Page:1851 Fizeau en.djvu/3

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.


of rays thus penetrated into each tube, and traversed its entire length, 1m·487.

The two bundles, always parallel to each other, reached the object-glass of the second telescope, were then refracted, and by the effect of the refraction reunited at its focus. There they encountered the reflecting plane of a mirror perpendicular to the axis of the telescope, and underwent a reflexion back again towards the object-glass; but by the effect of this reflexion the rays had changed their route in such a way that that which was to the right before, was to the left after the reflexion, and vice versá. After having again passed the object-glass, and been thus rendered parallel to each other, they penetrated a second time into the tubes; but as they were inverted, those which had passed through one tube in going passed through the other on returning. After their second transit through the tubes, the two bundles again passed the double chinks, re-entered the first telescope, and lastly intersected at its focus in passing across the transparent mirror. There they formed the fringes of interference, which were observed by a glass carrying a graduated scale at its focus.

It was necessary that the fringes should be very large in order to be able to measure the small fractions of the width of a fringe. I have found that that result is obtained, and a great intensity of light maintained, by placing before one of the chinks a thick mirror which is inclined in such a way as to see the two chinks by the effect of refraction, as if they were nearer to each other than they really are. It is in this way possible to give various dimensions to the fringes, and to choose that which is the most convenient for observation. The double transit of the light was for the purpose of augmenting the distance traversed in the medium in motion, and further to compensate entirely any accidental difference of temperature or pressure between the two tubes, from which might result a displacement of the fringes, which would be mingled with the displacement which the motion alone would have produced; and thus have rendered the observation of it uncertain.

It is, in fact, easy to see that in this arrangement all the points situated in the path of one ray are equally in the path of the other; so that any alteration of the density in any point whatever of the transit acts in the same manner upon the two rays, and cannot consequently have any influence upon the position of the fringes. The compensation may be satisfactorily shown to be complete by placing a thick mirror before one of the two chinks, or as well by filling only one of the tubes with water, the other being full of air. Neither of these two experiments gives rise to the least alteration in the position of the fringes.

With regard to the motion, it is seen, on the contrary, that the two rays are subject to opposite influences.

If it is supposed that in the tube situated to the right the water runs towards the observer, that of the two rays which comes from the right will have traversed the tube in the direction of the motion, while the ray coming from the left will have passed in a direction contrary to that of the motion.