Biography of Percival Lowell

By A. Lawrence Lowell | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XVIIII
THE ORIGIN OF THE PLANETS

IN a paper presented to the American Academy in April, 1913, and printed in their Memoirs1 Percival explained the "Origin of the Planets" by the same principle of commensurate periods. In addition to what has already been said about the places where these periods occur coming closer and closer together as an object nears the planet, so that it is enabled to draw neighboring small bodies into itself, he points out that in attracting any object outside of its own orbit a planet is acting from the same side as the Sun thereby increasing the Sun's attraction, accelerating the motion of the particle and making it come sunward. Whereas on a particle inside its orbit the planet is acting against the Sun, thereby diminishing its attraction, slowing the motion of the particle and causing it to move outward. "Thus a body already formed tends to draw surrounding matter to itself by making that matter's mean motion nearly synchronous with its own." These two facts, the close--almost continuous-- commensurate points, and the effects on the speed of revolution of particles outside and inside its own orbit, assist a nucleus once formed to sweep clear the space so far as its influence is predominant, drawing all matter there to itself, until it has attained its full size. "Any difference of density in

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Vol. XIV, No. 1.

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