Pagina:Scientia - Vol. VII.djvu/276

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268 scientia

have found them to show evident signs of resolution. Antoniadi reporting to the Journal of the British Astronomical Association for December 1909, on his work with the 33-inch telescope of the Meudon Observatory, states:

«Fifty «canals» having some real basis were seen at Meudon. Of these, 28 per cent were resolved into disconnected knots of diffuse shadings; 20 per cent, appeared as more or less dark bands; 16 per cent, were edges of faint shadings; another 16 per cent. seemed to be broad and diffused streaks; 8 per cent. were seen as irregular lines; 6 per cent swelled out into vast shadings; and another 6 per cent had the form of irregular isolated «lakes».»

«The tendency to resolution was irresistible under favourable circumstances, and were all parts of the surface to have been examined under equally advantageous conditions, the percentage of «canals» breaking up into their larger components would have been far greater than that here given».

From his observations (1909 September 20 to November 27) M. Antoniadi was led to deduce the following general inferences:

I. The true appearance of the planet Mars is a natural one, and comparable to that of the Earth and of the Moon,
II. Under good seeing there is no trace whatever of a geometrical network.
III. The «continental regions» of the planet are variegated with innumerable dusky spots of very irregular outline and intensity, whose sporadic groupments give rise, in small telescopes, to the «canal» system of Schiaparelli.

M. Antoniadi continues:

«No doubt we have never seen a single genuine canal on Mars; nor should we see any from Phobos, the nearest satellite to the planet».

«On October 6 and on November 9, it was given to the Director (M. Antoniadi) to witness what he considers to be an elementary view of the true structure of the Martian deserts. The image was slightly tremulous in each case, when, suddenly, definition becoming perfect, a wonderful sight presented itself for a dozen seconds on both occasion. The soil of the planet then appeared covered with a vast number of dark knots and chequered fields, diversified with the faintest imaginable dusky areas, and marbled with irregular undula-