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All Eyes on Me

All Eyes on Me
Make yourself the center of attention—and reflect.

Situate yourself at just the right place in space in front of this parabolic mirror array and you’ll see dozens of your own eyeballs peering back at you.

What’s going on?

The parabolic shape of this array of mirrors focuses incoming light rays together, causing them to converge to a single point (called the focal point) and then spread apart again. When you put your own eyeball at just the right place—roughly twice the focal length—you see your own eye reflected back at you from every mirror in the array.

Berenice Abbott photo of parabolic mirrors. This exhibit was inspired by a photo from a classic physics textbook. The Parabolic Mirror Has a Thousand Eyes was shot by the famous scientific photographer Berenice Abbott. (click image to enlarge)

Going further

Parabolic mirrors having a single smooth surface—as opposed to the fragmented view you see here—are found in car headlights, solar ovens, and reflecting telescopes.

External resources

Rogers, H. S. "Making Science Visible: The Photography of Berenice Abbott." In Photomediations Machine.