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of stars designated Lambda (a), Kappa (x), and Iota (e), mark the extended right hand chained to the rock, and Zeta ($) and some smaller stars southwest of it show the left arm and hand, also stretched forth and shackled.

In searching for picturesque objects in Andromeda, begin with Alpheratz and the groups forming the hands. Below the girdle will be seen a rather remarkable arrangement of small stars in the mouth of the Northern Fish. Now follow up the line of the girdle to the star Nu (v). If your glass has a pretty wide field, your eye will immediately catch the glimmer of the Great Nebula of Andromeda in the same field with the star. This is the oldest or earliest discovered of the nebulæ, and, with the exception of that in Orion, is the grandest visible in this hemisphere. Of course, not much can be expected of an opera-glass in viewing such an object; and yet a good glass, in clear weather and the absence of the moon, makes a very attractive spectacle of it.

By turning the eyes aside, the nebula can be seen, extended as a faint, wispy light, much elongated on either side of the brighter nucleus. The cut here given shows, approximately, the appearance of

the nebula, together with some of the small stars in its neighborhood, as seen with a field-glass. With large telescopes it appears both larger and broader, expanding to a truly enormous extent, and in Bond's celebrated picture of it we behold gigantic rifts running through it, while the whole field of sky in which it is contained appears sprinkled over with minute stars apparently between us and the nebula. It was

in, or probably more propMAP 5.—THE GREAT ANDROMEDA NEBULA.

erly speaking, in line with, this nebula that a new star suddenly shone out in 1885, and, after flickering and fading for a few months, disappeared. That the outburst of light in this star had any real connection with the nebula is exceedingly improbable. Although it appeared to be close beside the bright nucleus of the nebula, it is likely that it was really hundreds or thousands of millions of miles either this side or the other side of it. Why it should suddenly have blazed into visibility, and then in so short a time have disappeared, is a question as difficult as it is interesting The easiest way to account for it, if not the most satisfactory,



is to assume that it is a variable star of long period, and possessing a very wide range of variability. One significant fact that would seem to point to some connection between star and the nebula, after all, is that a similar occurrence was noticed in the constellation Scorpio in 1860, and to which I have previously referred (see " Popular Science Monthly" for June, 1887). In that case a faint star projected against the background of a nebula, suddenly flamed into comparatively great brilliancy, and then faded again. The chances against the accidental superposition of a variable star of such extreme variability upon a known nebula occurring twice are so great that for that reason alone we might be justified in thinking some mysterious causal relation must in each case exist between the nebula and the star. The temptation to indulge in speculation is very great here, but it is better to wait for more light, and confess that for the present these things are inexplicable.

It will be found very interesting to sweep with the glass slowly from side to side over Andromeda, gradually approaching toward Cassiopeia or Perseus. The increase in the richness of the stratum of faint stars that apparently forms the background of the sky will be clearly discernible as you approach the Milky-Way, which passes directly through Cassiopeia and Perseus. It may be remarked that the Milky-Way itself, in that splendidly rich region about Sagittarius (described in the “Stars of Summer"), is not nearly so effective an object with an opera-glass as it is above Cygnus and in the region with which we are now dealing. This seems to be owing to the smaller magnitude of its component stars in the southern part of the stream. There the background appears more truly “milky," while in the northern region the little stars appear distinct, like diamond-specks on a black background.

The star Nu, which serves as a pointer to the Great Nebula, is itself worth some attention with a pretty strong glass on account of a pair of small stars near it.

Next let us turn to Perseus. The bending row of stars marking the center of this constellation is very striking and brilliant. The brightest star in the constellation is Alpha, or Algenib, in the center of the row. The head of Perseus is toward Cassiopeia, and in his left band he grasps the head of Medusa, which bangs down in such a way that its principal star Beta, or Algol, forms a right angle with Algenib and Almaach in Andromeda. This star Algol, or the Demon, as the Arabs call it, is in some respects the most wonderful and interesting in all the heavens. It is as famous for the variability of its light as Mira, but it differs widely from that star both in its period, which is very short, and in the extent of the changes it undergoes. During about two days and a half, Algol is equal in brilliancy to Algenib, which is a second-magnitude star; then it begins to fade, and in the course of about four and a half hours it sinks to the fourth magnitude, being then about equal to the faint stars near it. It remains thus obscured for only a few minutes, and then begins to brighten again, and in about four and a balf hours more resumes its former brilliancy. This phenomenon is very easily observed, for, as will be seen by consulting our little map, Algol can be readily found, and its changes are

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so rapid that under favorable circumstances it can be seen in the course of a single night to run through the whole gamut. Of course, no optical instrument whatever is needed to enable one to see these changes of Algol for it is plainly visible to the naked eye throughout, but it will be found interesting to watch the star with an opera-glass. Its periodic time from minimum to minimum is two days, twenty hours, and forty-nine minutes, lacking a few seconds. Any one can calculate future minima for himself by adding the periodic time above given to the time of any observed minimum. For instance, there will be a minimum on November 12th at about 11.15 P. M., then the next minimum will occur two days, twenty hours and forty-nine minutes later, or at 8.04 P. M., on November 15th.

While spots upon its surface may be the cause of the variations in the light of Mira, it is believed that the more rapid changes of Algol may be due to another cause ; namely, the existence of a huge, dark body revolving swiftly around it at close quarters in an orbit whose plane is directed edgewise toward the earth, so that at regular intervals this dark body causes a partial eclipse of Algol. Notwithstanding the attacks that have been made upon this theory, it seems to hold its ground, and it will probably continue to find favor as a working hypothesis until some fresh light is cast upon the problem. It hardly needs to be said that the dark body in question, if it exists, must be of enormous size, bearing no such insignificant proportion to the size of Algol as the earth does to the sun, but being rather the rival in bulk of its shining brother-a blind companion, an extinguished sun.

There was certainly great fitness in the selection of the little group of stars of which this mysterious Algol forms the most conspicuous member, to represent the awful head of the Gorgon carried by the victorious Perseus for the confusion of his enemies. In a darker age than ours the winking of this demon star must bave seemed a prodigy of sinister import.

Turn now to the bright star Algenib, or Alpha Persei. You will find with the glass an exceedingly attractive spectacle there. In my note-book I find this entry, made while sweeping over Perseus for materials for this article : “The field about Alpha is one of the finest in the sky for an opera-glass. Stars conspicuously ranged in curving lines and streams. A bost follows Alpha from the east and south.” The picture above will give the reader some notion of the exceeding beauty of this field of stars, and of the singular manner in which they are grouped, as it were, behind their leader. A field-glass increases the beauty of the scene.

The reader will find a starry cluster marked on Map 4 as the “Great Cluster.” This object can be easily detected by the naked eye, resembling a wisp of luminous cloud. It marks the hand in which Perseus clasps his diamond sword, and, with a telescope of medium power, it is one of the most marvelously beautiful objects in the sky -a double swarm of stars, bright enough to be clearly distinguished from one another, and yet so numerous as to dazzle the eye with their lively beams. An opera-glass does not possess sufficient power to “resolve" this cluster, but it gives a startling suggestion of its half-hidden magnificence, and the observer will be likely to turn to it again and again with increasing admiration. Sweep from this to Alpha Persei and beyond to get an idea of the procession of suns in the Milky-Way. The nebulous-looking cluster marked 34 M appears with an opera-glass like a faint comet.

Next look at Cassiopeia, which is distinctly marked out by the zigzag row of stars so well described by Aratus. Here the Milky-Way

is so rich that the observer hardly needs any guidance ; he is sure to stumble upon interesting sights for himself. The five brightest stars



are generally represented as indicating the outlines of the chair or throne in which the queen sits, the star Zeta (5) being in her head. Look at Zeta with a good field-glass, and you will see a singular and brilliant

array of stars near it in a broken half-circle, which may suggest the notion of a crown. Near the little star Kappa («) in the map will be seen a small circle and the figures 1572. This shows the spot where the famous temporary star, which has of late been frequently referred to as the “Star of Bethlehem," appeared. It was seen in 1572, and carefully observed by the famous astronomer Tycho Brahe. It seems to have suddenly burst forth with a brilliancy that outshone every other star in the heavens, not excepting Sirius itself. But its supremacy was short-lived. In a few months it had sunk to the second magnitude. It continued to grow fainter, exhibiting some remarkable changes of color in the mean time, and in less than a year and a half it had disappeared. It has never been seen since. But in 1264, and again in 945, a star is said to have suddenly blazed out near that point in the heavens. There is no certainty about these earlier apparitions, but, assuming that they are not apocryphal, they might possibly indicate that the star seen by Tycho was a periodical one, its period considerably exceeding three hundred years. Carrying this supposed period back, it was found that an apparition of this star might have occurred about the time of the birth of Christ. It did not require a very prolific imagination to suggest its identity with the so-called star of the Magi, and hence the legend of the Star of Bethlehem and its impending reappearance of which we have heard so much of late. It will be observed, from the dates given above, that, even supposing them to be correct, no definite period is indicated for the reappearances of the star. In one case the interval is three hundred and eight years, and in the other three hundred and nineteen years. In short, there are too many suppositions and assumptions involved to allow of any credence being given to the theory of the periodicity of Tycho's wonderful star. At the same time, nobody can say it is impossible that the star should appear again, and so it may be interesting for the reader to know where to look for it.

Many of the most beautiful sights of this splendid constellation are beyond the reach of an opera-glass, and reserved for the grander powers of the telescope.

We will pause but a minute with Cepheus, for the old king's constellation is comparatively dim in the heavens, as his part in the dramatic story of Andromeda was contemptible, and he seems to have got among the stars only by virtue of his relationship to more interesting persons. He does possess one gem of singular beauty-the star Mu, which may be found about half-way from Alpha to the group of stars in the king's head, named Zeta (S), Epsilon (c), and Delta (8), and a little southwest of a line joining them. It is the so-called “Garnet Star,” thus named by William Herschel, who advises the observer,

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