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 are black holes black? [duplicate]

If heard two explanations for this. One explanation is that the gravity is so strong that space is being stretched inward faster than the speed of light and thus no photons could possibly escape. The ...
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2answers
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Why the incessant confusion between diffraction and interference?

Feynman said, "No one has ever been able to define the difference between interference and diffraction satisfactorily. It is just a question of usage, and there is no specific, important physical ...
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2answers
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Electromagnetic Radiation and Communication!

I read that the accelerated charges create electromagnetic field/spectrum which consists of following different waves: gamma, X-rays, ultraviolet, visible light, infrared, microwaves, & radio ...
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1answer
39 views

Diffraction wavelength relationship

This question appears somewhat similar to other questions asking about why wavelength affects diffraction (a concept which I'm still not 100% sure on...) however my query is different and not answered ...
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Nature of light in Special Relativity

What is the nature of light in the context of Special Relativity? Is it a photon, or an electromagnetic wave, or something else? I have doubts, because a photon seems to me a quantum mechanical ...
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2answers
37 views

Polarized light from any suface?

From a textbook I read something like this: "When sunlight is reflected from a horizontal surface, the plane of incidence is vertical, and the reflected light contains a preponderance of light that is ...
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1answer
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Refraction of light rays

My textbook says that the greater the refractive index of a medium, the lower the speed of a light ray passing through it. Seawater has a slightly larger refractive index than fresh water. Light ray ...
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4answers
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Relativistic Doppler effect derivation

This is about a step in a derivation of the expression for the relativistic Doppler effect. Consider a source receding from an observer at a velocity $v$ along the line joining the two. Light is ...
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6answers
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Light's inverse square law: Does it require a minimum distance from the source?

Does the inverse square law begin to take effect the moment light leaves its source? For example, does light's intensity decrease, i.e. does the area in which the photons might land increase, at a few ...
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3answers
261 views

Fringe Width and Spacing and Number of Slits in Diffraction Experiments

In a single slit experiment, the fringes are not equally spaced and aren’t of equal widths—the central maximum is the widest, the secondary maxima grow narrower and narrower outward, and the minima ...
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1answer
162 views

Path Difference Due to Angled Incident Light

If light incident on a diffraction grating makes an angle $\alpha$ with respect to the normal to the grating, show how $$m \lambda = d\sin\theta$$ becomes $$m\lambda = d[\sin(\theta - \alpha) + ...
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Is it correct that the polarized scatter of a polarized light source is max. orthogonal to the light source?

First of all, is the statement above correct? And if so, is there a constant gradient, with no polarized scatter parallel to the polarized source up to fully polarized at 90 degrees?
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1answer
35 views

What happens when two polarized lights of the same wavelength interfere at 90 degrees with each other?

am I right in assuming that if I cross two polarized lights of the same wavelength the result would be destructive interference? I don't mean 90 degrees as in 'orthogonal polarization', but the two ...
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3answers
132 views

Diffuse laser light in a surface

Im building a laser target. It consists of a box, with a black plexiglass circle in the center of one of its sides, and a larger white circle around it. The black for the inside shots, and the white ...
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29 views

Is it possible to approximately know the wattage/luminosity of a lamp knowing distance and using a DSLR?

I'd like to know if it is possible to approximately know the wattage/luminosity of a lamp knowing distance and using a DSLR (digital single lens reflex camera) mounted on tripod. Maybe, when shooting ...
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47 views

Speed of light interpretation [on hold]

I was wondering if any theory interprets the speed of light such that light needs to stay and visit some small open set for each tick of time? Then it could be renamed law of the good guest or ...
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3answers
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How is 6W equivalent to 40W, as claimed by adverts for LED light bulbs?

Every advert I come across for LED bulbs advertise them as the equivalent of a higher W incandescent bulbs. This makes no sense to me, if the room requires 40W to lighten it up then it'll always ...
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0answers
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Why does some peoples' hair look blue when I look out the train window while wearing sunglasses?

Specifically, when I look through the window, black hair looks blue when people pass the window outside, and black shiny benches look like somebody painted them blue. Pretty sure my sunglasses are ...
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0answers
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How does the area of illumination affect the numerical aperture / optical resolution of an optical system?

I have been reading an optics paper in which they designed a microscope with the following setup. A light source passes through a small pinhole, illuminates a sample, which then forms a diffraction ...
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1answer
32 views

What kind of other light sources can disturb the detection of LASER

My project objective is to detect different lasers , for example Laser Range Finder: pulse width 10ns and repetition rate is ...
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5answers
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Why glass is transparent?

Once I asked this question from my teacher and he replied "because it passes light", "and why it passes light" I asked and he said "because it is transparent". Same question again, Why glass is ...
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2answers
134 views

Can you use infra-red goggles (or similar principle) to see through mist and fog?

As per title really... fog is obviously quite opaque to visible light yet transparent to radio waves. What is the range of frequencies at which fog is opaque, and is either end of this range at a ...
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1answer
20 views

Michleson Interferometer fringe shift

I have a problem with interferometer fringe shift. I am learning it from my physics book. In the book, it is written, "As the L1 (Displacement of moveable mirror) is changed, the pattern of ...
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3answers
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What causes atoms to have their specific colors?

I understand that light (color) is part of the electromagnetic spectrum, and that it depends on what wavelengths are reflected/absorbed. Though what property of an individual atom gives it its color? ...
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3answers
636 views

What gives things color? [duplicate]

I know that color comes from things not absorbing a certain wavelength of light, but what property gives something color? Like what property of copper atoms makes copper as a whole brown, or cobalt ...
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2answers
62 views

Time-coherency of “incoherent” light

Even "incoherent" light as the one of a light bulb has some coherency, and would interfer in the double-slit experiment (even if more blurry because the different wavelengths don't trigger the same ...
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3answers
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Is this true about low-light/one photon at-a-time double-slit interference?

I've consistently noticed in pictures of double-slit interference when very low-light or one photon at-a-time is used, that there's lots of "stray" photons detected in the areas of destructive ...
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1answer
42 views

Why do some elements burn different colors? [duplicate]

I have a torch lighter and it makes a green color when the flame passes over the metal in the center. What on the molecular level would a flame change color although there is no difference in ...
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3answers
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Can something without mass exert a force?

I am something of a dilettante in physics, so please forgive me if the answer to this question is painfully obvious. The question is simple, can something that theoretically has no mass exert a force. ...
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2answers
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Why is condensed milk glowing green under UV?

Teeth, nails and also сгущёнка (condensed milk) are glowing green when exposed to black light. What do they have in common? Is it a specific luminophore substance?
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Why use a LED light source in an experiment of fluid mechanics?

There are two main kinds of light sources used in the experiments: Laser and LED, which are very different in energy consumption as well as the wavelength range. I guess the reason is related the ...
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0answers
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Why emulsions do not show Tyndall Effect?

The particles in an emulsion are large enough than that of solution, but why emulsion does not show Tyndall Effect?
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3answers
3k views

Is true black possible?

Black is the absence of light because it absorbs light, but when we create black paint or black objects, light is always reflected, either in all directions in matte or smoothly in shiny black ...
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0answers
26 views

what happens to light when it passes through a magnetic field of infinite feild strength? [closed]

Light has both particle and wave nature.If light is to be considered as a particle what happens to light when it is passed through a media of infinite magnetic intensity and infinite field ...
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1answer
72 views

Backing out of interactions: Does physics account for such a thing?

Does physics account for interactions between light and matter ever being "not completed" or backed out of? Here's what led me to the question. In learning about interference in light, I ended up ...
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1answer
29 views

How does sunlight undergo interference as shown in the video?

As far as I know, for interference to happen in a double-slit experiment, the light source should be coherent and monochromatic. If that is the case then how come sunlight undergo interference and ...
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1answer
30 views

Why is it easier to make inks which show up on white paper than on black? [closed]

Not sure if this is a Physics question, but... Why is it easier for inks to show up on white paper than on black? You can get "special" inks which print solidly on top of black surfaces, but your ...
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1answer
51 views

Glowing light around my shadow during sunrise

This morning I was jogging when the sun came rose. I was in the middle of wheat-fields and noticed that there was a glow around the upper part of body's shadow on the fields. At first I thought that ...
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1answer
56 views

How does Compton scattering demonstrate particle over wave behavior?

Why is Compton scattering thought to demonstrate light's behavior as a particle over that as a wave. I'm interested in the thoughts at the time of Compton, but also how it contradicts current theory ...
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3answers
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Why aren't all objects transparent?

I know that for an object to be transparent, visible light must go through it undisturbed. In other words, if the light energy is sufficiently high to excite one of the electrons in the material, ...
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0answers
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Fresnel Diffraction

In fresenls treatment of a plane wavefront when the aperture is infinty then intensity on the screen must be equal to the intensity of incident wavefront. Intensity comes out to be 1/4 times the ...
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2answers
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How come lenses alter the path of photons?

From what I know, photons are theorized particles and believed to be massless (just energy) and travel at the speed of light. How come a lens, which is an object made of atoms, can bend a light path? ...
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4answers
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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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1answer
21 views

Finding Intensity of light incident on a photodiode

Given a halogen lamp(9500lumen,500W) at a distance d from a photodiode. How can I find the intensity of light incident on the photodiode?
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3answers
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Create a laser from sun light

I have read on wikipedia the basic theory behind laser. A photon passes through an excited electron which then produces the exact same photon. Light is bounced off mirrors to create more photons. Is ...
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4answers
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How many percent of the visible light reaching the Earth are from other stars than the Sun?

How many percent of the whole visible light reaching the Earth are from other stars than the Sun? Is it maybe 0,5 - 1% or is my guess already too much? I am interested mainly in visible light, but ...
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2answers
218 views

Bending of light - photon's inertia instead of mass

Using classical mechanics, the formula for gravitational attraction is $$F = G\frac{m_1m_2}{r^2}.$$ This formula does not work for photons, and we need to use Einstein's theory of gravity to ...
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0answers
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Height of a point in a plane given a measure of luminance

Context Assume a left-hand rule coordinate system and X points right, Y points up, Z points out. I have a camera facing perpendicular to the X-Z plane in the negative Y direction. I have 4 ...
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Mirror shake emulation for the light

Is there any way to simulate mirror shaking? Final goal is to make send light beam to the mirror and get reflected beam the same, as it happens if mirror is vibrating. Mechanical vibration is limited ...