Cool optics experiments

Science is fascinating if you have time to make experiments that can teach you a thing or two about how everything around us actually works. The best part is that you don’t have to ruin your entire house if you stick to simple but cool optic experiments that both adults and children can engage in. All you will require is a bit of patience and desire to experiment as much as possible.

A very fun experiment that you can do with your kids is a small demonstration of how to reflect the light properly. You can use a stream of water in order to capture and bend the laser beam. Basically, the experiment uses the same principle used for the fiber optic cable. If you prepare everything beforehand, you can invite young children to play along as long as you keep an eye on them and you carefully explain the instructions.  

In order to get better results, you should dim the room. The only fancy equipment that you need for conducting this optics experiment is the laser pointer. You can purchase several units if you’re interested in getting your own home lab. They don’t cost much and you can purchase them from supermarkets or online stores.



If you’re wondering what you need to bend the light with water, the list of products is quite short and easy to find. Besides the laser pointer, you’ll also need a stand for this device or at least something that will hold it firmly. Plus, you shouldn’t forget about the rubber band, a clear empty soda bottle that has the cap, some water and milk, a permanent marker, a metal skewer, a piece of masking tape, a flame, and a sink.

The instructions are simple to follow. First, fill the bottle with water and then pour a few drops of milk to get a cloudy color. If you like, you can mix powdered milk or even corn starch for similar results. Continue the experiment by wrapping the rubber band around the laser pointer so that the power button is pressed continuously.

Try to set the laser pointer in a horizontal position at about 4 inches from the counter. Place it near the bottle and adjust the device until you are able to see the line of light that passes through the milky liquid.

Using the marker, make a dot in the area where the light beam touches one side of the bottle, typically the one that is far away from the laser. Now, pour out the entire water from the bottle.


Take the metal skewer and heat it into the flame until it gets really hot. With the tip, try to melt a small hole in the bottle and cover it with a small section of masking tape. Place the cap on and put the bottle next to the sink.

Set up the laser pointer and aim it to the hole of the bottle. Don’t forget to take the tape off because you want to see when the light hits that hole. Simply loosen the cap until the water stream starts pouring into the sink. You can adjust the laser pointer until you can easily see the light in the stream of water.

Another facile optic experiment relates to the simple spectrum of sunlight. You only require a 60-degree prism, a needle, and some sunlight to catch the spectrum. Try your best and hold the needle in one arm and the prism in the other. The needle should be at an arm’s length away from your eyes. Moreover, the needle must be parallel to the edge of the prism and quite illuminated by the sun. Gently twist the prism until you can see the needle refracting using the prism.


The types of binoculars you ought to consider if you’re into birdwatching



Binoculars are ideal for making any objects that are too far from you visible and easy to spot. Birdwatching is one outdoor activity that requires the use of such a piece of equipment. No bird will let you get close enough to examine it to your heart’s content, as they are cautious creatures by nature, and they will fly away as soon as you get too close.


Two things your binoculars should do

Since binoculars are used for many activities and not only birdwatching, it is important to understand what kind of binoculars a birdwatcher should get. There are mainly two things to keep in mind. Your binoculars should be able to bring closer objects and images that are far away from your eyes, and secondly, they need to make these images clearer.

Birds are great at hiding in trees and other forms of vegetation because this is how they survive against predators. Spotting them is not an easy task, and you should get a good quality pair of binoculars to indulge in this enjoyable activity.



What kind of magnification you should get

So, at this point, we know that birds can sit at quite a significant distance from you and that you need binoculars that will bring them closer to your eyes. Does this mean that you should get a model with the highest magnification possible?

Although it may sound counterintuitive, the truth is that you should not get such a pair of binoculars. There are substantial disadvantages that you need to keep in mind. You will narrow down your field of view when using a model with higher magnification.

Also, the image shown through the lens will be darker, and that can make spotting birds more difficult, especially when you want to watch owls or other birds that prefer to be active at twilight or night.


What is gear ratio and what you should get?

The gear ratio is related to the focusing mechanism used by the binoculars, and you need to learn a few things about it if you want to pick the right pair for you. For instance, a high gear ratio is found on binoculars that can go from close focus to the greatest distance possible, while requiring only one full turn of the focus wheel.

While this may sound like a great thing, the main issue is that you will take longer time making the image look sharp. However, if you want to watch birds at different distances, this is the type of binoculars you should get.

A model with a low gear ratio will require you to turn the wheel multiple times, but, while being slow, it lets you make micro adjustments so that you can enjoy crystal clear image without too much trouble. Following birds in flight is done easier with this type of binoculars. For a versatile model, you should opt for a medium gear ratio model.

The Titanic captain’s telescope is still available for sale


While the cigar box that once belonged to the captain of the Titanic was sold at a Liverpool auction for £25,000, the Titanic Captain’s brass telescope still continues to have no new owner.

Discovered in an attic, the brass instrument is embossed with the name Edward John Smith, the captain of the ill-fated liner that went down in 1912. Found by auctioneer John Crane, the device had been offered for auction to fetch around £20,000 but nobody was successful at bidding at the reserve price.

John Crane discovered the brass scope when he was invited by a relative of Captain Smith to value items the ship commander owned. He was disappointed that the device has not found a new owner.

He was, however, quite pragmatic about the whole thing, declaring that people should be realistic about the price when selling anywhere, whether straight to an antique dealer or via online selling sites such as eBay and Amazon. Although the scope is from the Titanic, the bottom line is it still is a small piece of metal and putting a lofty reserve price for it makes it difficult to sell.

This is perfectly understandable because you can easily find a host of antique telescopes being sold anywhere for much, much less. What you can find online even come with solid wood boxes with inlaid brass trimmings that serve as housing.

People want what they invest in to be fully functional and to be equipped with working optics, with a decent magnification that enables them to see faraway objects. It is not enough that you have a decorative object. Buyers also want what they purchase to provide or demonstrate a good definition for brass telescope in reality.

There are plenty of gorgeous brass telescopes being sold everywhere that also extend and retract like the Titanic captain’s instrument. They ship with their own durable housing and are made of solid brass with an incredible antique finish. You can find different offerings varying between 4x to 12x magnification in top selling sites online.



Such items would look good on a bookshelf or desk.

There are also antique maritime spyglass scopes that are marketed as dating back to the 19th century. You might be interested in acquiring one that comes with an original leather covering and an interesting old, salty patina.

Their sellers claim the antique scopes still work well and are in superbly good condition, with a smooth-operating pull and no dents in them.

It can be difficult for the average seller to know the difference, but maritime and pirate navigation collectors might do better at telling whether they are getting the real deal.

Considering how the Titanic captain’s telescope was valued by an acknowledged auctioneer, it is up to the buyer to determine if the item is worth shelling out that much money to acquire.