Class 12 Physics Wave Optics Resolving Power of Optical instruments

Resolving Power of Optical instruments

  • Resolving power is defined as the inverse of the distance between two objects which can be just resolved when viewed through the optical instrument.
  • Optical instruments should be able to display two separate images as distinct two separate images.
  • Suppose if we are seeing 2 stars in the sky using telescope, and they are very closely placed to each other, they should not be displaced as one star.
  • Instead they should be displaced as two separate stars. The ability to see them as separate 2 stars is known as resolving power.
  • For example: -
    • Consider 2 rooms one is lit and another is dark.The room which is lit we are able to see everything clearly whereas in second room we are not able to see properly.
    • This is because the resolving power with which we are viewing second room is not good.
  • If the resolving power is better the image will be clearer.So everything can be seen clearly.



It is possible to view 2 closely spaced objects clearly.

It is to magnify the size of objects.

It is the distinctness of 2 different objects.

It is to enlarge two different objects.


  • Note:-
    • Whenever magnification increases the resolution decreases.
    • Resolution à Clarity or distinctness of two different objects.
    • Magnification à Enlargement of the size of an object.




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