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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Polarized light

A light is made up of electric and magnetic fields oriented perpendicular to each other. Can polarization lead to the removal of any of the field completely?
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How does light speed up after coming out of a glass slab?

As I learned today in School, my teacher told me that when light enters a Glass Slab it slows down due to the change in density and it speeds up as it goes out of the Glass Slab. This causes a lateral ...
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6answers
4k views

Is it possible to witness a circular rainbow?

What conditions would make it possible to see a naturally occurring fully 360° circular rainbow? Would it even be possible?
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2answers
108 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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1answer
92 views

Light in a box with positron walls instead of electrons

I understand that with a hollow cube with the inner walls covered in mirrors given a light source briefly, the light would eventually be absorbed. This is due to electron excitation I believe. So ...
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1answer
31 views

Non-polarised light

We know the beam of light oscillates in electric field and magnetic field, both perpendicular to both the wave of propagation and each other. What does, however, a non-polarised beam of light look ...
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4answers
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How can a 360 Degree Rainbow be formed? [duplicate]

Just a while ago while I was reading news paper, I saw an amazing article. Someone had caught a photo of a 360 Degree Rainbow. But how is it possible. I mean after refraction the only rainbows that ...
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2answers
62 views

Is light emitted in zitterbewegung? [duplicate]

Recently I heard of Zitterbewegung, a trembling motion of the electrons in atoms that arises from Dirac's equation. I know that, according to Bohr's model, light is emitted when the electron "jumps" ...
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2answers
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What does amplitude in wavelength of light physically mean?What oscilates with time in photon?

Like amplitude in wavelength of water waves signify the displacement of water particles about their mean position.
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9answers
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How would night sky look like if the speed of light was infinite?

Would it be brighter? Different color? Gravitational lensing? Would black holes exist?
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1answer
48 views

Does irregular reflection form images?

In one of my test papers at school, we had a true-false question which said "Irregular reflection can form an image." I marked it true, however I was not given any marks for the question. I asked my ...
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1answer
78 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 ...
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1answer
26 views

How do I calculate the apparent brightness of a mirror reflecting the sun at a given distance?

I've stumbled around trying to figure this out, but it just isn't my area and I haven't gotten far. This is for writing about an idea of a field of mirrors on the moon, on the terminator when the moon ...
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10answers
379 views
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How far can light go?

When a ray of light is projected, (say) from the surface of Earth to outside in space. The condition is that, there is no obstruction to it till infinity (it travels only in vaccum). My question is ...
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1answer
37 views

Radiance increase via two sources [on hold]

Can two sources of white light shined at the same general location increase the resulting rasiance?
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1answer
3k views

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 ...
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1answer
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Dynamic equations for propagation of light through dust

For smoothly inhomogeneous media light propagation can be modeled by Maxwell's equations with non-constant $\varepsilon$ and $\mu$. This allows to relatively easily model propagation in the medium ...
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1answer
40 views

Can we get a true negative of an image reversing the spectrum?

In photography the negative means the lightest areas of the photographed subject appear darkest and the darkest areas appear lightest. But I was wondering: is this the way how negative should ...
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1answer
40 views

Physical effects on light from stars

I was thinking about how we see stars at a distance, the light that travels from them is affected by the Earths atmosphere, gravitational lensing and dust etc., but there doesn't appear any equation ...
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4answers
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What is the color of a mirror?

A mirror couldn't be white, as then you wouldn't be able to see your reflection so clearly. It wouldn't be transparent, as that then won't reflect. So what color is it?
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2answers
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Are shadows underwater “wet”? [closed]

Sorry if this is the wrong place to post this but it seemed the most appropriate. I read a riddle earlier today that mentioned something about shadows underwater and it got me thinking.. Would a ...
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5answers
444 views

Is velocity of light constant? [duplicate]

There is a difference between the concept of the speed of light and the velocity of light. are both of them constant ($dc=0$ and $dv_c=0$)? if yes, why?.
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3answers
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3d holograms - How are they created?

How do 3d holograms work exactly? I read that there is a laser in use, but how are the multiple perspectives generated and how is the light trapped? in a certain area to create the effect? ...
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3answers
67 views

Negative frequency contributions for very short pulses?

I am wondering if very short optical light pulses can have a Gaussian envelope? When I describe the pulse shape with a Gaussian than the frequency distribution has also a Gaussian shape. But if the ...
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1answer
53 views

Bending light (photons) into an orbit

I was wondering and researching about light bending and reflection - I'm wondering if its possible to bend a light beam into a loop (orbit)? I know that light can be bent and reflected (even 100% ...
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1answer
137 views

Scanning electron microscope imaging

In a scanning electron microscopy, secondary electrons are defined as the electrons which obey inelastic scattering whereas backscattering electron follow elastic scattering. Now my question ...
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2answers
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A mirror in the sky to look at past Earth

Earth reflects light from Sun into Space; are there any "mirror like" objects which reflect back to Earth this light? Has anyone been able to use this method to recover some information on how was the ...
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4answers
149 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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0answers
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Color Shift of Reflected Light [closed]

Okay - I never went to science class much so bear with me. My goal is to understand light physics better so that I can mimic nature in painting without relying on the lighting schemes of a photo. ...
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1answer
57 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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4answers
106 views

Space orientation of light waves

Recently I've started to be really intrigued with the electromagnetic spectrum and bumped into this problem: According to the wave theory of light (or any electromagnetic wave, really), the magnetic ...
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2answers
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Is turquoise closer to blue or green?

I am having a discussion with my coworkers. Does anyone know what is the wavelength of turquoise color and whether it is closer to green or blue when comparing their wavelengths ?
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2answers
51 views

Attributes of a polarized light

Which of the following is true for a polarized light? The electric vector is constant in its module and direction The electric vector oscillates in every plane that passes through the ...
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2answers
323 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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5answers
325 views

Can we create invisible things?

We are able to see this beautiful world because of light. When light gets reflected from the object, the reflected light enters our eye retina and thus we are able see that particular object from ...
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0answers
40 views

Why can't we see Rainbows from its end points? [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)? I also want to stress on that, ...
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1answer
52 views

How does Huygens Principle explain interference?

How exactly does Huygens theory about the propagation of wavefronts account for interference?
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Squinting at street lights

Simple question, I've always wanted to know the answer to this. Why do you see a pair of lines radiating out from street lights when your squint at them? I can't think of a better way of describing ...
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1answer
114 views

Is that a result of thin-film interference?

Several years ago, I was laying on my bed and had a CD shaped transparent plastic disk (which was covering a 100 CD stack), basically a transparent CD. I don't know why but I took my phone and took a ...
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2answers
28 views

Plane polarized light?

I have heard about plane polarized light: light wave which has vibration in one plane. My curiosity forces me to ask a doubt, is there any way to produce polarized light wave which has vibrations in ...
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0answers
25 views

What property of medium is directly related to light propagation speed in that medium? [duplicate]

Refractive index is used to calculate phase velocity of light in medium, other than vacuum. Recently I had a discussion with somebody claiming that light is slower due to magnetic field of atoms. I ...
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3answers
106 views

Can a single technology be used to observe light at any wavelength?

Radio waves are observed using induction in antenna. Visible light is observed exploiting electronic transition in matter. Is it possible to do the opposite? If not why?
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2answers
52 views

Is there a relation between music chords and visible light palette [closed]

Ok I have no idea if this is the right stackexchange so if you know who would know please tell me :) In music there are groups of notes that, when played togheter, are basis to harmony. Since both ...
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2answers
191 views

Does the formula $ \theta = \frac{v}{c} $ to find out deflection of light make sense?

I read in reliable sites that GR and classical physics calculate the angle of deflection in the same manner. The formula is almost identical: $$\theta = \frac{4GM}{c^2*r} \rightarrow \frac{4GM}{c*r} = ...
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3answers
418 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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0answers
32 views

Diffraction of a thin mirror

I have a question about a particular case of light diffraction. A laser light collides into a "hairline" mirror (I mean a straight line mirror that halves the wavelength dimension), see the image ...
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2answers
299 views

Why do clouds appear black?

I have noticed clouds appearing black during rain. But I don't know what makes clouds to acquire that colour. This phenomenon doesn't appear every rainfall. There has to be distinction to white ...
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4answers
27 views

Is there some difference between blue light and light covered by blue paper?

Let´s talking only about photons absorbed by detector. Would it detect something else if the photons came from blue star than if the photons were filtered by blue paper? And what about ultraviolet ...
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1answer
27 views

Why does the light reflecting off of ocean water sometimes appear 'smoother'?

Looking out the window at some water in the Harbour - I noticed that some parts of the water appear 'smoother' than others. My question is: Why does the light reflecting off of ocean water ...
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2answers
59 views

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 ...