Francis Lieber.

Library of universal knowledge. A reprint of the last (1880) Edinburgh and London edition of Chambers' encyclopaedia, with copious additions by American editors (Volume 13) online

. (page 180 of 203)
Online LibraryFrancis LieberLibrary of universal knowledge. A reprint of the last (1880) Edinburgh and London edition of Chambers' encyclopaedia, with copious additions by American editors (Volume 13) → online text (page 180 of 203)
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STABODOUB , a t. of European Russia, in the government of Tchernigov, and 100m.
n.e. of the town of that name. It stands in the middle of a fertile district, but at a dis-
tance from any commercial highway. Pop. '67, 12.042.

STAR OF BETHLEHEM, Ornithogalniu, a genus of bulbous-rooted plants of the natu-
ral order lUiuceae, nearly allied to squills and hyacinths. The species are pretty numer-
ous, natives aln.ost exclusively of the eastern hemisphere, many of them of the cape of
Good Hope, and some of the s. of Europe. The common star of Bethlehem (0. umbella-
turn), a native of France, Switzerland, Germany, the Levant, etc., is very common in
flower-gardens. Its flowers are large, six to nine in a corymbose raceme, white and
somewhat fragrant. Gayea lutea, formerly 0. luteum, with yellow flowers, is found in
sonic parts of Britain in woods and pastures.

STAR OF INDIA. THE MOST EXALTED, THE ORDER OF THE. an order of knighthood
instituted by queen Victoria in June, 1861, with the view of affording the princes, chiefs,
and people of the Indian empire a testimony of her majesty's regard, commemorating
her majesty's resolution to take on herself the government of India, and rendering honor
to merit and loyalty. The order consists of the sovereign, a grand-master, who is to be
the governor-general of India for the time being, and 25 knights, together with such
extra and honorary knights as the crown may appoint. The members of the order are
to be military, naval, and civil officers who have rendered important service to the
Indian empire, and such native chiefs and princes of India as have entitled themselves
to her majesty's favor. The insignia consist of a collar, badge, and star. The cottar of
the order is composed of the heraldic rose of England, two palm branches in saltire tied
with a ribbon, and a lotus-flower alternating with each other, all of gold enameled, and
connected by a double golden chain. From an imperial crown, intervening between
two lotus leaves, depends the badge, consisting of a brilliant star of five points, and
hanging from it an oval medallion, with an onyx cameo profile bust of queen Victoria,
encircled by the motto: " Heaven's light our guide," in gold letters, on 84, enriched \
border of light-blue enamel. The investment badge is similar to the collar-badge, but
with the star, the setting of the cameo, and the motto all of diamonds: it Is worn pen-
dent from a ribbon of pale blue with white borders. The star of the order is a five-
pointed star or mullet of diamonds on an irradiated field of gold. Around it, on an
azure fillet bordered with gold, is the same motto in diamonds, the whole encircled by
Avavy rays of gold.

STARR, a co. in s. Texas, adjoining Mexico, and bounded on the s. by the Rio
Grande; about 2.000 sq.m. ; pop. '80, 8,3043,303 of American birth, 211 colored. Sur-
face, prairie land, in which water and timber are scarce; sheep and cattle raising is the
main occupation. Co. seat, Rio Grande.

STARRS, WILLIAM, D.D., b. Ireland; studied Roman Catholic theology at May-
nooth; came to America, 1828; entered the Sulpician seminary, Baltimore; was curate
of St. Patrick's, New York, 1834-44; pastor of St. Mary's church, 1844-53; rector of St.
Patrick's and vicar-general of the diocese of New York: had charge of the diocese from
the death of archbishop Hughes, 1864, to the consecration of Dr. McCloskey.

STARS are distinguished from planets by remaining apparently immovable with re-
spect to one another, and hence they were early called fixed stars, a name which they still
retain, although their perfect fixity has been completely disproved in numerous cases,
and is no longer believed in regard to any. Twinkling, or scintillation (q.v.), is another
mark which distinguishes stars from planets.

The first thing that strikes the observer is the apparent daily motions of the stars.
The greater part appear to rise in the e.. describe smaller or greater arcs in the heavens,
and set in the west; while others describe complete circles around a point n. of the
zenith, that described by the so-called polar star being the smallest visible to the naked
eye. These apparent motions arise from the rotation of the earth on its axis. Had the
earth only this rotatory motion, the aspect of the starry heavens at any spot on the
eirth's surface would be t lie same at the same hour of the night all the year round;
which is known not N> be the case. In consequence of the earth's motion round the sun,
or the a^p ivent advanc' 1 of tin* sun timontr the s'ars, the aspect of the heavens at a par-
tlHilnr hour is rlwavR clrm.trin'T. The s me position of the star* recurs four minutes
earlier each ni'-ht. and only at the same time after the lapse of a year.

With few exceptions, the (I'*f<inr<- "t' the f!xc-l stars is stili unknown, and nr's' in all
be enormously great. Since the time of Bradley, many attempts have been made to
measure what is called the yearly paraUai) of the stars, and thus determine their distances.
When we consider that the motion of the earth round the sun brings us at one lime a



Stars. *

whole diameter of its orbit (184 millions of miles) nearer to a particular region of the
heavens than we were six months before, we should expect a change in the relative dis-
tances of the stars as seen from the two points that as we approach them they should seem
to separate. But no such change is seen to take place; and this was one of the early
objections to the theory of Copernicus. The only answer that the Copernicans could
give was, that the distance of the stars from us is so great that the diameter of the earth's
orbit is as a point compared with it. The detection of the parallax of the fixed stars
depended upon the perfection of instruments. The parallax of a star is the minute
angle contained by two lines drawn from it, the one to the sun, the other to the earth.
If that angle amounted to a second, the distance of the star would be 206,000 times
that of the sun; and when the measurement of angles came to be reliable to a
second, and still no parallax was discernible, astronomers could say that the distance of
the nearest stars must be more than 206,000 times that of the suu i.e., 206,000 times 92
millions of miles, or about 20 billions of miles. It is only since between 1832 v and 1838
that anything like positive determinations of parallax have been made, chiefly by Hen-
derson, Bessel, and Peters. The first published (Dec., 1838) was that of the double star
61 in the constellation of the Swan, by Bessel, who made the parallax 0".37, giving a
distance over 550,000 times that of the sun, or 52 billions of miles, so that the light of
this star is about 8f years in reaching the earth. The nearest of all the stars yet measured
is a Centauri, the finest double star in the southern heavens, whose parallax was deter
mined by Henderson and Maclear at the cape of Good Hope to be 0.9128" ( the observa-
tions were made in 1832-33; the result read before the Astronomical society, Jan., 1839),
or as subsequently corrected, 0.976", corresponding to a distance of about 20 billions of
miles, and requiring 3J- years for its light to reach us. To Sirius, the brightest of the
stars, a parallax of 0.15", has been assigned, implying a distance six times that of a Cen-
tauri. " It has been considered probable, from recondite investigations, that the average
distance of a star of the first magnitude from the earth is 986,000 radii of our annual
orbit, a distance which light would require 15| years to traverse; and further, that the
average distance of a star of the sixth magnitude (the smallest distinctly seen without a
telescope) is 7,600,000 times the same unit to traverse which, light, with its prodigious
velocity, would occupy more than 120 years. If, then, the distances of the majority of
stars visible to the naked eye are. so enormously great, how are we to estimate our dis-
tance from those minute points of light discernible only in powerful telescopes? The
conclusion is forced upon us that we do not see them as they appeared within a few
years, or even during the lifetime of man, but with the rays which proceeded from them
several thousands of years ago!" Hind's Astronomy.

The stars have been divided into groups called constellations (q.v.) from the earliest
times. The several stars belonging to the same constellation are distinguished from one
another by Greek letters, beginning the alphabet with the brightest; and when these are
not sufficient, by Roman letters and by numbers. Many of the most brilliant stars have
special names. They are also divided according to their brightness into stars of the first,
second, third, etc., magnitudes a division which is necessarily somewhat arbitrary.
The smallest stars discernible by a naked eye of ordinary power are usually called stars of
the fifth magnitude; but an unusually sharp eye can discern those of the sixth and even
seventh magnitude. All below are telescopic stars, which are divided in a very undeter-
mined way down to the twentieth magnitude. Sir J. Herschei has determined that the
light of Sirius, the brightest of all the stars, is 324 times that of a mean star of the sixth
magnitude. By processes of photometric observation and reasoning, it is concluded that
the intrinsic splendor of a Centauri is more than twice that of our sun, and that of Sirius
394 times. Among stars of the first magnitude in the northern hemisphere are usually
reckoned Aldebaran (in Taxirus), Arcturus (in Bootes), Atair (in Aquila). Betelgeux (in
Orion), Capella (in Auriga), Procyon (in Canis Minor), Regulus (in Leo). Vega (in Lyra).
In the southern hemisphere are Achernes (in Eridanus), Antares (in Scorpio). Canopua
(in Argo), Rigel (in Orion), Sirius (in Canis Major), Spica (in Virgo), and a Centauri
and a Crucis that have no special names.

No apparent magnitude, in the proper sense of the word, has yet been observed in
any star. In the best and most powerfully magnifying telescopes, even the brightest
stars of the first magnitude appear, not with small disks as all the planets do, but as
luminous points without any visible diameter, and always the smaller the better the tele-
scope. We are therefore totally ignorant of the real size of the fixed stars; nor could it
be determined though we were sure of their distances, for the apparent diameter is an
essential element in the calculation. We cannot, then, say whether the greater brilliancy
of one star, when compared with another, arises from its greater nearness, its greater
size, or the greater intensity of its light. It is certain that all the fixed stars are self-
luminous. By the spectroscope several facts regarding their physical constitution have
been made out; there are great differences in their spectra ; the existence of several'
known elements is considered demonstrated. Sirius, e.g., contains hydrogen, sodium,
and magnesium.

The number of the stars is beyond determination. Those visible by the naked eye
amount onlv to a few thousands. Stars of the first magnitude are usually reckoned at
15 to 20, of the second at 50 to 60, of the third about 200, of the fourth at 400 to 500, of
the fifth at 1100 to 1200. But in the following classes, the numbers increase rapidly, so



T79



Stars.



that stars of the sixth and seventh class amount to above 12.000. Stars are most dense
in that region of the heavens called the ililky Way. which is mostly composed of stars
of the eleventh and twelfth magnitudes. AY. Herschel observed 116, COO stars puss the
field of his telescope in a quarter of an hour, while directed to the densest part of the
Milky Way.

That the fixed stars are not really immovable, as their name would imply, is seen in
the phenomenon of double or multiple stars which are systems of two or more stars that
revolve about one another, or rather about their common center of gravity. As they can
be seen separate only by means of a telescope, and in most cases require a very powerful
one, their discovery was possible only after the telescope was invented. Galileo himself
dicovered their existence, and proposed to make use of them in determining the yearly par-
allax of the fixed stars. After a long lapse of time, Bradley, Maskelyne, and Mayer again
directed attention to the phenomena of double stars; but nothing important was made
out respecting them till the elder Herschel made them the subject of a protracted series
of observations, which led to the most remarkable conclusions as to their nature. The
united observations of Struve, Savary, Encke, South, and especially ihose of Herschel
the younger, continued for four years in the southern hemisphere at the cape of Good
Hope, have raised the number of observed double, or rather multiple, stars to more than
6,000, of which the greater part are binary, or composed of two, but many are triple,
some quadruple, and a few even quintuple, or consisting of five stars. The distance
between the stars composing these systems is always apparently small (varying from
less than 1" up to 32"); but apparent nearness does not always constitute a double star,
for two really distant stars are not (infrequently so nearly in the same line, as seen from
the earth, that they appear to be close together. In real multiple stars, the individuals
are not only comparatively near to one another, but they revolve around one another.
Among stars of the first three magnitudes, every sixth is a multiple star; among the
smaller stars, the proportion is much less. In some cases, one of the stars is much lar-
ger than the other, as in the star Rigel in Orion, and in the polar star; but oftener the
connected stars are nearly equal in luminous power. The two members of double stars
are mostly of one color, but a difference of color is observed in about one-fifth of the
whole number. In many of these cases, the one color is the complement of the other,
and it is possible that the color of the smaller star may be subjective, arising from the
action of the other upon the eye.

It was in 1803, after 20 years' observation, that sir W. Herschel advanced the view,
which has been more and more confirmed since, that double stars are connected .systems
of two or more stellar bodies, revolving in regular orbits around one another, or rather
round their common center of gravity. Their motions are found to follow the same laws
as prevail in the solar system, and the orbits are elliptical. These distant bodies are
therefore subject to the Newtonian law of gravitation. The period of revolution lias,
in several cases, been roughly approximated; among the shortest is that of Herculis,
estimated at 30 years; others are set down at hundreds. In cases where the parallax is
known, the size of the orbits can be determined; and thus the astronomer is able to assert
in regard to the double star 61 Cygni that the orbit described by these two stare about
each other undoubtedly greatly exceeds in dimensions that described by Neptune about
the sun. Evfcu the masses of these stars have been calculated as being together 0.353,
that of our sun being 1. It is a consequence of these revolutions that many stars are
now seen double that formerly seemed single, and vice versa. If the plane of revolution
have its edge presented to the earth, the stars will seem to move in a straight line, and
at times to cover one another. The star Herculis, seen by Herschel double in 1781,
appeared single in 1802, and was first seen double again by Struve in 182C. The period
of revolution is presumed to be 182 years.

The proper motion of stars, discovered by Halley, is of another kind. It consists in
a displacement in various directions of the individual stars, so that the configuration of
constellations is slowly changing. "The Southern Cross." says Ilumboldt, "will not
always shine in the heavens exactly in its present form; for the four stars of which it
consists move with unequal velocity in different paths. How many thousand years will
elapse before its total dissolution cannot be calculated." The proper motions yet
observed vary from ^ ff of a second to 7.7". According to Bessel, the proper motion of
the binary star 61 Cygni amounts to 5.123", so that in 360 years it wonlu pass over a
space equal to the moon's diameter. It must thu* take thousands of years to alter sensi-
bly the aspect of the heavens; although, taking into account the enormous distances,
the actual velocities must be great. Of 3,000 stars observed by Bessel, 425 had a per-;
ceptible motion. Argelauder has recently published a list of 560 stars having a proper
motion.

It was first observed by sir "W. Herschel that there is a perceptible tendency in fhe
stars generally to diverge or open up in one quarter of the heavens, and to draw together
in the opposite quarter; and this he attributed to a proper motion of our sun with his
planets in the direction of the former point. The apparent motion thus caused is com-
plicated with the real independent motions of individual stars. The point toward which
this motion is directed, which is called the "solar apex," was fixed by Ilerschel in the
constellation Hercules; and the result of subsequent and independent researches gives a
nearly coincident poiut. The velocity has bceu calculated at upward of 150 millions of



Star-thistle. >7Qf\

Stassfurt. ou

m. a year, or 17,600 ra. an hour i.e., rather more than one-fourth of the earth's velocity
in its orbit.

The spectroscope has been applied to investigate the physical constitution of the
stars, with the result of identifying many of the elements composing our sun and earth.
The spectra of the stars differ greatly among one another; some consisting mainly of
simple lines, others having complex bands. The simple spectra are believed to indicate
great intensity of heat, keeping the molecules of matter in a state of extreme dissocia-
tion ; while the complex spectra show the molecules to be more associated in groups or
compounds, owing to the repulsive force being less. The bluish stars are the hottest; a
red tinge indicates comparative coolness. Our sun would seem to be a decaying star.

Several stars exhibit well-marked periodic alterations of a striking nature, and are
hence called variable stars. A considerable number have been observed, of which the
most remarkable are Mira (the " wonderful ") in Cetus, and Algol in Perseus. The first
attains its greatest luster every 334 days, and appears for 14 days as a star of the second
and even at times of the first magnitude; it then decreases for "two or three months, till
it becomes of the sixth and evea tenth magnitude, so as to be for half a year invisible
to the naked eye and usually to telescopes. After this it begins again to increase, but
more rapidly than it decreased. It is visible to the naked eye for three or four months
of its period. Of all the variable stars yet observed in Persous, Algol has the shortest
period, being 68 hours 49 minutes. It appears for about 60 hours a star of the second
magnitude, tlien decreases for four hours, and appears for a quarter of an hour of the
fourth magnitude, after which it increases again for four hours. Various explanations
have been offered of these mysterious appearances; the stars are supposed to turn on
their axes, and to have their surfaces unequally luminous in different places; or a large
dark body is assumed to be revolving about the luminous one, so as to intercept more or
less of its light in different positions; or the stars are lens-shaped, etc. There is nothing,
however, inadmissible in the supposition that the intensity of the light itself may vary;
and if in other suns, why not in our own?

Allied to the variable stars are the new or temporary stars that appear suddenly in
great splendor, and then disappear without leaving a trace. A number of instances are
on record. It is not impossible that these also may be periodic.

Star Systems. From the appearances connected with the Milky Way or Galaxy
(q.v.), sir W. Herschel came to the conclusion that the stars forming our firmament do
not extend indefinitely into space, but are limited in all directions, the mass having a
ilefinite shape. He conceived the shape to be something like that of a huge millstone,
liaving one side cleft, and the two laminae set apart at a small angle. Let the diagram
t (fig. 1) represent a vertical section

of such a broad flat stratum, and
.suppose the solar system situated
as at 8, to a spectator looking on
either side, in the direction of the
thickness, as SB, the stars would
appear comparatively sparse, but
all round in the direction of the
breadth (as SA) there would ap-
pear a dense ring, which would
separate into two branches (SE,
SD) in the direction of the cleft
Bide. This supposition accounts
FIG. "L % for the appearance of the Milky

Way, and all subsequent obser-
vations have tended to confirm tne conjecture. Situated as we are within the system,
we cannot hope ever to attain more than a rude notion regarding it; to get a definite
outline, we must be placed without it.

But this star system, which we may call our own, as our sun belongs to it, is but an
item in the stellar universe. The appearances known as nebulae, in many cases, at
least, are believed to be similar agglomerations of suns, separated from our system and
from one another by unfathomable starless intervals (see NEBULA). Their forms are
very various, but in general pretty well defined, and not without symmetry. The
;pect of some of them is even startling.

STAR-THISTLE. See CENTAUREA.

START POINT (A.-S. steort, a tail or promontory), a rocky headland in the 8. of
I>evonshire, with a lighthouse 204 ft. above the sea, in lat. 50 13' 4" n., and long.
3 38' west.

STARVATION, or INANITION, are terms applied to the phenomena resulting from an
entire deficiency, or an insufficient supply of food. From M. C'hossat's well-known
experimental investigations of this subject (Recherche* Experimentale* sur I' Inanition,
Paris, 1843), it appears that the average loss of weight in mammals and birds, between
the commencement of fasting and the death of the animal, was 40 per cent, the loss
v:-ryinir above and below 40 per cent in the different organs and tissues, as shown in the
following table;




781



Star-thistle.



PARTS WHICH LOSE MORE THAN FORTY PER CENT. 1 PARTS TTTIICH LOSE LESS THAN FORTY PEIl CENT.



Fat


933




30 7


Blood


750




84


Spleen


. . . 71 4


Skin


S3 3


Pancreas


04.1


Kidneys . .


31 9


Ldver


52.0




22 2


Head .


44.8


Bones


10 7


Intestines


42.4


Eyes


100


Muscles of locomotion . . .


.. 42.3


Nervous system . . .


. 1.9



Hence it appears that there is an almost complete removal of the fat, and a great reduc-
tion of the blood, while the nervous system is scarcely affected; and hence it would
seem as if the supervention of death was coincident with the consumption of all the
combustible materials of the body, and that previously the remaining nutritive force was
Concentrated on the nervous system.

The following are among the most prominent phenomena which Chossat observed
either during the experiments or after the death of the animals: 1. Dropsical effusion.
2. Softening and destruction of the mucous membrane. 3. Blackening of the viscera,
especially of the liver. 4. Bluish, livid, yellow, and reddish stains during life in the
transparent parts of the skin. 5. Hectic fever, and a continuous decrease in the power
of the body to resist cold. 6. At lirst a scanty excretion of dry, bilious, grass-green
faeces, and afterward diarrhea of liquid saline matter. 7. Convulsions similar to those
in death by hemorrhage. 8. Death by starvation seems to be in reality death by cold;
since the temperature of the body is not much diminished until the fat is nearly con-
sumed, when it rapidly falls, unless it be kept up by heat applied externally. 9. Young
animals succumbed far sooner than adults. 10. The results of insufficient food were in
the end the same as those of total deprivation; the total amount of loss being almost the
game, but the rate being less, so that a longer time was required to produce it.

Chossat did not find that much influence was exerted on the duration of life bj' per-
mitting or withdrawing the supply of water; but there is no doubt that in man, and
probably in mammals generally, death supervenes much earlier when liquids as well as
solid food are withheld. For a full account of the symptoms of starvation as they occur
in the human subject, we must refer the reader to the writings on hygiene and forensic
medicine of Orfila, Rostan, Caspar, Taylor, etc. ; and especially to Dr. Donovan's



Online LibraryFrancis LieberLibrary of universal knowledge. A reprint of the last (1880) Edinburgh and London edition of Chambers' encyclopaedia, with copious additions by American editors (Volume 13) → online text (page 180 of 203)