Physical processes involved when seeing, and comparisons between with other light detection systems. Includes questions about the eye, optical nerve, brain, corrective lenses, etc.

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84
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7answers
9k views

Could Legolas actually see that far?

The video “How Far Can Legolas See?” by MinutePhysics recently went viral. The video states that although Legolas would in principle be able to count $105$ horsemen $24\text{ km}$ away, he shouldn't ...
49
votes
10answers
11k views

Is it possible that there is a color our human eye can't see?

Is it possible that there's a color that our eye couldn't see? Like all of us are color blind to it. If there is, is it possible to detect/identify it?
31
votes
3answers
4k views

Why is the sky not purple?

I realise the question of why this sky is blue is considered reasonably often here, one way or another. You can take that knowledge as given. What I'm wondering is, given that the spectrum of ...
26
votes
5answers
2k views

Is a proton collision (collisions like in the LHC) visible to the human eye?

I was curious if a proton collision is visible to the human eye. (This might sound like a really basic question and forgive me if it is. I am very inexperienced in Physics and just wanted an answer ...
18
votes
2answers
2k views

Why myopic people see this picture differently?

I found the following picture in the Internet and I am curious how from a physicist point of view to explain it. Basically the idea is the following. If you are a normal person - you suppose to see ...
18
votes
1answer
4k views

Why can you see virtual images?

In optics it is widely mentioned real images are projectable onto screens whereas virtual ones can only be seen by a person. Isn't that contradictory? I mean in order to see the virtual image it has ...
17
votes
3answers
814 views

Why does light of high frequency appear violet?

When people are asked to match monchromatic violet light with an additive mix of basic colours, they (paradoxically) mix in red. In fact, the CIE 1931 color space chromaticity diagram shows this ...
16
votes
3answers
55k views

Why does the moon sometimes appear giant and a orange red color near the horizon?

I've read various ideas about why the moon looks larger on the horizon. The most reasonable one in my opinion is that it is due to how our brain calculates (perceives) distance, with objects high ...
16
votes
2answers
225 views

How to optically rotate images in small increments (for eyeglasses)?

As the result of an accident, one or more nerves that control the rotation of my left eye were damaged. The result is that my left eye views the world rotated clockwise several degrees, compared to my ...
16
votes
5answers
2k views

Why do nearsighted people see better with their glasses *rotated*?

If you are nearsighted (like me), you may have noticed that if you tilt your glasses, you can see distant objects more clear than with normally-positioned glasses. If you already see completely clear, ...
10
votes
0answers
477 views

Why does the moon look bigger at the horizon? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why does the moon sometimes appear giant and a orange red color near the horizon? Why does the moon look bigger at horizon or skyline than at other times e.g. at ...
9
votes
1answer
167 views

Why can movies get away with 24 frames per second, but games can't? [closed]

Movies look reasonably smooth at 24 frames per second; unless the screen is huge and you use your peripheral vision, you usually can't see each frame individually. This has lead to a large amount of ...
8
votes
5answers
2k views

Why is Light invisible?

Why can't we see light? The thing which makes everything visible is itself invisible. Why is it so?
7
votes
4answers
4k views

Eyes open under water

Yesterday I looked underwater with my eyes open (and no goggles) and I realized I can't see anything clearly. Everything looks very, very blurry. My guess is that the eye needs direct contact with air ...
7
votes
4answers
4k views

Can someone explain the color Pink to me?

I just finished watching this interesting video: http://youtu.be/S9dqJRyk0YM It does a very quick explanation of how pink light doesn't exist, and that the concept of pink is our brain's attempt at ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Infrared remote flashes blue light in camera

I know that if you held an infrared remote in front of a digital camera, it'll flash a blue/purplish light when you press the buttons. Why?
6
votes
3answers
8k views

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?
6
votes
2answers
475 views

Can someone explain how water from a garden hose can propagate in a sine/cosine wave?

A video posted on Youtube. How does this phenomenon work? I know he is using frequency to propagate water in a sine/cosine wave, but how does it exactly work this way? Why do we see it as if its ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

Is wearing 3D glasses from the cinema as sunglasses hurtful to the eyes?

I heard a few times that using them as sunglasses is hurting the eye since UV light is not filtered, but the pupil is wider than it would be w/o wearing them because the visible light is dimmed. I ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

Why do green lasers appear brighter and stronger than red and blue lasers?

This is mostly for my own personal illumination, and isn't directly related to any school or work projects. I just picked up a trio of laser pointers (red, green, and blue), and I notice that when I ...
6
votes
2answers
351 views

Blue-shifting as opposed to violet-shifting

A recent XKCD comic implies that the sky is blue as opposed to violet due to human physiology, and that animals more sensitive to shorter wavelengths will perceive the Earth's sky as the shortest ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

Why both yellow and purple light could be made by a mix of red, green and blue?

We see the mix of red light and green light as yellow light (#FFFF00). The wavelength of yellow light lies between red and green. But the wavelength of purple light lies outside of red and blue. ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

Are regular light bulbs better for the eyes than CFLs or “tube lights”?

I've heard that regular light bulbs with a filament are better for the eyes. Is the spectrum of one worse than the other? If so, are there any regulations for their use in industrial settings for ...
6
votes
1answer
45 views

Refraction and scattered light for NLCs

For helping with judging NLC candidates (are they NLC or not) I have a set of formulas to calculate the minimum altitude (in km) of the candidate given an observed altitude (in degrees) of the ...
5
votes
8answers
467 views

Is there a lens that would invert my vision?

Would I be able to invert my vision by mounting a particular lens in front of each eye? I am currently able to achieve this by mounting a right-angled triangular prism across both eyes. The specific ...
5
votes
2answers
478 views

Are there any astronomical objects at night that are dangerous to look at (through a telescope)?

Are there any astronomical bodies that would be dangerous to my vision to view through a telescope? Obviously the sun is dangerous, but are there other bodies at night I should avoid?
5
votes
1answer
3k views

How much sky do we see at any one moment?

When we look at any particular point the sky, what percentage of the celestial sphere do we see? This question arises from the notion that on average there passes one meteor per hour overhead. So ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

How photons represent colors that you see?

Right now, my understanding is that, a mixture of photons of many different frequencies is perceived as white by your eye. While no photons at all, is perceived as black. And photons with the blue ...
5
votes
2answers
612 views

What is the minimum optical power detectable by human eye?

If one is in complete darkness, what is the minimum optical power that the eye can "see" (let's say in 500-600 nm range). I found that for 510 nm, 90 photons can be detected ...
4
votes
5answers
331 views

What are colors?

If you go to any course about photography, you learn that all colors are made up of the colors red, green and blue (RGB). (If you mix red, green and blue light, you will get white light, or any other ...
4
votes
2answers
248 views

Sensitivity of eye

In which color human eye is most sensitive?
4
votes
3answers
924 views

Why we see upright images?

Since it's convex lens there in our eyes so image formed on our retina is inverted, so how come that we see upright images?
4
votes
2answers
133 views

Is there a good explanation for the observation of Martian canals?

Martian "canals" have been observed by independent observers after their first description. Now, they are attributed to "optical illusion", but I think that this is not a good choice of word, because ...
4
votes
2answers
154 views

Difference in perception of unpolarized and polarized light

What is the difference in perception of polarized light and unpolarized light? What difference does polarized light cause to our eyes?
4
votes
1answer
88 views

Human eyes vs aberrations

There are no perfect lenses in nature. Aberrations of some kind will always be there. But why healthy human eyes circumvent this issue? Or, are there any aberrations we don't "see?"
4
votes
1answer
97 views

Why are black mosquito nets so much less visible than white ones?

I have just been installing a couple of mosquito nets for windows in our apartment. The material is polyester, fibers are approximately 0.2mm thick, and the hexagonal "holes" apprixmately 1.5mm in ...
4
votes
3answers
111 views

Possibility for contact lenses that enhance the vibrancy of color

Would it be possible to develop oculars that would enhance the vibrancy of color? I know there are many digital filters to improve vibrancy, but are there physical devices able to produce the same ...
4
votes
1answer
55 views

Vision vs. limiting magnitude

Does anyone know how the acuity of your vision translates to a difference in limiting magnitude? e.g., the kind of answer I'm looking for would be "For each factor of 2 improvement in your vision ...
4
votes
0answers
38 views

How does a microscopes optics expose defects in the users vision?

I've got cataracts in both eyes. My vision is correctable to 20/30, so the cataracts are essentially a non-issue in daily living. But when I use a microscope, which I do daily, (binocular, zoom ...
3
votes
4answers
850 views

Why are color values stored as Red, Green, Blue?

I learned in elementary school that you could get green by mixing blue with yellow. ...
3
votes
4answers
513 views

What is difference between white objects and transparent objects as far as photons are concerned?

Transparent materials let photons through because the energy gap of electron is so large that the photons cannot be absorbed. If the material absorbs a photon, the photon disappears; does this mean ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

Is black a color or absence of color? [closed]

Is black a color or absence of color? When there is no light, everything is black, so how can we say that black is a color?
3
votes
4answers
3k views

Is it only red, green and blue that can make up any color through additive mixture?

I'm reading about color vision and have some trouble understanding the motivation for why the trichromatic theory was suggested in the first place. The book I'm reading ("Psychgology: The science of ...
3
votes
2answers
770 views

At what distance could you see andromeda with the naked eye?

We've all seen the telescope photographs of andromeda galaxy: I'm wondering if it were possible to travel close enough to the andromeda galaxy could you achieve a same perspective with the naked ...
3
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
378 views

Are black and white colours? [duplicate]

I am an artist, and I have heard that white is a 'tint' and black is a 'shade' in the artist world. I have also heard that they are colours in the normal world/scientific world. Which is correct and ...
3
votes
6answers
5k views

Limit of human eye flicker perception?

I am designing a LED dimmer using software-controlled Pulse Width Modulation, and want to know the minimum PWM frequency that I must reach to make that LED dimming method indistinguishable from ...
3
votes
1answer
622 views

How far can the human eye see? Any ending point or infinite?

How far can the naked human eye see if unobstructed? (straight ahead on perfectly flat land). Is there a stopping point or is it infinite when you look in the sky? Is there any situation that the ...
3
votes
1answer
833 views

Static flow of water in the presence of a loudspeaker

The title, I don't know whether it's correct or not, but I came across a video in youtube, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_PkgQQqpH2M. The author of video used the title and hence I used the same. ...
3
votes
1answer
992 views

How do we see different colours?

Why do different wave lengths cause electrons to behave(?) differently, causing us to see different colors? What is happening at the quantum level which causes the colour black to absorb all of the ...