Life on Saturn (Snippets 29)



Is there life on other planets?  Some 19th Century astronomers thought there was probably life on planets very close to home, and possibly even superior to humans.  Whilst astronomy books in the 19th Century tended to be not too far removed from today in terms of the very basic aspects of our solar system, it is in speculation such as this that the major differences can be seen.

In 1850 Outlines of Astronomy was published in Philadelphia, written by the Reverend Thomas Grainger Hall.


We have much reason to believe that the satellites and rings, as well as the planet itself, are inhabited, and that they contain a population several thousand times more numerous than our globe. They may also be superior to us in stature and capacity. The uninstructed are prone to consider this world the centre of the universe, and our race as the only people in creation. But it might teach our pride a useful lesson, to reflect on the idea which the inhabitants of Saturn must form of our globe, and indeed of all the other planets of the solar system, when they compare them with their own glorious home.


It has been supposed that Uranus cannot be inhabited on account of its being so far removed from the source of heat. But the degree of heat of a world, perhaps, depends more upon the nature of its atmosphere than on its nearness to the sun. In the distribution of planets around the sun, as well as in that of satellites around their primaries, there is considerable regularity observed.


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