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Light is a transverse oscillitating wave (can't conceptualize)

  1. Aug 27, 2015 #1
    I know light is an electromagnetic wave that has an electric field and magnetic field that are perpendicular to each other. I was wondering how the oscilation was occurring?

    1. Are the strength of the fields waning and waxing perpendicularly to the propogation of motion like in the case of ocean waves and string?

    Ex. Say we polarized the light so that the oscilations remain in there xy or zy coordinates, I'm thinking at one instantaneous point, we have the electromagnetic strength on a cartesian graph at (0,10) then through time, the strength wanes and we will see the strength of the field at (10,5)
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 27, 2015 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    I'm not sure I understand your notation....
    If the amplitude of the wave is ##A##, then the strength of the electric field at any given point will vary with time, ranging from ##A## to ##-A## and back again, pointing in some direction (determined by the polarization) perpendicular to the direction of travel.
  4. Aug 27, 2015 #3
    Thank you Nugatory! I see it now.
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