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A Short History of Astronomy Microform

Cover A Short History of Astronomy Microform
A Short History of Astronomy Microform
Arthur Berry
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In the later editions of the Prindpia the motions of a number of other comets were investigated with a similar FIG. 73. An elongated ellipse and a parabola.
result. It was thus established that in many cases a comet's path is either a parabola or an elongated ellipse, and that a similar result was to be expected in other cases. This reduction to rule of the apparently arbitrary motions of comets, and their inclusion with the planets in the same class of bodies moving round the sun under the act
...ion of gravitation, may fairly be regarded as one of the most striking of the innumerable discoveries contained in the Prindpia.
In the same section Newton discussed also at some length the nature of comets and in particular the structure of their tails, arriving at the conclusion, which is in general agreement with modern theories (chapter xin. , 304), that i9l Comets : Reception of the Prindpia 239 the tail is formed by a stream of finely divided matter of the nature of smoke, rising up from the body of the comet, and so illuminated by the light of the sun when tolerably near it as to become visible.


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