# Tagged Questions

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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### 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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### 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 ...
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### 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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### Do people wearing glasses have different field of view than those who don't?

There is one thing I sometimes wonder about ever since I was a child. Do people who wear eye glasses see objects in different size than those who don't?(Technically different size means different ...
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### 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 ...
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### 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 ...
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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 ...
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### 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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### Converting indices of refraction

If I know that the index of refraction of a given substance is 1.4 for the average wavelength (say 550 nm), and I would like to know what is the index of refraction with a wavelength of 832 nm, how ...
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### 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 ...
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### Examples in which the light maximizes the optical path length

I posted a similar question about geodesics on Math.SE. Many sources (Wikibooks for instance) claim that the light could maximize the optical path length in some cases. But I don't think it's actually ...
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### Reconciling total internal reflection and the evanescent Wave

I understand that light is guided in a dielectric waveguide via total internal reflection. My question is regarding the origin of power contained in the evanescent field traveling along the direction ...
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### How does Huygens Principle incorporate the unidirectional property of a traveling wave?

I was reading French's Vibrations & Waves where he discusses Huygens-Frensel Principle. The principle talks about how secondary sources give rise to secondary wavelets to form the displaced ...
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### 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) ...
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### Infinite total internal reflection

Suppose that I have a block of some transparent material, glass, for instance, with a certain index of refraction. Suppose that the transparent material is placed in air or in any other transparent ...
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### Will a prism widen a monochromatic beam?

The representation of the experiment which demonstrates that white light consists of many colors, invariably shows that the beam of white light is broadened inside the prism and is some what more ...
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### 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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### How to place a mirror parallel to a wall?

For one of my experimental setup I need to place a mirror perfectly parallel to a wall. It can be placed at any distance from the wall. I would like to use any method other than direct measurement. I ...
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### 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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### 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 ...
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### Options to correct rectangular laser beam profile?

We recently switched to a 405 nm laser diode which has a terrible beam profile -- it is a well-defined rectangle with an aspect ratio of about 10:1. The image below shows the collimated beam which ...
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### Blonde hair looking green at certain angle

I have a friend who has blonde hair. And when look at an oblique angle, there's a tinge of light green in her hair. I've heard that the copper ion in pool water can make blonde hair green, but her ...
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### Does the curvature of the IMAX screen improve the view of 3D video projections in any way for viewers not sitting in the “sweet spot”?

When I think about a simple 2D projection on a screen with vertical-cylinder curvature and of viewing positions away from the "sweet spot" it seems to me pretty obvious that there would be geometrical ...
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Why do optical fibers usually have a cladding? Ok, if you put make a bundle of optical fibers this prevents that light leaks from one fiber to another fiber in contact. However, are there other ...
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### 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 ...
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### How to make the projected image smaller by adding one ore more lenses in front of the built in projector lense?

I have a projector that creates a large image, even if the distance to the screen is short. The device is very small, approximateley 10x10 cm if you look from above. The height is only 3 cm. I ...
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### Goldfish perspective

What does the world look like from the Goldfish point of view, from inside a spherical aquarium? If our eyes were inside, would we be able to see the straight lines, focus on different objects and ...
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### 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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### Is there a mathematical equivalence between gravitational optics and quantum optics or are they mathematically incompatible theories?

I know that massive gravitational bodies will curve the path that light travels. I think that quantum optical mediums also bend light. I am still confused of whether quantum optical mediums actually ...
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### Why do the passing objects' shadows run in the direction of the moving train?

While travelling in the train on the sunset, I have noticed the strange phenomenon. The shadows of the lonely trees and lampposts, that stay along the railroad, are moving on the wall in the same ...
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### Virtual images in (plane) mirrors?

The following image is taken from teaching physics lecture Was man aus virtuellen Bildern lernen kann (in German): Now the cited paper claims that the left hand side is the correct picture to ...
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### Plano-convex lenses

When the spherical side of a planoconvex lens is towards the source we will see reduced aberrations normally we use it for the beam collimation. When we use two planoconvex lenses configuration why we ...
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### Fermat's principle to prove the law of reflection

Fermat's principle tells that a light ray will follow a path from point $A$ to point $B$ so that the optical path length of this path is an extremum over neighboring paths. I wanted to use this ...