Monday, July 03, 2006

4th of July Science

In Michigan, we are not allowed to have any fireworks that explode or leave the ground. We can, however have fireworks that shoot out sparks. We were lighting off just such fireworks for the kids at a family function the other day when someone brought out some of those diffraction grating glasses.

A diffraction grating separates the spectrum. The result is similar to a prism. Wearing these glasses you see rainbows around everything, light sources especially. For those who don't have the diffraction glasses just take an old burnable CD and peel off the foil side. The plastic disk is a diffraction grating.

What does all this have to do with technology? I captured a short video through the glasses using my digital camera and I uploaded the video to YouTube. The whole process was incredibly easy. This makes me wonder about filming all of my demonstrations and making the video available online.

The firework in the video simply shot out white sparks. It was much more impressive through the glasses.

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