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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169 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
62 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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2answers
48 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
75 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
856 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
902 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 ...
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1answer
82 views

Textbooks or papers that clearly explain second harmonic generation?

I'm having trouble learning about Second Harmonic Generation. I've found a bunch of sources, but they all seem to expect a fairly advanced level of knowledge about it. For example, in the wiki section ...
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2answers
352 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
97 views

Relation between temperature and black body radiation

How can one derive the amount of light as well as the shortest wavelength of the emitted light from the temperature of an object due to black body radiation? Shouldn't the amount of light emitted (...
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1answer
212 views

How do I convert lux to lumens

Overview... I'm a novice in the very basics of light physics and calculation between various units. I'm sure this is a very simple problem to those who know the process. And, before we continue, this ...
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2answers
187 views

Why does the light instantly disappear when we switch off the source?

For example i take a box which is completely covered by the most perfect mirrors possible inside and inside that box i have a bulb whose bulb holder is also covered with the most perfect mirrors ...
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1answer
230 views

Refraction of light marching band analogy

When trying to understand the refraction of light when it hits a slower medium, lots of people seem to be enlightened by the 'marching band' or 'marching soldiers' analogy, which 'explains' that when ...
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3answers
181 views

Frequency dependence of the speed of light in air

According to this link, the speed of light of different colors in a medium should be different. But if the refractive index of light in air is 1 then this means that the speed of light in air and ...
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2answers
193 views

Number of different wavelengths in the visible spectrum reaching Earth

I recognize the visible wavelengths of light extend from approximately 400 - 700 nm. But how many different wavelengths exist in that range? 300 ? 30,000 ? (400.01 - 699.99) If it's completely ...
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2answers
147 views

How does light actually behave?

Senario: I am walking 5 meters/second and have a laser pointer that I shoot a burst of light from perpendicular to to the path I am walking on. Would the light travel perpendicular to the path from ...
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2answers
735 views

Rainbow reflected on TV screen? (pic attached)

According to wikipedia, A rainbow is an optical and meteorological phenomenon that is caused by reflection, refraction and dispersion of light in water droplets... Given that we require ...
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2answers
219 views

Why do I see things better when they're reflected through my iphone screen?

Sometimes looking at a screen for too long hurts. This happens to me when I use my computer or smartphone for too many hours, and my eyes become tired and weak. Lately I noticed that if, instead of ...
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2answers
108 views

Is there a material that could “convert” near infrared frequency to infrared?

I have a laser with a wavelength of 650 nm (visible red light) and was wondering if there is some sort of material that could be used to absorb and disperse a different frequency of light around (900 ...
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4answers
592 views

How can a 360 Degree Rainbow be formed? [duplicate]

Just a while ago while I was reading news paper, I saw an amazing article. Someone had caught a photo of a 360 Degree Rainbow. But how is it possible. I mean after refraction the only rainbows that ...
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2answers
258 views

Is there a relation between music chords and visible light palette [closed]

Ok I have no idea if this is the right stackexchange so if you know who would know please tell me :) In music there are groups of notes that, when played togheter, are basis to harmony. Since both ...
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2answers
141 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
640 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
250 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
390 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
215 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
118 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
423 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
807 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
190 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
727 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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7answers
426 views

Is black hole bright at center?

As we know that light photon cannot escape the gravity of black hole so I was thinking that if that is the surface of the black hole would be bright as all the photons would be there only. Am I right ...
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3answers
607 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
231 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
50 views

What happens to the visible light that a substance does not reflect on an atomic level?

Let's say we have a blue, opaque material. If white light was incident on that material, the blue light would be absorbed by electrons and the electrons would transition to a higher energy state, 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
84 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
36 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
69 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
96 views

Why is glass green? [duplicate]

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
132 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
56 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 ...