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Behavior of Light

light wave, transparent material, human eyes, spectrum of light, solar system

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Scattering occurs when the atoms of a transparent material are not smoothly distributed over distances greater than the length of a light wave, but are bunched up into lumps of molecules or particles. The sky is bright because molecules and particles in the air scatter sunlight. Light with higher frequencies and shorter wavelengths is scattered more than light with lower frequencies and longer wavelengths. The atmosphere scatters violet light the most, but human eyes do not see this color, or frequency, well. The eye responds well to blue, though, which is the next most scattered color. Sunsets look red because when the Sun is at the horizon, sunlight has to travel through a longer distance of atmosphere to reach the eye. The thick layer of air, dust and haze scatters away much of the blue. The spectrum of light scattered from small impurities within materials carries important information about the impurities. Scientists measure light scattered by the atmospheres of other planets in the solar system to learn about the chemical composition of the atmospheres.

Article key phrases:

light wave, transparent material, human eyes, spectrum of light, solar system, atoms, Scattering, chemical composition, planets, Sunsets, horizon, haze, violet, sky, particles, dust, frequency, blue

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