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Pardon me if this has been asked before. I was just thinking about how light from a source like the sun is unpolarized. I have two questions:

  1. Is unpolarized light from the sun 100% random? Meaning all wavelengths in the visible spectrum, polarized in all directions? (please correct me if "polarized" is not the right term here)

  2. If that's the case, how do the random waves not cancel each other out, rendering the sun invisible to us when we look at it?

Of course my thinking is flawed, so I'm just wondering what I'm missing. The analogy I could come up with is that waves in the ocean are random (I assume?), yet they still occur. Thanks in advance to anyone who can fix my brain.

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marked as duplicate by Emilio Pisanty, Aaron Stevens, user191954, John Rennie visible-light Nov 13 '18 at 17:25

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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Is unpolarized light from the sun 100% random? Meaning all wavelengths in the visible spectrum, polarized in all directions? (please correct me if "polarized" is not the right term here)

Yes this is true

If that's the case, how do the random waves not cancel each other out, rendering the sun invisible to us when we look at it?

Light polarized in different directions to not destructively interfere and cancel each other out. Polarization just tells us the direction of the electric field in the EM wave, but that (mostly) has no bearing on how we perceive the light or how it interacts with itself.

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