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Why do we see a spectrum after Swimming?

  1. Mar 12, 2012 #1
    Hey guys,
    I recently noticed that, after a swim, when you look at the light, you see a spectrum around it. The light was white light. And you see it with naked eyes.
    Can you guys explain this phenomenon?
    The water did contain Chlorine and maybe other necessary chemicals required in swimming pool.
    Thank you.
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2012
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 12, 2012 #2
    I am not a biologist or a medic but I do know that after I swam my eyes watered more.

    The excess water on the surface of my eye is affected by surface tension and gravity so it must be pulled into a non spherical curve which hence is a prism and will refract light of different wavelengths at different angle so producing a spectrum.

    Do what all good physicists do and I am going to do next time I swim - do an experiment.

    If I hold my head as close as possible to vertically downwards and look at a light source directly beneath I would expect the spectrum to disappear


  4. Mar 12, 2012 #3
    You're right. I need to experiment it different ways. But it must happen when we cry. Oh, I am not certain but your answer is somewhat correctly related to sphere formed by tear drop. And I think yes we see a spectrum when we cry.
    Holy, I can't even cry right now.
    Thanks for the answer.
  5. Mar 12, 2012 #4


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    My guess that the cornea is absorbing some of the chlorine or other chemicals from the water, (chemicals tend to transfer from higher concentrated fluids to lower concentrated fluids), resulting in a slight fogging of the cornea. Once you're out of the pool, eventually the chlorine or other chemicals will get dispersed by the fluids produced at your eyes.
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