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Microscope Magnification

A microscope is a tool used by scientists to make things appear larger than they really are. You can use a microscope to look very closely at things or to magnify things that are very small. You can see things many times larger than actual size. The power of a microscope is described with a number followed by the letter "x". For example, if through a microscope you can see something 25 times larger than actual size, its magnification power is 25x. With most microscopes you can change lenses to increase or decrease magnification power. Below you can see what various things look like through a microscope at different magnifications.

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First use the pull-down menu to select a sample. Then click on a magnification level.

Notice the differences in details at each magnification level. When would it be more beneficial to use a lower magnification? When would it be more beneficial to use a higher magnification?

To learn more about microscopes, visit our Exploring Microscopes activity site.

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