Coloring INSIDE The Lines

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The Visible Spectrum and Spectroscopes
by Wesley Sliger, Martin Centurion

Have you ever wondered why shining light on a glass of water causes rainbows to appear? Or noticed the colors that reflect from a CD or DVD? In this lesson, you will make an instrument called a spectroscope that can separate light into its hidden components. You will also be able to use the spectroscope to understand why different colored objects and light sources appear the way they do.

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Coloring INSIDE The Lines2020-05-12T11:31:20-06:00

Use a laser pointer to measure the thickness of your hair!

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Light scattering and diffraction

Have you ever wondered how scientists can accurately measure the size of very small objects like molecules, nanoparticles, and parts of cells? Scientists are continually finding new ways to do this, and one powerful tool they use is light scattering. When an incoming beam of light hits an object, the light "scatters," or breaks into separate streams that form different patterns depending on the size of the object. This incoming light might be visible light, like the light we see from the sun, or it might be higher-energy light like X-rays. The light from commercial laser pointers, it turns out, is perfectly suited to measure the size of a human hair!

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Use a laser pointer to measure the thickness of your hair!2020-05-12T11:31:29-06:00
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