18 DECEMBER 1909, Page 26

Curiosities of the Sky. By Garrett P. Serviss. (Harper and

Brothers. 6s. net.)—Mr. Serviss, representing, as he does, the latest development of astronomical knowledge, disposes of some favourite notions, while he gives us other things to consider. The fine conception of a centre to the whole universe—at one time [supposed to be the star Alcyone—cannot be entertained any longer. What we know of the movements of the stars does not bear it out. Some of the facts relating to this subject are indeed startling There is a star (known as 1830 Groombridge) which is moving at the rate of two or three hundred miles per second,—we cannot determine the speed because we do not know the distance., Sooner or later it must come into collision with some other body, perhaps with our sun. Sirius is moving that way, though at a much slower rate, at, say, ten miles a second (at this rate it would ' traverse the distance between us an3 the sun in a little over three months). This is only one of the topics with which Mr. Serviss deals. There is the kindred subject of "Conflagrations in ' the Heavens," such as that of Tau Coronae about forty years ago, and the Nova Persei seen in 1901. We hear about the moon, about meteors and meteorites, and, of course, about Mars, its canals and its possible inhabitants. Mi. Serviss has kept well up to date in'the matter of astronomical discovery, and he states his judgments abont astronomical questions in a lucid way. He has given us a good book on a subject of inexhaustible interest.