A microscope is an instrument used to see objects that are too small for the naked eye. The science of investigating small objects using such an instrument is called microscopy. Microscopic means invisible to the eye unless aided by a microscope.

The first microscope to be developed was the optical microscope, although the original inventor is not easy to identify. An early microscope was made in 1590 in Middelburg, Netherlands. Two eyeglass makers are variously given credit: Hans Lippershey (who developed an early telescope) and Hans Janssen. Giovanni Faber coined the name microscope for Galileo Galilei's compound microscope in 1625. Galileo had called it the "occhiolino" or "little eye".

The power of a microscope is generally displayed on the scope. If a microscope has a 60x written on it that means the images you see will be 60 times larger than they are in reality. A microscope that has only one eyepiece is known as monocular, while a microscope with two eyepieces is called binocular. Binocular are slightly more expensive but are considered simpler for a beginner to use.

Scientists can even use a microscope to figure out where illegal drugs come from. For example, looking at opium crystals through a microscope reveals different shapes depending on where the poppies they came from were grown. This information can help pinpoint the source of illegal drugs.



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