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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5
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3answers
6k 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 ...
2
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2answers
191 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 ...
7
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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? ...
4
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4answers
975 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 ...
5
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3answers
787 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 ...
11
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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 ...
3
votes
2answers
76 views

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 ...
14
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2answers
2k 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 ...
14
votes
2answers
771 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
47 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 ...
6
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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 ...
2
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2answers
2k 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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votes
2answers
1k views

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 ...
11
votes
6answers
472 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 ...
16
votes
3answers
65k 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 ...
4
votes
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 ...
0
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2answers
345 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,
17
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4answers
29k 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 ...
2
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3answers
6k 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 ...
17
votes
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
4k 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 ...
12
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6answers
8k 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 ...
5
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5answers
398 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 ...
186
votes
17answers
61k 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
522 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 ...
24
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6answers
11k 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 ...
3
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1answer
381 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?
0
votes
2answers
254 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?
28
votes
3answers
3k views

Can I use an antenna as a light source?

Can I use a normal metal antenna to emit visible light?
4
votes
2answers
263 views

Sensitivity of eye

In which color human eye is most sensitive?
9
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3answers
1k views

Is there a light source that emits all wavelengths of visible light at the same time?

Many light sources like LEDs and lasers only emit a single wavelength of light. Is there a light source that emits all wavelengths of visible light at the same time?
10
votes
5answers
2k views

What happens to light after it enters an eye

What happens to the light [energy] after it enters an eye and hits the rods and cones? I presume the energy becomes electrical, and it must be near 100% perfect, else our eyes would heat up? Or am I ...
1
vote
1answer
190 views

Why doesn't the color of overlapped region between opaque red and green objects become opaque yellow? [closed]

I post the question here several minutes ago. In theory, additive mixing Red color and Green color produces Yellow color. In my mental model, additive mixing opaque Red and opaque Green will ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Why can you see a light in the location that the light source just left?

This is my first question on this site so forgive me for the awkward wording of the question. Basically, my question is why does light from, say, a sparkler, seem to remain where it just came from to ...
13
votes
1answer
488 views

Is colour, as represented using primary colours, accurate only to humans?

Slightly biological, hopefully physical enough to be answered. Suppose a magenta hue is represented by a mix of red and blue pigment. This is all very well for a creature with red and blue ...
3
votes
1answer
316 views

Lunar twilight and sixth magnitude stars

Summary: when the Moon is x degrees below the horizon, it interferes with stargazing the same as astronomical twilight would. What is x (as a function of the Moon's phase)? We define civil, ...
25
votes
7answers
6k views

What is the difference between a white object and a mirror?

I was taught that something which reflects all the colors of light is white. The function of a mirror is the same, it also reflects all light. What's the difference? Update: But what if the white ...
11
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6answers
2k views

Why is air invisible?

I think that something is invisible if it's isolated particles are smaller than the wavelength of visible light. Is this correct? Why is air invisible? What about other gases and fumes which are ...
15
votes
1answer
2k views

Why does my watch act like a mirror under water?

I have a digital watch, rated to go underwater to $100 \rm m$. When it is underwater it can be read normally, up until you reach a certain angle, then suddenly, it becomes almost like a mirror, ...
5
votes
4answers
5k views

What causes hot things to glow, and at what temperature?

I have an electric stove, and when I turn it on and turn off the lights, I notice the stove glowing. However, as I turn down the temperature, it eventually goes away completely. Is there a cut-off ...
23
votes
5answers
2k views

What is the mechanism behind the slowdown of light/photons in a transparent medium?

So light travels slower in glass (for example) than in a vacuum. What causes light to slow down? Or: How does it slow down? If light passes through the medium, is it not essentially traveling in the ...
23
votes
4answers
2k views

Why does the sky change color?

Why the sky is blue during the day, red during sunrise/set and black during the night?
6
votes
2answers
671 views

Calculating the illumination of the moon

I am trying to find a formula that will enable me to calculate the illumination of the moon down to one thousandth of a percent, given that the Gregorian year, month, day, and hour is known. Can ...