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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28
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13answers
43k views

Why is light called an 'electromagnetic wave' if it's neither electric nor magnetic?

How can light be called electromagnetic if it doesn't appear to be electric nor magnetic? If I go out to the sunlight, magnets aren't affected (or don't seem to be). And there is no transfer of ...
10
votes
2answers
4k views

Why do green lasers appear brighter and stronger than red and blue lasers?

This is mostly for my own personal illumination, and isn't directly related to any school or work projects. I just picked up a trio of laser pointers (red, green, and blue), and I notice that when I ...
0
votes
2answers
121 views

Dark light filters letting through less light

I'm looking for an explanation on why darker light filters let through less light than lighter filters (secondary/high school level). Although this seems to the layman like the obvious outcome, our ...
1
vote
1answer
152 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
752 views

why sometimes touching old flickering tube lights starts them properly

In my old house there are two old tube lights. Some times they don't start properly, (specially at evening time, may be it is because of low voltage), they starts flickering i.e. on and off ...
0
votes
2answers
362 views

A light and magnetic mirror paradox?

If light is an electromagnetic wave and lightspeed is constant (we ignore spacetime or gravity for this question) why can't we slow down light with a few dozen wellplaced magnets and electricly ...
1
vote
1answer
69 views

Rays in Symmetric Resonator

I'm having some trouble figuring out how to get started on this question: If I have a symmetric resonator with two concave mirrors of radii $R$ separated by a certain distance, after how many round ...
0
votes
3answers
2k views

Deriving the Poynting Theorem

I am trying to derive the Poynting theorem. So far, I've only been able to narrow down which equations I think I'll need to do so. These are the equations: Maxwell's Equations: $$ \nabla\times{\bf E} ...
-1
votes
4answers
115 views

What kind of “camera” and “light” source should I use to detect the intermediate path of a light beam? [closed]

I would like to have an image (in any kind of space), where I see the path of a "light" source. In my understanding the most common, directed source would be a laser pointer. a) Is this correct? If ...
0
votes
2answers
316 views

Why is the sky blue? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why does the sky change color? Basically what the title says. What mechanisms are significant and how do they contribute to make the sky blue. Also when the sky is not ...
0
votes
2answers
1k views

Wavelength and resolution

I'm reading some texts that seam to assume knowledge of light that I'm not too familiar with. How does wavelength of light relate to the minimum distance span that can be observed (i.e. you cannot ...
17
votes
3answers
1k views

Why does light of high frequency appear violet?

When people are asked to match monchromatic violet light with an additive mix of basic colours, they (paradoxically) mix in red. In fact, the CIE 1931 color space chromaticity diagram shows this ...
0
votes
0answers
44 views

Reflection of light [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the difference between a white object and a mirror? When I look at a red object under white light, I see it as red because it absorbs the other colours and ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Is there still light in practical darkness? Do photons penetrate everywhere?

I always thought that, even in darkness, there would still be some light, making complete darkness, i.e. complete absence of photons as far as I know, just a theoretical thing. When I tried looking up ...
1
vote
1answer
107 views

What would the spectral distribution of a greenbody look like?

Suppose you had a body that behaved like a blackbody for all wavelengths except some range that we would call "green". For those wavelengths it reflects all radiation incident upon it. Am I just ...
4
votes
3answers
281 views

Is the number of rays projected by a source of light finite?

Take a source of light which gives out infinite number of rays, each ray with finite number of photons and each photon with a finite amount of energy, Then, Aren't the number of photons become ...
2
votes
1answer
289 views

Solar energy and optical fiber

I'm not really good at science or physics, just wanted to ask about the idea (doesn't have an opportunity to test this). Will this scheme work and what can be its efficiency?(The goal is to make ...
5
votes
4answers
3k views

What color would a proton be if it were visible to the human eye?

If a photon hits a proton, would it have a color? What color would it be?
1
vote
3answers
1k views

Liquid crystal shutter with >90% transmission?

Today's liquid crystal shutter glasses, when in the "transparent" state, exhibit only 40% light transmission. They work using two polarizer layers, one which is liquid crystal and goes {vertical ...
2
votes
2answers
384 views

What's the Significance of Color Changes Between EM-Spectrums?

As everybody knows that Black objects are black because almost all the light that falls on them is absorbed into the material. Little or no light is reflected back toward our eyes, therefore we see ...
7
votes
2answers
989 views

Is it possible to charge photons

For example there are anti-particles to every particle we know, Similary in some sense, is there a possibility that we can charge photons..if not what are the reasons and has there been any attempt ...
5
votes
1answer
188 views

What would a length contracted object look like?

I have multiple sub-questions but they are related. What would the object look like if in were passing by? What would a star look like if we were traveling near $c$? Would the perspective be a a ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

Why the red-shift of distant galaxies is considered to be the effect of expanding spacetime?

Why it's not explained just by Doppler redshift caused by faster movement of those galaxies billions of years ago when that light was emitted? Would the speeds of the galaxies necessary for Doppler ...
0
votes
1answer
328 views

Transmission of Gaussian Beam Through Graded-Index Slab

The $ABCD$ matrix of a glass graded-index slab with refractive index $n(y)=n_0(1-\frac{1}{2}\alpha^{2}y^{2})$ and length $d$ is $A=\cos(\alpha d)$, $B=\frac{1}{\alpha}\sin(\alpha d)$, $C=-\alpha ...
2
votes
0answers
148 views

Help With Difficult Deductive Proof [closed]

Suppose we have a Gaussian beam with a complex envelope expressed by the following equation 1: $$\tag{1} A_G(x,y,z) = \frac{A_1}{q(z)} e^{-ik \frac{x^2 + y^2}{2q(z)}} $$ where $$ q(z) = z+iz_0 $$ ...
1
vote
2answers
195 views

Why energy saving light bulbs contain rare earth?

Reading a french article talking about a recycling unit of rare earth from energy saving light bulbs near Lyon - France (here is the official press release of the Salvay company), I was wondering : ...
0
votes
2answers
175 views

Is an electric lamp a transducer? [closed]

Silly thought. A transducer, by definition, is a device that converts variations in one form of energy to another. An electric lamp converts electricity into visible light - the brightness may vary ...
3
votes
1answer
678 views

Different colors in LED/LCD display when viewed from different angle?

I want to know why different colours appear when viewed with a different angle. Can anyone tell me why?
1
vote
2answers
306 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
10k views

Why can't light pass through walls but sound can?

When I sit in a room I can hear voices coming from the adjacent room but the light in adjacent room does not enter my room i.e. sound waves travels through the wall but light waves can't. Why?
9
votes
5answers
3k views

Why is Light invisible?

Why can't we see light? The thing which makes everything visible is itself invisible. Why is it so?
-1
votes
1answer
319 views

Are all effects that change color perception examples of redshift/blueshift?

As defined by Wikipedia: In physics (especially astrophysics), redshift happens when light seen coming from an object that is moving away is proportionally increased in wavelength, or shifted to ...
0
votes
1answer
126 views

Light in the absence of colloids?

If Earth had no colloids (Don't take LIFE into account) or any kind of scattering medium (like atmosphere) that promote to Tyndall effect, how would we able to receive the sun's rays? In the other ...
8
votes
4answers
11k views

What is the color of a mirror?

A mirror couldn't be white, as then you wouldn't be able to see your reflection so clearly. It wouldn't be transparent, as that then won't reflect. So what color is it?
2
votes
1answer
7k views

Why does your reflection suddenly turn upside down while slowly walking away from a curved mirror?

Many people should have realised, when looking into a concave curved mirror (or even a rather reflective spoon in that fact) at a close distance, you will see a slightly distorted reflection. But as ...
1
vote
0answers
49 views

What is the main downfall of using QPSK rather than DQPSK in fiber optics?

I've read that QPSK works theoretically in order to encode two bits depending on the phase of the signal. However, practically a reference for the carrier signal would be needed due to some ambiguity ...
15
votes
3answers
859 views

What are these rays that appear in photograph of sun?

In many images of light emitting objects we see such rays. Why do they appear ? What is the math behind their number and direction?
-4
votes
1answer
106 views

Photonics: Slab As a Lens [closed]

The question can be found here: http://gyazo.com/fc4d26cd35e6ce368ad2a8ed504f1dcc The refractive index it references can be found here: http://gyazo.com/94fd2f3b5ea7da9226c3acd56b0024c1 I'm not ...
5
votes
2answers
11k views

Why does earth look blue from outer space?

I know it's more than 70% water. But what has it got to do with earth's colour ?
3
votes
1answer
484 views

Is there a simple model explaining Faraday effect?

I find magneto-optical effects fascinating, and especially the Faraday effect. But most sources only give a phenomenological description, while I want a deeper explanation of its mechanism. Is there a ...
0
votes
2answers
754 views

Is a monochromatic, or non-monochromatic light visible at greater distance?

Just what the title states. Assuming identical conditions, excellent visibility - If a 1W monochromatic light source, and a 1W non-monochromatic light source were viewed at a location in deep ...
12
votes
4answers
4k views

What happens when a photon hits a mirror?

When a photon of light hits a mirror does the exact same photon of light bounce back or is it absorbed then one with the same properties emitted? If the same one is bounced back does it's velocity ...
1
vote
0answers
152 views

Digital camera as a measurement device [closed]

It is know that digital camera is not the best device for quantitative measurements. However, it is often used in all sorts of atmospheric physics research, maily due to: Low cost and availability. ...
0
votes
1answer
290 views

Dependance of temperature on color of metals

I asked this question because I supposedly did last year, Stanfor Klein which belongs to the Solar Energy Laboratory of the University of Wisconsin says that "the color of a car does not affect its ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

Squinting at street lights

Simple question, I've always wanted to know the answer to this. Why do you see a pair of lines radiating out from street lights when your squint at them? I can't think of a better way of describing ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

What are the properties of the partially polarized light on refraction?

When a ray of ordinary light is passed on the surface of the water the reflected light will be completely polarized( vibrations in one plane). My question is what will be plane of vibration in the ...
6
votes
3answers
894 views

Triple slit experiment

If the experiment is done with single photons and a "detector" at one of the slits the interference pattern breaks down. What happens if three slits are used with single photons and a "detector" at, ...
2
votes
5answers
203 views

Photoelectric effect without light rays

For electromagnetic waves we have the photon association, one imagines light as particles "flying around". What is the analogy for a constant electrical field, one which doesn't change in time ...
1
vote
3answers
3k views

Red light on blue object (for graphics software)

I'm trying to make a program that simulates shadows in a 2D environment and I need some help in determining how things should look. For example, if my light source is red and the illuminated object ...
0
votes
4answers
1k views

What colour is nothing?

To me this is very confusing, but I hope we can discuss it and find a solid answer to the question. If you were somewhere where there was absolutely nothing, what colour would your eyes see?