Questions related to the perception and measurement of light (primarily in the visible range), its mathematical description, the reproduction of colors by different means, color combinations, etc. Please use the tag [electromagnetic-radiation] if you want to refer to the general form of light.

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Name for phasor model of light

I'm looking for the name of the model of light "exploring" every path to a given point, and reaching that point with a probability proportional to the square of the resultant phasor's amplitude. (Yes, ...
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2answers
359 views

Why does a firebrand glow brightest before it burns out?

I've noticed this in match-sticks, and mango wood. After the flames die out, the brand glows red for a while. The glow is brightest right before it dies out. My guess is that immediately before the ...
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4answers
1k views

Why are color values stored as Red, Green, Blue?

I learned in elementary school that you could get green by mixing blue with yellow. ...
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1answer
516 views

Formula for polarized “light” transmission through close filters?

I'm still trying to understand photons (or polarized electromagnetic radiation). This question is similar to one of my previous questions, but different: Consider the famous demonstration of crossed ...
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3answers
2k views

Is visible light and radio waves made of the same thing?

I understand that there is such a thing as the electro magnetic spectrum, and that light and RF are both on it, so dose that mean that they are made of the same thing? Just at different frequencies.
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6answers
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Focal Point vs where you see the images

I am trying to figure out where is the focal point and where is the image. I read some information online about the point where you see the image is the focal point, but however, my supervisor ...
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1answer
417 views

simple test/measurement to quantify water opacity

I am performing some measurements on liquid surfaces and I want to quantify how these mesures depend on the liquid opacity by performing it with different concentrations of colorant. To allow ...
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4answers
3k views

Focusing light into an optical fiber cable

I'm trying to focus light from a flashing light lamp throught two lens into a optical fiber cable which is around 0.8cm in diameter. flashing light: a bulb and then covered by a glass of 7.5cm x 7cm ...
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4answers
1k views

High speed and low speed photons

Looking at the discovery of the neutron, and I came across this page: http://www-outreach.phy.cam.ac.uk/camphy/neutron/neutron3_1.htm The animation on the left, talks about low energy photons and ...
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1answer
607 views

total intensity measurement (of the whole visible light spectrum; from 400 - 800 nm) with a powermeter PM100?

I was using a power meter PM100, with a Si-photodiode sensor head, to measure the intensity of the white light source (250 W quartz halogen lamp). I have recorded the power, shown by the sensor, by ...
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2answers
2k views

Wave / particle duality question for sound and light

Sound is usually referred to as just "sound waves" - we do not talk about a "sound particle" and only as a wave or "matter wave." Could something similar apply to light i.e. that there really is no ...
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4answers
192 views

Rainbow around Sun

From the perspective of a person, a rainbow is formed when the Sun is behind the person, and there is a critical angle made by the rainbow. However, on several occasions, usually at noon when the Sun ...
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2answers
1k views

What determines the apparent radius of the rainbow?

Let's say I know how to compute the apparent radius of a rainbow from the viewpoint of the observer: take a photo of the scene, measure the distance to a known reference object, and its dimensions. ...
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2answers
7k views

What happens to the absorbed light energy?

When light comes across with a solid material, some of it is reflected, some of it passes through and some of it is absorbed. I understand the reflection and passing through, but I don't understand ...
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1answer
50 views

Assuming an observer is 50 light years away, in the plane of the solar system and observing earth, what is the light flux of earth he would see?

As in, from what the planet emits and re-radiates out into space (this is going to be important if we are to image any Earth-like planet)
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1answer
154 views

How colored light can be explained if light is considered as emission of photon?

If light is considered as wave, then different colored light can be explained as waves of different wavelength/frequency. How colored light can be explained if light is considered as emission of ...
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1answer
2k views

What color a transparent object reflect?

We say an object's color is blue if the object is opaque, reflects blue color and absorbs waves of other color. What color a transparent object actually reflects?
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2answers
950 views

Propagation of light in transparent media: absorption and reemission or scattering?

In the two Phys.SE questions What is the mechanism behind the slowdown of light/photons in a transparent medium? and Why glass is transparent? transparent media were discussed. But I'd like to clarify ...
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3answers
532 views

Does the wavelength always decrease in a medium?

I was studying a GRE Physics Test problem where optical light with a wavelength of 500 nm travels through a gas with refractive index $n$. If we look at the equations for wave motion and index ...
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6answers
4k views

Why does light change direction when it travels through glass?

This was explained to me many years ago, by a physics teacher, with the following analogy: "If someone on the beach wants to reach someone else that is in the water, they will try to travel as much ...
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3answers
5k views

What invisible flicker do different types of light bulbs have?

What waveform does the light coming off different types of artificial light sources have and (of course) what are the underlying physical reason for them? I was inspired to ask this question ...
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2answers
187 views

Is there a reason for photodynamic therapy to not cause cancer if mobile phones might?

I don't want to open a debate about whether cell phones can cause cancer, I read the thread: Could cell-phone radiation cause cancer? For the sake of this question let's assume there's a chance for ...
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2answers
1k views

How does stuff glow in the dark?

Many things have glow in the dark properties (glow sticks, paint, toys ..), and I am wondering what is the physics behind them. How do these materials store light energy and emit it later when dark? ...
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3answers
866 views

Colors from a computer vs. colors from visible spectrum of sunlight

Observation: So, I know that all computer screens are able to project many different colors by varying how they display the RGB (Red, Green, Blue) pixels. Question What's the difference between ...
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3answers
732 views

Why do prescription glasses that darken in sunlight fail to darken when the light travels through a car windshield?

I was going to buy this add on, as I almost exclusively use my sunglasses for driving. I'm just stacking them over my normal ones now... but it's quite annoying that I almost paid the extra $$$ for ...
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2answers
3k views

How do I calculate the power consumed by a lightbulb?

I'm studying a lightbulb and its variable resistance, given by the expression: $R(T) = Ro[1 + α(T-T_0)]$, where $R_0$ is the resistance of the lamp at $T_0$. In this case, $R$ is not given by Ohm's ...
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5answers
2k views

What happens to light and mass in the center of a black hole?

I know that black holes are "black" because nothing can escape it due to the massive gravity, but I am wondering if there are any theories as to what happens to the light or mass that enters a black ...
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2answers
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Color Variation in RR Lyrae

I've been doing some research on RR Lyrae stars and haven't been really able to find an answer to this question. RR Lyrae are well known for their periodic magnitude, and also are usually found in ...
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2answers
1k views

Has everything we see happened in the past?

Whatever we see is basically based on the light that hits our eyes, right? When we look at the Moon we are looking at the Moon as it was couple of seconds ago, as the light takes some seconds (~2 ...
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2answers
726 views

What if our Sun were located in the middle of a globular cluster?

Say you took our current solar system and relocated it deep in the heart of a globular cluster such as Omega Centauri. What would the night sky look like? Would the starshine of nearby stars be enough ...
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1answer
46 views

Refraction and scattered light for NLCs

For helping with judging NLC candidates (are they NLC or not) I have a set of formulas to calculate the minimum altitude (in km) of the candidate given an observed altitude (in degrees) of the ...
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1answer
2k views

Transparency of materials

Is transparency of material has something to do with inter- or intra-molecular bonding? E.g. both graphite and diamond are carbon, but graphite is opaque and diamond transparent.
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5answers
2k views

What do the colors in false color images represent?

Every kid who first looks into a telescope is shocked to see that everything's black and white. The pretty colors, like those in this picture of the Sleeping Beauty Galaxy (M64), are missing: The ...
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2answers
1k views

A light flickers at a fast rate why do humans only see light on?

A light switches on and off at a fast rate, with equal time off and on, why do we see a light that appears only on rather than only off?
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2answers
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What does the sky look like to human eyes from orbit?

There are numerous pictures, obviously, of the blackness of space from the shuttle, the space station, and even the moon. But they all suffer from being from the perspective of a camera, which is not ...
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6answers
296 views

How large is the universe?

We know that the age of the universe (or, at least the time since the Big Bang) is roughly 13.75 billion years. I have heard that the size of the universe is much larger than what we can see, in other ...
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3answers
63k views

Why does the moon sometimes appear giant and a orange red color near the horizon?

I've read various ideas about why the moon looks larger on the horizon. The most reasonable one in my opinion is that it is due to how our brain calculates (perceives) distance, with objects high ...
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1answer
37 views

Do all narrowband filters tint the field of view?

I observed color in a nebula for the first time this past weekend when looking at the Ring Nebula through my Orion XT8. I noticed a bit of red on the outer edges. I placed my Orion Ultrablock ...
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2answers
341 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,
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4answers
28k views

What do ants see?

After watching some ants in my garden today, and then looking at this very illuminating demonstration, I got to wondering, about what they would see. Not specifically ants (I understand their ...
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3answers
5k views

UV reflective surfaces

Do surfaces that reflect visible light efficiently also reflect UV light? If not, are there surfaces that do? (I have a large array of UV LEDs that I need to make larger and more diffuse, so I'm ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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6answers
7k views

Why can't light escape from a classical black hole?

Photons do not have (rest) mass (that's why they can move at speed of "light"). So, my question is how the gravity of classical$^1$ black hole can stop light from escaping? -- $^1$ We ignore ...
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5answers
392 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 ...
178
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17answers
59k 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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0answers
499 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 ...
23
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6answers
10k 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 ...
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1answer
364 views

What are the coloured bands in this “Pale Blue Dot” picture?

You can see Earth in the right most band in this image: What are these bands doing in space?! Can somebody please explain the coloured bands in this image?
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244 views

Why are some of the biggest stars known blue?

My question refers to an overview of the biggest stars we know: http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4138/4820647230_faba1c9f3b_o.jpg Why are some of those blue?