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Rainbows in a Feather

You will need:

  • 1 Feather
  • 1 Lit Candle 
  • Caution: Use adult help



1. Stand a candle upright on a flat surface.

2. Melt the sides of the candle so that the wax drips down around the base as a support.

3. Light the candle.

4. Hold a feather 30cm away from the flame and look through the edges of the feather.

5. You should see small rainbows as you move the feather back and forth.
rainbows in a feather in front of a candle

What is going on?

White light is comprised of all the colours of the visible spectrum.
i.e. red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet... as well as the shades in between.
From a science poitn view, visible light ranges in wavelength  frequency from VIOLET (400nm) to RED (700nm).

The white light travelling through the feather is split (refracted) into the colours that add up to white.
More on light by Museum Victoria.

Be Amazing Book Front Cover; Ben Newsome, teacher & founder of Fizzics Education. Be Amazing -how to teach science the way primary kids love
Be Amazing!
How to teach science, the way primary kids love

Read more about Be Amazing
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