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THOMAS DICK, LL.D.
AN ESSAY ON THE IMPROVEMENT OF SOCIETY, THE PHILOSOPHY
THE PRACTICAL ASTRONOMER.
AUTHOR OF THE “CHRISTIAN PHILOSOPHER," -"PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION,
AND MORAL IMPROVEMENT OF MANKIND.” etc. etc.
H A Ꭱ Ꭲ F0 Ꭱ Ꭰ :
The following work is intended for the instruction of general readers, to direct their attention to the study of the heavens, and to present to their view sublime objects of contemplation. With this view the author has avoided entering on the more abstruse and recondite portions of astronomical science, and confined his attention chiefly to the exhibition of facts, the foundation on which they rest, and the reasonings by which they are supported. All the prominent facts and discoveries connected with descriptive astronomy, in so far as they relate to the planetary system, are here recorded, and many of them exhibited in a new point of view; and several new facts and observations are detailed which have hitherto been either unnoticed or unrecorded.
The results of hundreds of tedious calculations have been introduced respecting the solid and superficial contents of the different planets, their satellites, and the rings of Saturn; their comparative magnitudes and motions, the extent of their orbits, the apparent magnitudes of bodies in their respective firmaments, and many other particulars not contained in books of astronomy, in order to produce in the minds of common readers definite conceptions of the magnitude and grandeur of the solar system. The mode of determining the distances and magnitudes of the celestial bodies is explained, and rendered as perspicuous and popular as the nature of the subject will admit; and the prominent arguments which demonstrate a plurality of worlds aie considered in all their bearings, and illustrated in detail.
One new department of astronomical science, which has hitherto been overlooked, nas been introduced into this volume, namely, the scenery of the heavens as exhibited from the surfaces of the different planets and their satellites, which forms an interesting object of contemplation, and, at the same time, a presumptive argument in favour of the doctrine of a plurality of worlds.
The author, having for many years past been a pretty constant observer of celestial phenomena, was under no necessity of adhering implicitly to the descriptions given by preceding writers, having had an opportunity of observing, through some of the best reflecting and achromatic telescopes, the greater part of the phenomena of the solar system which are here described.
Throughout the volume he has endeavoured to make the facts he describes bear upon the illustration of the Power, Wisdom, Benevolence, and the Moral Government of the Almighty, and to elevate the views of the reader to the contemplation of Him who sits on the throne of the universe, “by whom the worlds were framed," and who is the Source and Centre of all felicity.
In prosecuting the subject of Celestial Scenery, the author intends, in another volume, to carry forward his survey to the STARRY Heavens and other objects connected with astronomy. That volume will embrace discussions relative to the number, distance, and arrangement of the stars; periodical and variable stars; new