Reflection and Refraction

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Light can bounce off objects and even bend going through materials. Check out this page on reflection and refraction to see how this works.

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Some surfaces, like a mirror, cause the light to bounce off. The light bounces off, or reflects back, at the same angle that it hit the surface. The amount of light reflected depends on the type of surface. Shiny surfaces reflect lots of light. Dull surfaces reflect very little light.

When you look in a mirror, you see yourself because the light shining on your body is reflected from the mirror back to your eyes.




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When a light ray travels through a material the direction of the light will change. This is called refraction. The amount the light bends depends on the type of material.

A lense can cause light to change direction. If you have ever used a magnifying class to focus light to a small point, you are seeing refraction at work.



Books on Reflection and Refraction

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Other links on Reflection and Refraction

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Reflecting Rainbows http://www.exploratorium.edu/science_explorer/
Light Reflection and Refraction http://acept.la.asu.edu/PiN/mod/light/reflection/
Reflection and Refraction http://www.play-hookey.com/optics/reflrefr1.html

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