Huggins, Maxwell, 1868 //Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London 158 (1868)

      <<<      547   >>>

  529  530  531  532  533  534  535  536  537  538  539  540  541  542  543  544  545  546  547 548  549  550  551  552  553  554  555  556  557  558  559  560  561  562  563  564 

great distinctness. The line from the spark appeared, in comparison, very narrow, not more than about one-fifth of the width of the line of Sirius. When the battery circuit was completed, the line of hydrogen could be seen distinctly upon the dark line of Sirius, and extending to some distance on both sides of the spectrum of Sirius. The observation of the comparison of the lines was made many times, and I am certain that the narrow line of hydrogen, though it appeared projected upon the dark line in Sirius, did not coincide with the middle of the line, but crossed it at a distance from the middle, which may be represented by saying that the want of coincidence was apparently equal to about one-tbird or one-fourth of the interval separating the components of the double line D. I was unable to measure directly the distance between the centre of the line of hydrogen and that of the line in the spectrum of Sirius, but several very <?areful estimations by means of the micrometer give a value for that distance of 0040 of the micrometer-head. This value is probably not in error by so much as its eighth part.

Comparisons on many other nights were also made, sometimes with the vacuum-tube before the object-glass, and sometimes with the vacuum-tube placed over the small hole in the gutta-percha plate. On all these occasions the numerous comparisons which were made, gave for the line in Sirius a very slightly lower refrangibility than that of the line of hydrogen, but on no one occasion was the air steady enough for a satisfactory determination of the amount of difference of refrangibility.

I have not been able to detect any probable source of error in this result, and it may therefore, I believe, be received as representing a relative motion of recession between Sirius and the earth.

The probability that the substance in Sirius by which this line is produced is really hydrogen, is strengthened almost to certainty by the consideration that there is a strong line in the red part of the spectrum which is also coincident with a strong line of hydrogen. There is a third line more refrangible than F, which appears to coincide with the line of hydrogen in that part of the spectrum.

As the line in Sirius is more expanded than that of the vacuum-tube, it seemed of importance to have proof from experiment that this line of hydrogen, when, it becomes broad, expands equally in both directions. I made the comparison of the narrow line of the vacuum-tube with the more expanded band which appears when denser hydrogen is employed. For this purpose the intersection of the wires of the eyepiece was brought, as nearly as could be estimated, upon the middle of the expanded line which is produced by dense hydrogen. The vacuum-tube was then arranged before the slit, when the narrow line which it gives was observed to fall exactly upon the point of intersection of the wire. Under these terrestrial conditions the expansion of the line may be considered to take place to an equal amount in both directions. There is very great probability that a similar equal expansion takes place under the conditions which determine the absorption of light by this gas in the atmosphere of Sirius, for the reason that the nebulosity at the edges of the line in the spectrum of that star is sensibly equal on both sides.

I made some attempts to compare the strong line at C with the corresponding line of hydrogen; but when the large spectroscope was employed, though the lines could be seen with tolerable distinctness, they were not bright enough to admit of a trustworthy determination of their relative position. When one of the compound prisms was removed, the lines were much more easily seen, but under these circumstances the amount of dispersion was insufficient for my present purpose.

The lines of Sirius which, in conjunction with Dr. Miller, I had compared with those of iron, magnesium, and sodium are not sufficiently well seen in our latitude for comparison, when a powerful train of prisms is employed, such as is necessary for this special inquiry.

From these observations it may, I think, be concluded that the substance in Sirius which produces the strong lines is really hydrogen, as was stated by Dr. Miller and myself in our former paper. Further, that the aggregate result of the motions of the star and the earth in space, at the time when the observations were made, was to degrade the refrangibility of the line in Sirius by an amount corresponding to 0-040 of the micro-meter-screw. Now the value of the wave-lengths of 0-01 division of the micrometer at the position of F is 0,02725 millionth of a millimetre*. The total degradation of refrangibility observed amounts to 0409 millionth of a millimetre. If the velocity of light be taken at 185,000f miles per second, and the wave-length of F at 486-50 millionths of a millimetre (Angstroms value is 48652, Ditscheiners 486-49), the observed alteration in period of the line in Sirius will indicate a motion of recession existing between the earth and the star of 41-4 miles per second.

Of this motion a part is due to the earths motion in space. As the earth moves round the sun in the plane of the ecliptic, it is changing the direction of its motion at every instant. There are two positions, separated by 180, where the effect of the earths motion is a maximum, namely, when it is moving in the direction of the visual ray, either towards or from the star. At two other positions in its orbit, at 90 from the former positions, the earths motion is at right angles to the direction of the light from the star, and therefore has no influence on its refrangibility.

The effect of the earths motion will be greatest upon the light of a star situated in the plane of the ecliptic, and will decrease as the stars latitude increases, until with

* The value in wave-lengths of the divisions of the micrometer for different parts of the spectrum was determined by the aid of the tables of the wave-lengths corresponding to every tenth line of Kikchhoffs map by Dr. Wolcott Gibbs (Sillimaits Journal, vol. xliii. January 1867). A paper on the same subject by the Astronomer Royal, presented to the Royal Society, is not yet in print. [The Astronomer Eoyals paper is contained in the Philosophical Transactions for 1868, Part I. p. 29. The wave-lengths computed by him differ slightly from those assigned to Kirchhobts numbers by Dr. Gibbs at the part of the spectrum under consideration in the text. The difference is due in part to the employment, by the Astronomer Royal, of Ditscheinebs later measures. These give for F the higher value of 486'87.October 1868.]

t The new determination of the value of the solar parallax by observations of Mars requires that the usually received velocity of light, 192,000 per second, should be reduced by about the one-twenty-seventh part. The velocity, when diminished in this ratio, agrees nearly with the result obtained by I'oucAr lt from direct experiment.

Hosted by uCoz