Questions tagged [vision]

Physical processes involved when seeing, and comparisons between with other light detection systems. Includes questions about the eye, optical nerve, brain, corrective lenses, etc.

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163
votes
9answers
19k views

Could Legolas actually see that far?

The video “How Far Can Legolas See?” by MinutePhysics recently went viral. The video states that although Legolas would in principle be able to count $105$ horsemen $24\text{ km}$ away, he shouldn't ...
88
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4answers
13k views

Why does a yellow object turn white under a yellow light? Shouldn't it turn yellow instead?

Recently I was eating a yellow rice for lunch in a restaurant with only yellow lights. But the rice looked white! I was intrigued by this because I always thought it should look yellow since the ...
87
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4answers
16k views

Seeing something from only one angle means you have only seen (what?)% of its surface area at most?

Is there a logical/mathematical way to derive what the very maximum percentage of surface area you can see from one angle of any physical object? For instance, if I look at the broad side of a piece ...
65
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12answers
29k views

Is it possible that there is a color our human eye can't see?

Is it possible that there's a color that our eye couldn't see? Like all of us are color blind to it. If there is, is it possible to detect/identify it?
64
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3answers
46k views

Why is the sky not purple?

I realise the question of why this sky is blue is considered reasonably often here, one way or another. You can take that knowledge as given. What I'm wondering is, given that the spectrum of ...
60
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6answers
9k views

How does light combine to make new colours?

In computer science, we reference colours using the RGB system and TVs have pixels which consist of groups of red, green and blue lines which turn on and off to create colours. But how does this work?...
57
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5answers
21k views

If I can see someone's eyes, can they see mine?

Besides the obvious cases where I'm behind a "one-way" mirror or have goggles/glasses on: is there one where I can see someone's eyes, and they can't see mine?
54
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7answers
10k views

How many atoms does it take for us to perceive colour?

Atoms individually have no colors, but when there is a large collection of atoms we see objects colorful, which leads to a question: at least how many atoms are required for us to see the color?
52
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2answers
19k views

Why do I see better under water using swimming goggles? [duplicate]

I am myopic (I don't really know if this is relevant or not) and I usually swim without contact lenses. My vision is clearly better underwater when I am using swimming goggles. I have tried to ...
45
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3answers
24k views

Why aren't 100% UV blocked sunglasses safe to view an eclipse with?

I am not planning on staring into the sun during an eclipse or any other time. I have been reading about how no variety of regular sunglasses are safe enough to view the eclipse with. I'm not talking ...
44
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6answers
9k views

Does pure yellow exist in variations we can't discern? [duplicate]

If you add red light (~440 THz) and green light (~560 THz), you get what we perceive as yellow light (~520 THz). But I assume what you really get is a mixed waveform that we perceive as yellow? ...
38
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4answers
10k views

Why does a moving fan seem transparent?

We all know when fan starts moving faster, we cannot see its blades. Why is this? First I assumed persistence of vision may be the reason. But that can happen with blade also right? Image of blade ...
37
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7answers
8k views

Can you be blinded by a 'dim' light?

From what I can tell, if you pick a color near the extreme of the visible light spectrum, let's say red, and trace a path across the spectrum until you are outside of the visible range, at some point ...
35
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9answers
11k views

Is it possible to blur an image in such way that a person with sight problems could see it sharp?

If someone has short or long sight, is it possible to tune image on a computer monitor in such way, that a person could see it sharp as if they were wearing glasses? If not, will 3d monitor make it ...
33
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4answers
155k views

Why does the moon sometimes appear giant and a orange red color near the horizon?

I've read various ideas about why the moon looks larger on the horizon. The most reasonable one in my opinion is that it is due to how our brain calculates (perceives) distance, with objects high ...
32
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1answer
16k views

Why can you see virtual images?

In optics it is widely mentioned real images are projectable onto screens whereas virtual ones can only be seen by a person. Isn't that contradictory? I mean in order to see the virtual image it has ...
31
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3answers
5k views

What do the stars really look like, if you could travel at almost lightspeed?

I heard that the way light speed is shown in the movie "Star Wars" is not realistic. About 1 month ago in a documentary on TV they said that it would be the opposite of the way it looks in "Star Wars"...
29
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9answers
42k views

Can a human size object move so fast that it ceases to be observable?

In many anime, comics, movies, etc, we see a lot of super human beings moving and fighting at such high speeds that a regular human being cannot see that they are fighting or moving pass by. In ...
29
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3answers
4k views

Why does light of high frequency appear violet?

When people are asked to match monchromatic violet light with an additive mix of basic colours, they (paradoxically) mix in red. In fact, the CIE 1931 color space chromaticity diagram shows this ...
28
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5answers
3k views

Is a proton collision (collisions like in the LHC) visible to the human eye?

I was curious if a proton collision is visible to the human eye. (This might sound like a really basic question and forgive me if it is. I am very inexperienced in Physics and just wanted an answer ...
28
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5answers
20k views

Why do nearsighted people see better with their glasses *rotated*?

If you are nearsighted (like me), you may have noticed that if you tilt your glasses, you can see distant objects more clear than with normally-positioned glasses. If you already see completely clear, ...
27
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5answers
7k views

Why do we perceive a mixture of blue and yellow paint as green? [duplicate]

If I were to mix yellow paint (which reflects yellow light) and blue paint (which reflects blue light), I would get a mixture of paints that I would perceive as green. Is that because the mixture is ...
26
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2answers
4k views

How do photons get into the eyes?

I hope you will understand me correctly because there are some things that I translated. It is known that we see the world around us thanks to photons that are reflected from the surfaces of objects, ...
26
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3answers
15k views

Why am I able to see objects within 25cm?

My book defines: The closest distance for which the lens can focus light on the retina is called the least distance of distinct vision or the near point. The standard value (for normal vision) ...
26
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6answers
9k views

How do we see? Where do the photons disappear?

I know that the light is reflected from a object to my eyes, but I don't understand exactly how. The photons appear from the light source and disappear in my eye! Can someone explain the phenomenon of ...
26
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5answers
14k views

Eyes open under water

Yesterday I looked underwater with my eyes open (and no goggles) and I realized I can't see anything clearly. Everything looks very, very blurry. My guess is that the eye needs direct contact with air ...
23
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2answers
7k views

Why are green screens green? [closed]

How/why do green screens work? What's so special about the color green that lets us seamlessly replace the background with another image and keep the human intact? Are there other colors that work ...
23
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2answers
7k views

Why do I see three 'beams' when I look to a distant light source at dark?

In the night, when I look at a distant light source (for example a street lamp a few hundred meters away) I do not simply see a spot but rather a spot which is surrounded by 'light beams'. So instead ...
22
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7answers
21k views

Why does adding red light with blue light give purple light? [duplicate]

Our eyes contain 3 photoreceptor cells (cones) to perceive three wavelength ranges of light. Here is a visual representation of the wavelengths by these receptors (S, M and L). So if we have light of ...
21
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2answers
3k views

Why myopic people see this picture differently?

I found the following picture in the Internet and I am curious how from a physicist point of view to explain it. Basically the idea is the following. If you are a normal person - you suppose to see ...
20
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5answers
7k views

How is it possible for other animals to have better night vision than humans, who can detect individual photons?

According to the Wikipedia article on night vision, Many animals have better night vision than humans do, the result of one or more differences in the morphology and anatomy of their eyes. These ...
20
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3answers
12k views

Squinting at street lights

Simple question, I've always wanted to know the answer to this. Why do you see a pair of lines radiating out from street lights when your squint at them? I can't think of a better way of describing ...
20
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4answers
2k views

How to optically rotate images in small increments (for eyeglasses)?

As the result of an accident, one or more nerves that control the rotation of my left eye were damaged. The result is that my left eye views the world rotated clockwise several degrees, compared to my ...
19
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6answers
7k views

Optics of the eye - do we see Fourier transforms?

I've recently been learning about Fourier optics, specifically, that a thin lens can produce the Fourier transform of an object on a screen located in the focal plane. With this in mind, does the ...
19
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7answers
17k views

How can a human eye focus on a screen directly in front of it? [closed]

I am asking this question here because I think the answer has something to do with the way light is bent as it's captured through the eye. I saw a show a while ago about tiny screens on contact ...
17
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5answers
6k views

Musical notes and colors of a rainbow

I have wondered that in an octave in piano there are seven primary notes, and also we observe mostly seven primary colors of a rainbow. I know we perceive logarithmically, that means we only care ...
17
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1answer
4k views

How can we see a beam of light?

A beam of light is made of photons, which simply travel in a line from point $\text{A}$ to point $\text{B}$. But we can only see things when photons hit our retina, so doesn't this mean that the ...
15
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4answers
85k views

What makes some laser beams visible and other laser beams invisible?

What makes the beam of some lasers: visible? such as the ones used in clubs or such as the laser pointers sold at amazon which if pointed to the sky look like a solid visible beam of light crossing ...
14
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3answers
2k views

Is it possible that a person with myopia will see a blurry picture as normal? [duplicate]

I am trying to process an image in good quality to appear blurred to a normal person and good to a person suffering from myopia as seen in this source. Is it possible that a picture that is blurry ...
14
votes
9answers
729 views

How to explain (pedagogically) why there is 4 spacetime dimensions while we see only the 3 spatial dimesions?

I have been asked this question by a student, but I was able and in the same time incapable to give a good answer for this without equations, so do you have ideas how one can explain this in a simple ...
14
votes
2answers
4k views

Why does the sky suddenly look gray through this window?

I am looking to the windowed roof of my building, and I notice that the sky, which has few white clouds, sometimes looks completely gray, as if there was a huge cover of gray clouds, but there are not....
14
votes
3answers
13k views

Why do green lasers appear brighter and stronger than red and blue lasers?

This is mostly for my own personal illumination, and isn't directly related to any school or work projects. I just picked up a trio of laser pointers (red, green, and blue), and I notice that when I ...
14
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5answers
1k views

What is “white light” ? Uniform wavelengths or uniform frequencies ?

Suppose you have a mixture of electromagnetic waves of wavelengths spreaded on the visible spectrum only (from $\lambda_{\text{min}} \sim 400 \, \text{nm}$ to $\lambda_{\text{max}} \sim 700 \, \text{...
12
votes
4answers
3k views

3D glasses giving the opposite effect to that expected

I have just finished watching the new Star Wars movie (The Force Awakens), and during the end credits, text is shown upon a background of stars. Wearing the 3D glasses, I noticed that the text appears ...
12
votes
3answers
18k views

What is the color of a mirror?

A mirror couldn't be white, as then you wouldn't be able to see your reflection so clearly. It wouldn't be transparent, as that then won't reflect. So what color is it?
12
votes
1answer
1k views

Why can I turn light red or blue by holding my finger up to it?

This is a difficult phenomenon to explain. Imagine you have an opaque object partially covering a very bright light source, for example, an object held up against the sky. The left hand diagram is ...
11
votes
4answers
19k views

Can someone explain the color Pink to me?

I just finished watching this interesting video: http://youtu.be/S9dqJRyk0YM It does a very quick explanation of how pink light doesn't exist, and that the concept of pink is our brain's attempt at ...
11
votes
7answers
20k views

Why can't we see infrared light?

While explaining to my nephew about the physics of light, I told him we cannot see infrared color, and he kicked back with a very simple question: why can't we see it? I could not tell him. Is the ...
11
votes
2answers
6k views

Infrared remote flashes blue light in camera

I know that if you held an infrared remote in front of a digital camera, it'll flash a blue/purplish light when you press the buttons. Why? (Image by Zombie Rider.)
11
votes
4answers
11k views

Do eyeballs exhibit chromatic aberration?

Fairly straightforward question. If not, why not? I suspect that if they do, it is not perceived due to the regions of highest dispersion being in one's region of lowest visual acuity.