Return to Physics of the Ether
174. Mass of the Ether. — It is an unquestionable fact that the density of the ether, or the quantity (volume) of matter in the form of ether, relatively to the unit volume of space is very small; nevertheless, considering that the absolute quantity or total mass of the ether which occupies a spherical portion of space increases in the extremely rapid ratio of the cube of the radius, it is plain that the absolute or total mass of the ether may become very considerable, even when a moderate portion of space is considered.
Taking the above extremely low limit for the ether density Gsfliso o that of air), it may be computed that the quantity of matter in the form of ether enclosed within a cubical portion of space, with side of cube equal to about two miles (2.149 miles), would represent a total mass of one ton.
175. If we consider the ether contained within the bounds of the solar system, then it may be shown that by the above remarkably low density, the total quantity of matter in the form of ether enclosed within a radius extending to the limits of the solar system considerably exceeds the total quantity of matter represented by the entire mass of the sun, and that of all cosmical bodies within the system.
Taking the earth's mean density at 5.5 compared with that of water, the sun's mean density is represented by the number 1 '364. The density of the air compared with water is known (weight of a cubic foot of air being 56.5 grains). Hence, taking the above value for ether density, given in terms of air, and expressing it in terms of the sun's density, we obtain the fraction yygire oooooo * The sun's radius is known to amount to about four hundred and
twenty-seven thousand miles; hence, if we take a radius from the sun's centre, whose length exceeds the radius of the sun in the same proportion as the cube root of the number of times the sun's density exceeds that of the ether, we obtain the radial limits in miles of a spherical portion of space, the total mass or quantity of matter in the form of ether enclosed within which equals the total mass of the sun; or we have 427,000 x 55,606,000,000 = 1,629,800,000 miles.
176. Hence it would follow from this that with the above limiting value for the ether density, a radius lying somewhat within the orbit of Uranus (dist. of Uranus = 1,753,000,000 miles) encloses a quantity of matter in the form of ether, the total mass of which equals the total mass of the sun.
In the same way it may be computed that the total mass of the ether enclosed within the orbit of Neptune, representing the bounds of the solar system, exceeds by more than four times the total mass of the sun, together with the collective masses of the planetary members of the system.
in view of these considerations, it might truly be said that there exists more matter in what is not unfrequently looked upon as mere space, than the sum total of all that which is distinctively termed "matter" put together. So far from space being empty, space is so pervaded by matter, that the particles of matter, although extremely minute, are in incomparably closer proximity than the component molecules of solid masses.
177. As the total mass or quantity of matter in the form of ether enclosed within the limits of the solar system thus considerably exceeds the total collective masses of the sun and the planetary members of the system, and taking into account the intensity of the energy enclosed by the ether, it is plain that the total quantity of energy contained in the sun, represented by the heat there developed, must be but insignificant in comparison with the total energy in the form of concealed motion contained in that portion of the ether which is confined within the spherical limits of the solar system; for since a given quantity of ether encloses an amount of energy competent to impart to an equal quantity of matter the normal velocity of the ether particles, it would follow that a quantity of ether, representing only about one fourth of that which is contained within the limits of the solar system, would be competent, if its enclosed energy were entirely utilized, to impart to the entire mass of the sun the velocity of light.
178. If, therefore, when only the limited range of the solar system is regarded, the ether enclosed within these bounds represents a quantity of matter exceeding the total mass of the sun and that of the collective members of the system, and a quantity of energy far exceeding the total energy developed in the sun, what must be the fact if we regard the visible stellar
fex i ■ f_-_: zuud
universe, or that portion of the universe, of the scale and relative proportions of which a judgment can be formed, and of which our sun forms a component stellar member ? Then, as a known fact, the amount of space occupied by the collective stellar members of this universe almost vanishes when compared with the amount of intervening space occupied by the ether, i. e. by the ether which is confined within the limits of this universe. The dimensions of the spherical portion of ether, enclosed within the radial limits of the solar system, would almost dwindle to a point when viewed from the nearest star.
The considerations applied to our own sun find equally their application in the case of other stellar suns; and thus a quantity of ether surrounding each stellar sun, the radial extent of which mass of ether almost vanishes when compared with the quantity of ether pervading the separating distance of this stellar sun from others, would represent a quantity of matter equal in mass to the stellar sun, and a quantity of energy, compared with which the total energy in the form of heat contained in the stellar sun is but insignificant in proportion.
In view of these considerations, one of the fundamental purposes of the intense store of energy enclosed by the ether becomes apparent, the vast total of energy developed in these stellar suns having been derived from the ether, as it is returned to the ether as these stellar suns pour their heat into space. When these points are taken into account, what would otherwise be the anomaly of the ether receiving all this energy and giving no return, or the anomaly of these myriads of stellar suns all pouring their stores of energy unrequited into space, finds its explanation; the process actually going on consisting in the return to the ether of the energy derived from the ether, the process consisting in the natural return of the energy to its original source, to be again available for useful ends.