For example, a cup with water in it is seen by us. We can see the cup being there, and yet also see the distorted image of whatever is behind the cup. Furthermore, we can clearly see translucent objects and somewhat see whatever is behind them. How is this possible? How is light being both reflected back and going through the object?

  • $\begingroup$ Objects interact in several ways: they can scatter, refract, reflect, absorb, and transmit light, to name some of the basic ways, and all of these can occur simultaneously. Energy is, of course, always conserved: in the case of pure reflection + transmission, the power reflected plus the power transmitted must equal the incident power. When your eyes receive light, your brain constructs a mental image and associates certain stimuli with the objects that interacted with the light along its path to your eye. How this mental representation is constructed is more a matter of biology/psychology. $\endgroup$
    – prolyx
    Commented Sep 13, 2022 at 19:06

1 Answer 1


First of all you can see, that the image is distorted. Secondly there are angles, where the light gets totally reflected by the outer surface, so you can see the contours of the glass as also some edges. Third you can see reflections of the body. Fourth often the light, that comes out of the body has a different color, because some maybe the body isn't perfectly transparent for all colors or has a color of his own... Maybe I forgot something, but I hope it helped

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    $\begingroup$ As it’s currently written, your answer is unclear. Please edit to add additional details that will help others understand how this addresses the question asked. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center. $\endgroup$
    – Community Bot
    Commented Sep 13, 2022 at 19:28

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