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m FRAGMENTS OF SCIENCE.

nomena of light as displayed in the ether ,‘ which is the
name given to the interstellar medium.

The notion of this medium must not be considered as
a vague or fanciful conception on the part of scientific men.
Of its reality most of them are as convinced as they are of
the existence of the sun and moon. The luminiferous ether
has definite mechanical properties. It is almost infinitely
more attenuated than any known gas, but its-properties are
those of a solid rather than of a gas. It resembles jelly
rather than air. A body thus constituted may have its
boundaries; but, although the ether may not be coexten-
sive with space, we at all events know that it extends as
far as the most distant visible stars. In fact, it is the Ve-
hiclqugfmtheir light,_and without it they could not be seen.
This all-pervading substance takes up their molecular tre-
mors, and conveys them with inconceivable rapidity to our or-
gans of vision. It is the transported shiver of bodies count-
less millions of miles distant, which translates itself in human
consciousness into the splendor of the firmament at night.

If the ether have a boundary, masses of ponderable
matter might be conceived to exist beyond it, but they
could emit no light. Beyond the ether dark' suns might
burn ; there, under proper conditions, combustion might be
carried on; fuel might consume unseen, and metals be
heated to fusion in invisible fires. A body, moreover, once
heated there, would continue forever heated; a sun or
planet, once molten, would continue forever molten. For,
the loss of« heat. being. Simplytheabstractionbf. molecular
motionwbythe Nether, where this medium is absent no cool-
ing could occur. A sentient being, on approaching’a heated
body in this region, would be conscious of no augmentation
of temperature. The gradations of warmth dependent on
the laws of radiation would not exist, and actual Contact
would first reveal the heat of an extra ethereal sun.

Imagine a paddle-wheel placed in water and caused to

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