Optics & Waves

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A sonic boom as an impulsive wave similar to thunder caused by an object exceeding the speed of sound, according to Sky-flash.com. The speed of sound is approximately 750 mph at sea level.

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  • How do sound waves travel?

    Q: How do sound waves travel?

    A: How Stuff Works explains that sound travels in mechanical waves, and these waves are disturbances that cause energy to move. The energy is then transported through a medium. Disturbances occur when an object vibrates. This vibration is caused by interconnected and interactive particles.
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  • What are the dangers of infrared waves?

    Q: What are the dangers of infrared waves?

    A: Infrared waves are dangerous because they can cause burns, skin irritation, dehydration, low blood pressure and eye damage. A form of heat radiation, infrared waves are most dangerous at high levels.
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  • What are examples of nonluminous objects?

    Q: What are examples of nonluminous objects?

    A: The moon and Earth are examples of non-luminous objects. Non-luminous objects become visible only when they reflect light produced by a luminous object. A luminous object, such as the sun, emits its own light, because it has its own source of energy.
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  • How do magnifying glasses make things look bigger?

    Q: How do magnifying glasses make things look bigger?

    A: An observer's perception of an object being examined changes with a magnifying lens because the lens bends the light rays from the object, thus distorting the size of the image formed, making it appear bigger. Light rays bend due to a change in density as they move from air to the glass that forms the lens. If light rays did not bend, no magnification would occur.
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  • Why are sunsets red?

    Q: Why are sunsets red?

    A: According to the Old Dominion University, sunsets get their red color because light is refracted by particles that are in the atmosphere and the red spectrum is the one that is visible. The sky can also have shades of orange, yellow and purple when the sun begins to set.
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  • What is the difference between loud and soft sounds?

    Q: What is the difference between loud and soft sounds?

    A: Loud sounds are sounds that are high in volume and soft sounds are those that are low in volume. Sound is a type of vibrating pressure that is transmitted in waves. The volume of a sound is directly determined by the amplitude of its sound waves, which is the height of a sound wave. The amplitude and volume of a sound increase as the height of the sound waves increases.
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  • What is the distance between wave crests?

    Q: What is the distance between wave crests?

    A: The distance between wave crests is called wavelength. It is a characteristic shared by waves of all kinds, including ocean waves and sound waves. Wavelength is measured from the highest point, or summit, of one wave's crest to the summit of the next wave's crest.
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  • What is infrared used for?

    Q: What is infrared used for?

    A: Infrared is used for keeping things warm, reading information and checking heat. The uses for infrared technology are so diverse because infrared not only detects heat but produces heat in objects that it strikes.
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  • What is a sonic boom?

    Q: What is a sonic boom?

    A: A sonic boom as an impulsive wave similar to thunder caused by an object exceeding the speed of sound, according to Sky-flash.com. The speed of sound is approximately 750 mph at sea level.
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  • Why are lasers red?

    Q: Why are lasers red?

    A: Lasers are mostly red in color because red has the longest wavelength, approximately 650 nanometers. Because of this, red does not scatter easily and can be viewed from a long distance.
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  • What does the acronym LASER stand for?

    Q: What does the acronym LASER stand for?

    A: LASER is the abbreviation (or acronym) of "light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation," according to Curiosity.com. The foundation work for lasers was set in motion by Albert Einstein in 1917, according to Wikipedia.
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  • Can sound travel through water?

    Q: Can sound travel through water?

    A: Although sound can travel through water, it will be distorted compared to sound traveling through air. As sound waves pass through the water, they are attenuated and slowed, leading to frequency warping and decreases in amplitude.
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  • How is light dispersed through a prism?

    Q: How is light dispersed through a prism?

    A: White light bends or refracts as it enters and exits the triangular prism, with shorter wavelengths bending the greatest amounts and longer wavelengths refracting less, resulting in a light spectrum of different colors like a rainbow. Prisms are made of glass or other transparent material and cut so the angle of entry and exit maximize this effect.
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  • What are the colors of the spectrum?

    Q: What are the colors of the spectrum?

    A: The colors of the visible spectrum are red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet. Color is a visual representation of electromagnetic radiation. Different wavelengths and frequencies are perceived as different colors.
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  • What is an instrument that separates light into various wavelengths?

    Q: What is an instrument that separates light into various wavelengths?

    A: A prism is an instrument that separates light into various wavelengths. Visible white light contains light of many different wavelengths. When white light passes through a prism, each wavelength bends at a different angle to produce a rainbow effect with each wavelength of light displayed in its own band.
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  • What is light made up of?

    Q: What is light made up of?

    A: Light is made of photons, which are fundamental particles. Because photons have no mass, relativistic effects allow them to travel at appropriately the speed of light.
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  • What is a hand lens?

    Q: What is a hand lens?

    A: A hand lens is used to magnify items. Hand lenses are used in scientific research, police work and everyday life. Hand lenses are magnifying glasses small enough to be held in a hand and easy to manipulate.
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  • How does amplitude affect the loudness of a sound?

    Q: How does amplitude affect the loudness of a sound?

    A: Amplitude affects the loudness of sound by using vibration to make the sound larger or smaller than it is in actuality. Amplitude is a factor which directly impacts the sound.
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  • What does light passing through a transparent medium do?

    Q: What does light passing through a transparent medium do?

    A: When light passes through a transparent medium such as water or glass, the electrons slow down, which causes the light to refract. As light enters the transparent medium, the wavelength colors bend at different angles to create a rainbow. .
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  • Where does ultraviolet light come from?

    Q: Where does ultraviolet light come from?

    A: Ultraviolet light comes from the Sun. Earth's ozone layer absorbs most of the ultraviolet light before it reaches the surface, protecting humans and all other life forms from the harmful effects of these rays.
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  • How do convex mirrors work?

    Q: How do convex mirrors work?

    A: Convex mirrors work by reflecting parallel rays of light as if they all emanated from a single point somewhere behind the mirror. The distance between the actual surface of the mirror and this point depends on the level of curvature, with greater curvature resulting in lesser distance. Images in convex mirrors are distorted, with progressive compression of the image away from its center.
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