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Q & A: wave absorption

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Most recent answer: 10/22/2007
Q:
So, when we see an object, what we are really seeing is the electromagnetic waves, which are also photons, reflecting off the objectís surface?
If this is true, and black objects are less reflective than white objects, what happens to the electromagnetic waves that are not reflected off of darker colored objects?
- David (age 15)
Raleigh, NC, USA
A:
Good question. Those waves are absorbed by the object. Whatever energy, momentum and angular momentum they had initially gets transferred to the object that absorbs them.

Mike W.

(published on 10/22/2007)

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