BY A BANKER.
Circling the vast and illimitable vault of the starry
heavens as with a prodigious ring of subdued light, the “Milky
Way” is veritably a strange and striking object when viewed
from the peak of some lofty mountain where the pure an rarified atmosphere
offers little obstruction to the coruscating rays of quivering light which
ever glitter and sparkle from the stellar world around.
Though not, to the unaided eye, exhibiting the wondrous
diversities of hue of many of the nearer stars, the various tints of which,
from this elevated position, add so much to the glory of the midnight
scene – the scarlet-vermilion of Eta
in Perseus, the brillian gold-amber of Gamma
in Leo, with its near attendant a vivid emerald, the azure blue of Delta
in the Serpent, or that beautiful double star in the constellation
in the Ship,
the one a brilliant rose-pink, the other an ocean-green – Yet the
subdued nebulous luminosity of this distant shining ring of blazing suns,
all apparently mingled together in one mighty encircling tire-cloud, forcibly
impresses the mind with the majesty and immensity of space, and the diminutive
minuteness of all things terrestrial.
But when viewed through a powerful telescope this girdled
galaxy of stars is a spectacle of infinite grandeur and magnificence.
For the entire nebulous array is resolved into myriads of great scintillating
suns, apparently so thickly strewn together, though of course countless
millions of miles apart (it is fairly established that our sun is one
of the starts of the Milky Way), that they appear positively to be almost
in contact with each other; millions of vast burning orbs; and still millions
upon millions, right back into the remotest depths of the dark, profound
abyss on never ending space. And on, on, on, plunged yet deeper and still
deeper into the eternal void, blaze these myriads of mighty flaming suns;
each sun, doubtless, surrounded with its system of revolving planets;
each planet perhaps attended by its light reflecting satellite.
The boundless immensity and overpowering infinity of
this sublime array of flashing celestial spheres is so appalling, that
a sense of positive and amazed awe must course through the mind of even
the most callous beholder as he realises the astounding and stupendous
vastness of this endless star filled space.