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Encyclopedia > Optical phenomenon

An optical phenomenon is any observable event which results from the interaction of light and matter. See also list of optical topics and optics. Prism splitting light Light is electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength that is visible to the eye (visible light) or, in a technical or scientific context, electromagnetic radiation of any wavelength. ... Matter is commonly defined as the substance of which physical objects are composed. ... Probably some Wikipedia articles on topics in optics are not yet listed on this page. ... Table of Opticks, 1728 Cyclopaedia Optics (appearance or look in ancient Greek) is a branch of physics that describes the behavior and properties of light and the interaction of light with matter. ...


Common optical phenomena are often due to the interaction of light from the sun or moon with the atmosphere, clouds, water, or dust and other particulates. One common example would be the rainbow, when light from the sun is reflected off water droplets in rain as it falls to the ground. Others, such as the green flash, are rare due to atmospheric conditions. Some, such as instances of Fata morgana, are commonplace only in certain locations. A complete half-circle rainbow at Lake Zurich. ... Green flashes and green rays are rare optical phenomena that occur shortly after sunset or before sunrise, when a green spot is visible for a short period of time above the sun, or a green ray shoots up from the sunset point. ... A fata Morgana, named after Morgan le Fay, the faery shapeshifting half-sister of King Arthur, is a mirage, an optical phenomenon which results from a temperature inversion. ...


Other phenomena are simply interesting aspects of optics, or optical effects. The colors generated by a prism are often shown in classrooms for instance. Table of Opticks, 1728 Cyclopaedia Optics (appearance or look in ancient Greek) is a branch of physics that describes the behavior and properties of light and the interaction of light with matter. ...

Sun Halo at latitude 41 degrees South
Sun Halo at latitude 41 degrees South

Contents

Image File history File linksMetadata SunHaloOverGoldenBay4thFeb06. ... Image File history File linksMetadata SunHaloOverGoldenBay4thFeb06. ...


A list of optical phenomena

Entopic phenomena include optical phenomena arising from the structures of the eye. This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...


Some optical illusions can be explained as observations of unusual optical phenomena. An optical illusion is characterized by visually perceived images that are deceptive or misleading [1]. Information gathered by the eye is processed by the brain to give a perception that does not tally with a physical measurement of the stimulus source. ...


Atmospheric optical phenomena

Sun Halo
Sun Halo

AfterGlow (band) Left-Right, Joe Hudson, Alex Boba, Will Hardcastle, Ben Elseworthy, Alex Ruckledge. ... The airglow is the very weak emission of visible light by the earths atmosphere, which means that the night sky is never completely dark. ... Alexanders band lies between the two rainbows. ... Alpenglow ( German: Alpenglühen) is an optical phenomenon. ... Anticrepuscular rays are similar to crepuscular rays, but seen opposite the sun in the sky. ... Aurora borealis Polar aurorae are optical phenomena characterized by colorful displays of light in the night sky. ... The Belt of Venus or Venuss Girdle is the Victorian era name for an atmospheric phenomenon seen at sunrise and sunset. ... Crepuscular rays at sunset Crepuscular rays at Telstra Tower, Canberra Crepuscular rays, in atmospheric optics, also known as sun rays, are rays of sunlight that appear to radiate from a single point in the sky. ... For alternate meanings, see Lightning (disambiguation). ... NASA photo Glory with aircraft shadow in the center. ... The green ray or green flash occurs shortly after sunset or even at dawn. ... Halo around the sun at the South Pole (NOAA) Halos are optical phenomena that appear near or around the Sun or Moon, and sometimes near other strong light sources such as street lights. ... An unusually pronounced sundog produced by sunlight passing through thin cirrus clouds. ... A complete half-circle rainbow at Lake Zurich. ... Image File history File linksMetadata PaulMossSunHalo19Jan2006PICT2800web. ... Image File history File linksMetadata PaulMossSunHalo19Jan2006PICT2800web. ...

Other optical phenomena

Gegenschein (German for counterglow) is a faint brightening of the night sky in the region of the zodiac directly opposite the Sun caused by reflection of sunlight by small dust particles that lie in the plane of the Solar system. ... The iridescence of the Blue Morpho butterfly wings. ... The opposition effect is the brightening of a rough surface when illuminated from directly behind the observer. ... Sylvanshine is an optical phenomenon in which dew-covered trees of species whose leaves are wax-covered retroreflects beams of light, as from a vehicles headlights, sometimes causing trees to appear to be snow-covered at night during the summer. ... The zodiacal light in the eastern sky before the beginning of morning twilight. ...

Optical effects

Asterism on the surface of a sapphire In gemmology, an asterism is an optical phenomenon displayed by some rubies, sapphires, and other gems of an enhanced reflective area in the shape of a star on the surface of a cabochon cut from the stone. ... A selection of gemstone pebbles made by tumbling rough rock with abrasive grit, in a rotating drum. ... Sapphire (from Hebrew: ספּיר Sapir) is the single-crystal form of aluminium oxide (Al2O3), a mineral known as corundum. ... Ruby is a red gemstone, a variety of the mineral corundum (aluminium oxide) in which the color is caused mainly by chromium. ... An aura is an optical effect wherein gas or dust surrounding an object luminesces or reflects light from the object. ... In gemology, aventurescence (sometimes called aventurization) is an optical reflectance effect seen in certain gems. ... A selection of gemstone pebbles made by tumbling rough rock with abrasive grit, in a rotating drum. ... Aventurine is a form of quartz, characterised by its translucency and the presence of platy mineral occlusions that give a shimmering or glistening effect termed aventurescence. ... Sunstone, a felspar exhibiting in certain directions a brilliant spangled appearance, which has led to its use as an ornamental stone. ... For other uses see Camera obscura (disambiguation) The camera obscura (Lat. ... The word caustics has several meanings depending upon the context in which it is used: In Greek language, from which this word originates, caustics means to burn or burning. In chemistry a caustic substance is one that eats away or chemically burns other materials by process of attacking it basically... In gemology, chatoyancy is an optical reflectance effect seen in certain gemstones. ... A selection of gemstone pebbles made by tumbling rough rock with abrasive grit, in a rotating drum. ... The mineral or gemstone chrysoberyl, not to be confused with beryl, is an aluminate of beryllium with the formula BeAl2O4. ... This article is about the mineral. ... Cathodoluminescence is an optical and electrical phenomenon whereby a beam of electrons is generated by an electron gun (e. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... A wave is a disturbance that propagates through space, often transferring energy. ... Dispersion of a light beam in a prism. ... A calcite crystal laid upon a paper with some letters showing the double refraction Birefringence, or double refraction, is the division of a ray of light into two rays (the ordinary ray and the extraordinary ray) when it passes through certain types of material, such as calcite crystals, depending on... The double-slit experiment consists of letting light diffract through two slits producing fringes on a screen. ... Electroluminescence (EL) is an optical phenomenon and electrical phenomenon where a material emits light in response to an electric current passed through it, or to a strong electric field. ... Fluorescence induced by exposure to ultraviolet light in vials containing various sized Cadmium selenide (CdSe) quantum dots. ... Photoluminescence is a process in which a chemical compound absorbs a photon wich wave length is in the range of visible electromagnetic radiation, thus transitioning to a higher electronic energy state, and then radiates a photon back out, returning to a lower energy state. ... Phosphorescent powder under visible light, ultraviolet light, and total darkness. ... Metamerism is a psychophysical phenomenon commonly defined as the situation when two samples match in color under one condition, but fail to match under another condition. ... This article or section should be merged with chrysoberyl Alexandrite is a variety of chrysoberyl. ... The phenomenon of Newtons rings is an interference pattern caused by the reflection of light between two surfaces - a spherical surface and an adjacent flat surface. ... Pleochroism is an optical phenomenon where due to double refraction of light by a colored gem or crystal, the light is divided into two paths which are polarized at a 90° angle to each other. ... GEM is an acronym for: Gas Electron Multiplier Gender Empowerment Measure Generalized Empirical Method — from Bernard Lonergan, also known as critical realism Genetically Engineered Microorganism Global Electric Motorcars Globally Executable MHP Goddard Earth Model — a model of the Earths gravity field Graphical Environment Manager — a windowing system created by... It has been suggested that crystallization processes be merged into this article or section. ... Rayleigh scattering causing a reddened sky at sunset Rayleigh scattering (named after Lord Rayleigh) is the scattering of light, or other electromagnetic radiation, by particles much smaller than the wavelength of the light. ... Long exposure image of multi-bubble sonoluminescence created by a high intensity ultrasonic horn immersed in a beaker of liquid. ... Long exposure image of multi-bubble sonoluminescence created by a high intensity ultrasonic horn immersed in a beaker of liquid. ... Hannes Alfvén, and Nicolai Herlofson, predicted synchrotron radiation in space in 1950 [1] Synchrotron radiation is electromagnetic radiation, similar to cyclotron radiation, but generated by the acceleration of ultrarelativistic (i. ... If a shaft of light entering a prism is sufficiently small such that the coloured edges meet, a spectrum results In optics, a prism is a device used to refract light, reflect it or break it up (to disperse it) into its constituent spectral colours (colours of the rainbow). ... Triboluminescence is an optical phenomenon in which light is generated via the breaking of asymmetrical bonds in a crystal when that material is scratched, crushed, or rubbed. ... The Zeeman effect (IPA ) is the splitting of a spectral line into several components in the presence of a magnetic field. ... Thomson scattering is the scattering of electromagnetic radiation by a charged particle. ... The larger the angle to the normal, the smaller is the fraction of light transmitted, until the angle when total internal reflection occurs. ... The Umov effect, also known as Umovs law, is a relationship between the albedo of an astronomical object, and the degree of polarization of light reflecting off it. ... In electrodynamics, polarization (also spelled polarisation) is a property of waves, such as light and other electromagnetic radiation. ... A calcite crystal laid upon a paper with some letters showing the double refraction Birefringence, or double refraction, is the division of a ray of light into two rays (the ordinary ray and the extraordinary ray) when it passes through certain types of material, such as calcite crystals, depending on... Simulated appearance of Haidingers brush for vertically polarized light. ...

Entoptic phenomena

Main article: Entoptic phenomenon

Entoptic phenomena are visual effects whose source is within the eye itself. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... This article refers to the entoptic phenomenon. ... Simulated appearance of Haidingers brush for vertically polarized light. ... A monocular is a modified refracting telescope used to magnify the images of distant objects by passing light through a series of lenses and prisms; the use of prisms results in a lightweight telescope. ... Diplopia is the medical term for double vision. ... A phosphene is an entoptic phenomenon characterized by the experience of light without light coming into the eye. ... Normalised absoption spectra of human rod (R) and cone (S,M,L) cells. ... Normalised absorption spectra of human cone (S,M,L) and rod (R) cells Cone cells, or cones, are cells in the retina of the eye which only function in relatively bright light. ... Purkinje images are reflections of objects from structure of the eye. ...

Optical illusions

Main article: optical illusion
  • The unusually large size and rich color of the Moon as it rises and sets

There are many phenomena which result from either the particle or the wave nature of light. Some are quite subtle and observable only by precise measurement using scientific instruments. One famous observation was of the bending of light from a star by the Sun during a solar eclipse. This demonstrated that space is curved. See Theory of relativity. An optical illusion is characterized by visually perceived images that are deceptive or misleading [1]. Information gathered by the eye is processed by the brain to give a perception that does not tally with a physical measurement of the stimulus source. ... Bulk composition of the moons mantle and crust estimated, weight percent Oxygen 42. ... In physics, the photon (from Greek φως, phōs, meaning light) is the quantum of the electromagnetic field; for instance, light. ... Electromagnetic radiation can be conceptualized as a self propagating transverse oscillating wave of electric and magnetic fields. ... The Sun is the star at the center of Earths solar system. ... World line of the orbit of the Earth depicted in two spatial dimensions X and Y (the plane of the Earth orbit) and a time dimension, usually put as the vertical axis. ... Wikisource has original text related to this article: Relativity: The Special and General Theory Albert Einsteins theory of relativity, or simply relativity, refers specifically to two theories: special relativity and general relativity. ...


Observations of some phenomena such as the photoelectric effect, the flow of electric current in a material or through a vacuum (as in a photocell) when the material is exposed to light, led to advances in science, as they could not be easily explained by existing theory. The photoelectric effect is the emission of electrons from matter upon the absorption of electromagnetic radiation, such as ultraviolet radiation or x-rays. ...


Unexplained phenomena

Some phenomena are still unexplained, and they could very possibly be some kind of optical phenomena. Some consider many of these "mysteries" to be simply local tourist attractions not worthy of investigation[citation needed].

The Marfa Lights or the Marfa Mystery Lights are unexplained lights usually seen on Mitchell Flat east of Marfa, Texas of the United States. ... Hessdalen Lights are unexplained lights (called ghost lights) usually seen in Hessdalen, Norway. ... Min Min Light is an unexplained light seen in central Australia. ... Earthquake lights are lights in the sky that are associated with a severe earthquake. ... The Light of Saratoga is a legend located in the Big Thicket of Southeast Texas. ...

Reference websites

  • Atmospheric Optics Reference site
  • SpaceW Site for reporting Aurora activity data
  • Spaceweather.com Official NASA site with many photos
  • Astronomy in New Zealand Many atmospheric optical effect photos and descriptions

Further reading

  • Thomas D. Rossing and Christopher J. Chiaverina, Light Science: Physics and the Visual Arts, Springer, New York, 1999, hardback, ISBN 0-387-98827-0
  • Robert Greenler, Rainbows, Halos, and Glories, Elton-Wolf Publishing, 1999, hardback, ISBN 0-897-16926-3
  • Polarized Light in Nature, G. P. K├Ânnen, Translated by G. A. Beerling, Cambridge University Press, 1985, hardcover, ISBN 0-521-25862-6
  • M.G.J. Minnaert, Light and Color in the Outdoors, ISBN 0-387-97935-2
  • John Naylor "Out of the Blue: A 24-hour Skywatcher's Guide", CUP, 2002, ISBN 0-521-80925-8
  • Abenteuer im Erdschatten (German).
  • The Marine Observers' Log

 
 

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