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J. Perelman
"Entertaining physics". Book 1.
Chapter 8. Reflection and refraction of light

THE PALACES OF ILLUSIONS AND MIRAGES

What did you feel would we be if, reduced to the size of the glass fragments found myself inside a kaleidoscope? There is a way to perform such an experience really. This wonderful opportunity was taken in 1900 by the Paris world exhibition, where the great success enjoyed so-called “Palace of illusions” - something like a kaleidoscope, but still. Imagine a hexagonal room, each wall which is a great perfect mirror polishing. In the corners of the hall mirror arranged architectural decoration in the form of columns and cornices, merging with the stucco ceiling. The viewer inside this hall saw himself as lost in the unimaginable crowd of others like him in the endless Suite facilities to the columns; they surrounded him from all sides and stretched along, as far as I could see, Halls, shaded in the figure below horizontal, derived from a single reflection; in the double reflection of the obtained image, the shaded perpendicular to the first, i.e, 12 rooms. Triple reflection attaches to them another 18 rooms (oblique hatching); rooms are multiplying with each reflection, and the total number of them depends on the perfection of the polishing, and from the parallelism of the mirrors, occupying opposite sides of the prismatic hall. Practically differed more rooms, resulting in the 12-th reflection, i.e. the visible horizon hugged 468 rooms.


Triple reflection of the walls of the Central hall gives 36 hall.

The reason for the “miracle” is clear to anyone who is familiar with the laws of reflection of the light, because there are three pairs of parallel mirrors and ten pairs of mirrors set at an angle; it is not surprising that they give so many reflections. Even more curious, those optical effects that were reached at the Paris exhibition in the so-called “Palace of illusions”. The organizers of this “Palace” was annexed to the countless reflections even instant change of the whole picture. They made movable, huge kaleidoscope, inside of which was placed the audience.

Change in this “Palace of illusions” was achieved as follows: a mirrored wall at some distance from the edges, cut lengthwise, and the resulting angle can rotate around the axis, with the other. The figure below shows that you can make three substitutions corresponding to the angles 1, 2 and 3. Now imagine that all the angles indicated by figure 1, comprise the environment of the rainforest, all angles 2 - the situation of the Arab hall, and the angles of the 3 - Indian temple.



The secret of the “Palace of illusions”.

One movement of a hidden mechanism, turning corners, rainforest turns into the temple or in the Arab hall. The secret of the “magic” is based on a simple physical phenomenon of reflection of light rays.

Entertaining physics J. Perelman

 




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