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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Why does a street light cast a wavey shimmer across the water (at night)

See image You will have to zoom in. Why is the reflection a wavey one? Could someone explain how this is occurring, to the layman, (with the style of feynman if possible -heh) :)
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3answers
136 views

Quantum mechanics: How do the atoms in an electronic circuit enter a smaller orbit on the filament of an incandescent light bulb?

Bear in mind that this is not a homework question, and I have put together some stuff to work on from below: http://www.doublexscience.org/how-fluorescent-lights-work-quantum-mechanics-in-the-home/ ...
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1answer
786 views

How far can the human eye see? Any ending point or infinite?

How far can the naked human eye see if unobstructed? (straight ahead on perfectly flat land). Is there a stopping point or is it infinite when you look in the sky? Is there any situation that the ...
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1answer
80 views

Depolarisation of Light in Optical Fibre

I have a question for which I can't seem to find a solid answer in literature and wondered if anyone could offer advice or reliable references please: How does light depolarise in ...
2
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2answers
81 views

Can contemporary technology simulate the spectrum of a star?

The ability to manipulate light spectra (as in mercury lamps, sodium lamps, infra red) is within the ambit of contemporary technology. Stars are said to be unique in the spectrum they emit ; ...
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5answers
409 views

Light-like Interval

In SR, the interval $I$ between two spacetime events is called light-like if $I=0$. Griffiths in his Introduction to Electrodynamics book says that [page 503], If $I=0$ we call the interval ...
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5answers
274 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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2answers
87 views

The speed of light through space and its effects on black holes

I was curious about a couple of things that don't quite make sense to me: (and probably won't when I get the technical answer, but I'll ask it anywise.) When light travels through space, is its ...
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1answer
212 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 ...
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2answers
443 views

Does thin film interference (anti-reflective coating) let more light through?

The theory of an anti-reflective coating is that the reflected light off the coating and the reflected light off the substrate is 180 degrees out of phase, causing destructive interference and ...
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1answer
472 views

Resonance Experiment

Today in high school physics class, we performed an experiment on the resonance of sound, with a set up like this... To put it simply, the sound waves are supposed to rebound with the surface of ...
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0answers
44 views

How does my screen look to a mantis shrimp? [duplicate]

As a human, I have one 3 color receptors that activate somewhere around the colors red, green, and blue. However, as this very cool infographic displays, a mantis shrimp has 16 different color ...
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2answers
186 views

Is the color wheel just an optical illusion? [duplicate]

As a kid, I was taught that that blue and yellow make green, yellow and red make orange, and red and blue make purple - forming the subtractive color wheel. As an adolescent I was taught that blue and ...
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2answers
199 views

Polar ice caps and thermal radiation

I was reading an article on global warming and it said that the polar ice caps, because they are white, reflect a lot of the sun's radiation. The article also has a picture of some houses in England ...
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1answer
72 views

Some sort of light reflection

One morning I woke up to a text message and picked up my phone but I was not yet fully awake and my eyes had not really gotten its focus. When I stared at the phone I saw two phones. Which is ...
6
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3answers
301 views

Why doesn't visible light generate sparks in aluminum foil when microwaves do?

When aluminum foil is placed in a microwave, I see sparks generated by what I assume is dielectric breakdown. However, if I put aluminum foil in visible light (assuming the same intensity), there are ...
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1answer
145 views

Does gravitational lensing violate Fermat's Principle that light must travel in straight lines?

Does bending of light due to warping of space violate Fermat's Principle or is it that in the principle light goes in a straight line with respect to space (taking space as the reference) and in ...
2
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2answers
161 views

Change of hue near shadows

My brother is an artist and he told me his paintings look more natural when he slightly change the hue (color) of the surface near the transition between shadow and light. Here's three examples: (1) ...
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4answers
498 views

Radio antenna producing waves in the visible spectrum

If a radio could produce waves in the visible light spectrum, what would the result be? This is a thought experiment that I've pondered for a few years now. I realize there are a few/many real-world ...
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3answers
246 views

How can sunlight be white , but pictures of the sun be orange?

I was thinking about elementary physics today and realised: We learned and proved that sunlight is white. But i don't understand why when you look at a picture of a satellite orbiting the sun , it(the ...
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1answer
684 views

Why do most metals appear silver in color with gold being an exception from a scattering and EM viewpoint?

Related: Why are most metals gray/silver? After reading Johannes’ impressive answer to Ali Abbasinasab question of why do most metals appear silver in color with the exception of gold (and copper), ...
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1answer
340 views

Huygens wave theory not applicable to lasers or parallel beams of light?

According to Huygens wave theory, every point on a wavefront acts as a secondary source of waves. Using this principle we can never have pretty narrow parallel beams of light right? Like lasers? ...
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2answers
163 views

How far can you scatter light using a prism?

If I were to scatter light how far do you think it will disperse and what prism is the most effectively scatters light?
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1answer
105 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
179 views

Can light exist without spacetime?

Since the medium in which light propagates is spacetime, would light be able to exist if spacetime did not exist? Is this like one of those chicken/egg problems, or can light be thought of as a ...
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3answers
124 views

Why does increasing the flickering speed of a light have a dimming effect?

I'm setting up one of my first circuits. I have a knob to increase the flickering speed of a led. When I increase the flickering speed up to a certain point I am not able anymore to perceive it is ...
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3answers
194 views

Four questions on color

First, I apologize for being a mathematician and having no scientific background in physics. The following questions on color came up in a discussion at lunch and I would be very happy to get some ...
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2answers
358 views

Why does light diffract only through slits?

We can see diffraction of light if we allow light to pass through a slit, but why doesn't diffraction occur if we obstruct light using some other object, say a block? Why are shadows formed? Why ...
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2answers
195 views

What type of electromagnetic radiation strikes the Earth's surface the most?

If you can could you lists the types of light from the greatest amount to the least amount (Ex: Visible, Infrared, Violet).
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1answer
403 views

Why does a white object lit by a blue light cast an orange shadow?

I was reading this blog post: http://ianstormtaylor.com/design-tip-never-use-black/ Which phenomenon explains this: But I must have been thinking the same thing, because one of those days in art ...
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2answers
133 views

Colors of light

White light is always said to contain all the different wavelengths of light. Why, then, can we 'make' new colors simply by adding wavelengths? Is it just a matter of our perception, that, when two ...
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0answers
50 views

Why stars twinkle but planets don't? [duplicate]

I am not from a physics background. I came to know this while studying probability? Is this because the planets are nearer than the stars so we get average behaviour rather than random. Is law of ...
5
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1answer
251 views

Why does the visible light spectrum appear to be circular [duplicate]

I'm not sure if this is an acceptable place to ask this question, as it may have more to do with the biological workings of human eyes than with the physical properties of light, but I'd rather hear a ...
2
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1answer
295 views

Could an oscillator at a high enough frequency produce light instead of radio waves?

Considering that light is in the 400-800 THz range, if you had an electrical oscillator that ran at that frequency connected to an aerial of some sort, would the antenna emit visible light, in the ...
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1answer
341 views

Looking at an iPhone through a Polarizer

Maybe this is more of an Electrical Engineering question, but does anyone know why iPhones looking green/red through a linear polarizer? I find it strange that the light coming out would be ...
12
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4answers
590 views

How does interference move energy from destructive to constructive regions?

I recently read (sorry but I don’t have a reference) that interference is not only about destructive and constructive interference but moving energy from destructive to constructive regions according ...
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2answers
405 views

How can a green laser be reflected as orange?

My friend recently bought a high-powerd pocket laser pen (from China). It is green, and reflects off most surfaces as green. On some orange surfaces, it reflects orange instead. That is to say, we ...
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0answers
63 views

Is there spatial data loss in light passing through transparent crystal?

There is perfect parallelepipedal bar made of transparent crystal with cubic lattice floating in vacuum. Faces of parallelepiped are parallel to lattice axis. There is image, forming checkerboard ...
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2answers
1k views

Why is getting a tan in the evening less likely than getting a tan in the morning?

When I was young I read one book in which is written that you get more tan on the morning than on evening even light angle from Sun to Earth is the same. Don't remember exact reason, I think because ...
2
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1answer
189 views

Refraction of light in water

Here's a question in a paper based on refraction of light. I can't seem to solve it for some reason. A man looks down at a fish length of 20 cm. His eye is 2m above the surface of the water ...
37
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5answers
5k views

Why are most metals gray/silver?

Why do most metals (iron, tin, aluminum, lead, zinc, tungsten, nickel, etc.) appear silver or gray in color? (What atomic characteristics determine the color?) What makes copper and gold have ...
6
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3answers
208 views

Can visible light be emitted from a non-thermal source?

I was reading about thermal and non-thermal radiation and I was wondering if visible light can be emitted from a non-thermal source?
6
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2answers
790 views

Slowing down light in an opaque crystal for a whole minute

I just read about a team of physicists at the University of Darmstadt, Germany, that managed to completely slow down a beam of light that traveled through an opaque crystal (article here). How is it ...
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2answers
676 views

Why is glass much more transparent than water?

There is a related question (Why glass is transparent?) but I am coming at it only from Maxwell's equations. One can determine the skin depth $δ$ for poor conductors like (pure) water and glass using ...
2
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0answers
64 views

Collimating and homogenizing a divergent tunable-spectrum light source

I have a light source (Xenon lamp) which has the possibility to be tuned over spectral range of 390 - 740 nm with 1 nm spectral accuracy . Bandwidth at each wavelength is about 20 nm . Output ...
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1answer
152 views

how can u split the Photon? [closed]

If any equations are there ,for split the light particle, means that i have a 1m length of light just consider that in that who can i split the light particle into 1/2 m length Pls tell
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1answer
149 views

how can u control the speed of light? [closed]

The light traveling a 3 lake km/sec, but Pls tell me how can a control the speed of light, means can limit the speed like 2 lake km/sec are 1 lake km/sec Pls tell me equation
2
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2answers
331 views

Diffraction and waves

Sorry about my poorly worded question as i'm not to good at explaining but bare with me so here i go. Does sound come as straight lines like ||||| and become diffracted into curves when it passes ...
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1answer
1k views

Star visibility in outer space even during the day?

Say I am in a space shuttle and have reached outer space. Is it true that during the day it possible to see stars outside through the window? Do I have to wait until night? Why is this the case?
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1answer
125 views

The Movement of Light

I've asked several other questions like this, and I know it's a dumb question but I really can't understand. When light is emitted from a moving source, it still moves straight in that source's frame. ...