Ray of light

A ray of light (light ray or just ray) is a common term when talking about optics and electromagnetism.

  • A ray of light is a way of imagining, conceptualising and representing the way light moves.
  • The idea of a ray of light is rooted in the observation that light travels in straight lines until it meets an obstacle.
  • It is common sense to think of a narrow beam of light as being composed of parallel arrows or a bundle of rays.
  • The bundle of rays can then be used to trace what happens when light strikes a complex object such as a lens or convex mirror.
  • Single rays are often used to plot the path of a specific wavelength of light and compare it with the path of others.
  • The idea that light is made up of rays is so commonplace when describing and explaining electromagnetic radiation (light)  that it is easily taken for granted.
  • The idea of light rays is useful when trying to model things like the way light and raindrops produce the rainbow effects seen by an observer.
  • Light rays don’t exist in the sense that the term accurately describes a physical property of light. More accurate descriptions use terms like photons or waves.
  • Modelling light as rays is a way to discuss and represent the path of light through different media in a simple and easily understandable way.
  • When light rays are drawn in a ray-tracing diagram they are represented as straight lines connected at angles to illustrate how light moves and what happens when it encounters different situations and conditions.
  • More accurate descriptions of light use terms such as photons or electromagnetic waves.
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ray_(optics)