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The Jeffersonian cyclopedia;

a comprehensive collection of the views of Thomas Jefferson classified and arranged in alphabetical order under nine thousand titles relating to government, politics, law, education, political economy, finance, science, art, literature, religious freedom, morals, etc.;

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595. ASTRONOMY, Discoveries in.—
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595. ASTRONOMY, Discoveries in.—

Herschel has pushed his discoveries of double
stars, now, to upwards of nine hundred, being
twice the number of those communicated in the
Philosophical Transactions. You have probably
seen, that a Mr. Pigott had discovered
periodical variations of light in the star Algol.
He has observed the same in the η of Antinous,
and makes the period of variation seven days,
four hours, and thirty minutes, the duration of
the increase sixty-three hours, and of the decrease
thirty-six hours. What are we to conclude
from this? That there are suns which
have their orbits of revolution too? But this
would suppose a wonderful harmony in their
planets, and present a new scene, where the
attracting powers should be without, and not
within the orbit. The motion of our sun would
be a miniature of this. But this must be left
to you astronomers.—
To Professor James Madison. Washington ed. i, 447.
(P. 1785)


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