Microscopes have helped us, as humans, to find out so much more about our world and about ourselves than people living just a couple of hundred years ago could possibly have imagined. They truly have opened up a whole new world to us!
So, how does a microscope work? How does it help us to see tiny things?
A microscope helps to magnify things, they make things look bigger. A microscope like the one below is called a light microscope. This is because it uses light to allow us to see images clearly.
The microscope has lenses: an eyepiece lens which we look through and an objective lens. These magnify the thing we are looking at often called a specimen. The specimen is usually placed on a slide (a rectangular piece of glass) and placed on the stage.
Once it's on the stage we can look through the eyepiece lens and objective lens to see a magnified version of the specimen. Turning the focusing knob allows us to see a clearer image, a blurry image is no good!
There are three objective lenses and each has a different magnification. If one of these lenses has an x10 sign on it, it means that the specimen is magnified ten times!
To work out the total magnification of both lenses (remember they work together) we use the formula:
Total magnification = magnification of eyepiece lens x magnification of objective lens
Let's join Ben as he learns how to use his microscope, and see whether we can help him to improve his techniques and maybe learn something new along the way!