Stand-Alone Exhibits KL06 Parabolic mirrors


Can you talk to a friend who is out of earshot?

Speak into the opening at the centre of the concave reflector
and listen for a response from your friend at the other reflector.

A concave reflector distributes the speaker’s voice over a sound field whose diameter is equal to the cross-sectional area of the reflector. Another reflector of the same type, placed opposite to your reflector, collects all of the sound waves and condenses them for your friend to hear. Without the reflectors, your voice would spread over a broader area, causing a much smaller portion of the sound waves to actually reach the listener’s ears.

The profile of the reflector is a parabola. A parabolic reflector projects the sound waves from the focal point outward in a bundle of parallel waves. The focal point refers to the point through which all the rays hitting the mirror will pass.

A radio telescope is an instrument of observation used by astronomers to detect objects within the wavelengths of radio radiation. The antenna collecting the waves is generally shaped as a parabolic dish. Radio telescopes are large in size, because radio waves have a weaker energy than, for example, visible light. Radio telescopes are often connected to each other in an interferometric array. An interferometer is a device which combines the waves from two different sources into a single image or interference pattern. In astronomy, interferometry improves observational precision.

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