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Kaleidoscopes Explained



Kaleidoscopes use light and mirrors to reflect objects that create patterns. There are multitudes of different varieties and types, but they all follow the same basic principles of physics. To make a kaleidoscope, you would need some type of round, hollow material and two to four mirrors to put inside of it. Aluminum foil can also be used as a reflector.

On one end of a kaleidoscope, there is an object container that holds the objects to be reflected. Then this can be closed off with plastic or glass. This layer of clear material not only holds the objects in, but also filters light through to reflect off of the objects. Some versions of the kaleidoscope toy rotate to easier change the position of the objects located inside.

When you look through the hole of a kaleidoscope, light filters through the glass or plastic on the end of the device and then illuminates the objects and reflects them off of the mirrors or other reflective material. Your eye then sees these bouncing reflections, which creates the patterns that you see. This simple, but fascinating toy has brought joy and wonder into the lives of people for hundreds of years.


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