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I've got an upside-down lampshade in my house on a post, and I noticed today that shadows were coming off the edge of it even at 6 inches from the bulb. Could someone explain the phenomena to me?

(I'm not at all Physics-oriented [lol I didn't do as I'd hoped on my high school physics final], so please try to give me some foundation before the explanation if possible)

Reference images: general picture of lampshade enter image description here

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Looks like your lampshade is made of either glass or plastic, probably with frosted surface. If that is the case, just think about the geometry: light from the bulb reaches the edge at shallow angles, and more of its path would be in that frosted surface; it effectively becomes "thicker" and therefore allows less light to pass through, forming the shadow.

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  • $\begingroup$ Cool, I'm trying to picture that in my head. I thought the shadow meant no light was getting through, however? Is the shade entirely blocking the light from going through it at a certain angle? $\endgroup$ – takanuva15 Aug 6 '17 at 18:02
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    $\begingroup$ @takanuva15 It does not block all light from passing through, nor does it need to. An area significantly dimmer than its surroundings will be perceived as a shadow. $\endgroup$ – Carl Lei Aug 7 '17 at 1:53

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