Your Light Matters box has been carefully designed so that you can transform it into a spectroscope. A spectroscope separates light into its colour components and lets you look at them. Use your spectroscope on as many of your experiments as you can!

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Convert your box to a spectroscope

  1. Open your box and take out all of the cool gear for your experiments. Set the CD aside.Light Matters Kit Spectrometer
  2. Close the box flap. Take care to punch out the rectangular flap on the top edge of the side with the UNESCO logo (back right in picture above). This is your viewing port.
  3. Close to the viewing port you just made, look for diagonal cut lines along the sides. They make a 60 degree angle with the base of the box. Insert your CD along this cut as far as it will go, shiny side up and with the disc centre in the box centre.

Congratulations! Now you have turned your box into a spectroscope

How to use your spectroscope

Notice the box has a narrow slit cut into the side facing your disc (to left on photo above). This is where the light comes into your spectroscope.  Point that slit at a light source and look into the box, at the disk, through the view port you just cut. Make sure to put the spectroscope all the way up against your face.


What you should see is the white light split into its colours! Amazing! This photo was taken with a smartphone. With your eye, it might be curved.

Try putting a little food colouring and water in a glass, and putting the glass on the slit. How does your spectrum change? Does it matter what colour your water is? Try looking at other things in your house. What do you see?


What is happening?  The compact disc has very tiny, regular grooves. It acts like a prism and separates white light into its different colours. When you put something coloured between your light and your eye, some of the colours that are in the white light are absorbed! You can figure out which ones are absorbed if you separate the colours out with your spectroscope.


Keen to know more:  Try looking up diffraction and gratings. Do your own experiments!!  Never stop asking and answering questions!!


Report your results!

Real scientists tell other people what they have found, and discuss what it might mean. You can do this below. Enter what you found as text, photos or video. Chat with others doing this experiment. Compare results. Learn stuff!