Refraction and Reflection of Sunlight - Radiative Processes
Refraction is the bending of light as it passes from one transparent substance into another, due to the change in its speed. When sunlight enters the Earth's atmosphere, it encounters different layers of air with varying densities. This causes the light to change its direction slightly, leading to phenomena like the apparent shift of the Sun's position during sunrise and sunset. Refraction also plays a role in creating optical illusions, like mirages, where distant objects appear displaced from their actual position due to the bending of light through varying air densities.
Reflection of Sunlight
Reflection is the bouncing back of light when it encounters a surface. When sunlight reaches a surface, like water, glass, or a mirror-like material, a portion of the light is reflected. This reflected light allows us to see objects and the world around us. The angle at which light strikes a surface (angle of incidence) is equal to the angle at which it bounces off (angle of reflection), following the law of reflection. The smoothness of the surface also affects the quality of reflection. In the case of a mirror, the surface is highly polished, resulting in a clear and coherent reflection.
Both refraction and reflection are crucial natural phenomena that contribute to our perception of the world and have practical applications in various fields, including optics, astronomy, and photography.