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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What is the frequency of the color black?

Our eyes don't see light; they detect vibrations in the 400-800 THz range that we call color. Since our eyes can detect the color we call black, what is its frequency?
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2answers
52 views

Why is the index of refraction different for different wavelengths? [duplicate]

The index of refraction can be written as $$n=\frac{\lambda_v}{\lambda_m}$$ where $\lambda_v$ is the wavelength in a vacuum and $\lambda_m$ is the wavelength in the medium. I’ve been told that since ...
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1answer
30 views

Converting spectra to rgb colour

I am having trouble obtaining RGB colour values from the spectra of an object. I have the specific flux $F_\nu$ as a function of $\nu$ for each pixel of the image I'd like to make, but am unsure of ...
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0answers
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Counting modes Rayleigh-Jeans

In the derivation of the Rayleigh-Jeans Law, we count the number of EM modes in a square cavity. After calculating the number of allowed modes due to boundary conditions, we multiply it by a factor of ...
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8answers
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Why can't we see light travelling from point A to B?

Let's say we have a cloud of dust which is a lightyear across and someone shoots a beam of light from point A to B , why it is not possible for an observer far far away to see the light while it ...
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0answers
20 views

What will occur if you place two light-detecting lamps detector-end to lightbulb-end in a dark room?

It all started when my brother posed me the question of what would happen if you put a light-detecting lamp inside a spherical mirror. I reasoned that it would detect that all was dark and turn on, ...
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1answer
50 views

Optics phenomenon with my glasses?

When I look through my glasses toward the extreme left, a very odd and intriguing phenomenon occurs: The border of everything I see is lined with a hazy blue lining on the left and a hazy yellow ...
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1answer
93 views

Why do we see brown light?

While researching about lasers (it's my hobby), it suddenly hit me: there are lasers for every color of the visible spectrum, but there are no brown lasers. Brown isn't even on the rainbow. How is it ...
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1answer
34 views

Colour of ocean water

Why does ocean water seem blue colour in some regions while green in some regions while river of pond water is never blue in colour?
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4answers
79 views

What do light wave oscillations look like?

High school physics student here, so please bear with me for a moment. I know that light waves oscillate, but I don't know how. In textbooks and diagrams they're portrayed as wavy lines traveling ...
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1answer
15 views

White light polarization by ground\sky

Why does light from the sun gets a slight (horizontal) polarization after bouncing from the ground? And same question for light which is scattered from the sky. Thanks.
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3answers
121 views

Is it accurate that light loses energy in the absence of gravity and gains energy in its presence?

I just read an article about the supervoid they found and this is suggested. If so, then I am more and more fascinated with the ties between light and gravity. Let me emphasize, every article that I ...
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0answers
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How do I translate from CIE xyY color space to combinations of monochromatic wavelengths

Let's say I have a chromaticity point, on the CIE xyY color space that falls within the real colors. (Like y:0.1, x:0.4 Y:1 -- magenta)[1] I also know that humans can perceive the same color, when ...
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0answers
27 views

mixing colour of light

I have seen blue and yellow colours mix to form a light green shade. How can we explain this phenomenon, both in case of light and physical substances like paint ?
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1answer
56 views

Are shadows cast on mirror surfaces?

While moving an object between a light source and a clean mirror surface, its shadow seems hardly visible (at least compared with a non reflecting surface). Is it correct that the shadow is not ...
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1answer
68 views

Inside a spherical mirror

imagine standing inside a sphere composed entirely of mirror surface; what does this look like? inside is lit by an invisible light source if each point encounters a reflection of itself, what is ...
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3answers
117 views

Is the event horizon of black holes visibly sharp, or blurry?

As you come in closer to a black hole, how do you see the event horizon? Is it always like a clear-cut surface? Or it only looks clear-cut from a distance, but as you come closer to the black hole, ...
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3answers
61 views

Is black a color? If so, does space have a color?

Suppose I stand in a room without windows or lights, but there is a radio playing. Then I won't see anything, but there is light! It just isn't visible. Is the room black? Now consider an object ...
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1answer
21 views

How safe are perfumes in different kinds of light?

Odd question that may seem out of place but I think it's appropriate here! Perfumes degrade based on: High temperatures High humidity (such as in a bathroom) UV exposure The last aspect is what ...
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1answer
55 views

Could a magnetic field repel electromagnetic waves?

If I understand magnetism correctly, then two magnetic fields with opposing directions would repel each other. Could this same affect happen to electromagnetic waves? And if so, could it be reproduced ...
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2answers
238 views

How we are able to see Jupiter?

As everybody knows Jupiter is made up of gases and these gases mainly contain hydrogen and helium. Since light passes through gases and does not reflect when shining on them, how we are able to see ...
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2answers
43 views

Why under red light the additive synthesis of primary colors gives white where one primary color is absent?

Under White Light Under Red Light For instance, red & green under red light gives white.
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1answer
29 views

Can we measure the height of clouds using the sunset?

I was watching the sun set in San Francisco. As the Earth turns away from the Sun the tallest buildings remain lit longest. Light bending in the atmosphere allows this to last a bit longer. So, what ...
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1answer
40 views

Would I be able to see light coming towards me before it got to me

If I were in space looking at a star that just started producing light that was two light years away. Would I be able to see the light coming towards me?
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1answer
48 views

Different colors and Metamerism

Given the following graphs: They describe the response for two different colors . In addition that both colors are metamerism. My question is why? how can I prove it? Thanks
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3answers
43 views

About light nature [closed]

I have some particular questions about the nature of light...cause all I know from all sources is that it is a wave and a particle and stuffs, but if light "COMES" from all directions, and is in every ...
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2answers
41 views

What causes red skies? [duplicate]

This morning, as I was walking to work, I noticed that the skies were different. It had a reddish tint. What causes this?
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2answers
54 views

Is it possible to reverse the polarity of already polarized light using passive materials?

For a gizmo idea that I have, I want to understand if it's possible to "reverse/turn" the polarity of light using passive, relatively thin and cheap films, similar to what we see in 3d glasses or TN ...
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1answer
107 views

What does a light wave look like (3d model)

What does a light wave look like? The only models I can seem to find online are 2D waves, they just look like sin() graphs. I have seen the models of the two components of "light waves" (electric ...
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1answer
49 views

What happens to light when the light source is spinning rapidly

In Einsteins analogy to demonstrate relativity, he asked that we envision two trains moving at different velocities, and then imagine a light shone from one train to the other. Do we know what impact ...
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0answers
46 views

How is it that light is reflected in this way in these photos?

I took 2 photos, in one there's a shutter and in the other there's the light that is reflected from the shutter to the ceiling. As you know and as you see from the first image, the shutter has ...
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2answers
86 views

Huygen's principle and why can't we see atoms with light

First of all, I'd like to discuss Huygen's principle. In order to explain waves diffraction, it says that every point in a wave front behaves as a source, so the next wave front is the sum of all ...
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0answers
46 views

Does Silver posses a color or Is it colorless reflection? [duplicate]

Why is silver said to have a color whereas water is not? Water is colorless because is allows penetration of light and doesn't reflect a colored wavelength, whereas Silver reflects light from its ...
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1answer
46 views

Why does roughened silver look gray while paper white?

Looking at reflectance spectrum of silver, given e.g. here, we can say that more than about $95\%$ of light is reflected by silver. Similarly for white notebook paper, the spectrum is given here, and ...
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2answers
53 views

How do you convert RGB lux into a singular value? [closed]

I'm trying to understand the output from an RGBW optical sensor. According to the specification for the sensor this outputs lux. I was hoping someone could explain how the 3 RGB lux values relate to ...
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1answer
41 views

What would the rainbow look like if we could see the full EM spectrum? [duplicate]

Would the rainbow look different if we could see the full EM spectrum (or at least a lot more of it)? Would the width of a rainbow be bigger and would all wave lengths of light be in a rainbow?
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1answer
44 views

Light / TEM wave in a hollow waveguide

I'm cramming for my EMF exam, and a question came up: Light in free space is an example for a TEM wave, isn't it? (Maybe thats already my mistake) And we learned that in a hollow waveguide only TE ...
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2answers
100 views

“X-rays”, “gamma rays”, “sun rays”… But electromagnetic waves are NOT rays and DO NOT consist of rays?

In a separate question I'm struggling to figure out the nature of EM waves. But it's a vast topic and I'm trying to narrow it down to small specific questions. It turns out that all electromagnetic ...
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1answer
82 views

Why do night sky appear red when it is cloudy?

Since childhood, I have seen that whenever at night, the sky is cloudy, the sky becomes red. But, clouds are grayish, so it is expected that the sky becomes more darker. But no, it is not! Why does ...
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1answer
39 views

Determining path of light through a nanolens

In the case of light passing through stacked liquids, we can use a ray approximation of the path of light to determine the path taken through each layer of liquid using Snell's law. From all the ...
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1answer
105 views

How can radiation be a transverse wave? Does light really resemble a rope? How can a 3D field be a medium for non-spatial 1D waves? Need mental model

I understand longitudinal waves. For example, I've got a clear mental modal of air waves: a slice of air becomes overcompressed, then the slice next to it becomes overcompressed and the first slice ...
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3answers
86 views

Path of light as it travels between two black holes

What would happen to light passing through a narrow space between the event horizons of two equal-mass black holes? Would it deviate or follow a straight path?
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3answers
37 views

Diffuse laser light in a surface

Im building a laser target. It consists of a box, with a black plexiglass circle in the center of one of its sides, and a larger white circle around it. The black for the inside shots, and the white ...
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1answer
118 views

Why do we use the index of refraction for yellow light?

When we do problems with optics and refraction, we’re usually given a set of indices of refraction to work with; for example, the index of refraction in air is about 1.00, the index of refraction in ...
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1answer
60 views

Do parallel rays reflecting at a mirror not intersect at one point? [closed]

Let's take a concave mirror with $CP$ as its principal axis. Let's assume that a parallel ray $p$ to $CP$ reflects at $A$ to pass through the focal point $F$. Then, $\angle CAF=\angle ACF$, which ...
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1answer
60 views

Brightness of light sources

I would like to know what determines the brightness of light.I'm confused,After hours of reading i got these definitions mixed up i need to link them together : Light intensity Brightness of light ...
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0answers
28 views

How to actually determine the Index of Refraction of an object in different colors of light?

I would like some guidance as to how the IOR of an object is determined in different colored lights. Taking for example diamond, I know that the base IOR is 2.417, and the respective wavelengths of ...
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0answers
23 views

Variations in electric field of a light speed charged particle

From the question " Is there a travelling speed of for electric field? If yes, what is it?" I get to know electric field propagates at speed of light. What if a charged particle which creates this ...
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1answer
39 views

Is crystal diffraction actually diffraction?

It seems like a very common model that is taught in schools for crystal diffraction is that there is an incident plane wave of light on a crystal lattice, and each atom in the lattice scatters the ...
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1answer
43 views

Is there a formula to calculate the deviated angle of a ray passing through a prism?

I'm assuming the angle of incidence to be the number of degrees from a perpendicular line on the side of a prism the ray starts passing through... I'm trying to figure out the angle the ray would be ...