why if a ray pass though different materials its direction changes?

by scientifico
Tags: direction, materials, pass
scientifico is offline
Dec30-12, 08:37 AM
P: 180
Hello, why if a ray pass though different materials its direction changes ? couldn't its propagation speed just increase or decrease without having to change the angle ?

Thank you
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barryj is offline
Dec30-12, 08:55 AM
P: 542
The way I was taught is that light has a wave front that is perpendicular to the direction of travel. When the wave front hits a different medium, one edge of the wave front enters the medium first and its velocity changes. This causes the wave front to rotate and change the direction of the ray.

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