1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Light coming straight from an object not affected by Polarizer?

  1. Oct 17, 2014 #1
    Sending light through a polarizer changes the intensity of the light depending on the angle the incoming light makes with the paralel axis of the polarizer Ifinal = Iinitial*cos^2(theta)

    I did not think there were any restrictions on this, but my text says that light directly from an object will not be affected? At least its intensity? Is it because the light from an object travels in all directions/angles?

    Refracted light can be polarized, at least partially so. By looking through a polarizer and rotating it, vve can see whether the intensity ofthe light changes. If the intensity does not change, then the light was coming straight from the real object. If the intensity does change, then the light was refracted-the apparent object was a mirage.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 17, 2014 #2


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    The way I understand what has been said is that the intensity of a polarized beam of light will change as you rotate the polarizer. After light is reflected off of an object it is generally unpolarized, so while the intensity of the light will be reduced by the polarizer, rotating the polarizer will not change how far the intensity drops.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook