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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115 views

What is the intensity of this light?

I am struggling with a derivation that calculates the cross sections for Mie scattering and since the incident light is considered to be a x-polarized plane wave I thought that we would have $$I_i = ...
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1answer
1k views

Gravitational Redshift around a Schwarzschild Black Hole

Let's say that I'm hovering in a rocket at constant spatial coordinates outside a Schwarzschild black hole. I drop a bulb into the black hole, and it emits some light at a distance of $r_e$ from the ...
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1answer
609 views

Was the choice of red/green colors for traffic lights a happy coincidence?

All of us have learned since secondary school that the reason we use red in the traffic lights for "Stop" is because it travels the furthest without dispersion. According to wikipedia which cites ...
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3answers
65 views

Why does the light reflecting off of ocean water sometimes appear 'smoother'?

Looking out the window at some water in the Harbour - I noticed that some parts of the water appear 'smoother' than others. My question is: Why does the light reflecting off of ocean water ...
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2answers
110 views

Do black holes cause gravitational redshift? [duplicate]

Suppose a light ray is emitted by a light source very close to the black hole's singularity away from the black hole's gravitational center. Why won't the light escape? Shouldn't the massive gravity ...
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6answers
277 views

Bending of light from a moving light source

First I will have to explain my question. Look at the image below. This shows doppler shift when an object is moving horizontally to the direction of the wave. Keep the word 'horizontally' in mind. ...
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4answers
325 views

What will be the relative speed of a photon in a light ray to another photon of opposite direction light ray?

If two light rays start simultaneously in the space from exactly opposite ends in opposite direction that is separated by a distance of 600000 km in a way they meet at the mid point (300000 km from ...
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0answers
85 views

Optical Bloch Oscillation

I have a doubt about how the optical Bloch oscillations happen in a 1D photonic crystal. I try to explain: in a photonic crystal with discrete translational symmetry in one direction I superimpose a ...
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2answers
94 views

Light wave crossing media and the relationship between speed, wavelength, and frequency

There are many threads on this topic (like this one) but one aspect about the equation $ v = \lambda\nu $ still confuses me. I have read that frequency does not change when light crosses into ...
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4answers
34k views

Why do diamonds shine?

I have always wondered why diamonds shine. Can anyone tell me why?
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7answers
3k views

How do I see things of the bright room, being in the dark room?

Visible light emitted or reflected from the objects around us provides information about the world. If I sit in a dark room, and see the bright room outside, I am able to see all the objects of ...
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5answers
182 views

Isn't all light polarised?

I apologize if my question does not make sense.(I'm teaching myself microscopy.) So reading Fundamentals of Light Microscopy and electronic imaging by Douglas&Murphy, at one point the author ...
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2answers
10k views

Is black a color or absence of color? [closed]

Is black a color or absence of color? When there is no light, everything is black, so how can we say that black is a color?
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4answers
348 views

How are we able to view an object in a room with bulb..?

This is a very basic question on optics. How are we able to view an object kept in a room with a bulb? From what I understand, light rays from bulb will hit the object and some colour will be ...
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4answers
884 views

What is difference between white objects and transparent objects as far as photons are concerned?

Transparent materials let photons through because the energy gap of electron is so large that the photons cannot be absorbed. If the material absorbs a photon, the photon disappears; does this mean ...
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5answers
564 views

If you shoot a light beam behind the event horizon of a black hole, what happens to the light?

I have a couple of questions about light here, and sorry of they are silly.. So since anything that goes beyond the event horizon can't go out, so what if a light beam was pointed somewhere behind ...
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3answers
334 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, ...
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2answers
685 views

Why does adding red light with blue light give purple light?

Our eyes contain 3 photoreceptor cells (cones) to perceive three wavelength ranges of light. Here is a visual representation of the wavelengths by these receptors (S, M and L). So if we have light ...
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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 ...
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4answers
6k views

Why is there a difference between additive and subtractive trichromatic color theories?

Helmholtz distinguished between additive and subtractive trichromatic color theories. Additive theories concern optical combinations of colored light sources and are usually modelled on RGB while ...
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2answers
447 views

Is there anything that could attract and trap a photon?

Is there any particle or anything that could attract and trap light or photon particle? Can anti photon particle attract photons and trap them ?
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3answers
491 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, ...
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3answers
302 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 ...
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1answer
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How long does it take for radio or light waves to travel from Earth to Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto?

I know it roughly takes 20 minutes from Earth to Mars, and 8 minutes from the Sun to Earth, but don't know how long for the other planets on my list.
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3answers
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Newton's corpuscular theory

Where did Newton get the idea that light had a particle nature and not a wave nature? At those times, AFAICT there were no phenomena that showed particle nature. But wave nature is much easier to ...
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1answer
204 views

Optical depth in astrophysics

How can be the exponential decay of the intensity $I$ via the optical depth $\tau$ be derived? $$I(\tau)=I(0)e^{-\tau} $$
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2answers
426 views

Why do hot objects prefer to emit photons over electrons ? Is there electron-positron annihilation?

Why do hot objects prefer to emit photons over electrons ? Is there electron-positron annihilation ? If so , why ? Im confused by this.
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4answers
202 views

Rainbow around Sun

From the perspective of a person, a rainbow is formed when the Sun is behind the person, and there is a critical angle made by the rainbow. However, on several occasions, usually at noon when the Sun ...
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1answer
103 views

Light in a box with positron walls instead of electrons

I understand that with a hollow cube with the inner walls covered in mirrors given a light source briefly, the light would eventually be absorbed. This is due to electron excitation I believe. So ...
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4answers
368 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 ...
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2answers
204 views

What does an analog voice transmission look like in the visible spectrum?

Analog radio signals are transmitted using light in the radio area of the spectrum. If it was transmitted using the visible spectrum instead (using a visible light emitting device instead of a radio ...
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2answers
120 views

Will changing the color of the light source change the apparent brightness on a traffic light?

Let's say you have a traffic light with the well known red, yellow, and green tinted glasses. Setup 1: Each glass has a white light bulb behind it. Setup 2: Each glass has a colored bulb behind it ...
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3answers
167 views

Will the current carrying solid conductors emit light?

If we pass current through a gas, like in the discharge tube, the electrons will accelerate in the electric field. The accelerated electrons will collide with gas molecules, and transfer some of their ...
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5answers
298 views

Can light travel slower than the maximum?

First of all, I know that light does indeed travel slower in a medium like air or water, but that's because the photons are bouncing off of the medium's particles and in different directions so the ...
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1answer
259 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 ...
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2answers
556 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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3answers
92 views

Unpolarized Light

Suppose I had a ray of unpolarized light, and I was sitting inside the beam and looking at the electric fields oscillating, then , if I am looking at a point how would the oscillations look like? I ...
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2answers
903 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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2answers
78 views

Color Variation in RR Lyrae

I've been doing some research on RR Lyrae stars and haven't been really able to find an answer to this question. RR Lyrae are well known for their periodic magnitude, and also are usually found in ...
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1answer
58 views

Assuming an observer is 50 light years away, in the plane of the solar system and observing earth, what is the light flux of earth he would see?

As in, from what the planet emits and re-radiates out into space (this is going to be important if we are to image any Earth-like planet)
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2answers
173 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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2answers
181 views

Is it possible to have a perfectly black material?

After reading this NASA article about the "blackest material", the following stuck out to me. The tiny gaps between the tubes absorb 99.5 percent of the light that hits them Is it possible to ...
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1answer
548 views

Are black and white colours? [duplicate]

I am an artist, and I have heard that white is a 'tint' and black is a 'shade' in the artist world. I have also heard that they are colours in the normal world/scientific world. Which is correct and ...
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2answers
75 views

How is the image in a mirror created without a lens or pinhole?

How is the image in a mirror created without a lens or pinhole? From every point in the world there are infinitely many rays going out. How come the image on a mirror is ok, when there is no pinhole ...
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3answers
246 views

'ting' 'ting' sound from a tube-light?

Whenever I light up a tube-light it makes 'ting' 'ting' sound every-time it blinks. I am talking about this tube-light Why is it so? I think its because of sparking(inside glass tube) ...
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3answers
192 views

Do electromagnetic waves have endpoints?

When learning about electromagnetic waves at school we never talked about any endpoints as we did with standing waves, so I assumed that light has an endless length, but that doesn't make sense. So my ...
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2answers
701 views

Incorrect IR temperature reading on stainless steel?

Using a Fluke 62 Mini Infrared Thermometer today on a stainless steel pipe with coolant I noticed that it gives incorrect temperature readings. There is a temperature sensor inside the coolant ...
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2answers
116 views

Would it be possible to build a Solar Panel Etalon?

Since, on average, 1/3 of all sunlight that hits a solar panel is reflected, wouldn't it be possible to set up some kind of etalon system where the reflected light is then absorbed by another solar ...
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1answer
173 views

What the name of the evacuated glass gadget with black and white vanes that turn when a light is applied?

I remember a glass device my physics teacher had at high school which Contained some vanes mounted somehow on a vertical axis, which were all black on one side and white on the other Was in a ...
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5answers
242 views

Light refraction and causality

One way how to look at refraction by a dielectric medium like water or glass is that (phase) velocity of light decreases because it is the wavelength rather than the frequency of the light which ...