The subfield of optics in which light propagation is approximated in terms of rays. It mainly includes reflection and refraction on surfaces.

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Virtual vs Real image

I'm doing magnification and lens in class currently, and I really don't get why virtual and real images are called what they are. A virtual image occurs the object is less than the focal length of ...
208
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20answers
71k views

A mirror flips left and right, but not up and down

Why is it that when you look in the mirror left and right directions appear flipped, but not the up and down?
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3answers
6k views

Software for geometrical optics

Is there any good software for construction optical path's in geometrical optics. More specifically I want features like: draw $k \in \mathbb{N}$ objects $K_1,\dots,K_n$ with indices of refraction ...
25
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5answers
2k views

Is it possible to focus the radiation from a black body to make something hotter than that black body?

My previous question wasn't specific enough. I'll try to be more specific. Let's imagine we have a hot body let's say 6000K hot that emits lots of thermal radiation. Let's assume 1kW of radiative ...
6
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5answers
434 views

Trapping a lightray

Given a solid whose interior is a hollow sphere with perfectly reflecting mirrors. A small hole is drilled in the sphere and a photon is sent in at some angle. Will it always eventually exit through ...
57
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4answers
6k views

Is it possible to start fire using moonlight?

You can start fire by focusing the sunlight using the magnifying glass. I searched the web whether you can do the same using moonlight. And found this and this - the first two in Google search ...
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2answers
3k views

Does light reflect if incident at exactly the critical angle?

A lot of textbooks and exam boards claim that light incident at exactly the critical angle is transmitted along the media boundary (i.e. at right-angles to the normal), but this seems to violate the ...
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1answer
159 views

How is Fermat's least time principle proven?

How is Fermat's least time principle proven? Or it is what usually is observed and is basis for the theories?
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1answer
3k views

Analytic solution for angle of minimum deviation?

Consider a simple prism with a prism angle $A$, angle of incidence $\theta_1$, angle of emergence $\theta_4$ and the first and second angle of refraction as $\theta_2,\theta_3$. the refractive index ...
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2answers
66 views

Calculating light's lateral shift in a glass slab

I have tried to compute light's lateral shift after passing through a glass slab In terms of the incidence angle $\theta_1$, the slab thickness $d$ and the refraction index $n$, I have found that ...
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2answers
612 views

How to Ray Trace Chief and Marginal Rays in Thin Lens Systems

Looking at the below images, the chief and marginal ray appear to be modeled just fine. But, those lines don't seem to conform to the rules typically used in thin lens ray traces. An example of ...
0
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1answer
84 views

Determining the path of a light ray

Let's consider a ray in the plane $xy$. Let the refractive index be defined in any point of the plane with the function $n(x,y)$. In time $t=0$ the ray is located in coordinates $(x_0, y_0)$ and its ...
109
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2answers
6k views

Why do sunbeams diverge even though the sun is much more than a few kilometers away?

Consider this picture of sun beams streaming onto the valley through the clouds. Given that the valley is only (at a guess) 3km wide, with simple trigonometry and the angles of the beams, this ...
38
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5answers
4k views

If a lens focuses all incoming light to a point, how do we get 2D images?

How do lenses produce 2-dimensional images, if a lens bends all incoming rays of light to intersect at the focal point? Shouldn't this produce a single dot of light on a screen placed at the focal ...
5
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2answers
10k views

Why do things that are far away seem smaller?

As you see things that are far smaller, a funny question about this: Imagine there are many people in a row (all are same height) ...
3
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1answer
75 views

What are the common points between physical optics and geometric optics? [closed]

I am trying to write a paper about light, I want to discuss the two way of studying light, the physical/wave optics and the geometric/ray optics, but I want to write a general introduction about them, ...
3
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2answers
222 views

Shack-Hartmann wavefront sensor concepts, pupil conjugate planes?

I am just starting to looking at the application of wavefront abberommtery to measure abberations in the human eye. I am confused over the pupil conjugate planes, do you use relay lenses to image the ...
3
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2answers
243 views

How did ancient physicists around 500 BC decide that the earth is spherical?

One of the standard stories that is given for this (and is mentioned in Aristotle) is that the hull of a ship disappears first as it sails towards the horizon on a calm sunny day. Is this a myth, or ...
2
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4answers
546 views

Is there any optical component that uniformizes the incoming light?

Is there any optical component in existence that uniformizes randomly pointing rays?
2
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2answers
2k views

Fresnel distance and Geometrical limit

I read about the geometrical limit of wave theory. The source from where I read had a slightly different explanation to provide than here(The more rigorous answer is too complicated for me to ...
2
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1answer
479 views

Eikonal approximation for wave optics. Why follow the unit vector parallel to the Pointing vector?

The description of the passage from wave optics to geometrical optics claims that light rays are the integral curves of a certain vector field (the Pointing vector direction, normalized to 1). Here ...
2
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1answer
498 views

Huygens' Principle During Reflection: comparing wavelets from before reflection with wavelets from during reflection

I was recently reviewing geometric optics, during which I read about Huygens' Principle and how it could be used to prove the Law of Reflection from the "light is a wave" viewpoint. I'll quote what I ...
2
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1answer
162 views

Good resource for geometric optics

I'm looking for a good resource (preferably a book) on geometric optics. I am thorough with the basics (the mirror formula, lensmaker's formula, thin lens formula, etc). What I want is something that ...
2
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1answer
223 views

How to calculate the refracted light path when refraction index continuously increasing?

Suppose an incident light from vacuum ($n_1=1.0$) into some media ($n_2=n_1+\mu\; x^2$) as in the figure below. How to calculate the refracted light path curve in closed form? Update: Try to set ...
2
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2answers
343 views

Calculating the rainbow angle

I've read that the angle for viewing a Primary Rainbow is between 40-42 degrees. How would I go about showing this? How would I calculate that angle from scratch? I figured that Snell's Law and the ...
2
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2answers
87 views

Is it possible to build an optical system that increases the perceived surface brightness?

So is it possbile to build a system from lenses and mirrors that can make faint gas nebulas brighter or can be used as nightvision? If you increase the size of the aperture of a telescope it will ...
2
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3answers
8k views

Clarification needed in the concept of apparent depth & real depth

I understood the concept of apparent depth from here: But one thing I didn't understand is, will there be difference in the real depth and apparent depth when we are looking not at an angle as ...
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2answers
325 views

Calculate the polarization vector on reflection or refraction from a dielectric interface

I am interested in ray-tracing polarized photons. I have code that works very well for unpolarized light. When a ray hits a dielectric interface the photon is either reflected or refracted by ...
0
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1answer
30 views

In geometric optics we treat light as a collection of particles?

I've been reading the book "Geometric Mechancis" by Darryl Holm and the in the first chapter he treats geometric optics. There the author talks about light rays and those light rays looks like ...
0
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0answers
51 views

What is a good textbook to learn how to ray trace light through an optics system in 3d? [duplicate]

I can do 2d problems easily, but I need to learn more to do a 3D ray trace. Can you guys point me towards a textbook? I'm having trouble dealing with the normal and incident rays in 3D
0
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2answers
182 views

Ray tracing in a inhomogeneous media

If I have an optical transparent slab with refractive index $n$ depending on the distance $x$ from the surface of the slab, the refractive index can be described by: $$n(x)=f(x)$$ where $f(x)$ is a ...
0
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1answer
275 views

Phase and amplitude information of an image

By applying Fourier Transform to an image we can get its magnitude as well as phase spectrum. A magnitude spectrum describes how various frequencies are attenuated and accentuated in that image but ...
0
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1answer
315 views

Image formed in a compound light microscope

I am trying to understand whether the image formed in a compound light microscope is at infinity or not. I get conflicting answers everywhere I look.
0
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1answer
663 views

How does the Fraunhofer irradiance distribution look for a double slit aperture of different lengths?

How does the Fraunhofer irradiance distribution look for a double slit aperture with $d$ = integer multiples of $b$?