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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139 views

Penny dropped in the water: What would you see if transmitted light is parallel to the incident surface

I'm working on a problem which asks what is the greatest diameter of a paper you can use to totally shield a penny dropped in the water from view. The question claims that if the transmitted light ...
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3answers
631 views

Why can we see white objects as white under the sun if the sunlight is yellow?

I get that the sun is producing white light which is scattered threw our atmosphere so that the light of the sun reaching our eyes is yellow. So how come if I look to a piece of white paper under ...
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2answers
245 views

Why does projecting black light from a screen mask white light shining through it?

I had a Macbook Pro, and remember being intrigued when I noticed that the apple logo on the back of the screen allowed sunlight to shine through in an Apple shape on the front of the screen when ...
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2answers
385 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 ...
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2answers
208 views

Where does wave frequency come from

I am trying to wrap my head around where do oscillations in electromagnetic waves come from. As an example if I would take a string of guitar and ring it, it would produce a certain sound based on the ...
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2answers
116 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 ...
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2answers
4k views

How car headlight works?

There are two headlight of car. One having a light bulb between two concave mirrors (one mirror behind and other infront of bulb), and the other type of light only have one concave mirror behind the ...
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3answers
1k views

Does light color change when refracting? [duplicate]

When light refracts from a medium to a second one, its frequency stays the same, and its wavelength changes. If this is true, why we see the refracted light ray's colour is the same as the incident ...
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4answers
95 views

Is 'color' characteristics of a body or characteristics of light?

In situation when body exposed by light, is 'color' characteristics of a body or characteristics of light? Is there any difference on macro/micro levels? Will exist such term as 'color' in parallel ...
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3answers
419 views

Does the velocity of a light source influence the light

I have only just finished High school physics so my understanding is still fairly simple but I'm having trouble with this question. Imagine you are in space traveling at a relativistic speed with a ...
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5answers
791 views

Can we create invisible things?

We are able to see this beautiful world because of light. When light gets reflected from the object, the reflected light enters our eye retina and thus we are able see that particular object from ...
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2answers
88 views

Can a broken light filter shift the wavelength of light exiting it?

I've measured the wavelength of light emitted from a red Helium–Neon laser passing through a red intensity filter (indirectly, by fitting a function to a single slit diffraction pattern, then forcing ...
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1answer
1k views

Resonance Experiment

Today in high school physics class, we performed an experiment on the resonance of sound, with a set up like this... To put it simply, the sound waves are supposed to rebound with the surface of ...
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2answers
188 views

Is it possible for a photon to be at rest? [duplicate]

I know it doesn't really make sense if looking at the photon from the wave point of view, but is there any law of physics which prohibits a photon from stopping completely? Thanks.
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1answer
721 views

Why does Lorentz factor not hold for relativistic mass when we apply it to photons? [duplicate]

We know that the photon itself is massless particle $m_0=0$. But we also know, that the mass of the objects does increase with their energy. And we know that under certain circumstances (gravity, ...
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2answers
193 views

How does one subtract two light beams?

From what I understand, it seems like you can only "add" beams together. You can use a beam combiner, basically using a beam splitter in reverse, to combine two beams. In homodyne detection, you use a ...
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3answers
604 views

Special Relativity - speed of light question

Just a basic question: I know that if you are traveling at $x$ speed the time will pass for you slower than to an observer that is relatively stopped. That's all just because a photon released at the ...
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1answer
228 views

Ideal four-level Gain Medium (or just any old gain medium)

What exactly is happening in a laser's gain cell when the irradiance is greater than the saturation irradiance? Also can someone offer a clear conceptual treatment of the gain-coefficient and its ...
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2answers
420 views

Pulsed Spherical Wave

Can somebody help show me how a pulsed spherical wave has a wavefunction of the form U(r,t) = (1/r)a(t-r/c), where a(t) is an arbitrary function, r is the radius of the spherical wave, t is time, and ...
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1answer
40 views

Calculating wavelengths from angles in a diffraction grating? [closed]

I am having some problems calculating wavelengths from some given information about a grating spectrum. A diffraction grating with a spacing of 3μm is used in a spectrometer to investigate the ...
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1answer
38 views

The colour of clouds

Clouds can be a variation of grays, from white to some dark gray, almost black. They are clearly grayscale, so it means they reflect all colours uniformly, but some clouds are whiter than others, so ...
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1answer
73 views

Is it possible to have light without heat? [duplicate]

I am trying to think of a light source that doesn't generate heat; but I am not sure if such a phenomenon exists. I am not referring to passive light (such as reflected light, ie, moonlight) but an ...
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2answers
114 views

Why the incessant confusion between diffraction and interference? [closed]

Feynman said, "No one has ever been able to define the difference between interference and diffraction satisfactorily. It is just a question of usage, and there is no specific, important physical ...
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1answer
30 views

Michleson Interferometer fringe shift

I have a problem with interferometer fringe shift. I am learning it from my physics book. In the book, it is written, "As the L1 (Displacement of moveable mirror) is changed, the pattern of ...
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1answer
66 views

How does Compton scattering demonstrate particle over wave behavior?

Why is Compton scattering thought to demonstrate light's behavior as a particle over that as a wave. I'm interested in the thoughts at the time of Compton, but also how it contradicts current theory ...
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1answer
86 views

Why is glass green?

When I look at a glass block at an angle the edges appear green, but when I look at the edge sideways, so that is directly in front of my eyes it appears transparent. Why?
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4answers
121 views

Where does the energy lost due to light emission come from?

If an object lose energy when it emits light, does that energy come from the mass of the object? Examples: Does a flashlight lose mass when it's turned on? Does a regular object (like a pencil or a ...
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2answers
55 views

The image of a wall clock is to be obtained on the opposite wall 2m away by the means of a convex lens. What is the minimum focal length required? [closed]

I'm in 10th grade and this question came in my physics test. Nobody was able to answer this question correctly except my physics teacher who says that the answer is 2m. My answer is that there should ...
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1answer
88 views

Light is/produces a electromagnetic wave, but is the opposite also true?

A similar question has been asked, and to some extent the answer is: you need an antenna with $L \approx 200nm$. But it's not entirely clear to me if this is completely hypothetical, as "Marek" also ...
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2answers
126 views

Why doesn't silicon emit light? [closed]

Why doesn't silicon re-emit light when light falls on it? Or if it emits light then why we can't see it?Hence it has valence electrons.
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1answer
69 views

How to explain Doppler redshift of light?

For other waves like water or sound, it is easy to understand Doppler effect, because for those waves, the speed of wave in different inertia reference frames changes. But for light wave, the speed ...
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1answer
49 views

The property of transparent lens [closed]

My question is this : what is the property of transparent material that is used for lens?. I think that it allows the light to pass through ( absorption property) and does not bend the light ( ...
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1answer
75 views

How to increase/decrease laser pattern size

I have a laser pointer with a diffraction grating lens that creates a cross-hair, like the one seen below. I'd like to be able to increase or decrease the size of the cross-hair so that it may ...
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2answers
40 views

light speed broadcasts [closed]

I’m a writer. I'm working on a story. It’s sold actually, but they want some changes and I’m trying to figure out the science.. IDEA: A distant planet picks up broadcasts from Earth, so the ...
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1answer
61 views

Why aren't pictures of Pluto darker than those of other planets?

Just as the intensity of the light from a candle decreases with distance, I would expect the light from the sun to illuminate the distant planets less than the closer ones. However, the pictures of ...
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2answers
81 views

If curved paths imply that the vehicle is accelerated, how come do we assume that light gets curved whilst its speed is constant?

I don't understand how we can accept these two sentences at the same time: Light speed is constant, therefore experiences no acceleration. On the presence of a gravitation field, light path is ...
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1answer
36 views

What are some of the empirical proofs of electromagnetic polarization? [closed]

I am aware of how polarization follows from Maxwell's equations, and how it is possible in transverse waves in general. I also know that Huygens, in his great Treatise on Light, first discovered and ...
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3answers
79 views

How does color (or reflection in general) work?

I'm confused, does the absorption and emission determine the color of something? Or does that only happen when something is emitting energy? When light hits an object, the photons get absorbed, then ...
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1answer
57 views

Why we do not consider trajectories for photons/lightlike curves/radiation? I am having a term confusion

Lately I have asked a question about the trajectory of photons and almost everyone told me that I shouldn't talk about trajectories. Also people talked about photons, lightlike curves, light, ...
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1answer
61 views

Why does everything written on a page appear in concentric circles when we rotate that page? [closed]

When i put a pencil in the middle of a paper and rotate it very fast, whatsoever is written on it, will appear in concentric circles. What is the reason behind this phenomenon and what is it called?
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1answer
929 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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2answers
99 views

reflection of light and the uncertainty principle

I've heard that light reflects the same angle that it falls and so if we know the position of photon (the spot where it hits the surface) and the direction of where it shall go - that's violation of ...
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2answers
82 views

Why lasers and not light? [closed]

Some laser applications consist simply concentrating light into a small spot (e.g., image projection, welding, cutting, etc.). Why are lasers used instead of a simpler light source?
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2answers
327 views

Why do two beams of light pass through one another without interacting?

Why is it that if I have two torches, each shining rays in perpendicular directions at perpendicular screens, such that the beams cross, then the images on the respective screens are independent of ...
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1answer
105 views

Is it possible to produce coherent light with a thermal source? [closed]

Coherent light means monochromatic light and alle waves have the same phase difference. This is given for laser, where the resonator is a potential box and the outgoing waves have the same phase ...
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1answer
80 views

What happens if light is trapped between two points?

The image can explain my question In the image light is clearly trapped.Even if the mirror absorbs energy the light is continously being added, will there be enough force to break the mirror?
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1answer
180 views

Red/blue shifting out of visible spectra

How fast would a white light (emitting only visible spectra) need to travel in order to red or blue shift so far its no longer visible? Are some stars completely invisible due to this effect?
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2answers
366 views

Convert normal white light to laser-like light?

Is there a probable device that can convert white light to laser-like light without the need of an electrical stage in-between? I'm thinking of something along this level. A very precise filter and ...
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2answers
268 views

Why does light from a laser end up in a concentrated spot?

I've heard from several people that photons will always take the past of least action while travelling, so why does laser light projected on a surface appear concentrated to a single spot when ...
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5answers
486 views

Why is microwave better than visible light for point to point data communication?

In the electromagnetic spectrum, it appears that the shorter the wave length, the better the bandwidth due to higher frequency. Some communication systems utilize microwave to transmit data to offer ...