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Problem 26 Medium Difficulty

Figure P22.26 shows a light ray incident on a series of slabs having different refractive indices, where $n_{1} < n_{2} < n_{3} < n_{4},$ Notice that the path of the ray steadily bends toward the normal. If the variation in $n$ were continuous, the path would form a smooth curve. Use this idea and a ray diagram to explain why you can see the Sun at sunset after it has fallen below the horizon.

Answer

$$\begin{array}{l}{\text { The air layers in the atmosphere have different temperatures and therefore they have different index of refraction. These }} \\ {\text { layers bent the sunlight and therefore we can see the Sun at sunset after it has fallen below the horizon. }}\end{array}$$

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Top Physics 103 Educators
Christina K.

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Andy C.

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Marshall S.

University of Washington

Zachary M.

Hope College

Video Transcript

our question asked us to look at figure p 22.26 to see light ray incident on a series of slabs having different indexes of refraction. And, uh, it wants us to explain using this idea why you can see the sun at sunset after it has fallen below the horizon. So I drew a little diagram here where the earth is the green circle. The earth's atmosphere is the blue circle The solid, huh? A red circle here, Rod. I can just go ahead and shade that in. We'll shave that in with the with red lines here. This solid circle here is the actual son, whereas the dotted circle is the image of the sun. And as the sun rays travel towards the atmosphere there bent by the atmosphere and a person on the earth where it makes contact with the green circle, the Earth can see these sun as this projected virtual image. The dotted sun above the horizon, the red, the black line, even though it's below the horizon. Um, so we can say, uh, let's go ahead and type it out. The solution on explanation for what I just said. So the refractive index decreases with altitude. Thus, the sun rays bend towards the normal as they enter the atmosphere, creating a virtual image of the side formed about the atmosphere or above the horizon. And, uh, this diagram along with this solution here or this answer is the solution to our question.

University of Kansas
Top Physics 103 Educators
Christina K.

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Andy C.

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Marshall S.

University of Washington

Zachary M.

Hope College