Light and Optical Systems
IHS Courtyard viewed through the Camera Obscura at noon on Winter Solstice 2010

What do we know about the nature of light? What technologies have been developed that use light, and what principles of light do they show?

By the time you finish this unit you should be able to:

· Describe the nature of light and vision and identify phenomena that provide evidence of the nature of light
· Describe in general terms the development of microscopes, telescopes and other optical devices; and how these contributed to the study of light and other areas of science
· Explain how light is reflected, transmitted and absorbed by different materials; and describe differences in the optical properties of various materials
· Predict angles of reflection
· Describe the refraction of light through different materials
· Describe materials used in optical technologies; and predict the effects of changes in their design, alignment or composition
· Describe the formation of real images, using a double convex lens, and predict the effects of changes in the lens position on the size and location of images
· Describe, in general terms, the function of eyeglasses, binoculars, telescopes and microscopes
· Explain how objects are seen by the eye, and compare eyes with cameras
· Describe the development of new technologies to enhance human vision

The Camera Obscura

Reflection and Refraction

Lenses and Mirrors

The Human Eye


The Electromagnetic Spectrum

Light and Optics Links and Activities

Light and Optics website by Travis Leslie