hypothesis, which has escaped the notice of astronomers," and takes for his proof and example the planet Saturn With a prodigious amount of undefined talk respecting centripetal and centrifugal forces, he proves the nebular theory by the bulged form of this planePs equator. How this proves the nebular theory we cannot divine Although the equatorial is greater than the polar diameter of Saturn, there is no solid equatorial ring, the poles are only flattened, and if this has been produced by the great centrifugal force caused by the rapid rotation of the planet, how can we account for such an amountofflatteningatthepolefl oiSatarn in comparison with that of Jupiter, which i*. volves much faster on its axis than Saturn, in proportion toitsbulk. Jupiter is 92,130miles in equatorial diameter, and 85,430 miles in polar diameter, a difference of 6,700 miles. Saturn's equatorial diameter is 77,230 miles, and polar diameter is 60,300, a difference of 7,930 Saturn rotates on its atis in 10 h 16'04 s. Jupiter rotates on its axis in 9 h., 55 m., 29'9 s. It revolves faster on its atis than Saturn; it is 14,900 miles greater in equatorial diameter than Saturn, and yet it is not so flattened in polar diameter in proportion to its bulk. The centrifugal force which this materialist philosopher talks about as generated by rotation cannot account for this difference between Jupiter's and Saturn's form. Jupiter, owing to its great bulk and velocity, should present a greater difference between its equatorial and polar diameter than Saturn, but the very reverse is the fact Saturn appears to be a perfect ellipse, it was long supposed to resembld a parallelogram, with the four corners rounded off, so as to leave the equatorial and polar regions flatter than they would be in a perfect sphere — This opinion was first advanced by Sir Wm Herschel, but Prof. Bessel, in 1833, gave results byactual micrometric measures, which prove it to be an ellipse. Theaxisof Saturn is inclined to his orbit 63 10', or 61 501 to the plane of the ecliptic, and it has therefore a considerable diversity of seasons, and it has, according to Sir William Herschel, a very dense atmosphere. The color of this planet's surface, is a yellowish white- It is at tended by eight satellites; it revolves round the sun in 29 years; its distance from the sun is 909.02S.000 miles, but its orbit is v erj eccentric, and it is sometimes nearer the sun by 103,000,000 miles The most ancient observation of Saturn was made by the Chaldeans 228 B. C. Since then astronomy has completely changed its character, and made such advances as to be considered the most perfect science. We are indebted to the invention ol the telescope for oui modern discoveries, and we are not, at the end of such improvements yet It is hoped that the great Craig telescope will be the meansof settling the dubious point whether Saturn's outer luminous ring is dividedinto several narrow ones.
This article was originally published with the title "The Planet Saturn with the Third Ring as seen through Craig's Great Telescope"