## What happens to a light wave when it travels from air into water?

Water affects light rays in a similar way. When a light ray passes from air into water a similar thing occurs: the light ray is bent as it strikes the surface of the water. This ‘bending of a ray of light’ when it passes from one substance into another substance is called refraction.

## What happens when waves cross the boundary from air to water?

Waves change speed when they pass across the boundary between two different substances, such as light waves refracting when they pass from air to glass. This causes them to change direction and this effect is called refraction. Water waves refract when they travel from deep water to shallow water (or vice versa).

## What happens when light waves travel from air through a denser medium?

Refraction of Light: as it passes from less dense to more dense mediums. When light passes from a less dense to a more dense substance, (for example passing from air into water), the light is refracted (or bent) towards the normal. The bending occurs because light travels more slowly in a denser medium.

## What is the medium that light waves travel through?

Light waves move as transverse waves (see diagram of a transverse wave) and can move through a vacuum (empty space) at a speed of approximately 186,000 miles per second. Light has both magnetic and electric fields. Scientists call this electromagnetic radiation (light).

## How do light waves move in different mediums?

Light travels slower in a medium than it does in a vacuum, and the speed is proportional to the density of the medium. This speed variation causes light to bend at the interface of two media — a phenomenon called refraction.

## Can sound waves affect light waves?

I should point out, though, that sound can affect light, even if it doesn’t happen the other way around. For example, sound waves can cause mirrors to vibrate in sensitive optics experiments, thus messing up the data. That gives a literal meaning to the phrase “noisy signal”!