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Let's catch some rays- Ray Tracing (SOL PH 10)

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Objecti e: Tracing rays of light from an object through a lens or off a mirror can help you to locate an image. !ateria"s: Paper ,ruler ,pencil, these instructions and 15-2 Wor sheet #ac$gro%n& on Lenses !. 'on erging "enses: "et#s begin $ith a common lens that is thic er in the middle than at the edges. !f you consider the lens as a $heel the a%is of the lens $ill be an a%le through the $heel. We $ill consider all lenses to be thin lenses. &eal lenses light bends at both the front and the rear surface, ho$e'er if the lens is thin then you can consider the light to bend at a line through the center of the lens that is perpendicular to the a%is. "enses are characteri(ed by focal points. a. The first important rule of ray tracing is: "ight rays parallel to the a%is $ill all bend so as to pass through a focal point of the lens. b. To find the focal point of a con'erging lens start $ith a distant light source. )ind the place $here the image made by the lens is the most pointli e. This $ill be the focal point. The focal length is the distance from the center of the lens to this point. *y the $ay, distant means ten or more focal lengths a$ay, so after you find the focal point chec to see if the source is truly far a$ay.

+ lens has an a%is and a centerline. !n a real con'erging lens light bends at both surfaces as sho$n by the upper ray, in the thin lenses used in ray tracing $e model light bending once at the centerline as sho$n by the lo$er ray. "ight rays parallel to the a%is all cross at a focal point of the lens. d. ,ne of the important la$s of optics is the law of reversibility, if you re'erse a light ray and send it bac along its path it $ill e%actly re'erse its entire path. This means that light $hich passes through a focal point and hits a con'erging lens $ill e%it the lens parallel to the a%is. e. "ight rays spread out from each and e'ery point on an object in all directions, li e the spines of a sea urchin. + con'erging lens $ill bend these lines of light so that if the object is farther from the lens than a focal point, the rays of light $ill pass through one point on the other side of the lens. This point is on the image of the object. There are three rays $hich are usually used to find $here the image of an object is located. The (ara""e" ray is a ray from the object parallel to the a%is of the lens. !t goes through the focal point on the side of the lens opposite the object. The chie) ray passes through the center of the lens, for a thin lens it is a single straight line, it is not bent by the lens. The )oca" ray goes through the focal point on the same side of the lens as the object. The focal ray e%its parallel to the lens by the la$ of re'ersibility.


The image made by a con'erging lens $ill appear to be at the point $here these rays cross.

"ight rays spread from a point on an object and bend at a lens to form and image point $here the rays all cross. Three rays are easy to trace. The parallel ray, the chief ray through the center of the lens, and the focal ray through the near focal point. -otice that rays can be used to locate images e'en if they do not hit the lens, the rays that do hit the lens $ill ma e an image at that spot. as sho$n here. +n object outside the focal point of a con'erging lens ma es an image outside the focal point on the opposite side of the lens. The other case of the object inside the focal point is also $orth dra$ing. When light actually passes through the location of the image, the image is called a real image. + real image can be photographed by placing film at the location of the image. **+ ,i erging "ens + di'erging lens bends light $hich is parallel to the a%is a$ay from the a%is.

"ight from an object is bent a$ay from the a%is of a di'erging lens, creating a 'irtual image. With all lenses al$ays begin by dra$ing the chief ray. Then $ith a di'erging lens dra$ the parallel ray $hich, after passing through the lens, di'erges as if it comes from the focal point. The image is located at the intersection of these rays. &eal light paths are sho$n as solid lines. The real light paths ne'er cross at the image location, therefore this is a virtual image.

!f you shine a pointer laser through a lens or onto the mirror the beam from the laser $ill closely follo$ the path of the ray predicted by ray tracing.