How Does a Periscope Work?

A periscope is built like and works much like a telescope, with a long tube containing a mirror at each end. The mirrors are fitted into the tube so that they are parallel to each other at a 45° angle to the axis, or imaginary long center line, of the tube.

More complicated periscopes have extra lenses added to enlarge the image. Submarine periscopes contain this more complicated arrangement. They have reflecting prisms at the top and bottom of the tube, with two telescopes and several lenses between the two ends, and an eyepiece at the viewing end. A submarine periscope also has a thick, rigid, waterproof casing and can stand the pressure of great depths of water.

In addition to submarines, tanks also use periscopes in wartime to navigate or look for enemy targets. Both of these vehicles have periscopes which can be raised or lowered, as well as turned around in a 360° circle.

Periscopes can also be built so they see around corners!


  1. amanda hugandkiss says

    they are cool and we r doing the in science with the most boringist of teachers!! lol

  2. hands up soilder says

    periscopes are not cool they are weird cus we had to research them and they are soooooooooooooooooooo boring!

  3. Anonymous says

    Thhaannkyouuu!! I so needed dis for meh science hmwrk!!!Reaallly hlepful!


  4. Anonymous says

    thanks we r doin it for homework and i wasn’t sure how a periscope worked this realy helped

  5. Anonymous says

    It is so cool to have this! i WOULD GET DETENTION if i didnt get this info! so THANX!

  6. jodie smith says

    i love periscopes there amazing , my life wud suck wifout thm
    i sleep in bed with them !! && have a little portable one in my handbag


  7. Anonymous says

    But let’s say you are 500 feet beneath the water, you can’t just extend 500 feet of tubings to the surface.

  8. Anonymous says

    This is what I was looking for, but I need an explanation that uses these words:
     Light
     Light Travels
     Reflection
     Source
     Reflect
     Eyes
     Mirror
     Straight Line

    Please help me, because this has to be in on Wednesday. Thanks!

  9. Anonymous says

    Periscopes are also known to use Triangular prisms instead of flat mirrors, however the same principles still apply. The hypotenus of the prisms must be parallel from each other, and at 45 degrees from the axis.

  10. Anonymous says

    Submarines don’t have windows either so they use the periscopes to look ahead of them, not only above the water… I think xD

  11. Poopy Doo says

    I love this website i come on it like every day, my life wouldn’t be worth living without it, I LOVE PERISCOPES ASWELL!! please please write more about them!!! :D

  12. Poopy Doo says

    I got a portable one for my b-day, its amazing im so happy i can take it everywhere with me :) please give me more info on periscopes cos i wanna write it in my journal!! :0

  13. Poopy Doo says

    Omg I love them too! and i have a portable one, i also write all kinds of facts about them in my periscope Journal!! :D I got it for my b-day

  14. lizzie dizzie says

    poopy doo u need to get a lu8fe and can u plz leave my room u nutter

  15. dizzie lizzie says

    poopy doo PLZ stop talkng about ur periscope and can u plz leave my room

  16. Poopy Doo says

    God U creep i dont even know u, im not in ur room i dont even know who u r… leave me alone im just a poor kid that has an obsession with periscopes

  17. Poopy Doo says

    Kimberly I know its u, ur in my science lesson aswell as lizzie dizzie u shouldn’t mock peoples names…

  18. Poopy Doo says

    who the heck is Amber u Creep just stay away from me im telling my mummy and my pet periscope, he’s a very good listener

  19. sophieeeeeeeeeeeeeee says

    u think thats bad !!!
    we have to do a 900 word essay on periscopes for homework !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :P

  20. Kim & Ellie says

    hey poopy doop we have portable periscopes to we are starting a fan club wanna join dont bring that lizzie girl shes a creep

  21. anusha says

    its do goof,cus i needed it for my science hmwrk!!!!!!!


  22. Jodie-Ann says

    What do i need to make a periscope ?, i am making one in science and i have to take in materials for it:/??

  23. I don't have a name says

    Ooooooh1 thanks a lot for my tedious & never ending homework ;-)

  24. shelly says

    m really greatfull, coz i got a lot of help in my project b’coz of this site…!!!!! thnx a lot

  25. jayyyyyde says

    hmmph…im doing a assignment on it and i totally don’t know what to write!

  26. Maham Naveed says

    Thanks u so much i was finding 4 something gud and informative about periscopes thank god i got it!!!! i got a 300 word essay and a report

  27. immy newman says

    Haha whyss everyone mad about these things its only a periscopee guyss, chill :) x

  28. researchingurl says

    i have a hw assignment and i have to explain how periscopes use reflection. periscopes suck i hate dis science project ugh!!!!
    stupid periscopes…

  29. Nicole Coley says

    wow this is so much help!! thank u so much for helping me with my periscope! YAYYYYY

  30. Phil Jefferson says

    THANKS for Helping. If this website didn’t exist I woud be in detention!! :)

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