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Physics/reflected light


QUESTION: I am getting reflected light to hover.  I have never seen this anywhere before.  Is this common?

ANSWER: I'm sorry, you'll have to be more descriptive.  What do you mean by "hover?"  Where does the light come from, what reflects it, and can you draw a sketch?  On the face of it, your question makes no sense.  Light moves at the speed of light, it does not hover.  Objects hover, meaning to levitate (or, in a social sense, for people to linger uncomfortable close nearby).

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QUESTION: I have light that appears to be standing still.  It appears to be levitating.  There is a light source, a chandelier made of glass and metal to look like a leaded glass design, directly above; maybe 2 feet.  The reflection I am seeing is standing about 8" or a third of the way to the chandelier is a scaled down image or reflection of the chandelier about one tenth the size.  In daylight when you turn the light off you don't readily see the reflection. But if you look real close you can see the outline of the metal like it was drawn in pencil. When the light is on, you can put a nonreflective object under the reflection and it is still there. Might I have a hologram?

Well, there are strange effects that can happen with mirrors and lenses that appear to create holographic-like images.  It's all straight-up focusing effects and such, but the images can be very impressive.  They're also very difficult to analyze without a photograph or diagram, but I can give you an example. this image appears to "float" in mid-air, you can try to grab it with your fingers but can't because the real object (much smaller, and inside the very bottom of the bottom parabolic dish) isn't in the same location as its image.  Without a diagram, I can't be specific, but it doesn't involve the light itself hovering or any new physics.


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Dr. Stephen O. Nelson


I can answer most basic physics questions, physics questions about science fiction and everyday observations of physics, etc. I'm also usually good for science fair advice (I'm the regional science fair director). I do not answer homework problems. I will occasionally point out where a homework solution went wrong, though. I'm usually good at explaining odd observations that seem counterintuitive, energy science, nuclear physics, nuclear astrophysics, and alternative theories of physics are my specialties.


I was a physics professor at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin, research in nuclear technology and nuclear astrophysics. My travelling science show saw over 20,000 students of all ages. I taught physics, nuclear chemistry, radiation safety, vacuum technology, and answer tons of questions as I tour schools encouraging students to consider careers in science. I moved on to a non-academic job with more research just recently.

Ph. D. from Duke University in physics, research in nuclear astrophysics reactions, gamma-ray astronomy technology, and advanced nuclear reactors.

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