To be visible, an object should either emit light on its own or reflect light falling on it. For instance when you switch on the light inside a dark room, the walls reflects the light and thus become visible. Reflection, refraction and scattering are three important phenomena of light.
Imagine a light ray hitting a surface, even or uneven. Not all light pass through the surface. Those which don’t pass through are reflected back. This follows a certain rule called ‘law of reflection’. The light ray that hits the surface is called the incident ray and that which reflects back is called reflected ray. The law says the angle of incidence is always equal to the angle of reflection.
Refraction happens when the light travels from one transparent medium into another transparent medium. This refraction is responsible for the image formation by lenses and eye. You are aware that light bends when it travels from one medium (say air) into another medium (say water). The amount of bending depends on the refractive indices of the two mediums. Light travels slowly in water compared to air.
Diamond has a very high refractive index (2.419). The secret behind Diamond’s glittering nature is refraction that is slowing down of the light ray as it passes through it.
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