Page:1860 Fizeau en.djvu/4

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The double journey performed by the rays had also the advantage of increasing the probable effect of motion; for this effect must be the same as if the tubes had double the length and were only traversed once.

This arrangement also permitted the employment of a very simple method for rendering the bands broader than they would otherwise have been in consequence of the great distance (9 millims.) between the slits. This method consisted in placing a very thick plate of glass before one of the slits, and inclining the same in such a manner that, by the effect of refraction, the two slits had the appearance of being very close to each other: in this manner the bands become as broad as they would be if the two slits were, in reality, as near each other as they appear to be; and instead of the intensity of light being sensibly diminished by this expedient, it may, in fact, be greatly augmented by giving greater breadth to the source of light. By causing the inclination of the glass to vary, the breadth of the bands may be varied at pleasure, and thus the magnitude most convenient for precisely observing their displacement may be readily given to them.

I proceed to describe the disposition of the tubes, and the apparatus destined to put the water in motion.

The two tubes, placed side by side, were closed at each extremity by a single glass plate, fixed with gum-lac in a position exactly perpendicular to their common direction. Near each extremity was a branch tube, forming a rounded elbow, which established a communication with a broader tube reaching to the bottom of a flask; there were thus four flasks communicating with the four extremities of the tubes.

Into one flask, which we will suppose to be full of water, compressed air, borrowed from a reservoir furnished with an air-pump, was introduced through a communicating tube. Under the influence of this pressure the water rose from the flask into the tube, which it then traversed in order to enter the flask at the opposite end. The latter could also receive compressed air, and then the liquid returned into the first flask after traversing the tube in an opposite direction. In this manner a current of water was obtained whose velocity exceeded 7 metres per second. A similar current, but in an opposite direction, was produced at the same time in the other tube.

Within the observer's reach were two cocks fixed to the reservoir of air; on opening either, currents, opposite in direction, were established in both tubes; on opening the other cock the currents in each tube were simultaneously reversed.

The capacity of the reservoir, containing air at a pressure of about two atmospheres, amounted to 15 litres (half a cubic foot), that of each flask to about 2 litres; the latter were divided into