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.

learn more… | top users | synonyms (3)

1
vote
0answers
74 views

What is light and how does it travel? [duplicate]

My question is: What is light, and, more specifically, how does it travel? I've been contemplating a theory that I watched on Youtube (which has no real credibility to my knowledge), the Cosmic ...
2
votes
1answer
927 views

Dark matter a medium for light propagation

Is dark matter a candidate to fill void left by luminiferous ether as a medium for light travel?
7
votes
1answer
5k views

What is the meaning of this “let there be light” joke?

Someone across the restaurant is wearing this shirt, and I certainly don't get it. Update Related: What does this quote about the four dimensional divergence of an antisymmetric tensor mean?
1
vote
2answers
7k views

Energy & Mass of a Photon [duplicate]

$$\text{Please read the whole question before answering}$$ Before I ask my question, I would like to say that "Yes, I do know a photon has no mass." I was helping someone here on P.SE with the ...
1
vote
1answer
75 views

What happens to light at sharp points? [closed]

At the tip of the sharp point shown, what will happen to light incident on it. This curiosity was invoked by a friend and also my childhood of watching shiny pointed swords in cartoons. Original ...
1
vote
1answer
71 views

Photons “rate of fire”

I'm not sure if this makes any sense but, do photons "discharge" from a source at an infinite rate?
4
votes
1answer
364 views

If atoms have specific energy levels, why do opaque solids absorb all visible light, not just some? [duplicate]

Here's my question: if atoms have well defined energy levels and those differences correspond to the frequencies of light that can be absorbed, how is it that opaque objects absorb all or most visible ...
3
votes
4answers
203 views

Photons to Represent a Wave

I fear that I have a fundamental misconception about the "wave particle duality" of light, but in a related question, the answerer said, in some sense, that a light wave propagates until it hits ...
2
votes
1answer
208 views

Is light so important in special relativity?

I'm an amateur physics enthusiast with no formal university education in Physics. So my question might sound very naive, so forgive me. I had this question in the back of my mind since the wrong ...
2
votes
1answer
321 views

Making fire using a filled water bottle

I have seen videos where a fire was started using a water bottle filled with water. I guess the bottle acts like a convex lens that converges light to a focal point to start a fire. But why does water ...
2
votes
1answer
471 views

Can a single photon be polarized non-linearly?

I want to check if I correctly understand polarization. Considering a single photon travelling in vacuum, it can only be polarized linearly under the same direction at any time, right? When we talk ...
0
votes
2answers
255 views

Resolution of the Eye-Light Rays and Diffraction

Please look at the problem. The problem is solved for me. However, I don't understand why the angle alpha is considered to stay constant when the rays go through the lens. The ray along the ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Why slightly closing your eyes let you see the rainbow colors?

So I was sitting and looked at a street lamp outside my house. It is an ordinary lamp that looks something like that: This lamp emits white light and it is about 20 meters from my house. It was ...
3
votes
4answers
2k views

Why wire filament shakes inside a light bulb?

My light bulb cast a clear light toward adjacent wall and I can clearly see, that wire filament inside bulb shakes, though lamp itself does not moves even an inch What is causing this? Is it a ...
2
votes
0answers
70 views

Deformation of light-cone

In the paper The geometry of free fall and light propagation by Ehlers and his colleagues (Gen. Relativ. Gravit. 44 no. 6, pp. 1587–1609 (2012)), when the authors introduce the differentiable ...
0
votes
1answer
760 views

Why do we observe opposite motion of trees (nearer) and trees (distant) when seen from a moving frame? [duplicate]

If you are in a moving train or in a bus, what you observe is that the trees which are nearer to you move opposite to the direction of your motion. But the trees which are very far away from you, ...
29
votes
6answers
8k views

Can you run away from your shadow?

Now this might be a silly question but it's actually bugging me, this one might be easier to understand if you have kids that watch (or used to watch) Peppa Pig. In one of the episodes, about shadows, ...
9
votes
2answers
319 views

Which of these theories on why light slows in media are true?

This question is similar to previously asked questions, but the responses to them are confusing and I think it may be better covered by listing out all the potential answers for clarity. It's a ...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

Why does the sky suddenly look gray through this window?

I am looking to the windowed roof of my building, and I notice that the sky, which has few white clouds, sometimes looks completely gray, as if there was a huge cover of gray clouds, but there are not....
0
votes
1answer
91 views

Dissipating light pollution

If all the lights in a city, and the area surrounding it were shut off. How long would it take for the light pollution to clear, so the light from stars could be seen?
1
vote
0answers
39 views

Is there any acceleration of light? [duplicate]

I find it hard to believe that photons always travel with 3 x 10^8 m/s just from the start. But there must be some acceleration of light. Maybe huge or taking place in picoseconds. So what maybe the ...
3
votes
3answers
893 views

Light has a wave particle duality, how do we know?

I've been told my whole life that light is either a wave or a particle. When it's traveling through space, it's a wave. When it hits a wall, or a photo-sensitive chemical strip or something similar, ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

Why can't light penetrate solid objects?

Light is combination of perpendicular electric and magnetic fields, since electric fields penetrate a conductor, why can't light travel in them? I think my argument does sound stupid, but I can't ...
1
vote
1answer
184 views

Redshift of a reflected photon from a solar sail

Can someone help me understand my mistake here? I'm thinking of a photon travelling with momentum $p=h/\lambda$ which reflects off a solar sail of mass $m$ travelling with momentum $p_0$ in the same ...
1
vote
2answers
2k 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
372 views

What is the physical structure of light?

Conceptually, I understand what light is, but I don't know what a photon would "look like" if it could be frozen in space/time. For instance, the notion of amplitude seems to be absent when discussing ...
2
votes
2answers
309 views

Does the formula $ \theta = \frac{v}{c} $ to find out deflection of light make sense?

I read in reliable sites that GR and classical physics calculate the angle of deflection in the same manner. The formula is almost identical: $$\theta = \frac{4GM}{c^2*r} \rightarrow \frac{4GM}{c*r} = ...
32
votes
2answers
6k views

Why is the sun brighter in Australia compared to parts of Asia?

Background: I've lived in Philippines for several years, and visited other parts of Asia occasionally (Singapore, Indonesia, Hongkong). I just moved to Western Australia a few months ago and I ...
2
votes
1answer
86 views

Optical fibre modes and intensity pattern

I shine laser line in front of one side of multimode optical fibre.Light coming out of other side is projected into wall.Whether the intensity pattern seen on wall is same as the mode of propagation ...
0
votes
0answers
32 views

Cause and properties of northern lights [duplicate]

If outside on a dark night in the middle to high latitudes, one might be able to see an aurora. It may be several hundred kilometers high and several thousand kilometers long, stretching around Earth ...
2
votes
2answers
447 views

How can heat turn into light

I am confused about how hot surfaces can radiate light to their surroundings. When I shine a light on a surface the light turns to heat spontaneously, and when I leave that hot surface it radiates ...
1
vote
1answer
58 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 ...
0
votes
3answers
331 views

How to generate Red light from a Blue-Dominated Spectrum [closed]

I have a white LED light source, the spectrum of which looks as follows --- I want to filter out red light from this white LED source. But as you can see the spectrum dwindles in the red zone. And ...
21
votes
4answers
5k views

How much red, blue and green does white light have?

Different kinds of white light have a different spectrum. Light from a white LED will have blue at the peak intensity while white light from a CFL or something else will have a different looking ...
1
vote
4answers
494 views

Double rainbows

In my garden, when I'm watering the plants I sometimes see a rainbow or two. How did two rainbows appear? Why can't I see three rainbows then, or how can I see three rainbows?
2
votes
0answers
35 views

Quantum Efficiency Estimation

Might there be a way to do a rough estimate of the quantum efficiency of a photo-detector like a CCD or CMOS sensor based only on a picture taken with it? I've read papers and guides (like this one: ...
1
vote
2answers
213 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
211 views

How can space be euclidean when light bends?

I have read people arguing that tridimensional space sections of space time continuum (whatever its number of dimensions) appears to be euclidean from empirical evidence. I cannot reconcile it with my ...
0
votes
3answers
4k views

Is there a substance that doesn't reflect OR absorb light from the visible light spectrum?

Is there a substance that doesn't reflect or absorb visible light but may reflect light from another spectrum? Is there a theoretical substance that would have these properties? EDIT: Sorry I wasn't ...
0
votes
1answer
273 views

Single slit diffraction pattern in 2D

I was looking at previous exams and I saw a question with single slit diffraction. Please look at picture on the website: http://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?p=4807732#post4807732 So, this ...
7
votes
3answers
229 views

Is that a result of thin-film interference?

Several years ago, I was laying on my bed and had a CD shaped transparent plastic disk (which was covering a 100 CD stack), basically a transparent CD. I don't know why but I took my phone and took a ...
2
votes
5answers
403 views

Is the plasma state always visible?

All the examples of plasma I have come across are visible. Is there any plasma which is not visible? For example, during a dark lightening we don't see the radiation because its gamma radiation. Is ...
3
votes
2answers
181 views

Physical reason why (hot) objects glow? [duplicate]

Every object at a non-zero temperature radiates light, i.e. it glows. (Is that called blackbody radiation?) What is the physical reason to this? Is it because more heat implies that the atoms ...
14
votes
4answers
2k views

Is the frequency of light restricted?

What are the factors that limit the frequency of light? Can it have wavelengths ranging between zero and infinity?
2
votes
1answer
49 views

Color in Different media

When a light wave passes from one medium to other, the wavelength of the light wave changes and the frequency remains constant. If then color of the light waves depends on changing wavelength or ...
0
votes
1answer
1k views

Why do objects of a given color appear white under light of that color?

Under light from the sun, a red object will scatter the red component of light, and absorb all others. Hence, the human eye perceives it as "red". White objects scatter all wavelengths of light. ...
0
votes
2answers
224 views

Faraday Effect does light bend or lose energy?

I was reading upon Faraday effect when it said Faraday effect causes a rotation of the plane of polarization That in mind, does this mean the light can be bent around or does the light loose ...
4
votes
1answer
153 views

If I'm running away from chasing gamma photons, I can see them, right?

Suppose Bruce Banner goes back in time, convinced that the Hulk is a stupid menace. Let's say he also borrows Quicksilver's speed abilities (maybe the Flash is more appropriate, but based on the ...
1
vote
1answer
29 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
66 views

Mathematical formalism to include wave and particle perspectives of light

Does the exist any mathematical formalism (model) describing the behavior of light and incorporating its particle character (divisibility, quantization) and wave character? (i.e. quantized wave model)