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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Penny dropped in the water: What would you see if transmitted light is parallel to the incident surface

I'm working on a problem which asks what is the greatest diameter of a paper you can use to totally shield a penny dropped in the water from view. The question claims that if the transmitted ...
15
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7answers
3k views

Why can't we store light in the form of light?

We can store cold (ice), heat (i.e. hot water bag) and electrical charge (batteries). We can even "store" a magnetic field in a magnet. We can convert light into energy and then, if we want, back to ...
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1answer
42 views

AC wire radiation

I'm trying to test my recently installed MEEP program for a very simple AC current. I know that for DC current, Ampere's law dictates that the magnetic fields must drop off as 1/r. How does this ...
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0answers
42 views

How can I mathematically proof an incoherent superposition of waves? [on hold]

Let $\psi = A(t)\cos(\theta_1(t))$ and $\phi = B(t)\cos(\theta_2(t))$ two independent waves which phases and amplitudes depend on the time. Then it follows that the intensity of the superposition of ...
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0answers
28 views

Why are Rainbows always seen Horizontally or from Sideways? [duplicate]

We see Rainbows many times, but we always see them Horizontally or from Sideways. Why can't we see it from under it?/From the point where it starts or ends(end points)?
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4answers
6k views

Why is the sky never green? It can be blue or orange, and green is in between!

I, like everybody I suppose, have read the explanations why the colour of the sky is blue: ... the two most common types of matter present in the atmosphere are gaseous nitrogen and oxygen. ...
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1answer
51 views

Can unpolarized light be created from polarized light?

I have a question regarding this topic. According Stokes Parameters theory, unpolarized light could be described as a superposition of two independent beams of equal intensity and orthogonal ...
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4answers
30 views

Why is microwave better than visible light for point to point data communication?

In the electromagnetic spectrum, it appears that the shorter the wave length, the better the bandwidth due to higher frequency. Some communication systems utilize microwave to transmit data to offer ...
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0answers
23 views

Does dispersion take place in our eyes? [duplicate]

What do we see if a single ray of white light falls in to our eyes ? Doesn't it undergo dispersion ?
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1answer
26 views

Is it possible to project black light? [duplicate]

A thought passed by me and I wondered if projecting black light was possible. We can make lights with many other colors, but I'm not so sure about black. So, is it possible? Has it been done?
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2answers
74 views

Given two surfaces, one that absorbs light and the other that reflects it, will there be a signficant temperature difference?

My likely wrong understanding of light is this: By some way the molecules are structured, a photon hits an atom or a structure, is absorbed, then re-emitted and it's that photon wavelength that I see ...
28
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3answers
2k views

What do we see while watching light? Waves or particles?

I'm trying to understand quantum physics. I'm pretty familiar with it but I can't decide what counts as observing to cause particle behave (at least when it's about lights). So the question is what do ...
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0answers
27 views

Effect of varying distance of light source from a Light Dependant Resistor

I'm doing the experiment described here and I have a few questions regarding it. I've taken a mini-LDR hooked to a multimeter set to $\Omega $ and a $25\,\mathrm W$ Light Bulb to plot the following ...
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2answers
25 views

Why doesn't the color of an object change when signal of different frequency impinge upon it?

Correct me if I'm wrong but I've always thought that the color that an object has is due to the oscillation of the atoms that makes up the material of that object. When white light is shine upon an ...
2
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1answer
42 views

Optical fibre modes and intensity pattern

I shine laser line in front of one side of multimode optical fibre.Light coming out of other side is projected into wall.Whether the intensity pattern seen on wall is same as the mode of propagation ...
2
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4answers
119 views

Why Light isn't like an Acoustic wave?

I just wanted to know why light isn't an Acoustic wave.Is it because light wave doesn't obey acoustic properties?
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2answers
83 views

How is the image in a mirror created? Are there infinitely many light rays?

How is the image in a mirror created? Are there infinitely many light rays? My motivation for the question is from image processing. We work with images as discrete 2D functions, as matrices. Spatial ...
0
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2answers
599 views

The color purple in a rainbow

In a rainbow the colors order is red then orange (made from red and yellow, thus making sense that it appears in between them) the yellow followed by green after which comes blue (again green formed ...
23
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4answers
2k views

Why does the sky change color?

Why the sky is blue during the day, red during sunrise/set and black during the night?
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3answers
75 views

Why can we see white objects as white under the sun if the sunlight is yellow?

I get that the sun is producing white light which is scattered threw our atmosphere so that the light of the sun reaching our eyes is yellow. So how come if I look to a piece of white paper under ...
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2answers
53 views

Black Holes and Light [duplicate]

It is said that photons have zero rest mass so how can gravitational force of a black hole affect light? And if photons do have some effective mass while traveling at speed of light then only can a ...
2
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2answers
53 views

Why human and most of vertebrates cannot see Near-Infrared light (720nm-1500nm)? [closed]

On daytime, the surface of Earth is illuminated abundantly by light of spectrum from 250nm-1500nm, that includes near-ultraviolet spectrum (250nm-380nm), visible spectrum (380nm-720nm) and ...
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1answer
55 views

What is causing the separation of light in this image?

Reflection of keychain LED light on Macbook Pro (2014) screen I have also observed this phenomenon on my mobile phone and on a tablet. I assume this means it is somehow related to backlit ...
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2answers
105 views

Do atoms and molecules affect light rays

Molecules of air are all around us all the time. If so, during daylight do rays from the sun diffract as it passes through molecules in the air? and if so is this diffraction negligible to be noticed? ...
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0answers
215 views

Does infrared light pass through active shutter glass?

The glasses that we use for 3D viewing, do they allow infrared light to pass through them? Infrared rays pass through normal glass right? I need the pupil illuminated through infrared LEDs so I need ...
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1answer
42 views

Defining photons

I've read every book for my course and all of them describe photons as wave-packets/"bursts" of the EM wave. I just can't appreciate this view of photons. From what I've gathered on photons: Photons ...
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2answers
94 views

Light-Matter Interaction and Object's Appearance

I am taking a course in Computer Graphics, and the teacher said we could put materials in there main categories: mirror like glossy or specular diffuse He suggested that the law of reflection is ...
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0answers
29 views

On perovskite solar cells [closed]

Now experiments on perovskite solar cells are in progress . Everybody is looking to improve it's efficiency. One method for improving it's efficiency is by adding multilayers. One key issue in this ...
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1answer
153 views

photon polarization, uncertainty in Energy

A beam of red light is sent along the $z$ axis through a polaroid filter that passes only $x$ polarized light. The beam is initially polarized at $30$°, and the total energy is $10$ Joules. Estimate ...
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1answer
23 views

Darkest matter on Earth (“pure black”)

What is (for a human's eyes) the natural or synthetical matter on Earth (i.e. not in Space) that emits the least quantity of visible photons while being lightened by sunlight? In this matter, how is ...
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2answers
480 views

Colors in the secondary rainbow reverse of that in the primary rainbow

Why the colors of Secondary rainbow is reverse of that in the color in the Primary rainbow? What can be the possible reason among the following options Because it is formed by one internal ...
1
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1answer
69 views

Why seeing further in “timespace” does not add up?

I've read that astronomers have received a light (a photon) 13 billion years old. Here's my question: If we start to turn the clock backwards all matter, energy, etc should start heading to the ...
0
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0answers
31 views

Why is the color of fire is yellow or blue sometimes? [duplicate]

If you light up any thing it burns in yellow and as well when you light up a gas stove it burns in blue color. What brings this color change?
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0answers
18 views

What instrument can we use to measure light energy released from a light bulb?

Is there any way of measuring the light energy released from an incadescent light bulb without the use of an integrating sphere?
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3answers
409 views
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0answers
58 views

How can Einstein explain particles of light without particles?

how can Einstein explain particles of light without particles? For his Nobel prize he used Newtons explanation except both he and Newton agreed that aether solved the problem of going through holes. ...
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1answer
41 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 ...
37
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6answers
5k views

Is there a physical reason for colors to be located in a very narrow band of the EM spectrum?

The portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that is visible to humans are wavelengths between 380 and 750 nanometers. I am aware that animals have different capacities than humans, but the EM ...
4
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1answer
72 views

What common materials absorb most infrared light?

I'm competing in a simple robotics competition where most of the participants use reflected infrared light to detect their opponent. I'd like to make my own robot as difficult to see as possible. What ...
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3answers
78 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 ...
3
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0answers
500 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 ...
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3answers
117 views

How to convert RGB values to physical radiometry and/or photometry quantities and back?

What are RGB values actually mean in physical sense? Are these values mean some amount of light or energy per surface unit or what? Are they logarithmic? Fro example, why do these values are ...
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1answer
37 views

Information in twisted light

New Scientist has a story on the use of twisted light to store multiple bits of information per photon. What is this technology, and what are the information density limits per photon? "MOZART and ...
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5answers
125 views

What exactly are light waves?

We know a sound wave is a disturbance that moves through a medium when particles of the medium set neighboring particles in motion. And using the pressure variations we can plot a pressure/time graph ...
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0answers
17 views

Raman amplification

Recently I read a bit about Raman amplification. Unfortunately, I did not understand everything. As far as I understood the resulting wavelength only depends on the pumping wavelength. Now I heard on ...
1
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1answer
45 views

Why does projecting black light from a screen mask white light shining through it?

I had a Macbook Pro, and remember being intrigued when I noticed that the apple logo on the back of the screen allowed sunlight to shine through in an Apple shape on the front of the screen when ...
17
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7answers
3k views

Why do solar panels not have focusing mirrors?

Most of the solar panels that I have seen do not have any mirrors, etc., but usually solar cookers have mirrors. What is the reason for solar panels not having focusing mirrors?
2
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0answers
35 views

Is there such a thing as purple light? [duplicate]

This is a question as much about color perception as the physics of light. Since I have normal vision, without color blindness, I will draw on my experiences in formulating my question. I will add ...
3
votes
1answer
860 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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0answers
29 views

Analogy for Rayleigh scattering

This morning's eclipse has me looking into Rayleigh scattering. I'm trying to think of a good analogy to explain it to somebody without getting too in-depth into electromagnetism and other subjects... ...