Apparently, magnifying glasses aren’t used for just magnification. I’ve always wondered how you can burn insects or start a fire with a magnifying glass. I’ve seen it done before but didn’t do my homework on it until now. The reason for these things to be possible is from Solar Energy. Solar Energy is energy from the sun. When you take a magnifying glass and angle it on the object, the rays from the sun goes through the lens, and forms a point of light for the sun to hit. The rays hit the insect, or sheet of paper causing it to heat up only if the temperature is high enough, the object is dry enough, and the lens is strong.
Photons are particles that carry light from the sun to the earth that is able to be seen with the human eye. Photons also contain energy in the form of heat, which is known as solar energy, that are narrowed down to a small area in which the heat is built. Since the heat is concentrated to such a small area, the heat can reach high temperatures and could get all the way up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. The bigger the lens is, the easier it will be to start a fire or burn an insect.
There are many ways to start a fire with a magnifying glass. Another example is using the bottom of an aluminum can. First you have to polish the can in a unusual way but using chocolate. The chocolate will make the can more clear and it will appear like a mirror. After that you can take the magnifying glass and aim it so that the sun rays are passing through the lens to create heat on the can. Cool right? Or maybe I just think so..
Light energy has a huge factor in all of this. The light that is created by the sun is made up of photons like I stated earlier, tiny packets of electromagnetic energy. Not only do photons have particles, but they also have waves. This quality is important because the nature of photons means that they are refracted when they pass through different media. Photons passing through water change their speed, causing a ray of light to appear at a different angle above the water than below the water’s surface. The lenses on magnifying glasses are different from any other type of glass. These glasses are curved to refract light particles in a way that the image that you are looking at will appear to be bigger than what it is with a human eye, which is why the sun gives off more heat to objects under a magnifying glass. If you wanted to burn skin for what ever reason, you’d just have to find a spot and make sure that area is dry and magnified by the sun and you’d have yourself some burnt skin, unusual but possible. A combustible material, when exposed to heat and a source of oxygen, produces fire, like wood. You can have a magnifying glass over the object that you are trying to burn or create fire with, but if you angle it don’t hold the magnifying glass correctly and close enough you won’t be able to gather up enough heat to create a fire or to have an extra crispy ant.
So the moral of this blog is, to always carry a magnifying glass when camping because you never know when you’ll run out of food. You may adapt a craving for fried insects (who knows?) and you can always keep yourself warm but creating a fire with wood.