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Chapter 9 - Color:
Chromatic Aberration. - It is well known that the eye focuses different spectral colors at different points. This is true of any simple lens and the defect is overcome in the manufacture of optical instruments by combining two lenses consisting respectively of glasses differing considerably in refractive index. If a white object is viewed by the eye, it should appear with a purplish fringe; however, the effect is observed more readily by viewing a light-source through a purple filter which transmits only violet and red light. The light-source will have a red or a violet fringe, depending upon the accommodation or focus of the eye.
Perhaps this effect is best observed upon viewing a line spectrum like that of the mercury arc, focused upon a piece of ground glass. The violet and blue lines are not seen in good focus when the eyes are focused upon the green and yellow lines. Furthermore, the former can be seen in excellent focus at a distance too short for accommodating the eyes to the green and the yellow lines. This experiment shows that the focal length of the optical system of the eye is considerably shorter for the spectral hues of shorter wave-length (violet, blue) than for those of longer wave-length (such as yellow). Narrow slits covered with diffusing glass and illuminated respectively by fairly pure blue, green, yellow, and red lights may be substituted.
The effect may be demonstrated by trying to focus fine detail such as print when two adjacent areas are illuminated by blue and red lights respectively. It is also observed when fine detail such as black lines are held close to the eye for colored fringes are seen. This optical defect is responsible for certain visual illusions.
An excellent demonstration of chromatic aberration in the eye is found by viewing fine detail through a purple filter. Now if a red filter be superposed on the purple one only the red light is transmitted. Notwithstanding the decrease in illumination or rather of light reaching the eye, measurement shows that finer detail can be discriminated than in the first case. A similar result is found on superposing a blue filter upon the purple one.
Another type of lens does not create chromatic aberration. It is called an Achromatic Lens. We have included a form of chromatic aberration below. Normally red and violet-purple fringes would be seen along the high contrast borders.
|An example of Chromatic Aberration|
Chapter 9 - Color:
Growth and Decay of Sensation
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Chapter 9 - Color:|
Retiring and Advancing Colors
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