Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 16.djvu/34

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

is thrown on the screen. In this pear-shaped bulb (Fig. 9) the negative pole (a) is at the pointed end. In the middle is a cross (b) cut out of sheet-aluminium, so that the rays from the negative pole projected along the tube will be partly intercepted by the aluminium cross, and will project an image of it on the hemispherical end of the tube which is phosphorescent. I turn on the coil, and you will all see the black shadow of the cross on the luminous end of the bulb (c, d). Now, the radiant matter from the negative pole has been passing by the side of the aluminium cross to produce the shadow; the glass has been hammered and bombarded till it is appreciably warm, and at the same time another effect has been produced on the glass—its sensibility has been deadened. The glass has got tired, if I may use the expression, by the enforced phosphorescence. A change has been produced by this molecular bombardment which will prevent the glass from responding easily to additional excitement; but the part that the shadow has fallen on is not tired—it has not been phosphorescing at all and is perfectly fresh; therefore, if I throw down this cross—I can easily do so by giving the apparatus a slight jerk, for it has been most ingeniously constructed with a hinge by Mr. Gimingham—and so allow the rays from the negative pole to fall uninterruptedly on to the end of the bulb, you will suddenly see the black cross (c, d. Fig. 10) change to a luminous one (e, f), because the background is now only capable

Fig. 10.
PSM V16 D034 Phosphorescence of shadows and polarity switch.jpg

of faintly phosphorescing, while the part which had the black shadow on it retains its full phosphorescent power. The stenciled image of the luminous cross unfortunately soon dies out. After a period of rest the glass partly recovers its power of phosphorescing, but it is never so good as it was at first.

Here, therefore, is another important property of radiant matter. It is projected with great velocity from the negative pole, and not only strikes the glass in such a way as to cause it to vibrate and become temporarily luminous while the discharge is going on, but the molecules hammer away with sufficient energy to produce a permanent impression upon the glass.