I looked into the spectroscope. No spectrum such as I expected! A single bright line only!...The riddle of the nebulae was solved. The answer, which had come to us in the light itself, read: Not an aggregation of stars, but a luminous gas. Stars after the order of our own sun, and of the brighter stars, would give a different spectrum; the light of this nebula had clearly been emitted by a luminous gas.
The Scientific Papers of Sir William Huggins Historical Statement (p. 106)
Maxwell, James Clerk
The vast interplanetary and interstellar regions will no longer be regarded as waste places in the universe, which the Creator has not seen fit to fill with the symbols of the manifold order of His kingdom. We shall find them to be already full of this wonderful medium; so full, that no human power can remove it from the smallest portion of space, or produce the slightest flaw in its infinite continuity. It extends unbroken, from star to star; and when a molecule of hydrogen vibrates in the dog-star, the medium receives the impulses of these vibrations; and after carrying them in its immense bosom for three years, delivers them in due course, regular order, and full tale into the spectroscope. . .
The Scientific Papers ofJames Clerk Maxwell
Volume II Action at a Distance (p. 322)
White orbs like angels pass Before the triple glass
That men may scan the record of each flame,— Of spectral line and line The legendary divine
Finding their mould the same, and aye the same,
The atoms that we knew before
Of which ourselves are made,—dust, and no more.
Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada Volume 27, 1933 (p. 375)
Spectrum analysis enabled the astronomer to tell when a star was advancing head on, and when it was going the other way. This was regarded as very precious. Why the astronomer wanted to know, is not stated; nor what he could sell out for, when he did know. An astronomer's notions about preciousness were loose. They were not much regarded by practical men, and seldom excited a broker.
The Secret History of Eddypus
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