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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2
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3answers
124 views

What “exactly” happens when a ray is incident at the critical angle?

The question arose when my physics teacher taught me geometrical optics and told that the phenomenon of both refraction and $reflection$ occur by change in medium. First of all, I'm not sure about the ...
2
votes
3answers
187 views

What happens to photons after they hit objects?

If I am not wrong when light hits for example white wall most of the photons are absorbed and transformed into heat and few of the photons at certain wavelength are reflected from the object. So white ...
19
votes
3answers
872 views

Why is the sky dark at night? [duplicate]

The question is the well-known Olbers' paradox: If there are so many/infinite stars, in every direction, why is it dark at night? Where goes all the light we don't see? Discussing with a friend ...
34
votes
4answers
6k views

Why is the sky never green? It can be blue or orange, and green is in between!

I, like everybody I suppose, have read the explanations why the colour of the sky is blue: ... the two most common types of matter present in the atmosphere are gaseous nitrogen and oxygen. ...
0
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0answers
35 views

Rotating sheet of light

I am looking for references on "rotating sheets of light" generated from a point source. Mainly I am looking for applications. (I saw a use related to climate studies or weather forecasting, where a ...
0
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1answer
60 views

Is the glass made up of holes that let the light to go through it?

The following passage has been extracted from the book "The Magic of Science-A.Frederick Collins" (1917): Substances of all kinds have pores or holes in them. A sponge has pores that can be ...
1
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0answers
14 views

What are the factors affecting transparency and color of a substance [duplicate]

What is the reason behind visual properties like color and transparency of different substances? I have always heard that the structure of the substance is responsible for these properties. I always ...
0
votes
0answers
23 views

Appearance of the recomposition of a given spectrum? [duplicate]

Given a visible spectrum, i.e. a function from the set of visible wavelengths into the set of intensities, I would like to see the color having this spectrum decomposition. Question: How can I do ...
3
votes
1answer
41 views

What is the best angle to see water

Sometimes when I clean my house, I miss some of the water since it seems invisible, but when I stand in different angle from the water I can see it clearly, whereas some angles offer partial ...
0
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1answer
37 views

Why do roads appear wet on hot days? I do not understand [duplicate]

Why do roads appear wet on hot days? I don't understand the bending of light rays in relation to the density fluctuations. How are they related? Why do we see mirror images of cars on road in hot ...
3
votes
2answers
78 views

Did Newton argue that particles speed up when entering a more dense medium?

Statement: Newton argued that particles speed up as they travel from air into a dense, transparent object, such as glass. From this source, I gather that he did argue that the light particles ...
2
votes
1answer
57 views

Specular or Diffuse Reflection - Overhead Projection

Question: What type of reflection is exhibited as light waves from an overhead projector reflect off a white projection screen and are scattered throughout a room? I said specular reflection, ...
2
votes
1answer
100 views

Lux and W/m2 relationship?

I am reading a bit about solar energy, and for my own curiosity, I would really like to know the insolation on my balcony. That could tell me how much a solar panel could produce. Now, I don't have ...
8
votes
1answer
402 views

Why Do My Fan Blades Produce Color When They Spin?

I've posted a short video here as a visual aid. Whenever I put my fan on Medium speed during the night time, it produces a rotating Blue and Orange color design, despite both fan blades being a white ...
0
votes
1answer
60 views

Why do we perceive a colour?

White/yellow light hits a red case, and the red color is reflected into our eyes, since other wavelengths are absorbed. My question is: since both the paint on the case and the white light have ...
2
votes
0answers
43 views

What causes the lines in these photos of a flourescent tube?

I was taking pictures of a flourescent tube using a Moto G 2013 when I noticed these evenly spaced lines as I got closer to it. The distance between the lines reduced as I got closer to the tube. ...
-1
votes
1answer
47 views

Can quanta have different energy levels? [closed]

The energy of a wave is h*f. How i imagine this is each cycle consisting of 1 quanta. I sometimes hear people say the energy of a photon is equal to h*f which makes it sound like each cycle has a ...
0
votes
2answers
38 views

Why Can You Only See Direct Light In Water From a Lighthouse

Whilst observing a lighthouse, I noticed that I could only see the cone of light reflected in the water when the lighthouse light was directly pointed at me. At all other points, I could just about ...
0
votes
1answer
38 views

Is scattering cross section determined by mass?

This is just for visible light/photon scattering. Let's say I have small spherical particles in water, if I keep the weight concentration of glass the same but change the diameter of glass sphere from ...
0
votes
2answers
108 views

Light-Matter Interaction and 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
579 views

Frequency modulation using visible light

Currently I am doing research into visible light communication from an Embedded Systems background (MSc), but I am struggling to relate the concepts of modulation of radio to visible light. I already ...
1
vote
1answer
80 views

Police laser speed detection guns

Situation Police shooting a laser device into his rearview mirror, bouncing off the oncoming car license plate. I want to know if this second surface mirror, and the symmetric system--laser gun to ...
0
votes
4answers
45 views

Can the term «shadow» pertain to anything else than light? [closed]

Can the term shadow pertain to anything else than light? Feel free to interpret this question in the widest sense possible.
3
votes
2answers
135 views

A mirror in the sky to look at past Earth

Earth reflects light from Sun into Space; are there any "mirror like" objects which reflect back to Earth this light? Has anyone been able to use this method to recover some information on how was the ...
4
votes
3answers
425 views

Why does Snell's law not factor in wavelength?

If dispersion is caused due to different wavelengths bending with different angles, how is Snell's law right in generalizing it as $\sin(i) / \sin(r)$? Or am I missing something?
1
vote
1answer
80 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
32 views

Does general relativity have an effect of the frequency of light? [closed]

if a lightbeam is fired from space to earth is it blueshifted? I heard this happens with special relativity but not sure if it happens with genreal relativity
4
votes
1answer
54 views

Why is it hard to make black clothes?

I've noticed that we have so-called 'black' clothes everywhere, I haven't seen so far any piece of clothes that would be really black, it's always some kind of lighter black. For instance, if you ...
4
votes
2answers
106 views

A light so strong it has a shadow

I have recently taken an interest in shadows. I know that in order for a shadow to exist that you must have a solid in the way of the light. My hypothesis is that there can be a light so strong, like ...
0
votes
1answer
153 views

If sound travels through matter what medium does light travel through? [duplicate]

So sound is a wave and is basically just vibrations, an atom vibrates causing another next to it vibrate and so on until it finally reaches our ears to become sound. If that's normally how waves ...
1
vote
0answers
60 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
525 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?
4
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1answer
697 views

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

A middle school teacher across the restaurant is wearing this shirt, and I certainly don't get it.
0
votes
2answers
841 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
54 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
52 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
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2answers
251 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 ...
2
votes
4answers
126 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
117 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
125 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
41 views

How does light travel at the speed of light? [duplicate]

If it is impossible for matter to accelerate to $c$ (because doing so would take infinite energy), and if light can be deemed matter (because of wave-particle duality, photons are matter, right? And ...
1
vote
1answer
58 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
56 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
188 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 ...
2
votes
4answers
183 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
51 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
69 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, ...
28
votes
6answers
6k 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
201 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
209 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 ...