magnifying glass

ray diagrams of different ways a magnifying glass can be used

Ray diagrams showing different ways in which a magnifying glass can be used: (A) as a simple microscope; (B) to form a real image; (C) as a burning glass.

A magnifying glass is a converging (convex) lens used to form an enlarged image of an object. A magnifying glass generally has handle attached to a circular clip holding the lens.


In normal use, the object is held within the focal length of the lens and an enlarged, upright virtual image is seen through the lens. A magnifying glass can also be used to form a real but inverted image of an object if the object is placed outside the focal length of the lens. A large converging lens can also be used as a burning glass, focusing light and heat from the Sun.