A. Michelson and E. Morley. On the Relative Motion of the Earth and the Luminiferous Ether. // American Journal of Science - Third series - Vol. XXXIV, No. 203. - Nov. 1887.

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would be about one-millionth of the original intensity, so that if sunlight or the electric arc were used it could still be readily seen. The mirrors bb/ and cc, would differ from parallelism sufficiently to separate the successive images. Finally, the apparatus need not be mounted so as to revolve, as the earth’s rotation would be sufficient.

If it were possible to measure with sufficient accuracy the velocity of light without returning the ray to its starting point, the problem of measuring the first power of the relative velocity of the earth with respect to the ether would be solved. This may not be as hopeless as might appear at first sight, since the difficulties are entirely mechanical and may possibly' be surmounted in the course of time.

For example, suppose (fig. 3) m and m, two mirrors revolving with equal velocity in opposite directions. It is evident that light from s will form a stationary image at s{ and similarly light from s/ will form a stationary image at 5. If now the velocity of the mirrors be increased sufficiently, their phases still being exactly the same, both images will, be deflected from s and st in inverse proportion to the velocities of light in the two directions ; or, if the two deflections are made equal, and the difference of phase of the mirrors be simultaneously measured, this will evidently be proportional to the difference of velocity in the two directions. The only real difficulty lies in this measurement. The following is perhaps a possible solution : gg, (fig* 4) are two gratings on which sunlight is concentrated. These are placed so that after falling on the revolving mirrors m and mn the light forms images of the gratings at s and s/t two very sensitive selenium cells in circuit with a battery and a telephone. If everything be symmetrical, the sound in the telephone will be a maximum. If now one of the slits s be displaced through half the distance between the image of the grating bars, there will be silence. Suppose now that the two deflections having been made exactly equal, the slit is adjusted for silence. Then if the experiment be repeated when the earth’s rotation has turned the whole apparatus through 180°, and the deflections are again made equal, there will no longer be silence, and the angular distance through which s must be moved to restore silence will measure the required difference in phase.

There remain three other methods, all astronomical, for attacking the problem of the motion of the solar system through space.

1. The telescopic observation of the proper motions of the stars. This has given us a highly probably determination of the direction of this motion, but only a guess as to its amount.

2. The spectroscopic observation of the motion of stars in the line of sight. This could furnish data for the relative

Trowbridge and Hutchins—Carbon in the Sun. 345

motions only, though .it seems likely that by the immense improvements in the photography of stellar spectra, the information thus obtained will be far more accurate than any other.

3. Finally there remains the determination of the velocity of light by observations of the eclipses of Jupiter’s satellites. If the improved photometric methods practiced at the Harvard observatory make it possible to observe these with sufficient accuracy, the difference in the results found for the velocity of light when Jupiter is nearest to and farthest from the line of motion will give, not merely the motion of the solar system with reference to the stars, but with reference to the lumin-iferous ether itself.

Art. XXXVII.—On the Existence of Carbon in the Sun. Contributions from the Physical Laboratory of Harvard University; by John Trowbridge and C. C. Hutchins.

[From the Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences,

vol. xxxiii.]

From the presence of absorption bands in the solar spectrum at high altitudes, Captain Abney has been led to believe in the existence of certain hydrocarbons between the earth and the sun ; and Siemens’s theory of the conservation of solar energy depends upon the supposed existence of carbon vapor in interplanetary space. It is not our purpose to discuss Abney's observations, or the truth of Siemens’s hypothesis.. We wish to call attention to the remarkable character of the carbon spectrum, formed by the voltaic arc in air between carbon terminals; and to-draw attention to the evidence presented by the juxtaposed solar spectrum of the existence of carbon in the sun.

In our early experiments the carbon terminals between which the voltaic arc was formed were heated several hours, while a stream of chlorine gas was passed over them. This operation was not entirely successful in removing metallic impurities. Subsequently we discovered that the spectra of these impurities could be readily distinguished from the marked fluted carbon spectrum, and we therefore employed the ordinary compressed carbon sticks employed in electric lighting.

For our work the nicest adjustment of slit was necessary, in order that no displacement of spectrum lines could possibly occur when the carbon spectrum was photographed in juxtaposition with the solar spectrum. This was accomplished by the use of a slit, the jaws of which opened equally.

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