Incident light

Incident light refers to incoming light that is travelling towards an object or medium.

  • Incident light may have travelled from the Sun or an artificial source or may have already been reflected off another surface such as a mirror.
  • When incident light strikes a surface or object in may be absorbed, reflected, refracted, transmitted or undergo any combination of these optical affects.
  • Incident light is often shown on a ray diagram as a single line with an arrow to indicate its direction of propagation.
  • A ray diagram is a drawing that uses conventions and labels to visualise the behaviour of light in different situations.