Q:

How does a kaleidoscope work?

A:

Quick Answer

A kaleidoscope works by reflecting light that bumps into a reflective surface such as a mirror. It has two or more mirrors placed at an angle to each other. The mirror assembly is surrounded by a case, with an eyehole at one end of the mirrors and a collection of objects at the other end.

Know More
How does a kaleidoscope work?
Credit: fdecomite CC-BY-2.0

Full Answer

These reflective surfaces typically form a triangle or V shape. When a kaleidoscope is turned, the pieces move and a different design can be seen. The reflections bounce back and forth inside the tube creating various images. What a person sees when looking through the eyehole is never exactly the same twice. Typically, kaleidoscopes have a collection of glass pieces, beads and buttons that form intricate and attractive designs. This is partly because of symmetry. All repeated images are symmetrical in relation to the image beside them. A precise combination of reflective surfaces results in precise symmetrical images.

The objects inside a kaleidoscope move, this is why after rotating or shaking the container, the objects never have the same arrangement a second time. It is also not possible to have two completely identical designs. Different patterns are formed as object reflections move from one side to another and merge with others. Three or more mirrors create a design with geometric and more intricate patterns and endless reflections. For example, a kaleidoscope with three mirrors creates complex triangular reflections.

Learn More

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What is the range of the human voice in decibels?

    A:

    The human voice ranges from a whisper, 20 decibels, to the loudest shout ever recorded at 121 decibels, which is equivalent to the volume of noise produced by a chainsaw or leaf blower. This record was set by a teacher, Annalisa Flanagan in 2010.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How does sound work?

    A:

    Scientifically speaking, sounds are vibrations that spread as an audible mechanical wave through a medium of air or water. The hearing organs are then stimulated by the vibrations.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is nuclear radiation?

    A:

    Nuclear radiation is the release of energy-bearing rays, waves or particles that occurs when an atom is split. This specific process is called fission, and it can occur in both natural and artificial situations. Nuclear energy can be harnessed from these reactions and transformed into usable electricity, but the waves and particles released during fission can also cause radiation that is dangerous to living beings.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What are the different properties of sound?

    A:

    Several characteristics define sound, including frequency, pitch, loudness, wavelength and period. Sound travels in waves and is caused by vibrations. Sound travels fastest through solids, slowest in gases and at an intermediate speed through liquids.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore