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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Rainbow Black Hole

In the photon sphere of a black hole the photons are being trapped in orbit, pulled in and trajectories changed. Should we see color of the entire spectrum in the photon sphere? That a black hole ...
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Does the irradience on a surface change as the length scale of the surface patch approaches the wavelength of the incident light? [on hold]

Imagine an ideal, square, surface patch with sides of length l and area a that is a perfect absorber. Imagine this patch is being illuminated by a monochromatic plane wave. The irradient power on ...
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2answers
38 views

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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Light and Magnets

Magnets affect EM field, tried that, know what it does. However, if light is a form of electromagnetic field, why is it not affected by a magnet?
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1answer
36 views

Do all solid objects emit visible light?

Are there solid objects that do not emit visible light? To my limited and humble knowledge, creating such an object would require us to "only" shift the spectrum of emitted radiation. Is it possible? ...
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28 views

How can we orient light in vacuum?

Let's consider the mirror clock used to show time dilation in special relativity: In the rest frame of the clock, the light pulse from the laser pen propagates in vertical direction down then up: ...
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3answers
29 views

Frequency of other light in white light [on hold]

I have this question in mind because I read that the frequency of light depends only on the source of light. If we consider a source of white light then it emits light of different colours also. Then ...
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4answers
2k views

Am I just some energy traveled at light speed? [on hold]

I don't understand $E=mc^2$ very well, and here is my question: Does this equation mean masses are just condensed energy? And does this mean that the extra energy an object has when traveling at ...
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3answers
42 views

Does visible light heat things up?

During a sunny day the walls of my house warm up (no surprise). My question: how much of this warming up (if any) comes from visible light? I associate infrared with thermal energy. If my house was ...
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1answer
57 views

Diffraction wavelength relationship [on hold]

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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0answers
23 views

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
97 views

Why the incessant confusion between diffraction and interference? [on hold]

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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2answers
152 views

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
38 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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4answers
6k views

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
2k views

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
264 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
163 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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0answers
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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
38 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
137 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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0answers
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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0answers
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
9k views

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
20 views

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
11 views

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
33 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
135 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
1k views

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? ...
12
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3answers
637 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
97 views

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
50 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
4k views

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
197 views

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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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
4k views

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
20 views

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
79 views

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? ...