Optics & Waves

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Supersonic speed is faster than the speed of sound, which is 768 miles per hour at sea level. Some familiar objects capable of traveling that quickly are bullets, whips and jet planes.

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  • Why do people need sound?

    Q: Why do people need sound?

    A: The ability to perceive sound is critical for the survival of most species on Earth, including humans. The ability to assess the environment through hearing evolved in a variety of ways in the animal kingdom, and high-functioning animals such as humans adapted the sense of sound as a means to communicate.
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  • What is a light ray?

    Q: What is a light ray?

    A: A light ray is a basic element in geometrical optics. It is a hypothetical construct that, from any point in space, indicates the propagation of light. The concept that light travels in straight lines led to the development of the light ray concept.
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  • What is the human perception of sound intensity?

    Q: What is the human perception of sound intensity?

    A: The human perception of sound intensity is known as the pitch of the sound. The pitch of the sound is created by the frequency of the sound waves that enter the ear. Human ears have the ability to hear sound frequencies between 20 hertz to 20,000 hertz.
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  • Does sound travel faster than light?

    Q: Does sound travel faster than light?

    A: Sound travels much more slowly than light. The speed of light is colloquially known as the cosmic speed limit as physical constraints prevent objects of macroscopic scale from traveling faster than light.
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  • How do optical cables work?

    Q: How do optical cables work?

    A: According to HowStuffWorks, optical cables work by lining the inside of a wire with thin strands of glass and coating those strands of glass with two layers of plastic. The plastic creates a mirror-like effect around the glass that allows for internal reflection to help light travel through the optic strands.
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  • What is pitch in physics?

    Q: What is pitch in physics?

    A: Pitch, in physics, is equivalent to the frequency of sound waves, which are any compression waves in a medium. The word "pitch" is used specifically in situations where humans are perceiving the frequency of sound and changes in that frequency. Differences and changes in perceived pitch aren't always the same as the actual differences and changes in the frequencies of the sounds perceived.
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  • What did Wilhelm Roentgen invent?

    Q: What did Wilhelm Roentgen invent?

    A: Wilhelm Roentgen invented the use of cathode rays to take X-rays of the body in 1895, according to About.com. Roentgen was honored for his discovery by receiving the Nobel Prize in physics in 1901.
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  • What are light waves?

    Q: What are light waves?

    A: Light is made up of billions of tiny particles known as photons, which travel from one place to another place in waves known as light waves. Visible light waves are the only electromagnetic waves that the human eye can see. These waves are visible as the seven colors of the rainbow known as red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.
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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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  • What is the definition of resonant frequency?

    Q: What is the definition of resonant frequency?

    A: Resonance frequencies are the natural frequencies at which it is easiest to get an object to vibrate. While setting up vibrations at other frequencies is possible, they require much more energy and constant input to maintain than a resonance frequency. Most objects have several resonance frequencies, and this property must be taken into account because of their positive, as with musical instruments, or negative, as with bridges, effects.
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  • What is a black light used for?

    Q: What is a black light used for?

    A: According to Glo Bright, a black light is generally used to illuminate bedroom posters or glowing paint used in places like bowling alleys, haunted houses, amusement parks and miniature golf courses. A black light can be used for illuminating crime scenes in search of biological substances like urine and blood.
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  • What is the highest frequency a human can hear?

    Q: What is the highest frequency a human can hear?

    A: Humans can generally hear frequencies from 20 to 20,000 hertz. However, under ideal laboratory conditions, humans have been able to hear frequencies as low as 12 hertz. As humans get older or are exposed to loud sounds that damage their hearing, the highest frequency they can hear decreases.
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  • What is the relationship between vibration and sound?

    Q: What is the relationship between vibration and sound?

    A: Sound is created through the vibration of air. When something produces vibrations, it creates sound waves. The movement of the vibration through the air is what people hear when they hear sound.
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  • How does chromatic adaptation work?

    Q: How does chromatic adaptation work?

    A: Chromatic adaptation enables the human eye to adapt to various forms of light. According to Images And Visual Representation Group, chromatic adaptation causes the eyes to ignore the color of the surrounding light, enabling them to retain the color and appearance of the original object even after looking at something else.
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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 causes sound waves?

    Q: What causes sound waves?

    A: Pressure waves in the air cause sound waves to form. However, sound waves can also form in water and in solids. The speed of sound varies significantly depending on the temperature and medium it travels through.
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  • How far can sound travel?

    Q: How far can sound travel?

    A: The distance that sound can travel depends on what medium the sound wave has to go through. The speed of the wave affects the distance that it can travel. Temperature and atmospheric pressure also can directly affect the amount of distance a sound wave can cover.
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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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  • 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 the parts of a transverse wave?

    Q: What are the parts of a transverse wave?

    A: Parts of a transverse wave include the crest, trough, amplitude and wavelength. The crest is the top of the wave, and the trough is the bottom. The amplitude refers to the height of the wave from the midpoint, or rest point, of the wave. The wavelength is the length it takes for the wave to complete one cycle.
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  • What is light made of?

    Q: What is light made of?

    A: The exact composition of light has eluded physicists for years, but the predominant theory is that light is comprised of a kind of energy called electromagnetic radiation. This energy behaves like a wave and a particle in different situations. Scientists believe electromagnetic radiation is composed of bundles of energy called photons.
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