CHAPTER IV
PHYSICAL CONDITIONS OF THE SUN AND ITS RELATION TO THE EARTH'S ATMOSPHERE

Origin of the Sun and the Planets. --A modified form of Laplace's nebular hypothesis assumes that when the early nebula, which filled the space included, at least, within the orbit of the sun's remotest planet, and which was composed of dust, or gaseous particles, or of dust particles surrounded by gaseous envelopes, began to contract under the influence of its own gravity, it commenced a rotation about its common center. Contraction caused it to gain in temperature, and a reduction in the diameter of the rotating mass effected an increase in the velocity of rotation. This process continued until increasing centrifugal force just equaled the attraction of gravitation, when, with the minutest further gain in the velocity of rotation, the outer rim was abandoned--not thrown off. This rim continued to rotate for a time, as the rings of Saturn are still doing, when it broke up and gathered about a center of its own, but continued to pursue the same orbit as before its disruption. Thus was formed, according to the most generally accepted hypothesis, the first and outer planet of the solar system; and thus, it is fair to assume, was formed our moon from matter abandoned by the earth, and in similar manner were the satellites of all other planets fashioned. As the sun continued to contract through a long period of years--measured by tens of millions--it grew hotter, increased in velocity of rotation, and successively abandoned the matter that now forms the several planets and the numerous asteroids of its system.

Solar Heat: Past, Present, and Future. --Laplace's theory assumes that originally the early nebulæ were at a very high temperature and that the sun and its satellites were formed under conditions of great original heat. This part of his theory is not now generally accepted, as the conditions are better met by assuming that the heat was evolved as the result of the reduction of gaseous volume. The investigations of J. Homer Lane, of Washington, D. C., have assisted in giving one a clearer idea as to how

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Descriptive Meteorology
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface and Credits vii
  • Contents ix
  • List of Illustrations xv
  • List of Charts xvii
  • Introduction 1
  • Bibliography 2
  • Chapter I- The Atmospheres of the Earth and of the Planets 4
  • Bibliography 13
  • Chapter II- Atmospheric Air 14
  • Bibliography 26
  • Chapter III- MicroÖrganisms and Dust-Motes of the Air 27
  • Bibliography 37
  • Chapter IV- Physical Conditions of the Sun and Its Relation to the Earth''s Atmosphere 38
  • Bibliography 45
  • Chapter V- Heat, Light, and Temperature 46
  • Bibliography 60
  • Chapter VI- Thermometry 61
  • Bibliography 68
  • Chapter VII- Distribution of Insolation and the Resulting Temperatures of the Atmosphere, the Land, and the Water 69
  • Bibliography 118
  • Chapter VIII- The Isothermal Layer 119
  • Bibliography 126
  • Chapter IX- Atmospheric Pressure and Circulation 127
  • Bibliography 170
  • Chapter X- The Winds of the Globe 172
  • Bibliography 188
  • Chapter XI- The Clouds 190
  • Bibliography 198
  • Chapter XII- Precipitation 199
  • Bibliography 214
  • Chapter XIII- Forecasting the Weather and Storms 216
  • Bibliography 242
  • Chapter XIV- Optical Phenomena in Meteorology 244
  • Bibliography 256
  • Chapter XV 258
  • Bibliography 281
  • Appendix 283
  • Charts 285
  • Index 333
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