August 30, 1862
FR's interest in astronomy continued strong all her life. For her, the matter of disappearing stars and nebulae demanded an explanation. After all, the Scriptures she so loved and defended said, about God and his starry creation:
Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth. Isaiah 40:26.
If none of those objects fail—that is fail to show up for the muster when he calls them out—how did one account for what was being observed? Here's one attempt by FR in her August 1862 letter to James Reddie:
My theory of the famous disappearance of the nebula, visible to the naked eye in Andromeda, as well as of some stars, is this,—in perspective, you know as a mathematician, there is a vanishing point at which the man walking disappears; but he does not cease to exist; so of lost stars and lost nebulae. This is very simple—is it satisfactory?
She adds to the puzzle by quoting from a recently published document:
Mr. J. R. Hind, the astronomer, calls attention to the fact that a nebula in the constellation Taurus, which was discerned in 1852, has totally vanished from its place in the heavens. He is at a loss to account for the phenomenon, and requests possessors of telescopes to keep an eye on this portion of the heavens.
As far as I know, FR never owned a telescope, preferring naked eye observation.