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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Understanding colored shadows [closed]

When I turn on white lights, these chairs cast a shadow. However, when blue LED lights are turned on the shadow turns yellow. Why is this? Is this due to interference of light or is it just an ...
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2answers
119 views

Explain the notion of light/electromagnetic waves/photons to a non-physicist

A non-physicist asked me about special relativity. My explanations naturally were based on gedankenexperiments involving light. This forced the question: "What is light? It is particles, isn't? Or is ...
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2answers
132 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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1answer
39 views

How does gas pressure increase the lifespan of Halogen tungsten lamps in the Halogen Cycle?

I am curious about this passage "Since quartz is very strong, the gas pressure can be higher,[5] which reduces the rate of evaporation of the filament, permitting it to run a higher temperature (and ...
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8answers
5k views

Will we ever be able to view the past?

By analogy with the sun, whose light is apparently reaching us in 8 minutes, it means that we are only viewing the sun 8 minutes ago when we look up at it. However, what if we were eventually able to ...
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0answers
65 views

Why do different wavelengths travel at different speeds through a medium? [duplicate]

Someone gave an explanation in another question: "Maxwell's equations predict that in a linear medium with permittivity ϵ and permeability μ, the speed of light in the medium will be v=1/ϵμ. When ...
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3answers
200 views

How to arrange mirrors so I can't see myself?

If I wanted to surround myself with mirrors how would I need to arrange them so that if I stood in the middle of them I couldn't see myself in any reflection? For simplicity let's just say we only ...
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1answer
136 views

Infrared Vs Visible Light

Infrared waves are widely used for quick heating objects, but a quick look at electromagnetic spectrum astonished me and raised a question that how come an infrared wave with lower energy compared to ...
55
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2answers
10k views

Why don't fluorescent lights produce shadows?

I have watched light sources such as incandescent lamps and other lamp sources; they have always made shadows. But a fluorescent lamp doesn't make any shadow. What is the reason behind the ...
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1answer
117 views

At what rate does light 'bend' around the surface of the earth?

Since the g force of earth is 9.8 m/s*2 does that mean light 'drops' at that rate as it travels past earth? Or is general relativity a lot more complex than that?
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3answers
117 views

What is the physical significance of the negative amplitude of a light wave?

I want to understand what is the physical significance of negative amplitude of a light wave? In an ac electrical circuit, I understand that negative amplitude signifies the amplitude measured when ...
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1answer
32 views

How long will a light bulb work isf the glass shell removed?

How long will a light bulb work if it gets its glass shell removed?
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2answers
956 views

How do we know the wavelength of colours?

Every site and video I have been on doesn't address it directly.specifically I want to know what is are the experiments we derive these wavelengths from and how do we calculate the wavelengths inspite ...
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2answers
1k views

Can spectacles converge sunlight to an extent that it burns the eyeball?

I need to know whether wearing spectacles can cause optical harm. I saw a movie where one pair of glasses was placed on table exposed to sunlight, then the sunlight converged and focused to a point ...
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2answers
1k views

How do you measure wavelength/frequency of light

I'm sure this is a trivial question for someone who knows something about electromagnetic radiation, but: how do experimenters measure the wavelength/frequency of light? For example, how do we know ...
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1answer
99 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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2answers
134 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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1answer
72 views

Possibility of a Dark Star

I think it was a very early notion, pre-black holes, that there may exist a star that was so massive, all of its outgoing light would return to its source. Is this actually possible? Is there an ...
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1answer
546 views

How bright is a 150 W incandescent light bulb?

When I was a boy (I live in the UK) most light bulbs were incandescents and they were labelled with their wattage. The brightest bulb you could get was an 150 W incandescent light bulb. Today there ...
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4answers
95 views

Is light amplitude spacial?

In diagrams I often see light waves depicted as little sine waves that travel through space. And often when describing polarizers, the explainer will angle their hand to show the angle of ...
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0answers
40 views

Polarization modulation

To increase bandwidth, for EM free space communication, could you modulate the polarization, so that, e.g., for a one-meter wavelength radio wave, the polarization could be modulated between vertical ...
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2answers
84 views

Why does black glass reflect better than white one?

Why does black glass reflect better than white glass? Both of them are glasses, so they reflect light. But why black glass reflects better? See below, shiny black glass.
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1answer
47 views

Why are LCDs black? [duplicate]

I had a question on LCDs after noticing something interesting about its color. LCDs are black when they aren't used. But when we observe LCDs closely, we see they are made up of red, green, and blue ...
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2answers
96 views

what is the whitest material?

I saw before a great question on what is the blackest material. Therefore I started wondering, there are many things that look white but in fact absorb light. So what material is truly white? Or, ...
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3answers
78 views

How to improve the visibility of light without increasing the brightness?

I am not sure whether or not this is the right SE site to post this question on but I'm sure someone will inform me of my mistake soon enough if it is wrong. Basically I am an Electronic Engineer and ...
2
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1answer
102 views

Moving electric charges

I just wanted to double-check these three statements, as I'm not entirely sure I understood them completely: 1) A stationary electric charge (let's say a proton) produces electric field. 2) A moving ...
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1answer
113 views

I want to know why light even moves at all.

Never mind in a vacuum, why and how does light even move at all? What propels it?
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0answers
16 views

Does illuminating a conductor with light energy less than its workfunction change the measured conductivity?

For example, does the light absorbed in an exposed metal wire increase the average velocity of the electrons, hence increasing mobility and conductance?
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1answer
49 views

Intensity of light wave penetrating soft tissue

I'm studying for a medical physics exam and I'm struggling with the following question: Calculate the fraction of energy which penetrates to a depth of 3cm in soft tissue for a beam of light at a ...
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0answers
29 views

Band of color around a light source [closed]

When a light source, like a phone flash light, is observed in the dark, why is there a band of seven colors observed as a ring around it ?
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0answers
105 views

Possibility of a free-space hologram

Holograms are real. But they are not what sci-fi calls holograms. From a simple geometric optics standpoint we can see that in order to create the illusion of an object there must be some sort of ...
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2answers
89 views

Convert normal white light to laser-like light?

Is there a probable device that can convert white light to laser-like light without the need of an electrical stage in-between? I'm thinking of something along this level. A very precise filter and ...
3
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1answer
58 views

What are the common points between physical optics and geometric optics? [closed]

I am trying to write a paper about light, I want to discuss the two way of studying light, the physical/wave optics and the geometric/ray optics, but I want to write a general introduction about them, ...
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0answers
26 views

What does the refractive index depend on? [duplicate]

I've always thought refractive index is dependent on the density of the material. The more denser, the more refraction. But kerosene whose density is higher than water has refractive index less than ...
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2answers
37 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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1answer
44 views

Why EM waves with long wave length traveles long distance cmpared to EM waves of smaller wave length? [closed]

Most of the times i was told with an example that police uses red light because they travel large distance than compared to blue or green or other wave lengths ? ...
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2answers
115 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 ...
2
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2answers
268 views

If photons have no (rest) mass, why would black holes attract light? [duplicate]

I was told that photons have no (rest) mass. However I thought that black holes are called "black" because no light can go escape the gravity force in their vicinity. I somehow think that, if light is ...
3
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2answers
214 views

How we see laser light if it travels in a straight path? [duplicate]

Light travels in straight path, and our eyes detects an object's reflected light then we see the object. So if laser light is going in a straight path, how come we can see laser light?
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1answer
29 views

Duality in Electromagnetic Spectrum

Is visible light the only portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that exhibits particle/wave duality? If so, how/why do other frequencies (i.e. radio) behave as waves?
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1answer
49 views

Light Lab Misunderstanding. Please help

For a Physics lab, this question was asked "As you learned, the wavelength and the separation of the sources affect the number of nodal lines produced. Using your results from steps 2 and 3, determine ...
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2answers
86 views

Why does light from a laser end up in a concentrated spot?

I've heard from several people that photons will always take the past of least action while travelling, so why does laser light projected on a surface appear concentrated to a single spot when ...
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2answers
95 views

What's the intensity of a laser pointer?

The unit of intensity or the irradiance of the light is $\mathrm{W/m^2}$. So what's the intensity of a light pointer? Searching on the web, the laser pointer's power is about $5\mathrm{mW}$, imagine ...
3
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1answer
139 views

Tunable Optical Band Pass Filter

Is there any cheap method by which to create tune-able optical band pass filter? I am working with a chemical process which will fluoresce when excited by a specific wavelength of light. As shown in ...
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2answers
3k views

How do electromagnetic waves travel in a vacuum?

This is perhaps a total newbie question, and I will try to formulate it the best I can, so here it goes. How does an electromagnetic wave travel through for example, the vacumm of space? I usually ...
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2answers
51 views

When does a monochromatic beam of light on a reflective surface get completely transmitted?

My book says when when a monochromatic beam of light is normally incident on reflective surface it gets completely transmitted. I am bit confused could you explain me?
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1answer
111 views

Detecting a light ray without disturbing it

If I have a light ray trapped between two very reflective surfaces such that the light ray doesn't dissipate, how exactly can I know that there IS a light ray there, without disturbing it? As far as ...
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1answer
39 views

Are there multiple ways to create the same color?

Color is formed by mixing light of different wavelengths, so a color could be represented as a function which gives the amount of light of each wavelength. My question is, if white light is a mix of ...
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2answers
93 views

Capturing a light beam

For a given container made of an extremely reflective surface, is it possible to shine a beam of light in, and with no 'fiddling' (i.e. closing the hole, tilting the object) to contain the beam for an ...
1
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2answers
208 views

Why do we assume that rays from infinity are parallel?

If light rays are parallel to each other , if they are from infinity, they are not gonna make an image because they won't intersect with each other. So we are not gonna see the image. Does that means ...