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45

When light is propagating in glass or other medium, it isn't really true, pure light. It is what (you'll learn about this later) we call a quantum superposition of excited matter states and pure photons, and the latter always move at the speed of light $c$. You can think, for a rough mind picture, of light propagating through a medium as somewhat like a ...


40

In a Newtonian/Galilean world, where $c$ is infinite, you could not escape Olbers' paradox with an infinite universe. Any line of sight would eventually intersect the surface of a star, and so the whole sky would be as bright as the Sun. This is true whenever two hypotheses are satisfied: The universe is spatially infinite (or rather, the distribution of ...


20

A photon will travel "at the speed of light" until obstructed. From the speed, and elapsed time, you can calculate how far the light will travel. Laser light consists of more than one photon "in phase", which has exactly the same property in this respect, as a solitary photon.


15

In vacuum $$ \nabla \times \vec{B} = \frac{1}{c^2} \frac{\partial \vec{E}}{\partial t} = 0$$ so a changing E-field does not beget a changing B-field. Larmors formula for radiation from accelerating charges also has $c$ in the denominator. Therefore no (star)light at all ? [Or at least no electromagnetic waves].


12

Theoretically, the photon (or the beam of photons, there really isn't a difference) can go an infinite distance, traveling all the while at a speed $c$. Since photons contain energy, $E=h\nu$, then energy conservation requires the photon to only be destroyed via interaction (e.g., absorption in an atom). There is nothing that could make the photon simply ...


11

A classical explanation to supplement Rod's excellent quantum mechanical one: If you make a Huygens construction of wave propagation (I assume you know how to do that) then every point on the wave front is treated as the source of a new wave of the same frequency and phase. How that wave propagates depends on the medium it encounters. So the Huygens ...


10

The video you show is of a liquid crystal display (LCD) monitor, also known as 'TFT'. The 'trick' depends on the specific design characteristics of these monitors (described below) and will not generally work with other types of displays such as LED and PLASMA displays. All liquid crystal displays (LCD) operate on the principle of being able to 'twist' ...


8

Note that it is correct that a photon can travel an infinite distance in an infinite time, but it can not reach any desired point in the universe. This is caused by the expansion of the universe, which also leads to the fact that we can not receive information outside of the observable universe.


7

I'm imagining a box made completely out of anti-matter so that your situation is realistic. Positrons are the antiparticle of the electron (i.e., the anti-matter equivalent). Meaning, in this case, they're identical to electrons except for charge. Photons, though, have no charge. So don't give a hoot whether a charged particle it's interacting with is ...


5

Changing c to infinite changes some important things. The actual effect depends on how you want to propose magnetic forces work (they're normally fictitious forces induced by relativity). If we assume the coupling constant (this constant doesn't appear in the equation as it's value is normally 1) goes to infinity as c goes to infinity so that magnetostatics ...


4

One small addition to the other answers: While it is indeed true that the light will never stop if it doesn't hit anything, it will however get red shifted, and thus become less energetic, due to the expansion of the universe. For example, the cosmic microwave background consists of photons which were emitted back when the atoms formed. However, back then ...


3

In theory there is no in-principle reason why one cannot have a near to perfectly reflecting ring resonator as you wish, simply by making the ring of bigger and bigger radius, so that a repeated reflexion around the edge of a ring keeps the light confined to a circular path. But you will always lose some light, even if the resonator's material is perfectly ...


3

For an object close to you, the speed of light is effectively infinite - i.e. the time taken for the light bulb 10m away from you to get to you is so close to zero that it can be considered immediate, and thus the speed of light is assumed to be infinite. With this in mind, this would mean that the sky would be brighter. In reality, the speed of light is a ...


2

The Sun rays are not exactly parallel. They seem parallel as "Phonon" says, see her comments, but at a precise examination they are not so. Are you aware of the Hanbury Brown Twiss experiment? Look in Wikipedia at the site http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanbury_Brown_and_Twiss_effect, and see the lower picture in that article. I copied the picture below. ...


2

A ray of light or a laser beam will not stop until it reaches an obstruction. If there is no obstruction, light will NEVER stop. It has no end.


2

A "ray of light" must be respelled as "photon" because here we are talking physics. Between a single photon and a laser beam, in this case, there is no difference. Every photon will continue his travel until stopped, every single photon is "indistinguible" from others (in the sense that they are no different intrinsecally). The photons of a laser beam are ...


2

The direction of the electric field is called polarization. The direction of the electrical field in the free space lies in the plan perpendicular to the direction of propagation, and if this direction is unique for all the beam, it is said to be linear polarization. So, for linear polarization, the electric field can point in whatever direction that lies in ...


2

This question is partly a biology question, because color, blue in this case, is labeled by human perception of what blue is. As far as physics is concerned, photons make up light and photons come in all frequencies of the electromagnetic spectrum. That spectrum, the optical part known as rainbow. Pure spectral colors . The biological perception by ...


2

As a physics & music major I've thought about this a lot. Our visible light range doesn't even cover one octave (400nm - 700nm), but you can see how 400nm light (violet) almost completes the octave from 700nm light (red). Perhaps if we could see 350nm light we'd perceive it similarly to red? I think there's an evolutionary advantage to our eyes not ...


2

As an experimental particle physicist I stick to observables . The complicated mathematical functions which have been established as necessary to describe the quantum mechanical state function of the particles under consideration are not observable. By the postulates of quantum mechanics the complex functions of space time or energy momentum are not ...


2

Its all upto the relative position of the observer and the sun. The imaginary line connecting the centre of the rainbow and eye of the observer called the line of vision makes the apparent struture of a rainbow. If the line of vision is a straight horizontal line with respect to the surface of the earth. You will definitely see a 360 degree rainbow. I ...


2

For the conditions to see a part of a rainbow, I would say you need the following: sufficient moisture to form numerous micro spheres of water, which creates the refraction pattern the right angle between the observer and the sun sufficient mass-thickness with this angle and with this composition to build up a visible amount of color Since the sun is ...


2

If we try to polarize the same beam of light in two planes, or if we mix two planar polarized beams, the light will interfere. If the phases of two beams will be identical, then we get 45 degrees polarized light. If the phases of two beams will be different, then we will get so called circular polarized light In other words, any sort of polarized light ...


2

Detecting reflected light from a "past Earth" is an interesting thought. Even a spectrum might tell you something about the composition, temperature of the atmosphere etc, even if as been correctly said in other answers/comments, the spatial resolution to actually image the Earth would need to be several orders of magnitude better than the Hubble Space ...


2

Yes it can be seen, rainbow can be considered as a set of points which form an angle of $42^{\circ}$ with the sun and our eyes, which comes out to be a perfect circle with center at our shadow made by the light coming from the sun. Usually we see a rainbow from ground and from there these set of points form a semicircle in the atmosphere. But if we observe ...


2

I found a link for halving too: Nonclassical light generation in the process of self-frequency halving in a periodically poled active nonlinear Nd:Mg:LiNbO3 crystal Nonclassical light generation at self-frequency halving in periodically poled active nonlinear crystals is studied. The squeezing spectra of fundamental radiation and its subharmonic are ...


1

Assuming when you say the output is "dispersed" you mean it is incoherent and radiating in all directions, what you are asking for is a fluorescent material. A Google search for "IR fluorescence" finds a couple of companies making these materials for biological sample marking, however the ones I checked into further need a slightly longer excitation ...


1

In principle, a wave of any size will interact with a system of any size. The question should therefore be posed differently: how is the interaction of the two affected by their relative size? Let's take the simple example of scatter. You are familiar (whether you know it or not) with Rayleigh scatter - it's an elastic light scattering phenomenon that makes ...


1

Your two questions are based on the erroneous notion that light looses energy in going through a glass slab. Light has a propagation speed which depends on the density of the medium. When a light beam goes from vacuum (air) into glass, the only thing that happens is that the wave gets delayed (takes more time to travel the same distance, because of the ...


1

Light is the visible part of the electromagnetic radiation and consists of photons. Each photon has an oscillating electric and an oscillating magnetic field. In vacuum both fields are perpendicular to the direction of the photon's motion and perpendicular to each other too (see this sketch). There are mainly two used by people opportunities to increase the ...



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