XLVII. On the Constitution of the Luminiferous Æther. By G. G. Stokes, M.A., Fellow of Pembroke College, Cambridge.
The phænomenon of aberration may be reconciled with the undulatory theory of light, as I have already shown (Phil. Mag., vol. xxvii. p. 9), without making the violent supposition that the æther passes freely through the earth in its motion round the sun, but supposing, on the contrary, that the æther close to the surface of the earth is at rest relatively to the earth. This explanation requires us to suppose the motion of the æther to be such, that the expression usually denoted by is an exact differential. It becomes an interesting question to inquire on what physical properties of the æther this sort of motion can be explained. Is it sufficient to consider the æther as an ordinary fluid, or must we have recourse to some property which does not exist in ordinary fluids, or, to speak more correctly, the existence of which
- Communicated by the Author.