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Wave Behavior: Reflection, Refraction, Scattering
Pink items are bonus material. You don't have to know them.
Terms in this set (15)
When this happens, instead of traveling in a straight line, waves bounce around randomly.
This describes waves bouncing off of a surface.
This is the bending of waves.
The name for a reflection of sound waves
What wave behavior makes the sky blue? Explain how.
Scattering. The atmosphere scatters short wavelength light (like blue light). So a lot of the blue light that comes from the Sun gets bounced all over the sky.
What wave behavior causes the Sun to look red when there is a pollution or a forest fire? Explain how.
Scattering. Longer wavelengths (like red light) are the only wavelengths that can penetrate smoke and pollution. Shorter wavelengths (like blue) get scattered, so they don't make it to us.
Why does the sun look redder at sunrise and at sunset?
At sunrise and sunset, sunlight must travel through more atmosphere. Longer wavelengths of light (like red) are better at penetrating more atmosphere without getting scattered.
A prism separates light into different wavelengths of light. What wave behavior causes the colors to separate?
Space isn't totally empty. It has some dust in it. What does this do to the colors we see when we look at stars? Explain.
The dust makes distant stars look redder. Longer wavelengths (like red) are good at penetrating the dust, but shorter wavelengths (like blue) get scattered. So the red light from the stars is more successful at traveling to the Earth.
What wave behavior causes stars to twinkle? Explain.
Refraction. Light from stars bends (refracts) when it passes from warmer to cooler air. The warm and cold air in our atmosphere is constantly moving and mixing, causing the light from stars to bend in different directions. This causes twinkling.
Why don't planets twinkle?
Stars are so far away that they are tiny pinpoints of light. Planets are less affected by twinkling because they are much closer. They are small circles in the sky; not just tiny pinpoints.
What wave behavior makes it possible to burn something with a lens? Explain how it works.
Refraction. Refraction bends light. With the right lens, rays of light are bent so that they all fall on the same spot and make it very hot.
What wave behavior causes a prism to separate light into different colors? Explain how it works.
Refraction. Different colors of light bend different amounts. When white light goes into a prism, the different colors bend different amounts so they come out of the prism traveling in different directions.
What wave behavior causes the Sun to look yellow, even though it is actually white? Explain.
Scattering. When sunlight passes through our atmosphere, some of the blue light gets scattered. If you remove this blue light, what's left of the Sun's light looks yellow.
If you were standing on the Moon, what color sky would you see? Why?
Black. The Moon doesn't have an atmosphere, so no light would get scattered. [On Earth, blue light gets scattered through our atmosphere.]
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