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This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. 1837 Excerpt: ...of those which have appeared. The result is, that it has been rendered very probable, that the double stars describe ellipses about each other; and therefore that here also, at an immeasureable distance from our system, the law of attraction according to the inverse square, prevails. And, according to the practice of astronomers when a law has been established, tables have been calculated for the future motions; and we have ephemerides of the revolutions of suns round each other, in a region so remote, that the whole circle of our earth's orbit, if placed there, would be imperceptible by our strongest telescopes. The permanent comparison of the observed with the predicted motions, continued for more than one revolution, is the severe and decisive test of the truth of the theory: and the result of this test astronomers are now awaiting. The verification of Newton's discoveries was sufficient employment for the last century; the first step in the extension of them belongs to this century. We cannot at present foresee the magnitude of this task, but every one must feel that the law of gravitation, before verified in all the particles of our own system, and now extended to the all but infinite distance of the fixed stars, presses upon our minds with irresistible evidence, as a universal law of the whole material creation. Thus, in this and the preceding chapter, I have given a brief sketch of the history of the verification and extension of Newton's great discovery. By the mass of labour and of skill which this head of our subject includes, we may judge of the magnitude of the advance in our knowledge which that discovery made. A wonderful amount of talent and industry have been requisite for this purpose; but with these, external means have co-operated. Wealth...
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