39
votes
4answers
3k views

Why is water clear?

Water appears transparent to visible light, yet most other objects are opaque. Why is that? Is there an explanation why water appears transparent? Is water transparent at all wavelengths, or are ...
4
votes
3answers
56 views

Why don't fogbows appear on clouds?

As far as I know clouds are lot of small droplets condensed in air. If droplets are large enough we see a rainbow. If they are small we see a fogbow. Although the size of the droplets are big enough ...
2
votes
2answers
89 views

Why would the reflection of a lamp by a bowl look like a heart?

I have this bowl roughly the shape of a circular truncated cone, and the lamp shines on the bowl at an angle. The reflected lamp light hit the bottom of the bowl and created a light ring that looks ...
1
vote
1answer
98 views

Experiment regarding myopic correction by a manipulation of fingers?

Here is a small experiment my tutor once told us for just amusement. It works for myopic people at least, and can be a good check to see if you have myopia. With your naked eye, ("remove the ...
51
votes
3answers
3k views

Why can we see the dust particles in a narrow beam of light (and not in an all lighted area)?

Let us say that I am sitting in a room with all the drapes open. Bright sunlight is coming through the window. The whole room is brilliantly lighted. I will not be able to see the dust particles ...
9
votes
4answers
718 views

How big should a lens of a telescope be so we can see the American flag on the Moon from the Earth's surface? [duplicate]

How big in diameter should the lens of the imaginary telescope to be so we can see the American flag from e.g. some observatory in Hawaii?
11
votes
2answers
415 views

Why are so many different types of objects white, yet appear gray when they are wet?

There are many things with different textures that appear white – salt, beer foam, paper, shaving cream, snow, talcum powder, white paint, etc. The most common answer is all of the frequencies must be ...
5
votes
2answers
746 views

Is wearing 3D glasses from the cinema as sunglasses hurtful to the eyes?

I heard a few times that using them as sunglasses is hurting the eye since UV light is not filtered, but the pupil is wider than it would be w/o wearing them because the visible light is dimmed. I ...
2
votes
1answer
123 views

Why does a mirage disappear as you approach it?

Related: why do mirages only appear on hot day? The title says it all: why does a mirage disappear as you approach it? The related question does not answer this.
2
votes
1answer
141 views

Why does a stack of transparencies appear white when a single sheet is clear?

My daughter and I found a box of old transparencies (clear plastic sheets) and something struck me as odd: even though each transparency is clear, the whole stack of transparencies looks whitish - why ...
5
votes
0answers
134 views

Suntan: UV absorption vs daytime

I guess that these questions were being asked by many people on the Northern Hemisphere during this summer (and other summers) and someone may give a nice, coherent answer. The general question is how ...
2
votes
1answer
226 views

Why does a white object lit by a blue light cast an orange shadow?

I was reading this blog post: http://ianstormtaylor.com/design-tip-never-use-black/ Which phenomenon explains this: But I must have been thinking the same thing, because one of those days in art ...
4
votes
2answers
191 views

Shape of the rainbow

I have watched Walter Lewin's lecture(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QVbE_tU2sA) which was about the rainbows. But there is still a question bothering me. I understood the first part of the ...
14
votes
2answers
523 views

Are these sunglass lenses linearly polarized or what?

This is a difficult question to phrase, so please bear with me. I found some cheap sunglasses and pulled out the plastic lenses which are polarized. For clarity, I have labeled them as lens-1 and -2 ...
1
vote
1answer
677 views

Calculate the distance between two points from iPhone Camera

I want to calculate the distance between two objects using an iPhone camera. Suppose I'm standing with my iPhone 10 feet away from the objects. Now, I want to calculate the distance between those ...
2
votes
1answer
337 views

What is the cause of orange sky glow?

I live in the Netherlands and recently I have been seeing an orange glow in the sky at night, in the northwestern direction. What is the cause of this? And why is it in the northwestern direction (I ...
1
vote
1answer
154 views

Physics of Fireworks

This evening I saw the 4th July classic Fireworks in San Diego, and I was wondering about the most physical picture of what was happening. Does anyone have a good way to explain the detailed physical ...
34
votes
3answers
2k views

Why wet is dark?

When something gets wet, it usually appears darker. This can be observed with soil, sand, cloth, paper, concrete, bricks ... What is the reason for this? How does water soaking into the material ...
11
votes
1answer
2k views

Why does paper become transparent when smeared with oil but not (so much) with water?

When I smear oil onto a scrap of paper and rub it in, the paper becomes quite transparent; but when I attempt the same with water it doesn't as much. Why?
9
votes
2answers
825 views

Why do mirages only appear on hot days?

A previous question asked why the road sometimes appears wet on hot days. The reason is that when there's a temperature gradient in the air, it causes a gradient in the index of refraction, causing ...