Dry vs. Humid Air: Refractive Index Differences

• Firben
In summary: We need the entire problem, not just a part of it.In summary, the problem is asking how the real and imaginary parts of the refractive index change qualitatively on dry and humid days. This information can be found by reading about the complex refractive index in the Wikipedia article on refractive index. It is not asking for a numerical solution, but rather a qualitative understanding of the concept.
Firben

Homework Statement

This is from a old exam[/B]
Humid air has a different refractive index than dry air: in the microwave region n'(dry) > n'(humid) and n''(dry) < n''(humid), where n' and n'' denote the real and imaginary part of the refractive index, respectively. How are the effects asked for above different (qualitatively) on dry and humid days ?

n =c/v

The Attempt at a Solution

What are they asking for ? It is how the < changes during dry/humid days ?

It is asking for a qualitative answer. It is not asking for any solution to be worked out, but what does the real and imaginary parts mean. Hint: Read about the complex refractive index in the wikipedia article on refractive index.

Regards,
KQ6UP

Firben said:

Homework Statement

This is from a old exam[/B]
Humid air has a different refractive index than dry air: in the microwave region n'(dry) > n'(humid) and n''(dry) < n''(humid), where n' and n'' denote the real and imaginary part of the refractive index, respectively. How are the effects asked for above different (qualitatively) on dry and humid days?
What are they asking for ? It is how the < changes during dry/humid days ?
What ARE they asking for? The problem states "... the effects asked for above ..." so there must have been something "above"?

1. What is the refractive index of dry air compared to humid air?

The refractive index of dry air is approximately 1.000293, while the refractive index of humid air can vary depending on the amount of water vapor present. Generally, the more water vapor in the air, the higher the refractive index.

2. How does humidity affect the refractive index of air?

Humidity affects the refractive index of air by changing the density of the air. As the amount of water vapor increases, the density of the air also increases, causing the refractive index to increase as well.

3. What are the practical implications of the differences in refractive index between dry and humid air?

The differences in refractive index between dry and humid air can affect the accuracy of optical instruments, such as telescopes and cameras. It can also impact the refraction of light, causing visual distortions and mirages in certain conditions.

4. How do temperature and pressure play a role in the refractive index of air?

Temperature and pressure can also affect the refractive index of air. As temperature increases, the refractive index decreases, while an increase in pressure can cause the refractive index to increase. This is because both temperature and pressure can alter the density of the air.

5. Is there a significant difference in the refractive index between dry and humid air?

The difference in refractive index between dry and humid air is relatively small, but it can still have noticeable effects on the behavior of light. In most cases, the difference is not significant enough to impact everyday activities, but it is important to consider in scientific and technical applications.

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