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UNIT 5.

LIGHT
1. WHAT IS LIGHT?
Light is a form of electromagnetic energy. Very small particles called
photons move in a wave.
All electromagnetic waves can travel through a vacuum at the speed
of
300 000 km/s: this is the speed of light in a vacuum and is
represented by the letter c ( c = 300 000 km/s).

Visible light is the light which allows you to see the colours and
shapes of objects. Light can come from a natural source or an
artificial source.
Objects can be transparent, translucent and opaque. This
depends on how light travels through them.

2. PROPERTIES OF LIGHT:
Light has three properties:
1) LIGHT TRAVELS IN STRAIGHT LINE.
It travels in waves and does not require a medium. The speed of light
however, does depend on the medium. In a vacuum, the speed of
light is 300,000 km/s.

Light always travels in a straight line. It produces shadows when its


path is completely blocked by an object. Penumbras are formed when
the light is partially blocked.
Eclipses
An eclipse occurs when the sun or the Moon becomes partly or
completely dark because of the position of the Sun, Moon and the
Earth in relation to each other. Shadows and penumbras are produced
during eclipses.
During an eclipse of the sun (solar eclipse) when the Moon moves
between the Sun and the Earth, the area of shadow is very small
because the Moon is small.

At the place on the Earths surface where the shadow is formed,


the day gets darker and darker, until for a few moments it
seems to be night, and so we see a total eclipse of the sun.
In the area of penumbra on the Earths surface, we see a partial
eclipse of the Sun.
2) HOW IS LIGHT REFLECTED?
Reflection of light is the change of direction that a light ray suffers
because it hits a surface and bounces off.
When a surface is shiny and smooth, the reflection is more noticeable.
For example, on a flat mirror.
The fundamental laws of reflection are:


The incident ray, the reflected ray and the normal are all
in the same plane which is perpendicular to the surface.

The angle of incidence is equal to the angle of reflection.


For example: the surface of the water in this lake reflects the light. It
acts as a mirror which reflects the image of the surrounding
landscape.

3) HOW IS LIGHT REFRACTED?


Refraction of light is the change of direction that a light ray
suffers, because of the density is different in both media and
light travels with different speed.
The fundamental laws of refraction are:
A) The refracted ray, the incident and the normal are in the
same plane.
B) The refracted ray is closer to the normal when it passes from
a medium in which spreads faster to another in which it spreads more
slowly.

For example:
Water is denser than air, so light is refracted when it travels through
the surface of the water.
The pencil in the photo is partly under water, so it appears to be bent.

3. LENSES:
They are discs made of glass or plastic with one or two faces. They
refract light. There are two types:

Diverging lenses: They are thicker at the edge than at the


centre. They disperse the rays of light. For example, people who
are short-sighted have these kinds of lenses in their glasses.
Converging lenses: They are thicker at the centre than at the
edge. They concentrate the rays of light. For example, a
magnifying glass.

4. IMAGES ON A FLAT MIRROR


Ray coming from the top of the object reaches our eyes after being
reflected on the mirror. However, the object appears to be behind
the mirror, this is a virtual image.

5. IMAGES IN CURVED MIRRORS


Concave mirrors:
Rays arrive parallel to the concave mirror. These are reflected and
converge in one point called focus (F).

Convex mirrors:
Rays arrive parallel to the convex mirror. Reflected rays are
separated, but their imaginary extensions meet at the focus,
now behind the mirror.

6. WHAT IS LIGHT POLLUTION?

Light pollution occurs when people and animal are exposed to


constant strong light. Some of the adverse effects can be:
The impossibility of seeing the night sky.
Resource and energy being wasted.
Migrating birds colliding with lighted building

7. HOW TO REDUCE LIGHT POLLUTION


Street lamps can be designed so the light points downwards
instead of up the sky.
Large office blocks can be grouped outside city centres.
Illuminated signs can be restricted to certain areas.