Refraction

Refraction

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While refraction allows for phenomena such as rainbows, it may also produce peculiar optical phenomena , such as mirages and Fata Morgana . These are caused by the change of the refractive index of air with temperature.

1570s, from Late Latin refractionem (nominative refractio ) "a breaking up," noun of action from past participle stem of Latin refringere "to break up," from re- "back" (see re- ) + comb. form of frangere "to break" (see fraction ).

Refraction is the bending of a wave when it enters a medium where its speed is different. The refraction of light when it passes from a fast medium to a slow medium bends the light ray toward the normal to the boundary between the two media. The amount of bending depends on the indices of refraction of the two media and is described quantitatively by Snell's Law .

Willebrord Snel (1580–1626) Netherlands. "Although he discovered the law of refraction, a basis of modern geometric optics, in 1621, he did not publish it and only in 1703 did it become known when Huygens published Snell's law in Dioptrica ." Snell also studied navigation and proposed the method of triangulation, which is the foundation of geodesy (the branch of mathematics dealing with the measurement of features on the Earth). For some reason, the law named after the man is spelled incorrectly. Snel the man vs. Snell the law.