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Translations of Encyclopedia about Physics


Optical Equipment and the Human Eye

Almost all optical equipment work on a similar principle as the human eye. The construction of this sensory organ was a pattern used to design optical equipment. However, these equipment, such as photgraphic equipment, are a mere copy of the human eye, although they may often outperform the human eye in some respects or be used to enhance our own vision.

Contrary to telescopes, which are designed to view very distant objects, a magnifying glass or a microscope is used to observe very small objects not visible to the human eye.

The Magnifying Glass

A magnifying glass is a converging lens which allows us to see an object or a part of it as if it was much larger. Compared to the human eye, these converging lenses have a very short focal distance, making it possible to increase the visual angle. With a magnifying glass, an object can be visually increased in size by as much as 20 to 25 times. To magnify an object more than this, we need a set of lenses, such as in a microscope.

The Microscope

The microscope (the Greek word of mikros means small and skopein means to see) is an optical instrument with which it is possible to observe very small objects at very close distances. Microscopes are often made from a metal sleeve, attached to which are two sets of lenses located at a certain distance from one another. The lens located at the end where the object is located is called the objective (in Latin, objectum = object) and the lens for viewing through is called the ocular or eyepiece (oculus = eye). The magnifying ability of the microscope depends on the ability and complexity of the lenses or the lens system. With modern light microscopes equipped with more lenses, regular lighting is enough to see an object 2000 times its normal size. Greater magnification is possible with microscopes which do not rely on light visible to the human eye but rather on ultraviolet rays or electron radiation (used in an electron microscope).

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