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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Clarification regarding atmospheric opacity

I have taken a look at the related questions Can someone explain to me the concept of atmosphere opacity? and Why can spacecraft observe terrestrial gamma rays, but terrestrial observers not ...
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3answers
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Why must $v$ be $< c$ in the Lorentz transformations? Do these equations not apply to light? [duplicate]

I was trying to understand how things look from the perspective of light. Looking at the Lorentz transformations, it seems that the universe would contract along the direction of movement into a plane,...
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1answer
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Scaling of the CIE RGB color matching functions

In the CIE color system, the RGB color matching functions look like this when plotted (I'm unsure what the unit of the Y axis is) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CIE_1931_color_space#CIE_RGB_color_space ...
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4answers
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How do light waves get their size?

An atom or (small) molecule has the size of about 100pm. Elektromagnetic waves range from about 0.1nm up to 1 km. The most common way waves (like light) are caused by 'jumping' electrons to another ...
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How was microscope-level zoom created by a lens and a water droplet?

It was a rainy night. My glasses were speckled with fresh water droplets. I looked at a distant street light and I was surprised to see cells - a single cell was zoomed in to the level where I could ...
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Gravitational Lensing Example

Like this tomato wrapped underwater and how light is bent around it does the way a black whole bends space and light in the same way?
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1answer
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Can light change the shape of a black hole?

If light orbits a black hole without ever getting closer or further from it, and the black hole pulls on the light from all directions, does the black hole extend at its equator? Would more light make ...
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2answers
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Purple doesn't occur in rainbow - or does it?

Usually, when asked whether the purple color exists rainbows, an answer similar to this is given: The purple color is perceived by human eyes via the activation of both red-sensitive and blue-...
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5answers
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How do those T-shirts that change color in the sun work?

When I was a kid, I asked my dad about them and he said (not in so many words) that it was because sunlight and artificial light have different spectrums and they picked colors that reflect only the ...
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Polarization space, light singularities [closed]

Who knows something about polarization space? What is the definition? I know that to describe the polarization state of a beam we need to find eigen-polarization states. I also know that for the ...
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5answers
3k views

What do the colors in false color images represent?

Every kid who first looks into a telescope is shocked to see that everything's black and white. The pretty colors, like those in this picture of the Sleeping Beauty Galaxy (M64), are missing: The ...
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1answer
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fiber optic face plate physics-opaque to transparent behavior based on distance of object?

Please look at this video below. its of fiber optic plate or compressed fiber lens Here it seems that the object- which is the book or letters here, is visible only when the plate is touching the ...
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1answer
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What properties would a laser need to have in order to be visible in plain air?

We all know what happens if you use a laser pointer in foggy/dusty conditions: you can clearly see the line from the source to the destination. However, in plain air it is not. My question is, what ...
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27 views

Can refraction be thought of as a special type of reflection?

So, I know the difference between refraction and reflection but I've been wondering today if maybe refraction could be thought of as a special type of reflection with a very obtuse angle. Reflection ...
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0answers
34 views

What physical observations led physicists to talk about the 'energy of light'? [closed]

Clarification edit: Why is EM energy is calculated differently than the way we calculate all other forms of energy? Thermal energy: Q=mcT where m is mass, c is specific heat, T is temp Kinetic energy ...
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3answers
5k views

Why does the sun have to be nearly fully covered to notice any darkening in an eclipse?

I was looking at eclipse footage and I noticed that it doesn't get any noticeably darker until the very end when it suddenly all the light is gone. As the moon blocks out the Sun, I would expect that ...
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2answers
4k views

Why does the Sun “shine brighter” some days?

Today, the Sun seems extremely bright; more dazzling than usual, and even the roads seem to be brighter so it's not just when you look up in the sky. Is more light actually getting through (perhaps ...
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0answers
53 views

Path of photon from Sun to earth unaltered?

I got into a discussion regarding the light from the Sun that reaches the Earth and whether it maintains the same path from the moment it was emitted to the point it is processed by our eyes. My ...
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2answers
603 views

How to use a magnifying glas or any lens to enhance small light power?

I am currently trying to amplify a tiny amount of light so that a photodiode will recognize it. In order to amplify the light I thought about using a magnifying glass since I got to know that such ...
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0answers
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What characteristics of incident light changes upon reflection

I am searching for various characteristics of incident light that get modified or changed in reflected light compared to incident light. Light could be monochrome or multi-chrome. I am looking into ...
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3answers
94 views

Explanation for the spectrum of the sun?

My Question is, why exactely does the intensity vanish below 240 nm ? If i look at the plank's law, obviously the intensity for $\lambda \rightarrow 0$ and $\lambda \rightarrow \infty$ will vanish, ...
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0answers
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light interference

Recently while driving, i noticed that when it is dark, the light emitted from an incoming car with its headlights at full strength (bright) and with mine also at the same state, my windscreen sort of ...
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0answers
32 views

Cheap DIY Zernike-Phasecontrast: Optical Thickness of a inkjet/laser printed contour for phasering? [closed]

Rough guess: Optical Thickness of a inkjet/laser printed contour? Edit I was wondering if there is any research regarding the refractive index and the height of an inkjet or laser printed contour?  ...
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1answer
45 views

How does the levitating water illusion work?

After watching a movie in which levitating water was used as an illusion, I was curious to discover how it works. Unfortunately I cannot find any great explanations of the science behind the effect, ...
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1answer
43 views

How come we can get mirror-like effects from dark surfaces?

Question: If I understand correctly, an object's color is determined by the optical frequency which it does not absorb. So an apple appears red because it only reflects red. My question is, if this is ...
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1answer
67 views

Doesn't the doppler effect prove that light is a wave? [closed]

According to me doppler effect can only be applied to waves and not particles, as we apply doppler effect on light it proves it having wave nature and not particle nature.
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1answer
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Reason for absorbance

First quoting the example which raised my curiosity"when light passes through polaroid it absorbs certain direction light rays" My question is how this phenomenon of absorbance occurs is this some ...
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7answers
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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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1answer
125 views

Calculating the color temperature and intensity of skylight with an algorithm

I think it will be possible to calculate the natural sky light intensity and color balance (CCT) based on time of day/year, GPS location. Has anyone seen a formula/algorithm for this? I would like to ...
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0answers
9 views

What is the relation between color perception and the lux of white light to which it is exposed?

If we have a particular shade of blue in 100 lux of white light, how will the perceived shade of blue change if the illuminance of white light is increased to, say, 200 lux? or 500 lux? I want to know ...
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2answers
532 views

Finding the illuminance from a triangular light source

Since most light sources in games are point-like, it's pretty difficult to approximate area light sources with point sources. As triangles are a universal form to represent 3D models (thus area light ...
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1answer
802 views

If we were to travel through space (sci-fi style), how close to the false-color images would the galaxies we see be?

I understand that the black-and-white images you see looking through a household telescope are only like that due to the intensity of the light that reaches us, and that most of the astronomy images ...
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1answer
249 views

Dispersion in a rectangular prism

Why are the colours visible only at the fringes of the light refracted through a rectangular prism?
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1answer
142 views

What´s the origin of the four rays that come out of the reflection of candlelight in our TV?

The reflection of a candlelight in our TV shows four emerging rays. The rays vary spatial and periodical and have a repeating pattern of the colours of the rainbow. The further the flame is from the ...
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2answers
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Does every past state of the Earth currently “travel” through the universe?

So I just read this question. The 27 year old user asks if it would be possible to see his own birth if he would be 27 lightyears away from the earth and the answer states ...
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5answers
420 views

What is the difference between heat and light?

What i know is that light is an electromagnetic wave. Is heat also an electromagnetic wave of certain wavelength other than light ? Why the light wave cause heat in an object when it falls on the ...
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2answers
950 views

What is the color of a group of trillions of electrons, protons, and neutrons

Since an electron is smaller than visible light, then what what color would a group of electrons (trillions of electrons) be if there were enough of them to be seen by the eye? What color would a ...
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2answers
965 views

Is it possible to have solid light? [closed]

Is it possible to have solid light? If so, what would it be like?
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1answer
28 views

What causes the bright glow on the edge of fiber optics and translucent sheets?

http://imgur.com/8PHxy6z On top of the picture, we have a number of translucent sheets. The edge of the sheets seems to glow compared to the rest of the body; why is this? On the bottom of the ...
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2answers
100 views

Why doesn't sunlight ALWAYS get split (into monochromatic) when going through the clouds?

It is my understanding that clouds are largely made up of water, which is known to split white light into its frequency components, and that's why we see rainbows sometimes. My question is, with ...
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2answers
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What is the farthest planetary body or star system object we have observed using visual light?

What is the farthest object which we can get a direct Detailed visual image of using visible light which appears more than just a dot and falls into one of the following categories: Planet Satellite ...
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1answer
39 views

Proving that angle of incidence over angle of reflection is constant in Snell's Law

First let me state what I think I know: Snell's Law states that $\frac{sin(i)}{sin(r)} = \frac{v_1}{v_2}= \frac{\lambda_1}{\lambda_2}= \frac{n_2}{n_1}$ where i is the angle of incidense and r is the ...
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Is Dark Radiation Superluminal in speed?

In recent news http://www.kolkata24x7.com/tech-news/universe-expanding-faster-than-expected scientist have observed that the universe is expanding 5 to 9 percent faster than their calculations. ...
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0answers
37 views

Why does violet (purple) color contain red component? [duplicate]

We see rainbow color on short-wavelength side as violet or purple: And this color is obviously contain R component from RGB. How can this happen, if only blue pines can percept this color, while ...
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2answers
75 views

The criteria of light

My question is regarding if the "speed of light" 299,792,458 m/s should only apply to certain frequencies of light/colors/amplitude and most the medium in which it travels at 299,792,458 m/s . Shouldn'...
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Self propagating EM waves mechanism of propagation

Electric fields generate magnetic fields and visa/versa,and this is attributed to be how a light ray self propagates. Can anyone further clarify how exactly light rays self propagate? If the mechanism ...
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2answers
46 views

How can you easily measure your visual range? [closed]

There are numerous ways of estimating your hearing range by generating sine waves at a certain amplitude and trying to tell when you are no able to hear a difference between on and off anymore. An ...
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1answer
37 views

On parabolic concave mirror in car flashlights

Sorry for the seemingly silly question but what's the advantage of having a concave mirror in car flashlight? I understand how the physics works but I just don't get what the advantage of having this ...
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Would an HI or HII region have a color?

That is, if we were approaching an HI or HII region in a spaceship, would the cloud have a color visible to the naked eye? Of the HI region, Wikipedia says: These regions do not emit detectable ...