What is Magnification? – Definition, Formula, and Examples

Introduction to Magnification

Magnification refers to an action of magnifying something. Furthermore, it refers to enlarging the apparent size and not the physical size. This enlargement is certainly quantifiable.

Furthermore, how an object magnifies in relation to its actual size, is an important discussion under magnification. In this topic, we will discuss this concept and how it helps to magnify objects.


Definition of Magnification 

It refers to the action of visually enlarging an object with the help of lenses. Also, the object does not physically become larger but only appear larger. Besides, this concept ascends from two forms.

First is by microscope (that make small objects appear large) and second is by telescope (that makes a distant object appear closer and the images are more clear and defined).

Besides, both these tools and forms utilize two different formulas and tools. Also, microscopic magnification helps us to study the structure and composition of objects. While on the other hand, telescopic magnifies the object such as stars, planets, etc.

Types of Magnification lenses

There are two types of magnification lenses Simple and Compound lenses.

Simple Lenses:

It refers to a simple lens that we use to magnify an object. Also, a single lens is the lens that we use to read the newspaper, magnify the things or objects in the front. Besides, they have the lowest power (strength to magnify) and their power can range from 2x (2 times) to 6x (6 times).

Besides, they are easy to use and can magnify objects up to 6 times which means the object will appear six times larger. Also, magnifying glass and glasses (spectacles) are the most common example of a simple lens. In addition, their quality is not quite good and they produce low-quality images.

Compound lenses:

A simple and compound both lenses can magnify objects but the magnifying capacity of both the lenses is different. Also, the compound lens can magnify objects and projects a clearer image while simple lens only magnifies the image.

Moreover, the magnification of both lenses can be easily understood with the help of an example. Suppose, a person is standing 5 feet far from you and you have him to move 5 feet closer than, this is simple magnification. But, if you ask the same person to come 5 feet closer six times than that would be compound magnification.

Most noteworthy, compound lenses are mostly used in microscope and telescope. Furthermore, they use multiple lenses to focus on the object. Besides, they can magnify object 4x, 10x, 40x, 100x, and 400x.

It means they can magnify objects 4 times, 10 times, 40 times, 100 times, and 400 times. Moreover, it means that they make an image as large as zoom (appearance).

Formula of Magnification

Understanding the magnification physically is quite easy and every one of us can recognize it. Moreover, we understand it as how big or small an image of the object will appear.

The formula of magnification represents the ratio of the height of the image to the ratio of the height of the object. Furthermore, the letter ‘m’ denotes the magnification of the object. Besides, its formula is:

Magnification (m) = h / h’

Here, h is the height of the object and h’ is the height of the object.

Besides, it can also be related to the object distance and image distance. So, it can be written as:

m = -v / u

Here u is the object distance and c is the image distance.

Most noteworthy, in this way the magnification expression will be:

m = h’ / h = -v / u

Example of magnification

Its example can be any object that we can magnify. Like the plants, cell, atoms, microorganisms and many more.

Solved Question for You

Question. Which of the following can magnify object 400x (400 times)?

A. Simple Microscope
B. Compound Microscope
C. Electron microscope
D. Magnifying glass

Answer. The correct answer is option C.

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