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1 * Professor Porta Insists That the Peculiar Grouping of the Planets Next Month Will Produce a Gigantic Sun Spot Which Will Explode the Earth's _ Volcanoes, Shake Us with NEPTUH? Earthquakes and Bury Us with Floods, but the Government Scientists Explain Why All This Is Not Likely to Happen v* * JUPITER ON December 17 ad unusual grouping of planets occurs in the heavens. On this much all astronomers agree?that there will be an unusual and over balanced collection of powerful planetary bodies grouped on one side of the sun Professor Albert F. Port* asserts *un great that thia unusual planetary situation will pall forth from the gun the mightiest san-epot or explosion o< gases ever known to man. and that our unfortunate planet. the earth, as an in nocent bystander, will receive the full force of this solar cataclysm. Staggering under thia blow. Protestor Porta pre dicts a disturbance on the earth without precedent or par allel. with hurricaaea, lightning, colossal rahis, gtgaatk- lava eruptions, great earthquakes, floods, and fearful cold. Professor Porta's predictions hare attracted a good deal of attention and hare broaght many anxious inquiries to the Govern meat astronomers in Washington and to the scientists ia various State and oollege observatories. While all astron omers agree with Professor Porta as to the unusual planetary situation in the heavena next month, they do not admit that the consequences will be aa he predicts. On this page Isabel M. Lewis, of the staff of the U. S. Naval Observatory at Waahington. discusses Professor Porta's assertions. * Professor Porta's Distressing Prediction OWING to a strange grouping of six mighty planets sach as has not been seer, a score of centuries, the United States next December will be swept by the most terrific weather cataclysm experienced since human history began. _ It will be caused by the hog eat sun-spot on record?a sun-spot that will be visible to the naked eye. Since men first began to make record of events, no sun spot has been large enough to be seen without the aid of instruments. This one will be. The sun-spot that will appear December 17, 1919, will be a vast wound in the side of the sun. It will be a gigantic explosition of flaming gases, leaping hundreds of thousands of miles out into space. It will have a crater large enough to engulf the earth, much as Vesuviua might engulf a football. Such a sun-spot will be rich enough in electro-magnetic energy to fling the atmosphere of our planet into a disturb ance without precedence or parallel. There will be hurricanes, lightning", colossal rains. It will be weeks before the earth will regain its normal conditions. There will also be gigantic lava eruptions, great earth quakes, to say nothing of floods and fearful cold. I make this startling prophecy with no desire to be merely sensational or alarming. It is simply because my study of the planets has revealed certain results with mathematical certainty. On December 17, 1919?no less than seven planets will pull jointly on the sun. These will include all the mightiest planets, those with the most powerful pull. Six of them?Mercury, Mars. Venus, Jupiter, Saturn and Neptune?will be in conjunction; grouped together in the greatest "league of planets" ever known in the annals of astronomy. They will be masaed in the narrow limit of 26 degrees on the same side of the sun? Directly opposite, coming into opposition with this gigantic league will be the huge planet Uranus. The mag netic currents between Uranus and the six planets will pierce the sun like a mighty spear. Our earth is outside the league, at an angle of nearly By Isabel M. Lewis of the Nautical Almanac Office, United States Naval Observatory. Washington HE sensational prediction that an enormous sun-spot, plainly visible to the naked eye, is to appear on December 17. and that It will be attended by Vthe most terrific weather cataclysm since human history began.'' has been cir culated so generally throughout the coun try and has aroused such an unusual de gree of apprehension in some quarters that many observatories and editors of astro nomical publications in the United Stales have been receiving numerous Inquiries as to whether there is any scientific basis for this prediction. The foundation for this belief is sup !>osed to be the fact that on this date six of the planets?Mercury, Venus. Mars. Ju piter, Saturn and Neptune?will be grouped mi the same side of the sun "within the narrow limit of 3? degrees," while a sev enth. Tragus, will be diametrically opposite to (his combination on the other side of the sun. Tie earth is at right angles to this group ing t>f planets and so placed, it is said, "in perfect position to receive almost the full ?oree of the monster electrical disturb ance." to quote the words of the predictor. The statement is also made that "two planets united are enongh to produce a small sun-spot and a small storm, while three cause a larger one. and four make ? very great storm, indeed." It is true that on December 17 the rela tive positions of the planets will he a* stated above, as may be seen from the diagram which gives the relative positions of the planets throughout the year 1919. However, it is possible to show that four or even Ave or six planets may be within a narrow rone on either side of the sun without producing unusual disturb ances on the earth. In fact, such groupings of the planets have already taken place several times during the present year, with no abnormal results. We find from the diagram that the plane tary groupings of December 17 will be very similar to what they were during the latter part of May of this year. About the 2?>th of Mav Neptune. Saturn, Jupiter and Venus wer" all within a zone about thirty degrees wide on one side of the sun. with Mercury and I'ranus diametrically opposite on the other side of the sun. and the earth and Mars opposite to each other and at right angles to this combination of six planets. Accordingly, there should have been at that time 8 cataclysm almost as severe as the one that Is scheduled for December 17. since six planets were nearly in line and the earth was nearly at right angles to the combination (as it is to be on December 17), and therefore "in perfect position to receive the full force of the monster elec trical disturbance." There was a large sun-spot visible in Mar (also in June), and an electrical storm THE END OF THE WORLD?By Krancis Danby. "And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree ca&teth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty ic\nd."?Revelations vi., 13. go degrees?in. perfect position to receive almost the full force of the monster electrical disturbance as it l^aps into activity on what, to us, will be the eastern horizon of the sun's disc. Be warned in advance. Tremendous things are going to happen from December 17 to 20, 1919, and afterward! on the earth, but there have been other sun-spots fully as large, and electrical storms fully as great in other years when no two planets were in conjunction. On August 1 of this year Mercury, Venus and the earth were in less than thirty de grees of each other on one side of the sun, with Mars, Jupiter and Neptune on the opposite side; again, six planets nearly in line and nothing unusual occurred in the way of sun-spots and magnetic storms, al though, ac cording to -the theory on which the prediction for December 17 is based, even four planets nearly in line will pro duce "a very great storm, indeed." The planets, with the exception of Mer cury and Venus, change their relative po sitions very slowly. Especially ia this true of the largest and most powerful planets? Jupiter, Saturn. Uranus and Nej)tune. The nearest and most rapidly moving of the four, Jupiter, changes its position only thirty degrees in the course of an entire year. Saturn moves but twelve degrees in a year, Uranus about four degrees and Neptune only two and a fraction. So if thse four mightiest planets are in line with each other In December, they are also nearly line for several months pre ceding and following this time, and no great and sudden effect could be produced by the changes in their relative positions during this period. The "electro-magnetic pull" of these four planets. Neptune, Uranus, Saturn and Jupiter, upon the sun will be no greater on December 17 than U was in September and October. 40) t?l?, International F>?ture Service, Inc. It is the comparatively small inner planets that change their positions most rapidly, relative to each other and the other planets. Mercury darts completely around the sun in eighty-eight days, and Venus makes a revolution in seven and a half months. Our own planet. Earth, moves about a degree in a day. Reference to the diagram will-show thai these rapidly moving planets have been closely in line with three or more of tho planets several different times during th"3 present year. So if the combined electro magnetic forces of three or four planets closely grouped are supposed to produce solar and terrestrial storms of great in tensity, why have not such abnormal storms occurred a number of times this year, particularly in May and August, when six planets were in line? There are, it is true, electromagnetic effects produced by the sun upon the planets. Violent solar disturbances in the form or sun-spots and eruptive prominences produce electrical effects upon the earth md in its atmosphere, such as violent mag netic storms, auroral displays, changes in atmospheric currents, cloudiness and rain fall, but It is by no means certain tha' the planets produce any important electro magnetic effects upon the sun. Syn-spots have been carefully studied for many years with a view to discovering such relationships if they exist?and many attempts have been made to de termine the cause and nature of their periodicity, with no definite results, though. If anything, the evidence is in^ favor of an Internal rather than an ex ternal cause. It is more likely that con ditions existing within the sun's interior produce these periodic outbursts of solar activity, and all attendant solar and ter Or?t Britain Right* Hwrrrt. ? ^ I I diagram bhowing Positions of the Various Planets on Dec. 17. restrial displays, than that they are due to the action of the planet* If electro-magnetic effects were pro duced by the planets they would not oc cur with startling suddenness, but would Ire more or less periodic in their nature and in keeping with the sun-spot cycle of maximum and minimum appearance. The period when sun spots were most prevalent for this particular cycle oc curred two years ago, when solar out bursts were more pronounoed and mag netic storms more prevalent than they have been during the past year. Since solar storms are now decreis1 .g in number and Intensity no unusual Ait turbance in the atmosphere of the sua or upon the earth's surface ts to be ex petted in the near future We may be reasonably assured, tben. that no sudden cataclysm *?-lll arise as a result of the relative groupings of the planets either on or following Decern ber 17. Many times in the past sis and even seven planets have been closely in line without any disastrous results, and there 1.. no reason to believe that the Decern ber grourtng of the planets will be In any way remarkable.