JIM CORWIN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JIM CORWIN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Lighthouse light. This distinctive red and white light is used to warn shipping of dangerous parts of a coastline. This is the light for the Umpqua River Lighthouse, on the Oregon coast, USA. The colouring of the light (by the glass) helps ships to identify it. The colouring is produced by a revolving octagonal red-and-white lens, sending a beam of alternating red and white light sweeping over the surrounding area. The lens, a first-order Fresnel lens, contains nearly 1000 glass prisms. The lighthouse is 20 metres tall, stands near the mouth of the Umpqua River, and was completed in 1894. The lens rotation was originally a clockwork mechanism, but now uses an electric motor.
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