A Journey in Other Worlds HTML version

The Scene Shifts
Having returned the rugs to the Callisto, they applied the maximum power of the batteries
to rising, closed all openings when the barometer registered thirty, and moved off into
space. When Several thousand miles above the pole, they diverted part of the power to
attracting the nearest moon that was in the plane of Jupiter's equator, and by the time their
upward motion had ceased were moving well in its direction. Their rapid motion aided
the work of resisting gravity, since their car had in fact become a small moon, revolving,
like those of Uranus or that of Neptune, in an orbit varying greatly from the plane of the
ecliptic. As they flew south at a height ranging from two thousand to three thousand
miles, the planet revolved before them, and they had a chance of obtaining a thorough
view. There were but a few scattered islands on the side of the Northern hemisphere
opposite to that over which they had reached the pole, and in the varying colours of the
water, which they attributed to temperature or to some substance in solution, they
recognized what they had always heard described on earth as the bands of Jupiter,
encircling the planet with great belts, the colour varying with the latitude. At about
latitude forty-five these bands were purple, farther south light olive green, and at the
equator a brown orange. Shortly after they swung across the equator the ocean again
became purple, and at the same time a well-defined and very brilliant white spot came
into view. Its brightness showed slight variations in intensity, though its general shape
remained unchanged. It had another peculiarity, in that it possessed a fairly rapid motion
of its own, as it moved eastward across the surface of the ocean. It exhibited all the
phenomena of the storm they had watched in crossing Secretary Deepwaters Bay, but
covered a larger area, and was far more violent. Their glasses showed them vast sheets of
spray driven along at tremendous speed, while the surface was milky white.
"This," said Bearwarden, picking up a book, "solves to my mind the mystery of the white
spot described by the English writer Chambers, in 1889, as follows:
"'During the last few years a brilliant white spot has been visible on the equatorial border
of the great southern belt. A curious fact in connection with this spot is, that it moves
with a velocity of some two hundred and sixty miles per hour greater than the red spot.
Denning obtained one hundred and sixty-nine observations of this bright marking during
the years 1880-1883, and determined the period as nine hours, fifty minutes, eight and
seven tenths seconds (five and a half minutes less than that of the red spot). Although the
latter is now somewhat faint, the white spot gives promise of remaining visible for many
years. During the year 1886 a large number of observations of Jupiter were made at the
Dearborn Observatory, Chicago, U. S., by Prof. G. W. Hough, using the eighteen-and-a-
half-inch refractor of the observatory. Inasmuch as these observations are not only of
high intrinsic interest, but are in conflict, to some extent, with previous records, a
somewhat full abstract of them will be useful: The object of general interest was the great
red spot. The outline, shape, and size of this remarkable object has remained without
material change from the year 1879, when it was first observed here, until the present
time. According to our observations, during the whole of this period it has shown a sharp
and well-defined outline, and at no time has it coalesced or been joined to any belt in its