Pagina:Scientia - Vol. VII.djvu/277

the “canals„ of mars 269

ting filaments, the representation of which was evidently beyond the powers of any artist. There was nothing geometrical in all this — nothing artificial, the whole appearance having something overwhelmingly natural about it».

In the November number of the same Journal, M. Antoniadi gives four exquisite drawings of Mars, which should be compared with drawings of the same regions obtained by our chief areographers at different epochs, and with different apertures, as illustrating the increasing revelation of minute detail on the planet, as telescopic power has been increased, and experience has been gained. The «geometrical network» was a stage, a necessary stage in our progress, but it has already been passed, and M. Antoniadi concludes his December report by «pointing out that it vanished when the planet was practically at its closest approach to the Earth, high above the horizon, and scrutinized with the best instruments of our time. And the fact that no straight lines could be held steadily when much more delicate detail was continually visible, constitutes a fatal objection to their crumbling existence».

«But the Director is glad at last to be in a position to do justice and honour to Professor Schiaparelli’s monumental work, and to affirm that, as far as it was possible to judge, (the planet being partly veiled by cloud lately) wherever the distinguished Italian astronomer had drawn a streak, there was a group of irregular shadings on the surface of Mars».

Greenwich, Royal Observatory.