Interactions of light

By Flavia De Novaes


  • Reflection is what happens when light bounces off of a surface

  • Most objects do not emit light, but they reflect the light from other light sources.

  • Example: mirror


  • Absorption is what happens when light energy is transformed into heat energy in the material it is heating.

  • example: everything we see


  • This change in direction or change in angle is known as refraction.
  • Refraction is the reason that it looks as if a straw is broken when you leave it sticking up out of a glass of water.

  • Really the light is changing angles and speed as it leaves the medium of the water from the medium of the air.


  • Scattering light is what happens when light travels out in many different directions as it passes through a medium.

  • A good example of this is the color of the sky, the particles of dust and gas in the sky scatter shorter wavelengths more than other long wavelengths.