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ISFDB.org Magazine Entry



AT THE opposite extremes of the investigations of scientists are the studies of the electron and nucleus and quantum which have crowned such scientists as Milligan and Bohr and Rutherford with reputations which will never die. But on the other end of things we are surrounded by the Stellar Universe where miles are too small to be taken into account, and where the light-year, which is an inconceivable number of miles for the ordinary mind, is the unit of distance, and into this great Stellar Universe the observers of the "International Astronomical Society" are striving to penetrate with their gigantic telescope mounted on the great observatory on the summit of the Andes Mountains. What did they see? What secrets were revealed to them? We have no more to say. Read the story.

I TELL you, gentlemen, this is a pretty pass of affairs. Here all the other branches of science are open to practically an unlimited development, while Astronomy is nearly strapped because of one thing—that we have apparently reached the limit of development of the telescope, as evidenced by these plates here. Something must be done. Can't any of you suggest anything?" and the speaker paused and glared around the table.

It was a meeting of the International Astronomical Society, gathered to discuss the results of the trial of the giant forty foot mercury reflector telescope which had recently been completed in the great Holton Observatory, situated high up among the South American Andes.

Evidently the results had been none too satisfactory, as evidenced by the grave and thoughtful expressions of the company. Holton, the chairman, with his none too good ordinary humor, was fast working up to a literal tirade of rage.

"Possibly zee mercury reflector might be satisfactorily eemproved," mildly suggested Flambeau, the noted Frenchman, in response to Holton's heated demand.

That individual gave a snort of disgust, and his wiry red hair fairly bristled, as he spat out his withering reply.

"What, that d—— thing! Why that thing is perfected as far as it lies within the power of mortal man to do it. But look at this plate—magnified enough, but as far as detail goes——! Looks like a striped pancake to me. Vibrationless action, H——! You can't entirely eliminate vibration in any machine. And look what microscopic ripples did in this case. Yes, I'd like to see you do anything with that crazy thing. And if you are fools enough to try it, after spending a million dollars with these results, why I absolutely refuse to have anything to do with it. I quit."

An uneasy silence followed this outburst. Not a man was present but who realized that, in spite of his eccentricities, He...

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