On the Velocity of Light


IN view of the experiments of Young and Forbes on the velocity of light, and of the article published by Lord Rayleigh on the subject, it may not be out of place to state as a fact which seemed at the time too evident to require special mention in my paper “On the Velocity of Light,” that if the velocity of red and of blue light in air differed by as much as one-tenth of 1 per cent., the image of the slit which served as the source of light, instead of being white, would be spread out into a spectrum which could not fail to be observed. The total displacement in these experiments amounted to 133 millimetres; therefore, a difference of velocity of the red and the blue rays of 1·8 per cent, would necessitate a spectrum 2·4 millimetres in length. It is needless to say that no spectrum was observed. These facts appear to be utterly irreconcilable with the conclusion drawn by Messrs, Young and Forbes.

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MICHELSON, A. On the Velocity of Light. Nature 24, 460–461 (1881). https://doi.org/10.1038/024460e0

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