Letter | Published:

[Letters to Editor]

Nature volume 104, page 394 (18 December 1919) | Download Citation



I, OF COURSE, admit the force of the remarks in the letters which appeared in NATURE of December 11. But the problem of air refraction during a total eclipse is a very complicated one. The air is not in equilibrium. There is, I imagine, a downward rush of cold air in places deprived of the sun's radiation, as well as a lateral motion of the air from all sides towards such places. The whole refraction effect depends on the shape of the changing surfaces of equal density, and the gradient of density perpendicular to these surfaces. The effect observed would be about equal to the ordinary refraction effect caused by the atmosphere at 11/2° from the zenith, and then the rays of light are nearly perpendicular to the surfaces of equal density.

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