Light reflecting off water is polarized

Abstract_ReflectionsThe glare which is due to the polarization of the reflected light by nonmetallic surfaces bothers people but sometimes it turns into a blissful vision.

polarized_ligth_water_reflectionImage credit: unpolarized light bouncing off the surface of water becoming horizontally polarized.

I enjoyed reading the following tutorials on the subject of polarization of light reflecting from water surfaces. The shorts excerpts and the links to the articles are shown below.

“Nonmetallic surfaces such as asphalt roadways, snowfields and water reflect light such that there is a large concentration of vibrations in a plane parallel to the reflecting surface. A person viewing objects by means of light reflected off of nonmetallic surfaces will often perceive a glare if the extent of polarization is large.” [1]

“Because water produces horizontally polarized light upon reflection, wet and dry ground have different polarization characteristics” [2]

“The natural world contains complex patterns of polarized light that humans cannot perceive but which are very useful for animals that can distinguish different electric vectors of light.” [3]

[1] http://www.physicsclassroom.com/class/light/u12l1e.cfm

[2] http://www.physics.uc.edu/~sitko/LightColor/16-Polarization/polarization.htm

[3] http://sites.sinauer.com/animalcommunication2e/chapter05.02.html

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About Suresh Emre

I have worked as a physicist at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and the Superconducting Super Collider Laboratory. I am a volunteer for the Renaissance Universal movement. My main goal is to inspire the reader to engage in Self-discovery and expansion of consciousness.
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