Friday, August 19, 2011

The wheel that reveals the speed of light

The wheel that reveals the speed of light: Just one year shy of 1850, French physicist Armand Fizeau gave the world The Fizeau Wheel, and with it a way of not only proving that light travels, but measuring the speed of its travel through the air...
The Fizeau Wheel set-up is relatively simple. Take a candle, or other bright light source, and place it behind the wheel, with the wheel perpendicular to it. Well away from the wheel should be the mirror. The light from the candle should be able to travel through the slats of the wheel, hit the far mirror, and be reflected back to shine through the gaps in the wheel. The onlookers stand behind the wheel (near the candle) and look through the slats.

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