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 (2)

6
votes
2answers
393 views

What is changing in latest light bulb technologies?

I'm confused with the latest home lightning bulbs. Understanding filament bulbs was easy. For example take 220V, 100W filament bulb: Power = $V^2/R$ Filament gets heated and emits energy in the form ...
6
votes
3answers
7k views

What invisible flicker do different types of light bulbs have?

What waveform does the light coming off different types of artificial light sources have and (of course) what are the underlying physical reason for them? I was inspired to ask this question ...
5
votes
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 ...
5
votes
2answers
548 views

Squinting at light sources

I am sure it's just your eyelashes creating a filtering effects, but if you look a a bright(ish) light source such as a lightbulb while squinting, if looks like you are seeing straight light rays ...
5
votes
2answers
129 views

Redshifting of light from a moving light source

We know that the expansion of space causes redshifting of light. I even read somewhere that the Doppler effect also happens in light. So imagine I switch on the headlights of my car in front of a ...
5
votes
1answer
118 views

Predominant light frequency over the day?

I'm not well-versed in physics, so I hope you'll forgive me if this question is significantly off the mark. I'm interested in the predominant frequencies of light over the course of one day. My ...
5
votes
2answers
3k views

How photons represent colors that you see?

Right now, my understanding is that, a mixture of photons of many different frequencies is perceived as white by your eye. While no photons at all, is perceived as black. And photons with the blue ...
5
votes
1answer
867 views

What is the colour of starlight?

I'm interested to know the colour of starlight - particularly in rgb terms, I'm pressuming it's either white, or very close to white, but I'm interested to know how close. To make it slightly more ...
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 ...
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 ?
4
votes
2answers
128 views

Is ocean color affected by Rayleigh Scattering?

We know that sky color is due primarily to Rayleigh scattering. Is Rayleigh scattering the dominant effect for ocean color too?
3
votes
3answers
370 views

Making a plastic scintillator glow?

I have a plastic scintillator I had purchased off eBay, which is believed to be BC408 http://www.phys.ufl.edu/courses/phy4803L/group_I/muon/bicron_bc400-416.pdf Upon shining a small UV LED (10-40mA, ...
3
votes
1answer
144 views

Why are reflected objects blurry?

While this may seems like a strange question, I'll try to explain it the best I can. Like 75% of Americans, I wear glasses and contacts to correct my worsening vision. I'm not far sighted so objects ...
3
votes
3answers
337 views

What electric field vector should I use for modeling unpolarized light?

Regardless of computational cost, light is a kind of electromagnetic wave, so it can be simulated with Maxwell's equations. If we want to simulate light with Maxwell's equations, we need to express ...
3
votes
4answers
4k views

Is it only red, green and blue that can make up any color through additive mixture?

I'm reading about color vision and have some trouble understanding the motivation for why the trichromatic theory was suggested in the first place. The book I'm reading ("Psychgology: The science of ...
3
votes
1answer
568 views

Formula for polarized “light” transmission through close filters?

I'm still trying to understand photons (or polarized electromagnetic radiation). This question is similar to one of my previous questions, but different: Consider the famous demonstration of crossed ...
2
votes
3answers
539 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
868 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
152 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
2answers
583 views

Calculating the coherence length from a spectrum

I have measured the spectrum of the LED in my interferometry set-up, and now I want to calculate the coherence length from it. A commonly found formula is $l_{coh} = \frac{c}{\Delta f}$, sometimes ...
2
votes
1answer
293 views

Red color has largest wavelenght and violet minimum (in the range of visible light). then why does violet light appears reddish? RED + BLUE = VIOLET [duplicate]

My question is simple. Green light is more similar to red light than violet, then why is violet reddish and green not? in the language of frequencies and wavelengths, red and violet should contrast ...
2
votes
2answers
166 views

Does any material glow, under appropriate conditions?

Given a high enough temperature, or a high enough electrical field, can we make every material emit visible light?
2
votes
3answers
211 views

How far does a Photon's field Extend?

I read the related answer to whether photons have size, and the answer seemed to be it depends. If a Photon, or a rather an E&M wave has a magnetic and electric field, should things be able to ...
2
votes
1answer
102 views

Is there a one-to-one relationship between colour theories and our trichromatic vision?

This has started to bug me more and more… it involves: colour theory the trichromatic properties of our eyes through cone cells and light. Is there a one-to-one relationship between colour ...
2
votes
1answer
275 views

What's the difference between the equivalence principle and curvature of spacetime?

Calculating using the equivalence principle only accounts for half the deflection of light, whereas the other half is from curvature of space-time. But isn't the equivalence principle the same thing ...
2
votes
2answers
555 views

Electron model under Maxwell's theory

I was not able to recall my memories, so: What is the formula that states the frequency of electrons revolving around nucleus is equal to the frequency of light (or photon) emitted (or radiated)? (I ...
2
votes
1answer
614 views

Snell's Law of Refraction

I was told that "Snell's law of refraction implies that a light ray in an isotropic medium travels from point a to point b in stationary time." Why is this true? Thanks.
1
vote
2answers
341 views

Why does a circle of light appear when I shine a laser pointer at a wire? [duplicate]

When I point a laser at a wire , a circle of light appears on a wall behind it . why this happens. What is the circle of light and why does it appear? Could anyone give some tips on what I should ...
1
vote
4answers
169 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?
1
vote
2answers
997 views

Why are two independent sources incoherent?

Coherent sources are produced from a single parent source. But, why are two independent sources always incoherent? Two sources can produce light of the same frequency. Then, I guess the problem is ...
1
vote
0answers
124 views

How to get “massless” equation of motion from the action of Nordstrom scalar field theory?

There is Nordstrom theory of the particle moving in a scalar field $\varphi (x)$: $$ S = -m\int e^{\varphi (x)}\sqrt{\eta_{\alpha \beta}\frac{dx^{\alpha}}{d \lambda}\frac{dx^{\beta}}{d ...
1
vote
0answers
57 views

Is there any evidence that everyone sees colours the same way? [duplicate]

We all know that the sky is blue. Grass is green. Blood is red. But, how do we know that everyone sees these colours more or less the same? How does one know that my ...
1
vote
1answer
283 views

Principle of relativity and motion perpendicular to the direction of light beam

consider you are in a train that moves with a speed of $c/4$. A bulb is hanged from the ceiling. A light beam leaves the bulb downward. Exactly under the bulb on the floor is a detector. According to ...
1
vote
2answers
378 views

Why can't some light ever reach earth? [duplicate]

Note: I'm a layman in physics. Excuse me if this question is a duplicate, I lack the knowledge in technical terms to find the answer to this by research (I've tried). Let's suppose there's a star ...
1
vote
2answers
616 views

Is there a way to see light frequencies invisible to the human eye without the use of electronic sensors?

I wonder if it's possible to be able to see light frequencies that cannot be normally seen by human eye, without using sensors designed specifically for detecting a certain spectrum range, but rather ...
1
vote
3answers
114 views

Trapping EM radiation [duplicate]

Is there a material which can allow light (or any other EM radiation) to pass through from one side as if it is transparent but its other side reflects light like a mirror?
1
vote
2answers
1k views

Reflectance vs. Thin Metal film Thickness Graph

Is there formula that gives reflectance of very thin film of given metal (tens of nanometers) to the visible light of given wavelength(808nm) ? Which properties of metals are needed for the formula ? ...
1
vote
1answer
414 views

How does a strobe lamp stop a fast moving object?

A strobe lamp can be used to seemingly stop a fast moving object when calibrated. Commonly used in quality assurance during production to inspect otherwise non-observable assembly line activity. What ...
1
vote
1answer
416 views

Combining Multiple Light Sources

Ok, Lets say I have two point light sources A and B. Each light source has a power Pa and Pb, and is distance Da and Db away from a point P on a plane. I can calculate the amount of luminosity at ...
1
vote
3answers
1k views

Conversion formula from spectrophotometer readings to any standard color space profile?

I have readings of colors from a spectrophotometer that records across the human visible color spectrum 390nm to 790nm intervals. I'd like to convert this into any color space, could be CIE XYZ, HSL, ...
0
votes
1answer
68 views

Is it possible to produce coherent light with a thermal source? [closed]

Coherent light means monochromatic light and alle waves have the same phase difference. This is given for laser, where the resonator is a potential box and the outgoing waves have the same phase ...
0
votes
2answers
193 views

Light, being a probability wave, carries energy; does an electron wave also carry energy? If so, how?

The entity "light" behaves as a wave & particle. The wave is actually probability wave . That is, to every point in a light wave we can attach a numerical probability that a photon can be ...
0
votes
1answer
123 views

What happens to the energy of photons when two light waves with plane wavefront interferes destructively? [duplicate]

When I began learning about optical interference, I came to know about destructive interference in which light waves cancel each other. How the energy is still conserved ? I found that the ...
0
votes
1answer
44 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?
0
votes
3answers
240 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
60 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) ...
0
votes
2answers
326 views

How can opaque black object occur?

I know the fact that a material appeared as black when all wavelength photons were absorbed. I also know that opaque object is the result of reflection and scattering of light wave. Is it right? ...
0
votes
0answers
158 views

Determining Ether Drag - Aberration of Starlight

In order to determine the relative motion between the Earth and the ether (the medium through which light supposedly propagated. It has zero density and complete transparency), scientists used the ...
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 ...
0
votes
2answers
342 views

Why are some of the biggest stars known blue?

My question refers to an overview of the biggest stars we know: http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4138/4820647230_faba1c9f3b_o.jpg Why are some of those blue?