How Do Diffraction Glasses Work?

The principle of light diffraction dates back to the experiments of Sir Isaac Newton, who observed that when a light source passed through a prism, it would split into its spectrum of seven distinct colors. The term diffraction itself was coined by Francesco Maria Grimaldi, an Italian scientist and contemporary of Newton’s, who also studied the behavior of light. Theirs is the same colorful spectrum that we still see today in everything from rainbows in the sky to light bouncing off of the back of a DVD!

Today, diffraction glasses, also known as fireworks glasses, are a popular way to experience the spectacular properties of light and color. Whether you want to enhance your enjoyment of a music festival, seeking a unique party favor to hand out to your guests, or simply seeking a way to deepen your understanding of light, diffraction glasses are a fun and affordable option.

But you may be wondering, how do diffraction glasses work? Read on to learn a little bit about the science behind our diffraction glasses!

Diffraction Defined

Let’s get technical for a moment and define the term diffraction as it applies to light and physics. Diffraction is the process by which a beam of light is spread out after passing through a narrow opening or across a grating. While diffraction glasses specifically relate to the diffraction of light, diffraction could also apply to water waves, radio waves, or sound waves. Have you ever observed the ripples of water in a pond move around a stationary rock? Those waves are being diffracted. Cool, right?

How Diffraction Glasses Work

Diffraction glasses, like those we design at Rainbow Symphony, work on this ancient principle of physics. First, we produce a high-quality, holographic lens that contains thousands of tiny lines. The surface of these lenses serves as our “grating” upon which the light will diffract.

But the real secret to how diffraction glasses work? Light, of course! When you wear the glasses and direct them towards a light source––this could be the light show of a concert or the lamps in your living room––the beam of light strikes the holographic surface of the lens (our “grating”) and breaks up into its spectrum. What you see on the other side (behind the lens) is the dazzling array of sparkling colors, shapes, lines, and dots. As you move your head, the light dances across the surfaces of the lens for a truly spectacular experience!

You can experiment with different colored lights while wearing your diffraction glasses. A common white light source breaks up into a standard rainbow spectrum of colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet). However, if you look at a red light source, you will see the red components of the light spectrum!

Experience Diffraction Glasses for Yourself

Now that you know a bit more about how diffraction glasses work and the amazing, yet simple, science behind them, it’s time to get yourself a pair! At Rainbow Symphony, we offer a wide selection of high-quality but affordable diffraction glasses, including plastic diffraction glasses, our LaserSpex™ Plastic Rainbow Fireworks Glasses® designed specifically for light shows, a variety of paper diffraction glasses perfect for any occasion, and so much more!

Plus, we offer customized diffraction glasses so you can add your brand, logo, or other personalized touches for your next event! Simply contact our support team at 1-800-821-5122 or send us a message via our online contact form to learn more.

How Many Different Types of Eclipses Are There?

blood moon

Civilizations have observed celestial events for thousands of years. Whether performing astronomical research or simply enjoying the wonders of nature as they appear in outer space, people have always been captivated by the mysterious beauty of events that transpire above the earth’s atmosphere. For many, an eclipse is the most captivating event of all.

Eclipses have occurred since the dawn of time, and today we have the technology to answer an important question: How many different types of eclipses are there? The answer is seven.

1. Total Solar Eclipse

This type of eclipse occurs when the central, darkest part of the moon’s shadow, known as the “umbra”, fully occludes the view of the sun, with the sun’s radiance vaguely outlining the circular shadow. The longest solar eclipse on record lasted an amazing seven minutes and 25 seconds. According to astronomers, if the record is broken, it will not happen until after 8,000 AD!

If you’re planning to watch the next total solar eclipse, make sure you have “CE” certified solar eclipse viewers on hand!

partial solar eclipse

2. Partial Solar Eclipse

This eclipse takes place when moon’s “penumbra” — a lighter portion of its shadow that is outside of the umbra — partially occludes the view of the sun. The sun may be shaped like a crescent or appear as if a small piece is missing. Unlike total eclipses, partial eclipses can make the sun look different each time, and they happen more often than total solar eclipses.

3. Annular Solar Eclipse

This type of eclipse happens when the moon’s “antumbra” — a part of its shadow that is lighter than the umbra but darker than the penumbra — fully occludes the view of the sun. However, unlike with a total eclipse, the moon appears to have a distinct, circular periphery of radiant light. This creates the illusory effect of the moon appearing nearly as big as the sun.

4. Hybrid Solar Eclipse

In a hybrid solar eclipse, the curvature of the earth causes certain areas along the eclipse path to intersect the moon’s umbra and experience a total eclipse, while areas on the path that intersect the antumbra experience an annular eclipse. Hybrid solar eclipses require a highly precise alignment between earth and moon. They occur about once every decade.

5. Total Lunar Eclipse

A total lunar eclipse results from the earth’s umbra fully covering the surface of the moon. Because the moon is illuminated only by light that refracts from the earth’s atmosphere, it appears darker than normal, often having a reddish or copper-like color. This type of moon is frequently called a “blood moon” (pictured above) and provides a distinctive view of the moon’s topography.

partial lunar eclipse

6. Partial Lunar Eclipse

A partial lunar eclipse transpires when sun, earth, and moon share a slightly imperfect alignment that causes a portion of the moon to be covered by the earth’s umbra, while the rest of the moon is covered by the earth’s penumbra. When a lunar eclipse happens, there is a 30% chance that it will be a partial eclipse, compared to a 35% chance for a total eclipse.

7. Penumbral Lunar Eclipse

This type of eclipse occurs when the earth’s penumbra covers the moon, making the moon appear darker. However, because the moon’s penumbra is significantly lighter than its umbra, some penumbral lunar eclipses are easy to overlook with the naked eye. Astronomers estimate that penumbral lunar eclipses happen between two and four times each year.

Regardless of how many different types of eclipses there are, you’ll want to make sure you experience them safely. At Rainbow Symphony, all of our solar eclipse glasses are "CE" Certified and meet the transmission requirements of scale 12-16 of EN 169/1992 for absolutely safe direct solar viewing.

Browse our entire selection of eclipse shades, filters, and other products and place your order today so you’re ready for the next eclipse near you!

How to Apply Decorative Window Film

When you’re looking for a unique way to add some incredible color to a room, our decorative window film featuring our holographic diffraction pattern is the perfect solution. When placed in a room that gets direct sunlight, the interplay between the light and pattern will cast a dazzling array of rainbows across any space. The shapes and colors will change along with the movement of the sun throughout the day––which means there’s never have a dull moment when after you install our rainbow window films.

Below, we’ve outlined an easy process for how to apply our decorative window film to your room of choice. Read on and let us know if you have any questions!

What You’ll Need

So, how do you apply our decorative window film? For starters, you’ll need a couple of simple household items, including:

  • Paper towels
  • A spray bottle containing a solution of tap water and a drop of dish soap
  • A squeegee
  • A pair of scissors (optional)
  • Your Rainbow Symphony decorative window film

Step 1:

Choose a window that receives direct sunlight; the effect of the film will not be as spectacular if the window is shielded from the sun. If necessary, use a pair of standard household scissors to cut the film to fit your window of choice.

Step 2:

Wet the window with the soapy water mixture. Clean the window with the paper towels to remove any spots or smudges. Then, wet the window with the soapy water mixture again.

Step 3:

This step is optional, but totally recommended! If you have a desired shape and size, use the scissors to carefully cut the film while the liner is still on the sheet to whatever shape you’d like.

Step 4:

Partially peel the backing off of your decorative window film and place it on the desired section of the window.

Step 5:

Once you have the first section of the film where you want it, use your squeegee to seal the film to the window pane. Work from top to bottom, applying medium pressure to remove any air bubbles.

Step 6:

After you’ve applied the entire piece of film, squeegee the entire surface again in all directions to remove any remaining air bubbles and enhance the seal. Push the air bubbles towards the closest edge; the shorter the distance they need to travel, the better!

Step 7:

Wipe away any excess water––and you’re done! Now you can step back and enjoy the dazzling rainbow display.

Explore Our Decorative Film Collection

Now that you know how to apply your decorative window film, it’s time to make your selection if you haven’t already! At Rainbow Symphony, each of our decorative window films offers a different pattern that will splash gorgeous colors and shapes across your room. Choose from our Radial Axion pattern, Ambrosia pattern, Cracked Ice pattern, or Spectra Star pattern. No matter which one you pick, you can’t go wrong!

How Do Rainbows Happen?

From being a symbol of salvation in the story of Noah’s Ark and a legendary roadmap to a mythical pot of gold to becoming one of the most popular tags on Instagram, rainbows have been inspiring awe since the dawn of time. But have you ever wondered exactly how rainbows happen in the first place?

light diffraction

If you’re interested in learning more about the amazing science behind rainbows and how rainbows happen, check out Rainbow Symphony and explore our diverse selection of light diffraction products, including suncatchers, decals, glasses, and more!

How Do Diffraction Grating Glasses Work?

Diffraction glasses give you the opportunity to see the world in a whole new way. When you wear a pair of diffraction glasses, you are suddenly reminded of just how remarkable––and visually stunning––the properties of light can be. These glasses are simple, affordable tools that you can use to further your studies of physics, or to simply enhance an awesome light show at a music festival.

So how do diffraction grating glasses work? Read on to learn more!

Let’s Talk About Diffraction...

What, exactly, do we mean when we say diffraction? Diffraction occurs when light passes through a narrow aperture or series of apertures along a grating and is subsequently spread out into its various spectral components––often the classic rainbow spectrum with which you’re likely familiar.

In the study of optics, a diffraction grating is a lens or other component with a specific structure that breaks up light into beams and sends them traveling into different directions.

How Diffraction Grating Glasses Work

Now that we’ve covered diffraction, let’s get into how diffraction grating glasses work.

When you put on a pair of diffraction grating glasses, you are essentially placing a diffraction grating in between your eyes and the light sources within your physical environment. The lens of the diffraction glasses contains thousands of tiny slits (the aforementioned “apertures”) that are spaced closely together.

When light hits these slits, it bends and breaks into its component colors. For white light, this the standard rainbow spectrum of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. Depending on the type of lighting source, you may see a different spectrum.

For example, fluorescent lighting will look different than LED lighting, which will appear different than traditional incandescent lighting. In this way, you can actually learn about the different types of light sources in a room by wearing your diffraction grating glasses! You can also experiment with looking at different temperature light bulbs while wearing the glasses or at light sources with different colored bulbs or gels.

How We Make Diffraction Grating Glasses

How do we make diffraction grating glasses? In our diffraction glasses, the gratings we use for our lenses are specifically designed to generate a visual cascade of colors. Each diffraction grating lens contains tens of thousands of tiny lines through with the light passes and diffracts to create the “rainbow symphony” you see!

Our classic diffraction grating glasses make the study of light and color fun for students of every age, featuring 13,500 lines per inch, double axis holographic diffraction grating lenses. A more durable but equally colorful option is our popular line of plastic fireworks glasses, the perfect accessory for that next killer concert.

Experience Diffraction for Yourself!

Now that you understand how diffraction grating glasses work, you can experience them for yourself! At Rainbow Symphony, we’ve been helping people discover the wonders of diffraction for over 40 years. Over time, we’ve expanded our collection of diffraction glasses to include various styles, colors, and materials so you’ll always find exactly what you’re looking for.

We also offer customization options for many of our best-selling diffraction glasses! Add your brand colors, logo, or other personalized images to our glasses for your next company event, wedding, or party. Simply reach out to our support team and let us take care of the rest.


Join the club!

Welcome to Rainbow Symphony.
Sign up for our newsletter to receive 10% off your first order

(don't worry, we don't send a million emails)