1
$\begingroup$

I have studied in school that the speed of light is always a constant, my question is what is happening when it reflect from a surface? when it hit a surface weather the velocity reached to zero and again increase to speed of light?

I only have high school knowledge of Physics. Please explain me in layman's terms.

$\endgroup$
1
0
$\begingroup$

The speed of light isn't always constant! light moves at different speeds in different mediums. For example, a prism, where the different wavelengths move at different speeds causing it to split.

With regards to a mirror, it stays constant. Imagine a string attached to a wall. If you send a wave down it, the wave does not stop at the wall, but reflects in the opposite direction, and the same happens with light (which acts as both a wave and a particle)

$\endgroup$
4
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Typically the statement 'speed of light is constant' implies in vacuum. $\endgroup$ – Kyle Kanos Aug 3 '17 at 11:10
  • $\begingroup$ Yep, so not ALWAYS constant =) $\endgroup$ – G.Bruce Aug 3 '17 at 11:19
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ The intention of my statement was to alert you that it's not really relevant for you to correct that point when the implication of OP's statement is correct. $\endgroup$ – Kyle Kanos Aug 3 '17 at 11:23
  • $\begingroup$ Forgive me, I was only trying to help further their understanding. I did not think that was a bad thing. $\endgroup$ – G.Bruce Aug 3 '17 at 11:25

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.