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Sunlight Experiment

The key ingredient for this experiment with ultra-violet light is a sunny day.

Continue reading "Sunlight Experiment"





Sunlight Experiment

Materials (2 plastic glasses, tonic water, tap water, marker, black paper or cloth )

  1. Fill one plastic cup with tonic water and one with tap water almost to the brim and label them.
  2. Place the cups in direct sunlight. For best results, do this experiment in the middle of the day.
  3. Hold a piece of black paper or cloth behind the cups.
  4. Look across the surface of the tonic water and tap water through the sides of the glasses.

What Should Happen

There should be a blue glow on the surface of the tonic water from the ultra-violet light in sunlight.  This picture was taken at about 5pm.

experiment showing ultra-violet light with tonic water

When ultra-violet light is absorbed by the Quinine in tonic water, it is re-emitted as visible light (the blue fluorescence seen on the surface of the tonic water).

There should be a small amount of blue fluorescence any time ultra-violet light is present, but it is much easier to see around noon on a sunny day.

Learn more about sunlight.

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