Change in the direction of propagation of a wave when its transmitting medium changes.

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3answers
6k views

How does a photon travel through glass?

This was discussed in an answer to a related question but I think that it deserves a separate and, hopefully, more clear answer. Consider a single photon ($\lambda$=532 nm) traveling through a plate ...
0
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2answers
198 views

Light-matter interaction and an object's appearance

I am taking a course in Computer Graphics, and the teacher said we could put materials in there main categories: mirror like glossy or specular diffuse He suggested that the law of reflection is ...
1
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2answers
53 views

What polarizes a rainbow?

What polarizes the light from a rainbow. I already did some search and couldn't get a clear answer. All I could find was the light is polarized on the direction light is entering. What happens to the ...
0
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2answers
136 views

Why the light bent towards the normal when they pass from rarer medium to denser medium?

Whenever the light rays are entering the rarer to denser medium they bend toward the normal. Then why the rays choose the path toward the normal? Why it cannot choose the path away form the normal?
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1answer
2k views

What causes refraction of visible light? [duplicate]

Refraction is the bending of a wave when it enters a medium where its speed is different. The refraction of light when it passes from a fast medium to a slow medium bends the light ray toward the ...
8
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3answers
522 views

Why do rainbows have distinct colors?

When I searched on the Internet for the reason of formation of rainbows, I got many explanations like this one & this. All the explanations consider only one spherical water droplet (like this ...
35
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4answers
4k views

Do rainbows have ultraviolet bands and infrared bands?

We have seen that rainbows looks so colorful as we are only able to see the visible light only. Do they also have ultraviolet bands and infra-red bands, that we are unable to see? I know someone has ...
1
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1answer
310 views

Theoretically if you passed the speed of light in a medium, would there be a sonic boom equivalent?

I know that it is technically impossible to reach the speed of light in vacuum since the mass of the object traveling would reach infinity. However in a medium, would there be some sort of theoretical ...
0
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2answers
722 views

Colors in the secondary rainbow reverse of that in the primary rainbow

Why the colors of Secondary rainbow is reverse of that in the color in the Primary rainbow? What can be the possible reason among the following options Because it is formed by one internal ...
3
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3answers
121 views

How is it possible for the wavelength of light to change in a medium?

So my physics class has just finished a long unit on optics while at the same time I've been trying to teach myself relativity. I admit my understanding is probably rudimentary, but I figured all the ...
2
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0answers
17 views

Odd order of colour fringes around cloud

The other day I took this photograph of a thundercloud that moved between myself and the sun. Around the edge of the cloud there were some coloured fringes that I first took to be a variant on a ...
1
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1answer
102 views

Dispersion in a rectangular prism

Why are the colours visible only at the fringes of the light refracted through a rectangular prism?
5
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1answer
86 views

Does ordinary refraction exert a couple on the refracting medium?

Refraction gives rise to a momentum change orthogonal to the propagation direction. This must result in an equal and opposite change to the medium at the boundary. Entry and exit cancel, and the ...
1
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4answers
175 views

Double rainbows

In my garden, when I'm watering the plants I sometimes see a rainbow or two. How did two rainbows appear? Why can't I see three rainbows then, or how can I see three rainbows?
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6answers
4k views

Is it possible to witness a circular rainbow?

What conditions would make it possible to see a naturally occurring fully 360° circular rainbow? Would it even be possible?
2
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3answers
159 views

What really makes a rainbow happen?

Yes, a rainbow is formed when a raindrop refracts light, but why then does the whole sky not become a huge rainbow when it rains? Would the light not be dispersed into ordinary 'white' light? What ...
1
vote
1answer
28 views

Position dependent refractive index [duplicate]

How to determine the angle of refraction when the medium has position dependent refraction index? Lets say that the angle of incidence on the glassy slab is $\theta_1$ and the ray goes through the ...
0
votes
1answer
65 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
25 views

Do the mediums decrease or increase the speed of light? (source to target) [duplicate]

If sun is the source of light then is it possible that the speed of light might increase depending on the mediums its going through or its not possible.
12
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2answers
2k views

Is true black possible?

Black is the absence of light because it absorbs light, but when we create black paint or black objects, light is always reflected, either in all directions in matte or smoothly in shiny black ...
5
votes
3answers
251 views

How does one determine whether an object will make an EM wave refract in a qualitative way?

for example, i have a vague notion that the actual answer is that the permittivity and permisivity are different in each different material, so all waves refract at every boundary, but we only call it ...
0
votes
2answers
96 views

Could time dilation bend the path of a photon? Does time dilation have a refractive index?

The main question I am getting at is, does time dilation have a refractive index? What I mean is, if I were to shoot a laser past a black hole, would the laser's path "bend" strictly from time ...
1
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0answers
20 views

optical homogeneity of organic thin films

Prior to further analysis (like variable angle ellipsometric spectroscopy) I check thin films of organic materials vacuum deposited on glass substrates for their optical homogeneity under lineraly ...
4
votes
1answer
102 views

Rainbows at other wavelengths

I'm curious as to whether or not it is possible to have a rainbow at wavelengths other than visible light. I'm familiar with Snell's refraction law and why it is that they occur, but now what about ...
2
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0answers
49 views

Is refraction of light a thermodynamic process?

Is refraction of light a thermodynamic process? Can it be explained by conservation of energy? If so, does temperature has an effect on refraction of light?
2
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1answer
149 views

radius of curvature and focal length

Is the radius of curvature of a convex or concave lens longer than the focal length of the lens? Does the center or curvature affect the focal point in a lens?
2
votes
1answer
70 views

Light follows the shortest path, but to where?

I'm a high school student and I'm trying to understand why waves bend when they refract. I read a few answers on the site, and the explanation that they follow the shortest path makes sense enough to ...
2
votes
0answers
97 views

What happens when light is reflected from a surface moving in a medium with a huge refractive index?

Imagine a mirror is moving away from a light source in a substance through which the speed of light is very slow -- so slow that the speed of the mirror is close to being the same as the speed of the ...
4
votes
3answers
130 views

Is it true that all particles that have a speed less than the speed of light must also have mass?

I've previously learned that massive particles cannot achieve the speed of light. But recently I read that, concerning the gels that refract and bounce light within around enough that it can travel ...
0
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2answers
22 views

For a light of given frequency, what does the amount of refraction in a variable medium depends upon?

I want to know whether the amount of refraction of a given monochromatic light depends solely upon the density of the of the medium ( increase the density to increase the angle of refraction), or ...
1
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1answer
55 views

Why the image is being formed at the surface?

Last week I encountered a very cool optical phenomenon. A photo was sandwiched between the two glass plate to make the paperweight. The cool part is the picture seems to have been pasted on the top ...
1
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0answers
48 views

How does light manage to change its course at the boundary of two media of different optical densities?

This is a conceptual question. I already know the law of refraction but I need something like an idea of the Physical process from both particle and wave theory standpoints. Why does a ray of light ...
0
votes
2answers
152 views

Does the speed of light have a range of speeds due to medium-dependency?

An EM particle-wave propagates in a vacuum at a constant speed $c$, independent of the source/receiver but dependent on most mediums it moves through. Since the vacuum is a medium, and if logically ...
3
votes
1answer
36 views

Wave interference on window film coating

"The windows in an office tower are coated with a film to minimize reflected light of wavelength 550 nm. If the glass has an index of refraction of 1.52 and the film coating has an index of refraction ...
3
votes
1answer
52 views

What is incorrect about the original statement of Fermat's principle?

Here are some statements about Fermat's Principle taken from Eugene Hecht's Optics book. The original statement of Fermat's Principle : "The actual path between two points taken by a ray of light is ...
1
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1answer
215 views

Earth curvature refraction for dummies

I keep being presented with 'earth curvature experiment' videos recently, by flat/concave earth advocates. It seems to be their favorite "evidence" that Earth is not spherical. Debunking this gets ...
19
votes
8answers
17k views

What determines color — wavelength or frequency?

What determines the color of light -- is it the wavelength of the light or the frequency? (i.e. If you put light through a medium other than air, in order to keep its color the same, which one would ...
0
votes
1answer
56 views

Difference between speed of light and of bullet after passing through a barrier [duplicate]

I just read that, when a ray of light traveling in vacuum at $c$ strikes a glass slab, its speed decreases and then when it re-emerges it gets back to its original speed i.e $c$. If I draw a ...
0
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0answers
139 views

Dispersion of prism: Graph of angle of deviation versus wavelength

The figure below is the schematic diagram fro measuring angle of minimum deviation using a collimator. High pressure sodium vapor lamp is used as a light source in this experiment. At position of ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Why would an object appear a different size when in water?

A friend of mine has a homework question and we're having some trouble figuring out what physical mechanisms come into play for this. An underwater swimmer sees a spherical air bubble that appears ...
5
votes
2answers
136 views

Determining the refractive index of a foil

(59th Polish Olympiad in Physics, final stage, experimental part, 2010) You have at your disposal: a sample of blue foil of a homogeneous material, placed between two glass panes in a ...
6
votes
3answers
561 views

Why does red light travel faster than blue light?

I know that light of all frequencies travel at the same speed in vacuum. But I wonder why their speed differ in any other medium, why does red light travel faster if it has less energy than blue ...
0
votes
1answer
104 views

Aether atmospheres

http://arxiv.org/abs/1004.1467 claims to have an alternative explanation of the interaction of light around massive objects. Many of the general-relativity-tests such as bending of light near a ...
4
votes
1answer
49 views

What causes these rainbow effects using a polarizing filter on an airplane?

I know that light reflected from a surface at 45° is polarized and that for a similar reason skylight arriving from a direction orthogonal to the sun is polarized too. Photographers make use of this ...
2
votes
1answer
348 views

Speed of light and virtual particles

After becoming extremely bored while studying for an Afrikaans exam, I started thinking about virtual particles. So, can light (photons) interact with virtual particles (even though they only exist ...
0
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1answer
33 views

Metal Refractive index

I'm working on Fresnel equation for calculation of reflection of a light (532 nm) on Iron. I've got a question: Is metals refractive index always a real number or it can be a complex number?
2
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0answers
32 views

Model of scattering in wet things

You know that clothes and some surfaces become darker when wet (covered in an earlier question: why wet is dark?), because of the disordered reflections or of the refractive index of water or ...
0
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0answers
71 views

Image formed by Refracting light

A jellyfish is floating in a water-filled aquarium 1.33 m behind a flat pane of glass 4.30 cm thick and having an index of refraction of 1.5. (The index of refraction of water is 1.33.) Where is ...
1
vote
1answer
151 views

Apparent depth and virtual image position

Why does the virtual image appear right on top of the object and not a little to the right, for example? Is it explained by some formula or just symmetry of the geometry?
1
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1answer
75 views

Refraction of light marching band analogy

When trying to understand the refraction of light when it hits a slower medium, lots of people seem to be enlightened by the 'marching band' or 'marching soldiers' analogy, which 'explains' that when ...