5 Sassy-Sci tips for viewing rocks under a microscope in your home

Looking at rocks under a microscope can be a bit of a challenge. Normally, a geologist will cut a thin sliver of a rock and glue it to a slide to view under an electron microscope.

But, I am betting that none of us have an electron microscope just sitting around – even Uncle Cecil has to head over to the local university to use theirs when he needs one!

Plus, the last time the Prez tried to cut a sliver of a rock off he nearly lost three of his toes – so we don’t recommend trying that at home either.

So how do you look at rocks super close-up at home?

Is it even worth looking at rocks under a microscope?

Yes, it is most definitely worth it as you can see detail in your rocks that you can’t see with just your eyes.

These five tips will keep your fingers, toes, and eyeballs in tact as you learn about rocks up-close!!

5 Sassy-Sci tips for viewing rocks under a microscope

Before we dig into the tips, here are a few tips to help you choose out a microscope. If you already have one in your house, you’re ready to move onto the tips!

1. Look at a mostly flat rock.

When you choose a sample to look at, you want a rock that is smaller and relatively flat. This way it will easily fit on the stage of your microscope.

Plus, when you look at your sample, you will get an even sample to view, instead of one section being in view and the other half being blurry.

2. Use a collection dish to hold the sample.

You can lay your rock directly on the stage, but if you move it around at all you risk scratching the surface.

So, we highly recommend placing your rock in a microscope collection dish before placing it on the stage for viewing.

3. Always look before you move.

Rocks are hard {obviously}. Microscopes lens are delicate. Rock meets lens . . . moves past lens . . . do I need to finish this story?

Seriously, you don’t want to scratch up or damage one of the lenses on your microscope. So, when you move your rock to view another part of it, always look at what you are moving.

4. Light the sample from above with a flashlight.

Most rocks are not translucent, so the light from below, the one that you normally use to light your sample on the microscope is rendered mostly useless.  you can have a partner using a flashlight to shine

Instead, you can have a partner using a flashlight to shine a light on the rock from above while you view the sample.

5. Add in a macro-lens or palm-sized microscope.

We find that also using a clip-on camera macro-lens or palm-sized microscope gives another close-up perspective of a rock.

It’s not quite the same as a microscope as you won’t get nearly the same detail, but it’s a great start!

Wrapping it up

Well, there you have it Sassy-Sci peeps – 5 of our best tips for viewing rocks under a microscope in your home!

We hope you enjoy using these tips to learn about rocks as much as Blaine and I enjoyed our geology leg – minus the near-death experiences and memory-erasing moments!

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