8A30.45 - Distortion due to Refraction

Code Number:
Demo Title:
Distortion due to Refraction
Refraction in a Medium, Atmospheric Scattering
Area of Study:
Astronomy, Optics
Large Clear Glass Bowl, Water, Ellipse Transparencies.

Fill bowl with clear filtered water. Dip the ellipse transparencies into the water and observe the distorted images.

  • Neil M. Shea and John Loomis, "Estimating the Effective Depth of the Atmosphere Using The Old Farmer's Almanac", TPT, Vol. 35, # 2, p. 90 Feb. 1997.
  • Janice VanCleave, "Twinkling Star", 202 Oozing, Bubbling, Dripping, & Bouncing Experiments, pp. 15.

Disclaimer: These demonstrations are provided only for illustrative use by persons affiliated with The University of Iowa and only under the direction of a trained instructor or physicist.  The University of Iowa is not responsible for demonstrations performed by those using their own equipment or who choose to use this reference material for their own purpose.  The demonstrations included here are within the public domain and can be found in materials contained in libraries, bookstores, and through electronic sources.  Performing all or any portion of any of these demonstrations, with or without revisions not depicted here entails inherent risks.  These risks include, without limitation, bodily injury (and possibly death), including risks to health that may be temporary or permanent and that may exacerbate a pre-existing medical condition; and property loss or damage.  Anyone performing any part of these demonstrations, even with revisions, knowingly and voluntarily assumes all risks associated with them.