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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 70.djvu/476

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472
POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

irregularity of the lens structure and thus to supply illusive satellites to planets or fictitious companions to double stars.

 

Chromatic Rings

The illusive chromatic rings which follow do not bear so much on questions of Martian topography as the preceding halo and rays. Yet they are interesting of themselves and have an influence on color estimations. The first is the broad prismatic ring which extends from about 312° to 5° from the source of light with red on the outside and green or blue on the inside. PSM V70 D476 Rays and detached spots.pngFig. 10. Rays and Detached Spots. This shows well on any brilliant light such as the full moon or a bright electric light.

The second is a narrow blue ring, of interest on account of its beauty. It is best seen on an electric arc light of intense blue color—and the less continuous spectrum the light shows, the better. Standing at a distance of one hundred and fifty or two hundred feet, one may see a beautiful narrow blue line forming a circle fully two feet in diameter about the light. As the color of the light changes to yellow, which it frequently does, the ring rapidly disappears into the center of. the light.

This ring may be seen in the laboratory by passing the blue light of the spectrum through a pin hole. In mid-blue its radius is about 12′. Various experiments show that this illusion is produced at the margin of the pupil by the bending of the blue rays too sharply toward the optical axis of the eye. These rays therefore focus in front of the retina and on reaching it form a blue ring outside of the true image.

 

Radiating Lines from Near the Center of a Blank Disk

The only remaining illusion to which I call attention is one of much importance in planetary work, but one for which I shall not attempt an explanation. Frequently in observing a blank white disk, lines have appeared to me to radiate from some point near the center. When first I observed lines of that character, not knowing whether they were really there or not, I considered them genuine and for a long time represented them in the form of a star with four or eight