The refraction in the field of physics is the change in the direction and speed of a light beam to pass through the medium. This deviation is generated when the light passes obliquely through two different means and that have transparency, when the light passes from one medium to another a variation in direction occurs as we have said.
The refractive be confused with the reflection and the difference, however slight is that the beam bounces to impinging on the given surface before returning to the source media.
The speed at which a ray of light or a wave propagates in a vacuum and in another medium is called the “index of refraction”. On the other hand, the change in direction that occurs is supported by an explanation called Snell’s Theory, which in turn is based on Fermat’s Principle, in the latter it is stated that the direction of a ray of light at the moment of spreading between two points is such that there is no possibility of it being done in a shorter time. This principle also holds that light is a wave.
10 Examples of Refraction
- A pencil or wooden toothpick in a glass of water, the refraction of light makes it appear broken.
- The refraction of the atmosphere that makes stars appear above their true position.
- Sunlight passing through the atmosphere.
- A fish in the water seen from the surface, its position is different from what we see from outside the water .
- Any object seen from afar with the arm extended with magnifying glasses in the hand.
- The spoon in a glass of water at a time can be seen as if it were broken and this is due to the refraction of light.
- Mirages are produced by an excess of refraction.
- The lens of a camera , due to the light, projects an opposite image.
- A puddle of water, this one at the same time looks shallower than it is.
- A lemon in a glass of water looks bigger than it really is.
- The reflection of a mountain on the water that makes it look smaller than it is.
For its part , Snell’s law is actually a formula which is used to determine the exact angle of refraction of light when it passes through a surface that divides two media.
To all this, it is important to emphasize that the phenomenon of refraction involves other types of waves, not being strictly something that applies to light, they can be waves of a telluric movement or even radio waves can suffer this phenomenon.