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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1answer
120 views

How “wide” is a beam of light? What is its half-diameter?

If you believe ray optics where a light ray is a straight line, a light beam is infinitely thin. If you think of fiber optics, you can guide a whole lot of photons down a fiber only one or a few ...
2
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2answers
217 views

Finding the illuminance from a triangular light source

Since most light sources in games are point-like, it's pretty difficult to approximate area light sources with point sources. As triangles are a universal form to represent 3D models (thus area light ...
1
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1answer
310 views

Light dispersion in water

Simple question: Water is clearly not disspersive if we have it, for example, in a glass of water. We don't see the rainbow through a glass of water. However drops of water disperse light in the ...
6
votes
1answer
416 views

How does sun light after it has passed window's pane still heat me up?

I believe it is so because most of photons' energy has successfully passed the glass. But is it so? And how can I roughly estimate part of light's energy which will pass obstacles like glass? And how ...
4
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1answer
911 views

Why do some materials reflect (metals) and other materials reflect and refract (glass) from the quantum perspective?

Recently I was asked to explain the difference between reflection and total internal reflection from a purely conceptual standpoint (no math). Let me explain what I already know. Reflection and ...
3
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2answers
222 views

Photons-Wave/particle duality

I know that photons and electrons and such are said to have a wave particle duality, but what does that mean for a photon? When light strikes an object, are many photons emitted, enough to draw ...
79
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6answers
6k views

Stupid yet tricky question: Why do we actually see the sun?

I haven't yet gotten a good answer to this: If you have two rays of light of the same wavelength and polarization (just to make it simple for now, but it easily generalizes to any range and all ...
5
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2answers
451 views

Why does a glass window reflect white objects white from an atomic scatterers’ viewpoint?

Related: Is a white object always white? If you are standing in front of a glass window during the day, you can see your dim white t-shirt’s reflection in the window. The reflection is dim because ...
5
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1answer
238 views

Where in the atmosphere is the blue light scattered?

I have searched Wikpedia and the Physics Stack Exchange archieves, and I cannot find the answer to these two related questions. If it is, please guide me to where this information is located. If ...
3
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1answer
209 views

Is a 3 LED flashlight brighter than a single LED one? (same LEDs, same power through each LED)

Say I have one LED in a flashlight, it produces some light. Now, if I have 3 of those LEDs in the same flashlight, each LED receiving the same amount of energy than the single LED was receiving in ...
0
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1answer
69 views

Can Quantum Stealth be Real?

I've recently heard about this new material called Quantum Stealth which is suppost to be a replicate of Harry Potter's 'Invisibilty cloak' . Apparently the material, bends light waves around a target ...
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2answers
77 views

Photon's multiple frequencies by Fourier

Since any source of light will have a finite duration, the light emited won't have a particular frecuency. It will be a sum of different frequencies (infinite, I think) if we apply Fourier's series ...
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0answers
62 views

Does the result of combining polarized light beams depend on the previous polarization?

I read that putting a beam of 45-degree polarized light through a piece of calcite results in two beams, one polarized at zero and one at 90 degrees. Then putting those two beams back through another ...
0
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0answers
49 views

can we break the speed of light [duplicate]

I know this is impossible but I just want to know where I went wrong. here's my proposal: Let us imagine that we have a source of light and a switch that are far one light year from us. so it would ...
5
votes
3answers
250 views

Why does light seem to occlude objects in front of it

My question: why does light seem to occlude an object in front of it, especially when viewed from a distance? E.g. imagine a grid-like structure (for example an empty gasometer) viewed from a ...
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2answers
285 views

What makes radio waves refract?

What materials cause radio waves to refract? What are the radio IOR's of these materials?
8
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3answers
389 views

Why do stars flicker?

Why do stars flicker and planets don't? At least this is what I've read online and seen on the night sky. I've heard that it has to do something with the fact that stars emit light and planets reflect ...
1
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2answers
182 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 ...
-2
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1answer
97 views

Is light particle of wave?

We know that Young's double slit experiment shows that light is a wave. On the other hand photoelectric effect shows that light is made up of photons. How can light be both at the same time?
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2answers
842 views

Does shadow have mass? [closed]

I know it sounds like a foolish question but I have a reason for asking and I'm hoping someone here, can give a convincing response. Here is why I pose the question...it seems to me that all this ...
4
votes
2answers
979 views

Why does the Sun feel hotter through a window?

I have this big window in my room that the Sun shines through every morning. When I wake up I usually notice that the Sunlight coming through my window feels hot. Much hotter than it normally does ...
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0answers
39 views

How close do two wavelengths of light need to be to produce a metamer?

Suppose I have two wavelengths of light ($r_1$, $r_2$) coming from a source. These rays are then reflected specularly on a surface. What is the minimum distance required for the two wave trains of ...
3
votes
1answer
100 views

What is the largest diameter an optical fiber can have? - for nonimaging visible light transmission

Is there any theoretical limitation on the size of the diameter of an Plastic optical fiber? I would like to transmit visible sunlight through it. I see bundles of small cores available but wouldn't ...
0
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2answers
142 views

Is it possible see an invisible light with something similar to a normal lens of an eyeglass? [closed]

Let's say that I am a spy in a room with a lot of people and I want to communicate with my friend using Morse code via a light signal. Does there exist a type of light (laser or otherwise) that is ...
26
votes
5answers
2k views

Is a proton collision (collisions like in the LHC) visible to the human eye?

I was curious if a proton collision is visible to the human eye. (This might sound like a really basic question and forgive me if it is. I am very inexperienced in Physics and just wanted an answer ...
5
votes
1answer
188 views

What exactly heats a pool of water on a sunny day

On a sunny day an outdoor swimming pool will heat up fairly quickly. My question is, what is the exact mechanism for this and can we put numerical figures on it? Given that water is clear and ...
3
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2answers
442 views

Is light brightness subjective or can it be quantified?

What is the relationship between brightness perception and physical properties of light, such as light intensity?
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5answers
239 views

Is velocity of light constant? [duplicate]

There is a difference between the concept of the speed of light and the velocity of light. are both of them constant ($dc=0$ and $dv_c=0$)? if yes, why?
18
votes
2answers
2k views

Why myopic people see this picture differently?

I found the following picture in the Internet and I am curious how from a physicist point of view to explain it. Basically the idea is the following. If you are a normal person - you suppose to see ...
7
votes
1answer
426 views

Distribution of star colours in a galaxy

I'm trying to randomly generate a representation of a galaxy. I have some Idea on the spatial distribution of stars within a galaxy, and I can find plenty of material on the colour of stars, but ...
2
votes
1answer
183 views

What is the sun's spectral series?

My physics book says that six colors can be distinctly seen in white light: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet. Does solar light only use these six wavelengths and mix them additively, or ...
1
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1answer
215 views

Factors affecting the size of a shadow

What factors affects the size of a shadow and how would you derive the diameter of a shadow of a circular object on a flat screen?
-4
votes
1answer
111 views

Is it possible to make a light beam act like a stream of water from a spining hose? [closed]

If we had the ability to make an actuator that could turn around at or past the speed of light and I attached a high miliwatt laser to it, then spun the laser around on the actuator at the speed of ...
1
vote
0answers
251 views

How do you estimate colour temperature based on the position of the sun in the sky?

I'd like to estimate the colour-temperature of sunlight (as applied in photography) based on the position of the sun in the sky for a mobile phone app I'm working on (app link from a more appropriate ...
0
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1answer
90 views

With a box that has perfect mirrors on the inside would it be possible to trap light? [duplicate]

With a box that has many perfect relective mirrors, would it be possible to trap a beam of light in the box indefinetly?
6
votes
1answer
2k views

Why is light produced when an underwater bubble is collapsed with a sound wave?

Why is light produced when an underwater bubble is collapsed with a sound wave? I have come across this fact on a page (similar to this) but can't understand "Why". I'm just curious about this ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

If time stops at the speed of light is a photon 'everywhere' at once? [duplicate]

I am not a physicist so excuse my question if it's paticularly stupid. As a particle gets closer to the speed of light time slows down as for that particle as compared to a reference from the ...
5
votes
2answers
123 views

Layered CMOS structure question

I am trying to understand the workings of a CMOS image sensor. I understand that increasing wavelength results in an increased penetration depth in the silicon often used in CMOS image sensors. What ...
1
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0answers
67 views

Salisbury Screens and Energy Conservation

From Wikipedia on how a Salisbury Screen works: 1. When the radar wave strikes the front surface of the dielectric, it is split into two waves. 2. One wave is reflected from the glossy ...
0
votes
0answers
47 views

Color of sky scattering by sky dust [duplicate]

Why does we see sky like blue in maximum time? We know violet has less wavelength, so we should see sky like violet. My assumption is that, violet is not primary color and not sufficient in the ...
0
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0answers
103 views

Historical aspect of wave theory of light

Huygens thought light as a wave. Wave is a propagation of physical disturbance. We now know that light is electromagnetic field. Electric and magnetic field fluctuates here. What Huygens really ...
2
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1answer
89 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 ...
8
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2answers
320 views

If light rays obey to the wave equation, why can they be thought as straight lines?

I'm a newbie with physics but I'm wondering how a ray of light can essentially be represented. I have always known that a ray of light proceeds in a straight line until it encounters another object ...
1
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2answers
385 views

Refraction of light and frequency dependence

Why do higher frequency waves refract more, both ocean waves and light waves? Also why is energy stored in the frequency as opposed to the wavelength.
2
votes
2answers
99 views

Penetration of light in the atmosphere

While I was considering an answer to this question, I wondered how much light that enters the atmosphere reaches the ground without colliding with air molecules—if any. I've taken a good bit of ...
34
votes
5answers
4k views

Why doesn't light kill me?

I was attending my philosophy class and in the middle of student presentations, I found myself mentally wondering off and thinking about light. After a few minutes of trying to piece together how the ...
2
votes
1answer
128 views

Optical depth in astrophysics

How can be the exponential decay of the intensity $I$ via the optical depth $\tau$ be derived? $$I(\tau)=I(0)e^{-\tau} $$
1
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1answer
92 views

Relationship between photon polarization and photon angular momentum

What direction is the angular momentum of right hand polarized light points to? Is it vertical to its propagating direction? I want to recognize this in quantum theory.
1
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1answer
75 views

How large of a solar sail would be needed to travel to mars in under a year?

I'm attempting to approach this using the identity $$F/A = I/c$$ I can solve for Area easily enough $$A = F(c/I)$$ and I know the distance $d$ is $$d=1/2(at^2)$$ But I'm having difficulty trying to ...
2
votes
1answer
90 views

Relation of color and frequency for the visible spectrum

In this question the OP is looking for a way to see light that is outside of the visible spectrum without using electronic sensors. This got me wondering about the visible spectrum itself. Typically ...