An actinograph is an instrument for measuring or estimating the amount of light available, in terms of its ability to expose photographic film. That is, it measures the "actinic" or "chemical" intensity of light, as opposed to radiometric or photometric amount of light.

The earliest actinographs were 24-hour recording devices, using a rotating cylinder of photographic paper exposed through a wedged-shaped slit to record a graph of actinic light during the period of a day; hence the "graph" suffix in "actinograph". Such devices were developed and described by Robert Hunt, secretrary of the Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society in 1845, as an improvement on T. B. Jordan's 1839 "Heliograph". [Klaus Hentschel, "Mapping the Spectrum: Techniques of Visual Representation in Research and Teaching", Oxford University Press, 2002, ISBN 0198509537.]

In 1888, Ferdinand Hurter and Vero Charles Driffield patented a device for estimating the actinic power of sunlight and for computing exposure times and apertures for cameras, based on the plate speed, time of day, time of year, and latitude. These were slide rules, not measuring instruments, and did not produce a graph, but Hurter and Driffield adopted the same name for it.

ee also

*Pyranometer (a type of actinograph)
*Hurter and Driffield


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  • Actinograph — Ac*tin o*graph, n. [Gr. ?, ?, ray + graph.] An instrument for measuring and recording the variations in the actinic or chemical force of rays of light. Nichol. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • actinograph — [ak tin′ə graf΄] n. a recording actinometer …   English World dictionary

  • actinograph — aktinografas statusas T sritis Standartizacija ir metrologija apibrėžtis Įtaisas Saulės ar kitų šilumos šaltinių spinduliuotės stipriui registruoti. atitikmenys: angl. actinograph vok. Aktinograph, m rus. актинограф, m pranc. actinographe, m …   Penkiakalbis aiškinamasis metrologijos terminų žodynas

  • actinograph — aktinografas statusas T sritis fizika atitikmenys: angl. actinograph vok. Aktinograph, m rus. актинограф, m pranc. actinographe, m …   Fizikos terminų žodynas

  • actinograph — actinographic /ak tin euh graf ik, ak teuh noh /, adj. actinography /ak teuh nog reuh fee/, n. /ak tin euh graf , grahf /, n. a recording actinometer. [1830 40; ACTINO + GRAPH] * * * …   Universalium

  • actinograph — noun A recording actinometer …   Wiktionary

  • actinograph — ac·tin·o·graph ak tin ə .graf n an instrument for determining the intensity of direct solar radiation …   Medical dictionary

  • actinograph — instrument used to calculate time of photographic exposure Scientific Instruments …   Phrontistery dictionary

  • actinograph — n. instrument used to chart actinic radiation …   English contemporary dictionary

  • actinograph — ac·tin·o·graph …   English syllables

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