Large-scale Michelson interferometer

Large-scale Michelson interferometer

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Credit: EMILIO SEGRE VISUAL ARCHIVES/AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF PHYSICS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: Large-scale Michelson interferometer. Partial view of equipment being used in a large, outdoors interferometer. An interferometer uses mirrors to split and recombine a beam of light. Differences in the path length travelled by the beams can be used in various calculations. Many interferometer designs were produced by US physicist Albert Abraham Michelson (1852-1931). His interferometers and those based on his designs, were used to test Einstein's theory of relativity, and to carry out measurements in astronomy and atmospheric sciences. Large outdoor ones were used in the 1920s and 1930s to measure the size of stars.

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