Parts of a Microscope

Labeled Microscope Parts Worksheets

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Unlabeled Microscope Parts Worksheets

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Function of each Microscope Part

1. Eyepiece or Ocular Lens

Eyepiece lens magnifies the image of the specimen. This part is also known as ocular.  Most school microscopes have an eyepiece with 10X magnification.

2. Eyepiece Tube or Body Tube

The tube hold the eyepiece.

3. Nosepiece

Nosepiece holds the objective lenses and is sometimes called a revolving turret.  You choose the objective lens by rotating to the specific lens one you want to use. 

4. Objective Lenses

Most compound microscopes come with three or four objective lenses that revolve on the nosepiece. The most common objective lenses have power of 4X, 10X and 40X.  Combined with the magnification of the eyepiece the resulting magnification is 40X, 100X and 400X magnification.  Total magnification is calculated by multiplying the power of the eyepiece by the power of the objective lens.  (10X Eyepiece  X  40X Objective  =  400X Total Magnification)  Some more advanced microscopes have an additional objective lens with 100X power.  This results in 1,000X magnification.  So where do you start?  Which objective lens do you need for a particular task?  See “How to Use a Compound Microscope” below.

5. Arm

The Arm connects the base to the nosepiece and eyepiece.  It is the structural part that is also used to carry the microscope. 

6. Stage

The stage is where the specimen is placed. This place is for observation.

7. Stage Clips

Stage clips are the supports that hold the slides in place on the stage.

8. Diaphragm (sometimes called the Iris)

The diaphragm controls the amount of light passing through the slide. It is located below the stage and is usually controlled by a round dial.  How to set the diaphragm is determined by the magnification, transparency of the specimen and the degree of contrast you wish to have in your image.  Also called the condenser diaphragm.

9. Illuminator

Most light microscopes use a low voltage bulb which supplies light through the stage and onto to the specimen.  Mirrors are sometimes used instead of a built-in light. If your microscope has a mirror, it provides light reflected from ambient light sources like classroom lights or sunlight if outdoors.

10. Coarse focus

Coarse focus moves the stage to provide general focus on the specimen.  When bringing a specimen into focus, the course dial is the first one used.

11. Fine focus

Fine focus moves the stage in smaller increments to provide a clear view of the specimen.  When bringing a specimen into focus, the fine focus dial is the second one used.

12. Base

The base is the main support of the microscope.  The bottom, where all the other parts of the microscope stand. 

Quizlet and Kahoot! Microscope Parts Links

Study guides and help with learning the parts of a microscope can be found here:

Quizlet Microscope Parts

Kahoot! Microscope Parts

Microscope Parts Flashcards and more
Microscope Parts Quiz

The 14 Parts of a Microscope

Sometimes microscope parts are listed as the 14 parts rather than the 12 parts as above.  

If asked for the 14 parts of a microscope, it is generally because the three objective lenses are listed individually instead of as a group. 

Here are the details: 

All 11 Parts Listed Above - 12 minus #4 (Objective Lenses)

12. Low Power Objective Lens - generally 4x magnification

13. Medium Power Objective Lens - generally 10x magnification

14. High Power Objective Lens - generally 40x magnification

Other Light Microscope Parts

15. Oil Immersion Objective Lens - generally 100x

16. Rack Stop

17. Condenser Lens

The SmartMicroScope Optix could could be the part you're missing!

Replace the microscope eyepiece with the Optix microscope camera to:

  • Share the live image with the entire class and with virtual learners.
  • Prevent close contact by avoiding everyone sharing microscopes.
  • Take high resolution pictures
  • Record HD videos
  • Label specimen parts
  • Measure
  • Create quick assessments
  • Share images through Google Drive
  • Take pictures of labeled images to share as study guides or for formal assessments

How to Use a Compound Microscope

Using a light or compound microscope may seem overwhelming, but it’s really quite easy.  Just follow these easy steps to explore microscopic views:

A. Place the slide on the stage and secure with clips

B. Center the specimen over the opening in the stage

C. Rotate the objective lenses to choose the low power lens (the shortest one)

D. Turn the Microscope Light ON

E. Rotate the Course Focus (larger dial) while looking through the eyepiece until the specimen comes into clear view

F. Adjust using the Fine Focus dial (smaller) to get a clearer image

G. Carefully rotate to the medium objective lens while keeping everything else the same.

H. Minor adjustments to Coarse Focus and Fine Focus may be necessary to get a clear image..


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