Kaleidoscope

Principles of Science: Law of Reflection, Image Location, Light

Duck under one side of a large three-sided wooden enclosure whose inner surfaces are covered with mirrors. Myriads of reflections of the person, the mirror corners, and the scenery above and below the mirrors stretch off into the distance. This simple life-sized kaleidoscope demonstrates how mirrors placed at different angles can be used to create stunning visual images.

The Kaleidoscope exhibit is a series of plane (flat) mirrors arranged at 60 degree angles to each other. When light reflects off a plane mirror, an identical image is formed. In the Kaleidoscope, many images are formed from one source (the object) because each mirror forms an image, and images are formed from reflections off the other mirrors. The result is an almost endless array of virtual images arranged in a beautiful pattern.