Chapter 5

Of The Heavens in Speciall

THE Heavenly Orbs in Special ware antiently distributed Into

But not to truble you with this distribution; It may suffice to take notice of these with stars; (for the rest we have no sufficient reason) that is fixt stars and planets.1

1. Fixt Stars are those at Greatest distance from us, which do not alter their distance from one another, but appear still the same and in the same respective place (and parhaps Absolute too) they are distributed into Constellations and degrees of magnitude.

1. Into Constellations 48. Called by the names of Certain Animals whose shapes they are phancyed (with Dulness enough) to represent; however Custome hath so fixed this notion; that they are thus painted on our Globes. A more convenient way may parhaps be by referring them to certain Geometrical figures; or by dividing the Globe into Squares; with letters or numbers, as in some new maps is of late done.2

2. Into Degrees of Magnitude, commonly 6. but the Observers by the Teilescopes make many more; about 14 (as I remember) of these.

1. The Number in the constellations most [visible] are reconed 1022. and there are not many visible that are out of constellations. But there are Innumerable which for distance, or littelness appearring small, and Close set togather make but a [kind of] White mist or Cloud; [Such] is the Milkie way and other Such nebulous appearrances; from these rather than those that are visibly seen; are the stars even to a proverb called Innumerable.

2. The light of these is native which visibly flames and Shines more than by only reflection of the Sun, as the Planets do and therefore they may be counted as So many Suns in their places

Fixt Stars in Constellations have degrees

Numbers, and Native light as each man sees

2. Planets are those that continually change their distance both among themselves, and in respect to the fixt stars; Of these may be observed Affections common, peculiar.

I. As Affections Common, their Magnitude, number, Motion and light.

1. Their Magnitude Various estimated by comparing [with] that of the Earth; whose Circumference is commonly accounted 21600 Miles,3 [the diameter by consequence about 7000,] and therefore the Semidiamiter is about 3500; and this is the measuring rod, yard, or Pole, by repetition, or Multiplication of which the Stars magnitude is computed as you may see in the following table.

2. Their Number 7 according to the Antients whose [names and common] markes you have in the table.

N.B. These markes are known, and Used by all the learned of what nation soever. These and the Common marks of number[s], Weights, and Measures gave occasion, and Encourragement to the Attempt, to introduce a Universal Character thereby to Obviate or remove (if possible) the Babell curse, of the confusion of tongues But according to Copernicus the Earth (under the name of Ceres, or Proserpina) is [a] Planet in the Place formerly assigned to the Sun; and then the Sun is no planet but a fixt Starr in the center of the Universe. The Observers [by] Tellescopes have taken notice of and found out more planets, as two marching about Saturn (Called his Ears) four about Jupiter (Called his Guard) But of these and the motions, Magnitudes, and Distances, and of Planets, the more full Enquiery is proper for Astronomy Here therefore they have but a breif mention Sufficient to explain the Nature of these bodyes.

3. Their motion is Circular in their proper line from West, to East which circle they accomplish in Various periods, as you may see in the Periodical motion of the table; hence they Change their places, and distances and hereby get the names of planets [16]

4. The light of them all except the Sun is none of their own but the [Suns] beams reflected by them; and hence the Various Faces, and Changes of the moon for so much of it only do we see bright as reflects the suns light towards us; as to the other small light [whereby even] in the Quarters of the moon, [we have] an obs[c]ure Veiw of the Whole body; ’Tis from diverse Causes, and in diverse parts giveing but a Secondary reflection;4 as

1. That in the Middle is the Earths Moon shine upon it; i.e. the Earth reflects the Suns light upon it, and then it reflects the same light back again to the Earth, and hereby we see it.

2. That in the border or Edges; (or rather round about the body) which appears a Segment of a lesser Circle, than that part which shines in the old, or new moon; It is also the light of the sun reflected from the moons Atmosphere, answerable to our twilight when the sun is set this is not Seen in only the Old, and New moon; but also in the Ecclipse, as a ring round about when there is nothing but darkness in the middle of her body, for then the Earth can make no moon shine upon her having its dark side towards her. By the Tellescope Venus is seen somtimes horned as well as the moon, the other planets being farther of[f] than the Sun can yeild no such appearances; but must be alwayes fully Illuminated by the Sun, in that side of their body which is towards us; Hence also the Dark Spot (vulgarly cal’d the man) in the Moon for they are Supposed to be water, (the seas of that Globe) which being more diaphinous do drink in the Rayes rather than reflect them. thus we see it is with the windows of an house, which at a Distance seam darker, [or less] Illuminated than the wals wherein they stand. The Tellescope discovers other Spotes in the moon, besides these which are variable, and change their places these are but [the] Shaddows of mountains in the moon, which cast their Shaddows variously, as the Sun shines on them, and this is that which gives occasion to Some to think the Moon (and parhaps other planets) are habitable as our Earth is.

Lastly from this borrowed light do arise the Several, and peculiar affections next to be spoken of.

With 4 things Common planets are affected

Magnitude, Number, Motion, light reflected

2. As Affections peculiar to the Sun and moon are considered the Ecclipses which are obstructions of the Suns [Luminous] rayes by the Interposition of an Opacous, (or not transparent) body. It is two fold Solar, and Lunar.

1. Solar, when at new moon, the moons body is directly interposed between the Sun and our Eye whereby its rayes cannot come directly to us. It is a full ecclipse when the interposition is Central; but it is never total, because the moons body is less than the Earth.

2. Lunar, when at full moon the Earth is at like position between the Sun, and the moon; whereby the Earths shaddow falls thereon, and keeps of[f] the Suns light from it. This may be total (when Centrall) because the Earths body is bigger than the moon.

N.B. Those Ecclipses would be every new, and full moon ware the moons circular revolution, directly under the Suns, (or Earths) Eccliptick; for then at all such times there would be a Centrall interposition; but ’tis not so; as Experience and astronomy teaches us; ’tis only at certain times; which the Astronomer that knows the Moons course, can foretell; hence the Uses of Ecclipses are admirable.

1. In Chronologie; to know the true time of Hystorical action when an ecclipse is noted by the Historian to be at, or near the time of that action; for the Astronomer can soon tell; if there ware such an Ecclipse at that time.

2. In Geography; to settle the true longitude of places; for by calculation they can tel at what hour and minit the Ecclipse must begin and End in this or that longitude round the whole Earth.

3. The Earths magnitude is hereby [truly] known, for Geometricians can by a segmen[t] of a Circle given quickly find the whole circumference, and thereby the true Diamiter, and Semidiamiter.

4. And so Astronomers have gotten a measure for the planets their Distance and then by consequence their magnitudes. besides the Certainty wherewith they are Satisfied that they know the true motions of the Heavens; for otherwise they could never fore tell [those] Ecclipses so exactly as they doe. And thus this little shaddow gives light to many Eminent parts of learning, and therefore we may [say] that for these (or such like) noble Ends did the wise creator command this p[h]ainominon in nature, but for those prodigious Effects which astrologers are [17] pleased to ascribe unto them; they are Idle conceits by no wise man to be regarded.

Ecclipses Solar, Lunar, have their Use,

In Science; In Astrologie abuse.

And thus we have gone through the Heavens so far as concerns natural Phylosophy, and now we come to the other Species of bodyes Viz: Terrestrial, of which in the following Chapter.