The Microscope

" Enlarging the unseen"


The invention of the microscope in the late 1500's allowed us to see into the microscopic world that was until then invisible to the naked eye.

Try to guess what it is

string beans   


paper towel   



push pins  


a bone   

a tree branch  

a strand of hair

The microscope works by gathering light from a light source. The light source can either be a small light bulb or a mirror reflecting light from an outside source. As light passes through the object, the first lens it reaches are the lenses on the nosepiece. These are called the objective lenses. These objective lenses enlarge the image . But then there is a lens that you look into. This is called the eyepiece. The eyepiece also magnifies the image. The specimen is magnified by two lenses. Therefore, when you are computing the total magnification of a specimen you must multiply the objective lens X the eyepiece. The eyepiece magnification is usually 10 times (X) but then you multiply that by the number on the objective lens (usually 4x, 10X, 40X or 100X.

For example, if you were looking at a specimen using the high-power objective lens of (43X), with an eyepiece of a 10X, the total magnification would be 430X. That means that the specimen is being magnified 430 times its original size.


Click Here to be transported to a web site where you can see dust mites, human hair, and other really cool things magnified 1,000,000. You choose how much to magnifiy the speciman.


Click here to use a virtual electron microscope. There you will be able to see mold, a spider's eye, and bone cells.

are you ready to test your knowledge?

Do you know all the parts of the microscope?

Do you know how to compute total magnification?

click here to take the self test on the microscope

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