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When light travels from a less optically dense medium

  1. Apr 14, 2006 #1
    When light travels from a less optically dense medium to a more optically dense medium, the refracted ray bends toward the normal (i.e. air -> water). The reverse is true when travelling from a less optically dense medium to a more optically dense medium.

    Now... why is this? Why does a decrease in wave velocity cause the ray to bend toward the normal and not away?

    Thanks.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 14, 2006 #2

    Doc Al

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    Staff: Mentor

    One way to understand refraction is via Huygens' principle. Here's a useful animation: http://www.walter-fendt.de/ph11e/huygenspr.htm [Broken]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
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