Optics is the study of light, and its interaction with matter. It includes topics such as imaging systems, fiber optics, lasers, quantum optics, and more.

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22
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3answers
1k views

How to determine what size telescope to buy

A couple of years ago my son showed an interest in astronomy and we bought a 6" reflector telescope. We use it pretty regularly and have enjoyed it immensely. Lately we've both been wishing we had ...
6
votes
2answers
585 views

Optimal Angular Field of View (AFOV)

Given the rather huge price differences between eye pieces at the same focal length. How exactly does the AFOV affect the view seen through the eyepiece? Are higher / lower AFOV better for certain ...
3
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3answers
4k views

How do laser rangefinders work when the object surface is not perpendicular to the laser beam?

I find the functioning of a laser rangefinder confusing. The explanation usually goes like this: "you shine a laser beam onto the object, the laser beam gets reflected and gets back to the device and ...
7
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1answer
90 views

What is a backlit CCD sensor, and why might I prefer it to other kinds?

I've heard Astronomers talking about backlit CCD sensors, and talking about how much better they are than other types. What are they, why might I want to get one, and what are the pros/cons of this ...
15
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3answers
2k views

Observing lunar lander and footprints on the moon?

After Apollo 11 first landed on the Moon in 1969, there have been conspiracy theories that this never really happened and that it was all a hoax. In 2010 NASA released photos from its Lunar ...
2
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2answers
57 views

What objects look best in an O-III filter?

I've heard that an O-III (Oxygen III) filter is great for planetary nebulae. Is this true for all planetary nebulae, or just some or most? What other target types are often improved with an O-III ...
10
votes
3answers
164 views

Why is M42 red in the pictures, but green when observed at the eyepiece?

I saw magnificent images of the Orion Nebula (M42) in pictures from Wikipedia, However, when observed with a telescope, the nebula appears green hued, and I can't see any of the characteristic red ...
15
votes
6answers
2k views

Lenses (refractor) or mirrors (reflector) telescope?

What differentiates, in terms of practical quality, not technical implementation, a refractor from a reflector telescope? Why would one prefer a refractor over a reflector, when reflectors come with ...
11
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4answers
5k views

What does f/4.6 mean in a telescope and how important is this value? [closed]

In some specifications for telescopes, I saw a value marked as f/4.6. What does it mean exactly, and how important is when it comes to choosing a telescope?
11
votes
4answers
30k views

Why does the road look like it's wet on hot days?

Often, I'll be driving down the road on a summer day, and as I look ahead toward the horizon, I notice that the road looks like there's a puddle of water on it, or that it was somehow wet. Of course, ...
-4
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1answer
357 views

Light travels a straight line write down the principle in which this is manitested [closed]

Light traveles a straight line write down the principle in which this is manifested.
2
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1answer
664 views

Refractive index of organic solvents in near-infrared

I wonder if the refractive index of acetone, ethanol, methanol, heptane was measured in the range above 830 nm. The site refractiveindex.info provides it only for visible, and I couldn't find any ...
2
votes
1answer
380 views

direction of Pockels Effect. Refractive index eigendirections

There is a linear electro-optic effect called Pockels Effect The brief is that refractive index changes due to electric field. If there is an anisotropy (like birefringence) and electric field is in ...
12
votes
3answers
798 views

Can the speed of light become complex inside a metamaterial?

The speed of light in a material is defined as $c = \frac{1}{\sqrt{\epsilon \mu}}$. There are metamaterials with negative permittivity $\epsilon < 0$ and permeability $\mu < 0$ at the same time. ...
4
votes
1answer
576 views

Why can't I see far when I look in a mirror?

I'm myopic. It's a fact. I understand exactly how it works because Internet told me light rays encounter themeselves too soon in my eyes... that is why I can't see far objects even if I see near ...
0
votes
4answers
1k views

How to get Intensity over a range of wavelengths from a Total Intensity

This is a theory vs experiment problem for me I think in that - as usual - I think I know the theory, but when it comes time to run an experiment, I can't actually extract squat. So, here is my light ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

How does Fraunhofer diffraction depend on the orientation of the sides of a lens?

Matt in his answer on What does a hexagonal sun tell us about the camera lens/sensor? mentions Incidentally the number of (distinct) points to the star is equal to double the total number of ...
0
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2answers
339 views

Do and can phone signals come inside AC car which is glass-packed

Can phone signals penetrate glass, so can I expect phone signals to come if I am sitting inside a closed AC car. Thanks,
6
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3answers
698 views

Recently publicized experiment on destructive interference between two laser beams

Recently I've had several non-physicist friends ask me, independently of each other, about an experiment where two collinear laser beams destructively interfere along a certain length. Everybody wants ...
3
votes
2answers
3k views

Glycerol: refractive index & absorption spectra in 0.2-0.4um range

Could anyone suggest where can I find absorption spectra & refractive index of Glycerol? I am specifically interested in UV range, 200-400nm, everything I was able to find out was for standard ...
0
votes
1answer
162 views

Merge different wavelength rays

Let's say an array of rays of light is given. Each ray has a specific wavelength (in the range of visible light). Example: ...
6
votes
4answers
539 views

Far-field intensity from scattering of small particles

Howdy, I'm building a simulation for looking at the light field underwater. In order to verify my simulation, I'm looking for some data showing the far-field intensity that comes from single ...
4
votes
1answer
152 views

What's the name for taking pictures of air flow in a normal room?

There is a way to photograph air in a room. It makes convection, breathing and movement visible. The result looks a bit like a soap bubble. This is some kind of optical effect. No special gases or ...
2
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1answer
2k views

How does Telescope lens work?

1.How does a Telescope work? 2.What factors increase the magnification of the lens?
17
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6answers
3k views

Are human eyes the best possible camera?

I am not a physiologist, but whatever little I know about human eyes always makes me wonder by its details of optical subtleties. A question always comes to mind. Are human eyes the best possible ...
5
votes
1answer
3k views

Newton's color Disk

How does Newton's color disk work? Newton's disk - Take a circular white color disk, make 7 equal intersections and paint section with respective VIBGYOR colors, now when you spin the disk in certain ...
4
votes
3answers
610 views

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 ...
6
votes
1answer
390 views

Where does the energy go, when light is blocked by polarisation

I've been looking around about LCD monitors, and how they polarise light. When a pixel needs to be black, the light is "twisted" so that it can't go through the polarising sheet in front. What happens ...
5
votes
5answers
390 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
369 views

If you are told an image is real and you know it was made by a single optic (either a lens or a mirror), which of the following must be true? [closed]

If you are told an image is real and you know it was made by a single optic (either a lens or a mirror), which of the following must be true? The image distance is positive. The image distance is ...
1
vote
0answers
497 views

Double Slit Problem, Waves and Optics [closed]

Given d(slit separation)= $0.158\:\rm{mm}$, $\lambda _{red}= 665\:\rm{nm}$, $\lambda _{g/y}= 565nm$, L(distance from screen)= $2.24\:\rm{m}$ What is the distance between the third order red and ...
7
votes
2answers
353 views

Fairly Broad Spectrum Light Source Options

I tried this sight before to find filtering options and got fantastic results, so let's try again! I am setting up an experiment that requires light of two different frequencies (445nm and 350nm). ...
3
votes
1answer
284 views

Which lens parameters determines it's format?

I'm working with a megapixel sensor with a 1/2" format. I would like to know which parameters have to be taken into account in order to design a lens that can be fit with 1/2" format. The light ...
1
vote
1answer
664 views

Can reading glasses improve one's eyesight of objects lying in the long range?

Someone told me that reading glasses (a priori with a magnifying glass effect only) improve one's eyesight of objects lying in the long range distance. I am really sceptic about it since everything is ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

How to determine divergence of a LED source from a single biconvex lens

I'm trying to determine the divergence angle of light from a single lens that is completely illuminated by a high power LED. Most optics textbooks only deal with imaging optics and I'm having a hard ...
23
votes
6answers
9k views

Why glass is transparent?

Once I asked this question from my teacher and he replied "because it passes light", "and why it passes light" I asked and he said "because it is transparent". Same question again, Why glass is ...
11
votes
3answers
691 views

Light “diode” and 2nd law of thermodynamics

If I had a light "diode" - an object that only allowed light (at least for a range of frequencies) to travel through it in one direction, would this necessarily allow violations of the 2nd Law of ...
1
vote
2answers
430 views

Through a lens, which light beam reaches the screen first?

Imagine three light beams are "sent" to a lens simultaneously, they start at the same position but move towards the lens at different angles. The first light beam passes the lens at its edge, the ...
4
votes
2answers
8k views

refractive index of air in dependence of temperature

What is the exact dependence of the refractive index of air and the temperature? Is there a theoretical derivation of it?
3
votes
3answers
2k views

Why should optical fibers be thin?

What are the reasons that optical fibers have to be thin (small radius of the fiber)? Is there a good picture which explains this in detail?
4
votes
1answer
542 views

How does phase modulation conspire to eliminate power variations?

A purely phase-modulated signal has no power modulation. This is obvious enough if you look at the time series, but I'd like to "see" it in the frequency domain. In physical terms, if we take a ...
19
votes
1answer
5k views

Why can you see virtual images?

In optics it is widely mentioned real images are projectable onto screens whereas virtual ones can only be seen by a person. Isn't that contradictory? I mean in order to see the virtual image it has ...
3
votes
1answer
719 views

Fresnel transform

How is it possible to encrypt multiple images using fresnel transform and inverse the operation to de-multiplex those images?
1
vote
2answers
248 views

Double slit experiment and perforated walls' properties

I have a doubt about how double slit experiment is made. Let's think about the perforated wall, what are the requirement for it? Can a photographic plate could be used as a wall ? I see a problem ...
1
vote
2answers
327 views

What's inside the slit in double slit experiment?

If double slit experiment is done in a environment with air, then slits could also contain air made up of (approx. 80% nitrogen, 20% oxygen), then there is not empty space inside the slit. How can it ...
3
votes
1answer
425 views

Building an Afocal Zoom System with only one stage

Can you build an afocal zoom system with only one stage. It looks like you would have to use more than three lenses. You would probably have to have all but one of the lenses be fixed; but it might ...
2
votes
2answers
321 views

Calculating the deflection of an arbitrary beam of light from a thin lens

Suppose we have a lens with known focal length and are using the thin lens approximation. Is it possible to determine how an arbitrary beam of light will be deflected by it? Or, is it the case that ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

What is the effect of polarization on diffraction by a narrow slit?

Consider the well known demonstration of diffraction by a narrowing slit. (See for example the demonstration at the 30 minute mark of this lecture at MIT by Walter Lewin) It is my (possibly mistaken) ...
6
votes
2answers
880 views

Do all light rays from a point passing through a thin lens converge at the image?

I have often seen diagrams, like this one on Wikipedia for a thin convex lens that show three lines from a point on the object converging at the image. Do all the other lines from that point on the ...
9
votes
2answers
756 views

Quantum shot-noise and the fluctuation dissipation theorem

Classically, shot noise observed in the signal generated by a laser incident on a photodiode is explained as being due to the quantization of light into photons, giving rise to a Poisson process. In ...