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Physics Vocabulary

TermDefinition
continuous spectrum a luminous object produces all produces all possible wavelengths of visible light.
spectrograph a photograph, printout, or other display of a spectrum produced by a spectroscope
light-year the distance light travels in a year, approximately 9.5 trillion kilometers
intensity a light source's power, the rate at which it radiates energy
candela the unit of light intensity
inverse-square law a situation encountered many times in physics
incandescence the light produced by materials heated until they glow, it occurs when atoms and electrons rapidly vibrate with thermal energy
fluorescence occurs when a substance radiates visible light as it absorbs a higher-energy source is removed
phosphorescence emit visible light after the energy source is removed, watch dials and glow-in-the-dark stickers are examples
coherent light extremely bright and has many uses in medicine,industry communications, and the military
cold light produced from chemical reactions at temperatures far below those required for incandescence
primary hue the basic color of light: red,yellow, orange,green
additive primary colors red,blue,green
subtractive primary colors cyan,yellow, and magenta
complementary color subtractive primary colors
saturation the brightness of a color
value how dark or light the color appears
beam made of lots of photons moving in the same direction
ray a line with an arrowhead showing direction
diffuse reflection reflection off the surface
specular reflections reflection off a smooth surface
incident ray the light ray approaches a reflective surface
reflected ray the outgoing ray
law of reflection when a light ray reflects off the surface, the angle of the incident ray, equals the angle of the incident ray
plane mirror a standard bathroom mirror
virtual image an image is seen in a position where no real objects exist
real image formed when the rays of light from a source are made to converge or come together by a focusing optical device
convave mirror the deepest point of the dished surface is the center of the mirror
principal optical axis an imaginary line normal to the mirror's surface at this point
principal focus when light rays fall on the mirror's surface, they reflect according to the law of reflection and converge on a point in the front of the mirror
focal point converge to a point in the center of the mirror
focal length the principal focus lies on the optical axis at a distance from the mirror's center
convex mirror a mirror that cannot produce a real image that is also bulged outward
optical destiny the speed of light in a material is related to the material's destiny
index of refraction the ratio of the speed of light in a vacuum to the speed of light in the material
total internal refraction if the angle of incidence is increased
critical angle of incidence the angle of incidence where a phenomena begins
fiber optics an important growing field of technology with diverse applications
light depression a beam of light enters a piece of glass, no matter what it's shaped, some depression takes place
lens a disk of optically clear material that refracts light to produce a real or virtual image
converging lens collects the incoming rays of light and focuses them at a point
diverging lens spreads the rays of light apart similar to a convex mirror
meniscus lenses eyeglass lenses, both sides are curved in the same direction
Created by: Luke Meterko