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Image number: RS.9949
Credit: © The Royal Society
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Prism experiments for detecting the motion of the solar system




Robert Blain (fl. 1780s, British), Physician

Object type

Archive reference number



height (drawing): 226mm
width (drawing): 183mm



Plate 1 figures 1-3 from the paper “A proposal for ascertaining by experiment whether the velocity of light be affected by the motion of the body from which it is emitted or reflected...”, by Robert Blain. Read to the Royal Society 5 April 1786 but not published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society.

Includes (figure 3) a proposed instrument composed of a circle of prism through which starlight is refracted: “By means of this instrument the nice question which has long been agitated, whether the solar system be in motion, or at rest, will be determined; together with the quantity and direction of this motion, if there be any.”

Inscribed in ink with the figure numbers. Not signed.

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