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Light travels as a "wave"

Posted: Sun Oct 15, 2017 11:12 pm
by Ilan Shavolian 1K
Can someone clarify what that specifically means? What direction is that wave going? What is up and what is down to light? Are all of the waves traveling in the same orientation?

Re: Light travels as a "wave"

Posted: Sun Oct 15, 2017 11:34 pm
by Daniel Vo 1B
I've read that the electric and magnetic fields of the light vibrate at right angles to the direction the light wave is moving, and because it is made of electric and magnetic fields, it, unlike other waves, does not need a medium to travel through. What this means physically is beyond me, sorry.

Re: Light travels as a "wave"

Posted: Sun Oct 15, 2017 11:40 pm
by Gurshaan Nagra 2F
Using the idea of a wave is a easy way to understand of light works. When relating it to ocean waves we can see how it works. Just like the waves can vary in size and how often waves are coming in, the same variations work for light. Different light has different wave lengths and frequencies to use proper terms. The frequency determines the position of the light on the electromagnetic spectrum(varying for red light around 700nm and violet light around 400nm in the visible spectrum), while the wavelength determines the intensity of the light.
Hope this helps a little bit.

Re: Light travels as a "wave"

Posted: Mon Oct 16, 2017 2:00 am
by Ilan Shavolian 1K
Gurshaan Nagra 3H wrote:Using the idea of a wave is a easy way to understand of light works. When relating it to ocean waves we can see how it works. Just like the waves can vary in size and how often waves are coming in, the same variations work for light. Different light has different wave lengths and frequencies to use proper terms. The frequency determines the position of the light on the electromagnetic spectrum(varying for red light around 700nm and violet light around 400nm in the visible spectrum), while the wavelength determines the intensity of the light.
Hope this helps a little bit.


right but with an ocean wave, we know the peak is "up" and the trough is "down" relative to us, but does a light wave follow the same properties? Is it possible that the wave is "side to side", or even diagonal? Sorry if i'm not making any sense... and for example a flashlight is shooting tons of light waves. which direction are those waves, or are they all the same orientation like an ocean wave?

Re: Light travels as a "wave"

Posted: Tue Oct 17, 2017 3:47 pm
by Deap Bhandal L1 S1J
I think this picture that was shown in the lecture illustrates a light wave pretty well.

Re: Light travels as a "wave"

Posted: Sun Oct 22, 2017 7:09 pm
by Amelia Georgius 1K
The way the way would travel, like diagonally or up and down etc, would be dependent upon the direction of the electric field and the magnetic field.