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 are the units of color matching functions?

In some computer vision book I read lately, the color matching function is invoked without clear definition of its units. I suspect the color matching functions are spectral irradiance or spectral ...
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36 views

Florescents and radio waves

Okay so if you put a florescent light bulb in front of a certain radio, the radio waves excite the mercury inside a causes them to emit UV light which makes the outer coating of the light bulb light ...
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204 views

Surfaces that reflect UV rays

I've been trying to research what surfaces reflect UV rays for the past day but it's been difficult coming up with definitive answers. So far what I've found is that surfaces that reflect visible ...
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141 views

Why does the thought experiment of a photon bouncing of a mirror imply anything for other objects?

Okay, so I am reading a book, "The Elegant Universe" by Brian Greene, which talks about motion and its effect on time. Greene makes the point that time changes with motion by saying that if you have ...
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236 views

Basic rule for diffraction

I'm a high school student. I still don't understand the reflection, diffraction and refraction of light. It seems to me that in concept of quantum physics, reflection is just a process of object ...
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50 views

What is the maximum light difference for one to be able to see into or out of a building and equally discern objects? [closed]

In this question I am referring to the physics behind not being able to discern objects outside when in a lit room, even though you would be able to discern them if you were outside, even though when ...
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220 views

How do I calculate the apparent brightness of a mirror reflecting the sun at a given distance?

I've stumbled around trying to figure this out, but it just isn't my area and I haven't gotten far. This is for writing about an idea of a field of mirrors on the moon, on the terminator when the moon ...
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57 views

Defining photons

I've read every book for my course and all of them describe photons as wave-packets/"bursts" of the EM wave. I just can't appreciate this view of photons. From what I've gathered on photons: Photons ...
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100 views

Information in twisted light

New Scientist has a story on the use of twisted light to store multiple bits of information per photon. What is this technology, and what are the information density limits per photon? "MOZART and ...
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75 views

Pattern on mesh office chair emulates thin film interference for curved surface. Possible to form an equation?

I saw a chair that looked like this at the dentists office yesterday, and the pattern caught my interest, as the light patterns emulated thin film interference fringes formed by an object that has a ...
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1answer
84 views

Why seeing further in “timespace” does not add up?

I've read that astronomers have received a light (a photon) 13 billion years old. Here's my question: If we start to turn the clock backwards all matter, energy, etc should start heading to the ...
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1answer
208 views

One way mirrored hollow sphere [closed]

Imagine a one way mirror, where from one side it appears to be glass, but from the other side, it appears to be a mirror. Now, fold that sheet into a hollow sphere, so the inside is mirror (and I'm ...
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2answers
87 views

constant speed elevator light beam paradox

I can't get my head around this problem. Suppose there is an elevator moving up at a constant speed relative to an observer outside of the elevator, far away from any gravitational effects. Suppose a ...
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123 views

Do photons change velocity instantaneously?

Any object traveling at c is observed as traveling at c in all reference frames. When a photon travels through a vacuum at c, all reference frames observe it traveling at c. When a photon passes ...
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1k views

Relation between intensity of light and refractive index

The intensity of light (as calculated from time average of the poynting vector) is given by $I = (1/2) \epsilon v E_0^2$. Here the intensity is dependent on the velocity of light in the medium. The ...
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1answer
56 views

Is this “cloaking in time” serious and what is really meant?

I just found this news article: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v481/n7379/full/nature10695.html What did those researchers actually do? The article itself doesn't sound to me like it can be ...
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28 views

Do the characteristic vibrational modes of a material define how much will a material heat up upon radiation excitation?

Do, and if yes how, does the intensity and energy of the Raman modes of a material make it to heat more by radiation excitation. I see phonons and vibrations of the lattice as heat, but maybe I'm ...
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147 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?
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76 views

Helicopter blades

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?
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55 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 ...
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100 views

Given two surfaces, one that absorbs light and the other that reflects it, will there be a signficant temperature difference?

My likely wrong understanding of light is this: By some way the molecules are structured, a photon hits an atom or a structure, is absorbed, then re-emitted and it's that photon wavelength that I see ...
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4answers
201 views

About the speed of light and gravity

I read (I think ) that part of relativity theory is that a strong gravitational field distorts the uniform passage of time. If this is true and a lightwave 'travelling' to Earth passes a star near ...
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30 views

galaxies fading away after time [duplicate]

Dark energy is constantly pulling all objects away from each other with increasing speed. This in turn causes a red-shift of the light from the most distant object where this effect is most profound. ...
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3answers
115 views

Does a high energy photon experience deceleration or direction-change when it impinge into water or something due to the change of refraction index?

Wave experiences refraction when it propagates into another medium which has different refraction index. Lights surely does experience refraction at the border of mediums which have different ...
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4k views

Refractive Index formula for denser to rarer medium

I learnt that the formula for refractive index when light travels from rarer to denser medium is $$\frac{\sin i }{ \sin r}$$ where $i =$ angle of incidence, $r =$ angle of refraction. Is the same ...
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138 views

Confused about length contraction and aberration [duplicate]

Einstein states that a moving object's shape changes due to the length contraction. But people had done such an experiment: Taking photos to a moving object, but they didn't find Lorentz contraction, ...
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149 views

What really is reflection? [duplicate]

What really is reflection? Is it just the reemission of EMR? I asked my teacher, he said in quantum sense, it is true. But when I read something about emissivity in Stefan Boltzmann's equation, it ...
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336 views

Can you replace the backlight of a thin film transistor (TFT) with a mirror?

I basically know how TFT' displays work. They have on both sides a polarizing foil, in 90 degrees with the crystals in the middle modifying which light particles should pass through or not. The light ...
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1answer
131 views

Characteristic quantities in Fiber optics

I'm having trouble finding typical quantities in fiber optic communication. In particular, what kind of powers are generally used (or what is the minimum that fiber optics receivers can detect ...
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217 views

photon polarization, uncertainty in Energy

A beam of red light is sent along the $z$ axis through a polaroid filter that passes only $x$ polarized light. The beam is initially polarized at $30$°, and the total energy is $10$ Joules. Estimate ...
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252 views

Why can't we see things swallowed by black holes?

Apologies in advance, I'm a layman with only a school-level education in physics. If an object approaching the event horizon of a black hole has its light cone progressively bent towards the black ...
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83 views

Question about the refraction of Fresnel lenses

If you line up the suns rays parallel to a Fresnel lens, the light is concentrated, and the focus directly underneath. However, what happens if the sun is off to the side, making the light hit at an ...
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237 views

How is the orientation of an electromagnetic wave determined?

I was looking up for how polarisers work, I understood mostly everything except the part that explains that the polariser filters everything except light that is in a certain orientation. Here are my ...
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55 views

Visible Lines for Hydrogen

Say H atoms are excited to 4th level, n=4 that is, how many lines do we see? How to decide the number of the lines?
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994 views

Infinite fringes in double-slit interference

My professor told us that the fringes formed by interference will always be countable or finite. But I am just wondering, if, it is possible to have infinite fringes? Is there such a case? I am ...
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2answers
86 views

Temperature-induced wavelength shift of optical coatings?

Optical coatings designed for reflection or anti-reflection are made of many thin layers which will expand when heated. What will the effect be on the wavelengths the coating will reflect when the ...
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462 views

How to test cutoff frequency of IR filter on camera?

Modern cell phones seems to come with IR filters on their cameras. I want to do an experiment to figure out what wavelengths these filters allow to pass and which they block. How would I go about ...
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2k views

How is light created?

I'm very curious about how light is created. I'm trying to get back to some type of real understanding about why everything on the sub-atomic level vibrates and the implications for the ...
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497 views

Does light have an unending journey?

When we shine a torch in a room its light travels to the back of the room. What happens to the light of a star ? I dont suppose we can say it continues to travel to the back of the universe as the ...
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154 views

Do atoms and molecules affect light rays

Molecules of air are all around us all the time. If so, during daylight do rays from the sun diffract as it passes through molecules in the air? and if so is this diffraction negligible to be noticed? ...
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3answers
174 views

Why does increasing the flickering speed of a light have a dimming effect?

I'm setting up one of my first circuits. I have a knob to increase the flickering speed of a led. When I increase the flickering speed up to a certain point I am not able anymore to perceive it is ...
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1answer
252 views

Scanning electron microscope imaging

In a scanning electron microscopy, secondary electrons are defined as the electrons which obey inelastic scattering whereas backscattering electron follow elastic scattering. Now my question ...
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144 views

Accelerated Light Sources

When someone accelerates towards a light source, how does the light that's radiating off from it look? I suppose in an inertial frame, all the light should be moving off straight from the source, but ...
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92 views

Salisbury Screens and Energy Conservation

From Wikipedia on how a Salisbury Screen works: 1. When the radar wave strikes the front surface of the dielectric, it is split into two waves. 2. One wave is reflected from the glossy ...
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2k views

Refraction of light and frequency dependence

Why do higher frequency waves refract more, both ocean waves and light waves? Also why is energy stored in the frequency as opposed to the wavelength.
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93 views

How large of a solar sail would be needed to travel to mars in under a year?

I'm attempting to approach this using the identity $$F/A = I/c$$ I can solve for Area easily enough $$A = F(c/I)$$ and I know the distance $d$ is $$d=1/2(at^2)$$ But I'm having difficulty trying to ...
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354 views

Keep the light beam in a closed room, is it possible? [duplicate]

I mean if I am in a room totally closed to light. If I switch on a torch for a second then switch it off. So will the inside of room be always bright?
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231 views

Is a holographic recorder able to capture a large full color picture? [closed]

Is it practical to attempt to build a 3D hologram generator that is full color and big enough to recreate a watermelon full size? If so, is real-time control feasible?
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126 views

Trapping EM radiation [duplicate]

Is there a material which can allow light (or any other EM radiation) to pass through from one side as if it is transparent but its other side reflects light like a mirror?
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919 views

Photometer: measured Irradiance L converted to photon rate

I am conducting an experiment in which the power meter reading of $410\,nm$ narrow bandpass stimulus is noted to be 30 $\frac{\mu W}{cm^2}$ at a distance of 1 inch away from the light source. I wish ...