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Optics

Optics is the study of the properties and behavior of light. In this section you can learn about everything from holograms to lasers and lenses.

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Is there a light 10 billion times brighter than the sun?

The Diamond synchrotron is a massive facility that houses a beam of light 10 billion times brighter than the sun. But is that all it does?


How 3-D Glasses Work

NASA's Mars rovers are sending 3-D images to Earth, so we can see depth and texture on the Martian surface. And how do we see this depth and texture? 3-D glasses, of course! Check out how they work. See more »

How Mirages Work

You're driving down the road on a sunny day, and you see a puddle of water coming up. You look again and it's gone! What happened? You’ll be able to answer that question if you read our miraculous mirage article. See more »

How Light Microscopes Work

The human eye misses a lot -- enter the incredible world of the microscopic! Explore how a light microscope works. See more »

How Telescopes Work

For centuries, curious observers have probed the heavens with the aid of telescopes. Today, both amateur and professional scopes magnify images in a variety of ways. See more »

Just about everyone has seen a television show or movie in which a criminal suspect is questioned while detectives watch from behind a one-way mirror. How does a piece of glass manage to reflect light from one side while remaining clear on the other? See more »

How Light Works

Some of the brightest minds in history have focused their intellects on the subject of light. Einstein even tried to imagine riding on a beam of light. We won't get that crazy, but we will shine a light on everything scientists have found so far. See more »

Imagine wearing a T-shirt with lettering on it while brushing your teeth. Why are the letters on the T-shirt reversed in the mirror, while your head appears right side up? See more »

When I stand at the water's edge and look out over the ocean, how far away is the horizon? Is there an equation to figure it out? See more »

I have a thin piece of plastic mounted on the back window of my RV. It magnifies things so I can see better when I'm backing up. How can such a thin piece of plastic magnify things? A regular glass magnifying lens would have to be curved on both sides and much thicker. See more »