By our Smarty friends at Charlotte Eye Ear Nose & Throat Associates, P.A.
You and your children have almost certainly watched at least one cartoon or TV show where someone in a submarine uses a periscope to see above the surface of the water. Periscopes are fun inventions, but have you ever wondered how they work? Today, we’d like to tell you.
How a periscope works
As fancy or complicated as periscopes might seem, they are actually quite simple. The majority of periscopes are made of a cylinder or tube with two mirrors in it, placed at 45-degree angles, one below the other, so people can see objects that are higher than their normal field of view. The light from the image you are looking at strikes the first mirror. It is then reflected off that one to the second one, and from there the image is projected to your eye.
How a mirror works
When you look at an object, the light it generates enters your eyes. However, when they first strike a reflective surface, those rays of light are bounced back at the same angle. This is why whatever you’re looking at appears reversed.
While anything with a smooth surface that reflects light can quality as a mirror, the traditional mirrors you’re probably thinking of – such as the one in your bathroom or those used in a periscope – are clear glass coated with a thin film of metal like silver or aluminum. They reflect projected upon them without distortion.
Not only do the two mirrors in a periscope help reflect objects from high up, but the second mirror reverses the image from the first mirror, so what you’re seeing is facing in the correct direction.
Make your own periscope
Making a periscope is a fun activity you can do at home with your children. Instructions on how to make them can be found all over the web. In fact, even NASA has directions on how to make one!
Make sure you can see through your periscope
Of course, you want to make sure your child’s eyes are working perfectly so they can see through their periscope. CEENTA has pediatric eye doctors throughout the Charlotte region who would be happy to help them see as clearly as they can, whether they’re looking at objects at their own height or high above them.
Do you want your child’s eyes examined? Call 704-295-3000 today to schedule an appointment with one of their eye doctors.