CALIFORNIA STATE SCIENCE FAIR 2006 PROJECT SUMMARY
Kate Lee Newcomb
At What Angle Does Refracted Light Create a Mirage?
AbstractObjectives/Goals The objective of the project is to determine the angle at which light refracts to create an inferior mirage. The second goal of the project is to get a better understanding of the physics oflight. Methods/Materials The purpose of the procedure was to create an artificial mirage to refract a laser beam and measure the angle of refraction. Set up apparatus (laser, stove, metal plate, andtarget), record the variables to be changed (distances of laser and heated plate to target, and temperature of heated plate) and record the zero point of the laser beam on the target for the particulartrail. Run an experiment(heat the plate to create the mirage) and record the variables that need to be recorded for that trial (maximum and average distances laser beam moves from zero point). Repeatuntil data is collected for several sets of setup conditions (variables to be changed) are recorded. Then take the recorded data and calculate angle of refracted light using trigonometry from zeropoint and refracted laser beam positions and the distance from the heated plate to the target. Results The data collected is from the nine different experimental trails. The distances of the heatedplate and the laser were increased to produce a more measurable effect. The overall angle of refracted light was calculated after performing the experiment. The experimenter observed that the mirage isonly visible when the line of vision is almost parallel to the surface. The results were that none of the angles of refracted light were less than 179 degrees, referring to the experimenter'shypothesis. Conclusions/Discussion The angle of refracted light discussed in the hypothesis is the angle between the projected beam and the resulting refracted beam (obtuse angle). Several trails were...
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