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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 70.djvu/474

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

duced by irregular refraction in the eye, originating in what are known as the stellate figures. The figures seem to be construction lines, as it were, in the crystalline lens, and develop during its growth. They are permanent in form, when adult years are reached, and may be

PSM V70 D474 Structure lines of crystalline lens.png

Fig. 8. Structure Lines in Crystalline Lens.

seen with ease by the methods commonly explained in books upon experimental psychology.

If white rays may be seen around a white star on a dark background, then black rays must be visible around a black spot on a white background. They may be easily seen by screening the greater part of the pupil and allowing light from a black spot to pass through its margin. This is best done by a small circular screen on the point of a needle. By slight PSM V70 D474 Rays on a black spot in the corner of the eye.pngFig. 9. Rays on a Black Spot obtained by screening all the Pupil except the margin of the (left) Side. These rays are the two long rays on the left in Fig. 7. perseverance all the principal rays seen on a star may be perceived on the black spot. These are always present in the eye, but are not commonly perceived, because they are drowned out in the lighter background, and habit compels us to disregard them. Their importance in astronomical work is at once evident when I state that with the head in a definite position, I found it easier to see certain lines on the planet Mars and those easier lines coincided in direction with the two black rays represented in Fig. 9. It is evident that observations made with the greatest possible care ought to show these canals like marks, and if two of these rays be parallel, as may easily happen in an astigmatic eye, some of the canals should appear double.