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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4
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2answers
485 views

Why are most accurate reflective surfaces not white?

Since white is our perception of reflection of light, why are mirrors and other metallic objects that are more grey or silvery capable more reflective than a white object? This is somewhat related: ...
-5
votes
2answers
117 views

Do the laws of physics that apply to all observers also apply to a non-observer? [closed]

The Timelessness of a photon https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ELA3ReWQJY An observer's laws of physics are time based. "When you're traveling at the speed of light, time does not exist" - Neil ...
3
votes
3answers
63 views

Unpolarized Light

Suppose I had a ray of unpolarized light, and I was sitting inside the beam and looking at the electric fields oscillating, then , if I am looking at a point how would the oscillations look like? I ...
22
votes
5answers
2k views

Why isn't the sunset/sunrise rainbow-colored

When the sun is rising/setting, it goes through a phase where the light is bending from the atmosphere. I believe this image will explain much better than I ever could. Now, if light goes through ...
1
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2answers
48 views

Is the gradual progression of day(light) into night a clue that the earth is a sphere?

If the earth was flat, would the transition between day and night be sudden?
-1
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2answers
59 views

More about gravitation as the source of redshift of light beams [closed]

In the realm of physics there is no knowledge, the justification of which does not depend either upon experience or upon reason. In the light of the findings of the preconditions of knowledge made in ...
5
votes
6answers
905 views

How can molecule of a few angstroms absorb visible light of a few hundred nanometers?

I guess visible light is visible, because it has the right wavelength to be absorbed (or not) and emitted (or not) by many different molecules. Now visible light has a wavelength in the order of a few ...
4
votes
2answers
464 views

Do x-rays and gamma rays also contain photons like visible light does?

Do x-rays and gamma rays also contain photons like visible light does? If so, then what makes photons of visible light and other waves different? The rest mass of a photon is zero, but as it moves at ...
0
votes
3answers
80 views

Problem on speed of light

As I was reading special relativity, my book says the speed of light is $c$ with respect to any other thing. Does that mean the speed of an individual photon is $c$ even with respect to another ...
1
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2answers
63 views

What is the maximam distance of light that is released by a flashlight?

Recently I looked at the cloudy night sky and noticed a pale green color light moving around the clouds for about 20 min.After observation I came a conclusion that it is probably because of a light ...
2
votes
1answer
93 views

Why do i see bright red hand when i place flashlight behind my hand?

When I place a working flashlight behind my hand, I see my hand bright red because of the light. So my question is, why do I only see red light after transmission even if incoming light from the ...
0
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1answer
67 views

Idea is to make an equipment like torch, which should emit darkness.. Is it possible? [duplicate]

Can we have any equipment as such? If light can emit form a hand held device, why not darkness
3
votes
1answer
78 views

Would white light waves act as same as monochromatic waves in double slit experiment?

Would white light waves act as same as monochromatic waves in double slit experiment? If not, what pattern would be seen on the screen?
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0answers
24 views

How to convert physical ligth quantities (frequency, intencity, spectrum) to RGB and back?

Suppose I would like to have maximally physical image format. Which quantities should I store in the pixel? Obviously, it should be frequency spectrum, i.e. table with frequency vs. WHAT? How to ...
4
votes
2answers
357 views

Seeing one's back on the event horizon

If we would hypothetically be exactly on the event horizon, we should see our own back, because of the circular motion of photons on the event horizon, right? But what would be the image size, or $-$ ...
1
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0answers
20 views

Absorption Spectrum

I just learnt what absorption and emission spectrum are. And our teacher introduced us to what Quantum Dots are. And showed us their absorption and emission spectra. And they look something like this ...
0
votes
1answer
72 views

Electromagnetic radiation and black body radiation

I was taught today that the Electromagnetic wave Theory is unable to explain black body radiation. The example that was given to me: When a metal is heated, it emits different frequencies of light as ...
2
votes
1answer
61 views

Can horizontally and vertically polarized light combine to become circularly/elliptically polarized light?

Well, we know that circularly/elliptically polarized light is made up from orthogonal components. So is it possible then to create circularly/elliptically polarized light by combining horizontally and ...
93
votes
8answers
10k views

Could Legolas actually see that far?

The video “How Far Can Legolas See?” by MinutePhysics recently went viral. The video states that although Legolas would in principle be able to count $105$ horsemen $24\text{ km}$ away, he shouldn't ...
0
votes
1answer
33 views

Calculate minimum intensity of a point source visible to a camera

I have two cameras and know the specified minimum faceplate sensitivity for both: Camera 1: Minimum faceplate sensitivity 4 x 10-6 Lux Camera 2: Minimum faceplate sensitivity 2 x 10-7 lux I also ...
1
vote
2answers
94 views

Why does adding red light with blue light give purple light?

Our eyes contain 3 photoreceptor cells (cones) to perceive three wavelength ranges of light. Here is a visual representation of the wavelengths by these receptors (S, M and L). So if we have light ...
-1
votes
1answer
28 views

light color and refraction

I'm a bit confused on the topic of refraction, some starting premises: 1) When light refracts from exiting a medium with a low n and entering a medium with high n the light bends. 2) The index of ...
0
votes
1answer
51 views

Problem with plane mirror focal length thoery: Is the focal length actually infinite?

We all learned that the focal length of plane mirrors is considered to be infinite, as the radius of curvature is infinite. However, imagine this scenario: You have a perfectly flat (no one get mad, ...
1
vote
1answer
33 views

Do the various frequencies of light within sunlight have the same coherence length?

I'm aware that the coherence length of sunlight can be observed with a Michelson-Morley interferometer. I haven't seen any experiment that separated the different colors within sunlight to determine ...
2
votes
1answer
55 views

Bending of light - photon's inertia instead of mass

Using classical mechanics, the formula for gravitational attraction is $$F = G\frac{m_1m_2}{r^2}.$$ This formula does not work for photons, and we need to use Einstein's theory of gravity to ...
1
vote
1answer
45 views

What does the size of an object have to do with it's color?

Stephen Hawking mentions in his book "A Brief History of Time' that quarks are much smaller than the wavelength of visible light so they do not have any color in the normal sense. What exactly does ...
1
vote
2answers
78 views

When we look in different directions in the universe how do we know we're not seeing the same thing?

For my question assume: 1: Big bang happened at a point (I know it happened everywhere) but after that explosion universe started to expand in all directions so it maybe considered to happened ...
4
votes
4answers
477 views

Light and Gravity - bending of light around a massive body [duplicate]

Well, as I have read, a massive body can cause light to bend around itself due to its gravitational attraction. What I don't understand is how, as the Newtonian formula for the force of gravitational ...
0
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4answers
136 views

How does gravity slow light without an equal and opposite action? [closed]

This is regarding the gravity well sort of explanation. People claim that gravity doesn't slow light by saying it curves the road by which it travels but if space is indeed without properties and ...
5
votes
2answers
84 views

Why does light travel in a straight line through a liquid?

So I was reading a document that stated that when traveling through a material (I'll use a liquid here, maybe water), a photon actually always traveled at 300,000 km/s, it was just that it ...
1
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1answer
75 views

Why does glass absorb infrared light?

I was under the impression that glass was transparent to light with a wavelength above ultraviolet, but when playing with my latest toy, an infrared thermometer which brought up a question I asked ...
2
votes
2answers
106 views

Is it possible to have a perfectly black material?

After reading this NASA article about the "blackest material", the following stuck out to me. The tiny gaps between the tubes absorb 99.5 percent of the light that hits them Is it possible to ...
5
votes
2answers
478 views

Can light affect gravity? [closed]

I have a mentor at work, who wrote a paper in the past regarding light and relativity. I am an aerospace engineer by training and a system administrator/programmer by trade, so I know a little bit ...
0
votes
1answer
46 views

Helicopter wings

Why do the propellers on helicopter appear to be so slow when the propellers is going at full speed? Can you please explain this particular optical illusion to me?
5
votes
1answer
118 views

Why are black mosquito nets so much less visible than white ones?

I have just been installing a couple of mosquito nets for windows in our apartment. The material is polyester, fibers are approximately 0.2mm thick, and the hexagonal "holes" apprixmately 1.5mm in ...
2
votes
2answers
51 views

Why is water blue (on a quantum level)

OK, lets formulate it differently and say water works as a blue passing / red restricting filter. It is actually observable. Just do a dive in a swimming pool with white light (maybe even at night) ...
1
vote
1answer
40 views

Thin Film Interference in Fluid Dynamics: Many are welcome to throw ideas in here, Please!

It was a few days ago, and there was a very heavy storm(currents were flowing beside the sidewalks as normal). I became intrigued by a thin film of gasoline that got caught in one of the currents. The ...
1
vote
1answer
43 views

What does adding a visible light blocking IR filter do with heat?

Lets say I have a strong halogen light source which has a lot of IR radiation (e.g. a construction lamp). If I change the transparent front glass from the enclosure with a IR filter that blocks ...
6
votes
2answers
63 views

Single-mode fibers and ray-theory of light

I have read ray-theory cannot be applied to single-mode fibers. Why? I know rays are kind of an approximation to describe the real behavior of light, and electromagnetic theory and photonics are ...
5
votes
2answers
83 views

Do black holes cause gravitational redshift? [duplicate]

Suppose a light ray is emitted by a light source very close to the black hole's singularity away from the black hole's gravitational center. Why won't the light escape? Shouldn't the massive gravity ...
2
votes
4answers
443 views

Is it true that gravitational lensing only occurs for objects made of plasma?

The question concerns this video: It says that the Gravitational Lens effect is an illusion, meaning it's not caused by gravity but by change in density of a plasma atmosphere. It claims further ...
4
votes
3answers
303 views

Is it possible to transfer light from edge to edge of transparent material?

I don't know much about physics but i believe that this is the place to ask my question. I'm using 3 monitor setup like this: the plastic bezels [ ] are extremely annoying. in order to make them ...
3
votes
6answers
246 views

Bending of light from a moving light source

First I will have to explain my question. Look at the image below. This shows doppler shift when an object is moving horizontally to the direction of the wave. Keep the word 'horizontally' in mind. ...
3
votes
1answer
397 views

Are black and white colours? [duplicate]

I am an artist, and I have heard that white is a 'tint' and black is a 'shade' in the artist world. I have also heard that they are colours in the normal world/scientific world. Which is correct and ...
0
votes
1answer
51 views

Effects of gravity on light [duplicate]

If gravity can bend light, why can't gravity slow light. At least momentarily? Wouldn't that give the illusion of the universe expansion speeding up?
0
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2answers
55 views

Image formation at surface of water

Consider a lake full of water which has an object immersed in it. Now, if an observer was at the surface at a sufficient distance so that the light ray from the object is internally reflected, should ...
5
votes
3answers
837 views

reflection at intersection of 2 mirrors

Consider 2 mirrors which intersect at an angle. If we draw a light ray intersecting the mirrors at their point of intersection, how will it reflect? What will be the normal at that point?
6
votes
1answer
52 views

Speed of light affecting appearance of galaxies viewed not face on?

So this has been really bugging me over the past few days (and forgive me if the answer is so simple). Let's say we're observing the Sombrero galaxy. It is about 29 million light years away and 50 ...
0
votes
1answer
27 views

scattering of light

How does the path of light become visible due to scaterring of light? According to me it will only tell the presence of colloidal particle but the book give the example of cinema hall projector and ...
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votes
2answers
59 views

Coexistence of light and dark

There are two things light and dark. Is there any system where the thing is neutral, i.e we see light and dark together in same ratio. Is it possible practically/theoretically ?