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The lens within the eye, reverses objects; but the the mind contemplates the top of the optic nerve, as corresponding with the bottom of the object; and the mental effect, is the result of habit, or of learning to see in infancy, or after the eyes have been couched in manhood.

589. Telescopes are refractors, when the effect is produced solely by refraction through transparent lenses; or reflectors, when the image is produced by the converging rays of a concave mirror; but the principle of the magnifying power is the same in all.

They are called Gallileos when the eye-glass is concave, after Gallileo, the inventor of telescopes, who made all his discoveries in astronomy by a small telescope, which magnified but 12 times; whereas Herschel's,great telescope magnifies 6,000 times !

590. Of course, without light, the world would be involved in total darkness; and without the mechanism of eyes, and optic nerves to convey the varied sensations of light to the brain, all the beauties of nature derived from its diversity of colouring, all the interesting relations of day and night, and half the pleasures of existence would be totally lost.

The cause of the various colours which adorn the creation is, of course, an object of interesting inquiry; this discovery was the greatest of those made by Newton.

The beams of light had been in vain display'd,
Had not the eye been fit for vision made :
In vain, the Author had the eye prepar'd,
With so much skill, had not the light appear’d.

BLACKMORE. 591. Every one observes the beautiful colours produced by the pendent drops of cut glass hanging to lustres and chandeliers, whether derived from candlelight or sunshine.

It is observed too, that drops of rain are coloured in like manner, when the sun shines upon them; and the regular form of the colours in the rainbow, led

Newton to conclude, that these colours, as well as colours in general, were produced by some property in rays of light.

592. Newton made a beam of sunshine pass through a hole in a window shutter, and fall on a glass prism or wedge so as to be refracted out of its course towards the ground, and thrown upwards on the opposite wall.

He then found, that the circular beam of light was rendered oblong, and regularly coloured; that the uppermost part, or the rays most refracted, were violet, their next division indigo, the next blue, then green, yellow, orange, and at bottom, red, being the seven colours of the rainbow.

Of parent-colours, first, the flaming red
Sprung vivid forth ; the tawny orange, next;
And next, delicious yellow' ; by whose side
Fell the kind beams of all-refreshing green ;
Then the pure bine, that swells autumnal skies,
Ethereal play'd ; and then, of sadder hue
Emerg'd the deepen'd indigo, as when
The heavy skirted evening droops with frost;
While the last gleamings of refracted light
Dy'd; in the fainting violel, away.

BLACKMORE.

THE PRISM AND ITS COLOURS.

D

B

Violet
Indigo
Blue
Green
Yellow
Orange
Red

E represents the shutter of a room.
D a hole in the shutter.

S rays of light proceeding from the sun passing through the kole, and falling on the glass prism B A C; on meeting which

HUGHES.

at B C, instead of going straight on, it is refracted, and leaves the prism at A C.

T is its figure on the opposite wall, spread from a circlo to an oblong, and presenting the colours of the refracted rays in succession as marked

593. A beam of white light is, therefore, found to consist of rays of all the colours ; and it is evident, that the various colours of all the bodies in nature, depend solely on the power of the surfaces to absorb some rays, and reflect others.

It appears, too, that white is a due mixture of the seven primary colours wholly reflected; that black objects absorb all the rays, reflecting none; and that black is an effect of negation.

Colours are but the phantoms of the day;
With that they're born, with that they fade away ;
Like beauty's charms, they but amuse the sight,
Dark in themselves, till, by reflection bright,
With the sun's aid, to rival him they boast i
But light withdrawn, in their own shades they're lost.

594. Hence, white bodies in the sun are cool and black ones hot; because white surfaces reflect all the light, and black ones absorb it: hence also, as red rays are the least refracted, they are supposed to be largest, and are therefore painful to the eye; and hence, the most refrangible rays, as the smallest, are the most grateful.

Obs.- When similar thermometers are placed in the different parts of the solar beam, separated by the prism, it is found, that different effects are produced in the different coloured rays. The greatest heat is exhibited in the red rays; the least in the violet rays; and in a space beyond the red rays, where there is no visible light, the increased temperature is greatest of all. This important discovery was made by Dr. Herschel. He estimates the power of heating in the red rays, to be to that of the green rays as 55 to 26; and to that of the violet rays as 55 to 16. A thermometer, in the full red rays, indicated

an increase of temperature of 7° Fah. renheit, in ton minutes ; beyond the red rays, in an equal time, the increase was go Fahrenheit. From these facts, it is evident, that matter set in motion by the sun, has the power of producing heat without light, and that its rays are less re

trangible than the visible rays. Rays capable of producing heat, with and without light, proceed from bodies at the surface of the globe under peculiar agencies or changes, as well as from the sun ; and the phenomena that are usually called the phenomena of the radiation of terrestrial heat, are of great extent and importance, and well worthy of being studied. There is another fact, still more extraordinary, which has been called the radiation of cold first observed by mhe Italian philosophers, and afterwards by Pictet. If in the arrangement of the two parallel mirrors, a piece of ice be introduced into the lower focus, the thermometer in the upper focus will indicate a diminution of temperature.

595. Rainbows arise from the rays of the sun which falls on drops of water being reflected and refracted to the eye of the spectator ; and, of course, all those drops which are situated at the same angle all round from the eye, will present the same colour.

And, as different colours will arise at different angles; a bow composed of regular circles is a necessary consequence of showers of rain, while the sun shines.

It will, however, only be visible opposite to the sun; and the line from the sun through the eye

of the spectator must be its centre.

596. As rays will reach the eye from drops of rain: owing to two different causes; so there will generally be two rainbows, one fainter, however, than the other.

The strongest, or lowermost rainbow, is occasioned by the light being reflected from the upper part of the back of the drops of rain; and the other, or upper bow, is occasioned by the light being twice reflected within the drop from the lower part to the upper, and thence refracted to the eye.

597. The breadth of a rainbow is about two degrees; and, of course, no two spectators can see the same rays;

but every eye will be the centre of its own bow.

All circles round the sun and moon arise in like manner, from the peculiar modifications of the rays

passing through the vapours of the atmosphere in pe. culiar states.

[merged small][graphic]

Obs. 1.- The rays of light are shewn as passing from the sun to the drops of water, and thence to the eye of the spectator E; and all the rays at the same angle from the eye or centre P, necessarily produce the same colours.

Obs. 2.-The spectator stands, of course, with his back to the sun, and his eye is necessarily the centre of the bows, each drop of the same colour having an equal angle from the eye. Rainbows, of course, are more or less vivid, as the sun shines more or less bright on the opposite raid ; and they are more or less perfect, as the rain is more or less diffused. An artificial bow may be made with a fountain ; and glass chandeliers reflect colours on exactly the same principles.

Obs. 2.-In the inner Bow, the colours are red at top, then orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet; and, in the upper Bow, the contrary. The upper Bow makes an angle with the eye of 54o and 51° ; and the lower, of 42° and 40°. The centre of the cirele is a line passing from the Sun, through the

eye of the spectator.

598. A magic lanthorn is founded on the principle of placing the image within the focus of the lens ; so that the rays diverge and produce a figure as much larger as is desired on a wall; and Phantasmagoria are produced by magic lanthorns; in which all the

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