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The ratio of the wave-lengths of F to G of hydrogen ((2) to (3) in the table above) is nearly identical with the ratio of D3 to the coronal green line ((2) to (3) in table above).

This near coincidence in the ratios of certain lines of hydrogen, lithium, and magnesium, substances belonging to the same type, combined with a similar ratio in the wave-lengths of the nearly equally persistent lines of the chromosphere, greatly strengthens the probability of the assumption that these lines belong to one substance.

The fact that the two less refrangible rays have no representative in the Fraunhofer lines, is by no means opposed to their belonging to one substance, since we know that aluminium behaves in a similar way in the atmosphere of the sun; and in the total eclipse of 1875 the hydrogen line h was not visible in the chromosphere, that is, we suppose, was on the limit between brightness and reversal; and during the late eclipse the two most refrangible rays of hydrogen were not detected froin the same cause.

Until our knowledge of the order of reversibility of lines belonging to different types of metals has been extended, it would be rash to infer the group of metals to which it belongs, or its probable molecular weight.

V. “Contributions to Molecular Physics in High Vacua.” By

WILLIAM CROOKES, F.R.S. Received March 27, 1879.


This paper

is a continuation of one On the Illumination of Lines of Molecular Pressure, and the Trajectory of Molecules," which was read before the Royal Society on the 5th of December last. The author has further examined the action of the molecular rays electrically projected from the negative pole in very highly exhausted tubes, and finds that the green phosphorescence of the glass (by means of which the presence of the molecular rays is manifested) does not take place close to the negative pole. Within the dark space there is absolutely no phosphorescence; at very high exhaustions the luminous boundary of the dark space disappears, and now the phosphorescence extends all over the sensitive surface. Assuming that the phosphorescence is due either directly or indirectly to the inpact of the molecules on the phosphorescent surface, it is reasonable to suppose that a certain velocity is required to produce the effect. The author adduces arguments to show that within the dark space, at a moderate exhaustion, the velocity does not accumulate to a sufficient extent to produce phosphorescence, but at higher exhaustions the mean free path is long enough to allow the molecules to get up sufficient speed

2 N


to excite phosphorescence. At a very high exhaustion there are fewer collisions, and the initial speed of the molecules close to the negative pole not being thereby reduced, phosphorescence takes place close to

the pole.

Experiments are described in which a pole folded into corrugations is used at one end of a tube, the pole at the other end being flat set obliquely to the axis of the tube, and having a plate of mica in front pierced with a hole opposite the centre of the pole. The questions which this apparatus was designed to answer are:-(1.) Will there be two sets of molecular projections from the corrugated pole when made negative, one perpendicular to each facet, or will the projection be perpendicular to the electrode as a whole, i.e., along the axis of the tube? (2.) Will the molecular rays from the oblique flat pole, when this is made negative, issue through the aperture of the screen along the axis of the tube, i.e., direct to the positive pole, or will they leave the pole normal to the surface and strike the glass on its side ? With the corrugated pole experiment shows that at high exhaustions molecular rays are projected from each facet to the inner sarface of the tube, where they excite phosphorescence, and form portions of ellipses by the intersection of the planes of molecular rays with the cylindrical tube. When the oblique flat pole is made negative, a stream of molecules shoots from it nearly normal to its surface, and those which pass through the hole in the plate of mica strike the side of the tube, forming an oval patch of a green colour.

The oval patch in this apparatus happens to fall on a portion of the glass which has previously had its phosphorescence excited by the molecular discharge from the other corrugated pole. The phosphorescence from this pole is always more intense than that from the flat pole, and the glass, after having been excited by the energetic bombardment, ceases to respond readily to the more feeble excitement from the flat pole. The effect, therefore, is, that when the oval spot appears, it has a dark band across it where the phosphorescence from the other pole had been taking place. The glass recovers its phosphorescent power to some extent after rest.

In this apparatus a shifting of the line of molecular discharge is noticed. If the coil is stopped and then set going repeatedly, always keeping the oblique pole negative, the spot of green light occurs on the glass at the spot where it should come supposing the discharge were normal to the surface of the pole. But if once the flat pole is made positive, the next time it is made negative the spot of light appears nearer the axis of the tube, and instantly shifts to its normal position, where it remains so long as its pole is made negative. There seems no limit to the number of times this experiment can be repeated.

A suggestion having been made by Professor Stokes that a third, idle, pole should be introduced between the negative and positive electrodes, experiments are described with an apparatus constructed accordingly. The potential of the idle poles (of which there are two) at low exhaustions is very feebly positive; as the exhaustion gets better the positive potential increases, and at a vacuum so good as to be almost non-conducting, the positive potential of the idle poles is at its greatest. The result is that an idle pole in the direct line of fire between the positive and negative poles, and consequently receiving the full impact of the molecules driven from the negative pole, has a strong positive potential.

It is found that when the shadow of an idle pole is projected on a phosphorescent screen, the trajectory of the molecules suffers deflection when the idle pole is suddenly uninsulated by connecting it with earth. The same result is produced by connecting the idle pole with the negative wire through a very high resistance, such as a piece of wet string, instead of connecting it with earth. A tube, which has already been described in a paper read before the Royal Society on December 5th last, is used to illustrate this deflection. The shadow of an aluminium star is projected on a phosphorescent screen. So long as the metal star is insulated the shadow remains sharp, but on uninsulating the star by connecting it with an earth wire the shadow widens out, forming a tolerably well-defined penumbra outside the original shadow, which can still be seen unchanged in size and intensity. On removing the earth connexion the penumbra disappears, the umbra remaining as before.

It is also found that the shadow of the star is sharply projected when it is made the positive pole, the negative pole remaining unchanged.

These experiments are explained by the results just mentioned, that the idle pole, the shadow of which is cast by the negative pole, has strong positive potential. The stream of molecules must be assumed to have negative potential; when they actually strike the idle pole they are arrested, but those which graze the edge are attracted inwards by the positive potential and form the umbra. When the idle pole is connected with earth, its potential would become zero were the discharge to cease; but inasmuch as a constant supply of positive electricity is kept up from the passage of the current, we must assume that the potential of the idle pole is still sufficient to more than neutralize the negative charge which the impinging molecules would give it. The effect, therefore, of alternately uninsulating and insulating the idle pole is to vary its positive potential between considerable limits, and consequently its attractive action on the negative molecules which graze its edge. The result is a wide or a narrow shadow, according to circumstances.

After a definite shadow is produced, it is found that increasing the exhaustion makes very little change in the umbra, but it causes the penumbra to increase greatly in size. Experiments recorded in the paper already quoted have proved that the velocity of the molecules is greater as the vacuum gets higher, and consequently the trajectory of the molecules under deflecting action, whether of a magnet or of an insulated idle pole, is flatter at high than at low vacua.

An experiment is next described, having for its object to ascertain whether two parallel molecular rays from two adjacent negative poles attract or repel each other. It is considered that if the stream carries an electric current, attraction should ensue, but if they are simply streams of similarly electrified bodies, the result would be repulsion. Experiment proves that the latter alternative happens, lateral repulsion taking place between two streams moving in the same direction.

Many experiments are given to illustrate the law of action of magnets on the molecular stream, but the results are of too complicated a character to bear condensation without the diagrams accompanying the original paper.

The molecular stream is sufficiently sensitive to show appreciable deflection by the magnetism of the earth.

The author, after numerous experiments, has succeeded in obtaining continuous rotation of the molecular stream under the influence of a magnet, analogous to the well-known rotation at lower exhaustions. Comparative experiments are given with a “high vacuum " tube, where no luminous gas is visible, but only green phosphorescence on the surface of the glass, and a “ low vacuum” tube, in which the induction spark passes in the form of a luminous band of light joining the two poles. These two tubes are mounted over similar electromagnets, the direction of discharge being in a line with the axis of the magnet. Numerous experiments, the details of which are given in the paper, show that the law is not the same at high as at low exhaustions. At high exhaustions the magnet causes the molecular rays to rotate in the same direction, whether they are coming towards the magnet or going from it; the direction of rotation being entirely governed by the magnetic pole presented to the stream. The north pole rotates the molecular discharge in a direct* sense, independent of the direction in which the induction current passes. The direction of rotation impressed on the molecules by a magnetic pole is opposite to the direction of the electric current circulating round the magnet. These results offer an additional proof that the stream of molecules driven from the negative pole in high vacua do not carry an electric current in the ordinary sense of the term.

The author, after giving details of experiments in which platinum and glass are fused in the focus of converging molecular rays projected from a concave pole, describes observations with the spectroscope, which show that glass obstinately retains at even a red heat a compound of hydrogen-probably water-which is only driven completely off by actual fusion.

* Like the hands of a watch.

The permanent deadening of the phosphorescence of glass is shown by projecting the shadow of a metal cross on the end of a bulb for a considerable time. On suddenly removing the cross, its image remains visible, bright upon a dark ground.

One of the most striking of the phenomena attending this research is the remarkable power which the molecular rays in a high vacuum have of causing phosphorescence in bodies on which they fall. Substances known to be phosphorescent under ordinary circumstances shine with great splendour when subjected to the negative discharge in a high vacuum. Thus Becquerel’s luminous sulphide of calcium has been found invaluable in this research for the preparation of phosphorescent screens whereon to trace the paths and trajectories of the molecules. It shines with a bright blue-violet light, and when on a surface of several square inches is sufficient to faintly light a room.

The only body which the author has yet met with which surpasses the laminous sulphides, both in brilliancy and variety of colour, is the diamond. Most diamonds from South Africa phosphoresce with a blue light. Diamonds from other localities shine with different colours, such as bright blue, apricot, pale blue, red, yellowish-green, orange, and pale green. One


beautiful diamond in the author's collection gives almost as much light as a candle when phosphorescing in a good vacuum.

Next to the diamond alumina and its compounds are the most strikingly phosphorescent. The ruby glows with a rich full red, and it is of little consequence what degree of colour the stone possesses naturally, the colour of the phosphorescence is nearly the same in all cases; chemically prepared and strongly ignited alumina phosphoresces with as rich a red glow as the ruby. The phosphorescent glow does not therefore depend on the colouring matter. E. Becquerel* has shown by experiments with his phosphoroscope, that alumina and many of its compounds phosphoresce of a red colour after insolation.

Nothing can be more beautiful than the effect presented by a mass of rough rubies when glowing in a vacuum; they shine as if they were red hot, and the illumination effect is almost equal to that of the diamond under similar circumstances.

Masses of artificial ruby in crystals, prepared by M. Ch. Feil, behave in the vacuum like the natural ruby.

In the spectroscope the alumina glow shows one intense and sharp red line less refrangible than the line B, and a faint continuous spectrum ending at about B. The wave-length of the red line is 6895.

* “Annales de Chimie et de Physique,” 3rd series, vol. lvii, p. 50.

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