By Garrett Putman 1851-1929 Serviss
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Extra info for Curiosities of the sky, a popular presentation of the great riddles and mysteries of astronomy
Being probably many thousands of times more massive than the galactic stars, such a stellar missile would not be stopped by them, though its direction of flight might be altered. It would drag the small stars lying close to its course out of their spheres, but the ultimate tendency of its attraction would be to sweep them round in its wake, thus producing rather a star-swarm than a vacancy. Those that were very close to it might be swept away in its rush and become its satellites, careering away with it in its flight into outer space; but those that were farther off, and they would, of course, greatly outnumber the nearer ones, would tend inward from all sides toward the line of flight, as dust and leaves collect behind a speeding motor (though the forces operating would be different), and would fill up the hole, if hole it were.
Even the universe could not bear to be alone — a Crusoe lost in the Cosmos! As the inhabitants of the most elegant château, with its gardens, parks, and crowds of attendants, would die of loneliness if they did not know that they have neighbors, though not seen, and that a living world of indefinite extent surrounds them, so we, when we perceive that the universe has limits, wish to feel that it is not solitary; that beyond the hedges and the hills there are other centers of life and activity. Could anything be more terrible than the thought of an isolated universe?
The most famous of the ``coal-sacks,'' and the first to be brought to general attention before astronomers had awakened to the significance of such things, lies adjacent to the ``Southern Cross,'' and is truly an amazing phenomenon. It is not alone the conspicuousness of this celestial vacancy, opening suddenly in the midst of one of the richest parts of the Galaxy, that has given it its fame, but quite as much the superstitious awe with which it was regarded by the early explorers of the South Seas.
Curiosities of the sky, a popular presentation of the great riddles and mysteries of astronomy by Garrett Putman 1851-1929 Serviss