7 interesting facts about light and shadow for kids

Shadow, of course, anyone of us has shadow!!! Believe it or not, most of us did play with our own shadow at least once when we were little kids or wonder why this thing (the shadow) keep chasing and following us step by step. Now, when we grew up, perhaps nobody cares about the shadow anymore, but, you know, there are still some great facts related to light and shadow that you might not know. Keep reading on to know what they are right below here. 

  • A shadow happens when an object blocks the sun’s rays. Shadows are longer in the winter because of the angle of the sun.
  • Your shadow is longest in the early morning and in the late afternoon. In the afternoon, when the sun is directly above you, your shadow leaves your side for a little while. The sun makes the longest shadows at the beginning and at the end of the day because at that time, the sun is lowest in the sky and aimed at the sides of the various things on the earth. When the sun is directly above you, there is little or no shadow because the light from the sun is falling upon you from all the sides and there is hardly any dark region.
  • A long time ago, people observed the way shadows were formed by the sun and utilized this principle in making the world’s most primitive clocks, the sundials.
  • The first person to calculate the size of the planet Earth with a high degree of accuracy used simple geometric equations and measurements of shadows. Eratosthenes, the head librarian of the Great Library of Alexandria, performed this feat over 2,000 years ago, around 250 BCE.
  • Does everything has a shadow? Take a look around and see what all things form shadows. You will notice that swings, trees, cars, tables and almost everything else has a shadow. Any object – living or non living that can block light can cast shadows.

Shadow puppetry

Shadow puppetry

  • Is there anything that doesn't have a shadow? Some objects, such as glass, are transparent. Light can shine through them. Some light shines through translucent objects, such as a balloon or sheet of wax paper. Light cannot shine through opaque objects and you can’t see through them. Opaque objects, including a desk, bath towel or blanket, are solid.
  • The smaller the angle between an elongated object and the direction of the light is, the shorter the shadow is. On the other hand, the smaller the angle between the direction of the light and the surface on which the shadow occurs is, the longer the shadow is.
  • If the object is close to the light source, the shadow is large. 
  • If the surface is curved there are further distortions.
  • For non-point sources of light, the shadow is divided into the umbra and penumbra. The wider the light source, the more blurred the shadow.
  • If there are multiple light sources there are multiple shadows, with overlapping parts darker. For a person or object touching the surface, like a person standing on the ground, or a pole in the ground, these converge at the point of touch.
  • If white light is produced by separate colored light sources, the shadows are colored.
  • A shadow cast by the Earth on the Moon is a lunar eclipse. Conversely, a shadow cast by the Moon on the Earth is a solar eclipse.
  • Shadow puppetry is the art of using the shadows of puppets to entertain the audience.

Source: easyscienceforkids.com, everythingpreschool.com, kinooze.com, mocomi.com, reference.com

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