DIY Galaxy Bottles

Create Glittering Galaxy Bottles at Home: All Ages

jar filled with glitter and water

Rheoscopic Fluid: Many scientific terms have Greek or Latin roots, and those roots describe what we see.

Here Rheo– is the Greek root to talk about currents, streams, or flow.

The latter half of rheoscopic, the – Scopic – is the Greek root of an instrument for viewing.

Thus, rheoscopic fluid literally means current viewing, or current showing fluid.
It was once used to show the flow of water currents or in testing the aerodynamics of an object. The object (a model plane, etc.) would be put in a flow of rheoscopic fluid to see how the water (or air) might flow around it.

Vocabulary:

  • Rheoscopic
  • Mica
  • Turbulence
  • Fluid dynamics

Materials

 Small clear bottles
 Old, sparkly or glittery eyeshadow – broken up into a powder
 Water

Directions

  1. Fill the bottle with water
  2. Add a TINY bit of the eyeshadow to the water
  3. Tightly cap the bottle and shake it up
  4. If there isn’t enough mica in the bottle, repeat steps 2 -3

What is Happening?

Mica is a microscopic crystal that looks similar to a frosted flake (although much smoother on the top and bottom). When these tiny crystals are moving in the currents of the water they will naturally align themselves with the turbulence. That is, they will align themselves to look like flying UFOs instead of like flying walls which would have much more resistance.  Light interacts with the Mica and reflects from its surfaces, although some of those surfaces are large and flat, while others are minuscule and line like. In this way, we see the Mica reflect a lot of light to our eyes in specific patterns as it tumbles from current to current in your galaxy bottle.
**These also make great calm-down jars.

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