Universal Natural History and Theory of Heaven
Concerning the Lights of the Zodiac
The sun is surrounded by a subtle and vaporous essence, going around it on its equatorial plane up to a great altitude with only a small extension on both sides. So far as this is concerned, we cannot be certain whether, as de Martiana states, it touches the outer layer of the sun in the shape of polished glass (figura lenticulari) or, like Saturn's ring, is always located at a distance away. It may be either of these. But sufficient similarity remains to establish a comparison of this phenomenon with Saturn's ring and to infer a similar origin. If this spread out material is something flowing out from the sun (and it is most probable to consider it in that manner), then we cannot miss the cause which has brought it to the common plane of the sun's equator. The highest and most volatile material, which the sun's fire raises and has for a long time already lifted up from its outer surface will through the same process expand far over it and remain suspended at a distance, according to how light it is, where the forward driving effect of its rays comes into an equilibrium with the gravitational power of these vapour particles, or they will be reinforced by the stream of new particles which continuously come up to them from below. Now, because the sun rotates on its axis, it imparts to these particles torn away from its outer surface a motion equal to the axial rotation. Thus, they maintain a certain orbital momentum by which, in accordance with the central laws, they are driven from both sides in their circular motion to intersect the sun's extrapolated equatorial plane. And thus, because they are driven down to this in equal quantities from both hemispheres, they pile up there with equal forces and form an extended flat surface on the designated solar equatorial plane.
But regardless of this similarity with Saturn's ring, there remains an essential difference, which causes the phenomenon of the zodiacal light to be quite different from Saturn's ring. The particles of Saturn's ring maintain themselves in freely suspended circular orbits through the implanted rotating motion; but the particles of the zodiacal light are kept at their altitude by the power of the sun's rays, without which their inherent motion from the axial rotation of the sun would be very insufficient to hold them in free orbits and to prevent their falling down. For since the centrifugal force of the sun's axial rotation is not even 1/40000 of the power of attraction, these vapours which have moved upward would have to be 4000 semi-solar diameters away from it in order to find at such a distance a power of gravitation in equilibrium with their allotted motion. Thus, we are certain that this solar phenomenon is not be analyzed in the same way as Saturn's ring.
Nevertheless, there remains a significant probability that this solar necklace perhaps acknowledges the same cause which Nature collectively acknowledges, namely, the development out of the universal basic material, whose parts, since they were suspended all around the highest regions of the solar world only after the full and complete development of the entire system, moved down to the sun in a late descent, with weaker curved motion from west to east and, thanks to this type of orbital path, intersected the extrapolated solar equatorial plane. By their accumulation there on both sides, once this motion stopped, they took up a position on this extended plane, in which they maintain themselves always at the same altitude in part through the power of repulsion of the sun's rays, in part through the real orbital motion they have kept. The present explanation has no value other than what one gives to an assumption and makes no demand other than for an arbitrary acceptance. The judgment of the reader may direct itself to that option which seems to him most worthy of adopting.
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