Unlike the summit of most other mountains, the one on Kitt Peak ]supports a community of scientists. They are not alpine biologists, but astronomers, a mountaintop community of sky-watchers, whose tools are an assortment of telescopes. Taking advantage of the clear and unpolluted atmosphere, these scientists exploit an arsenal of telescopes to explore the universe.
Reflecting on a model
Many of the telescopes located atop of Kitt Peak use reflecting surfaces to collect light and magnify observed images. In this activity, you’ll model this process. Using a simple makeup mirror, flat mirror, and a hand lens, you’ll observe the basic operation of a reflecting telescope.
Bright light source (lamp)
CAUTION: Never use this telescope model or other types of viewing tools to look at the sun or other very bright objects.
1. Position a makeup mirror on you desktop. Aim the mirror at the classroom light source that your instructor will assemble.
2. Position a flat mirror on your desktop, using a lump of clay as a base so that the mirror stands erect. Angle and position the flat mirror so that you can see the reflection from the makeup mirror.
3. Turn off the classroom lights. Adjust the angle and placement of both mirrors so that you can see the image of the light source in your flat mirror.
4. Use a hand lens to examine this image.