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Thread: What makes similar areas be illuminated differently?

  1. #1 What makes similar areas be illuminated differently? 
    New Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2020
    Basic question I’m not sure if there is a specific optics section:

    In some large completely enclosed spaces, you can enter and use a flashlight, and the light bounces/reflects around enough to see a large portion the area. In other times, in similar enclosed space, the same flashlight would not light up the area, you can only see a few paces in the direct path of the flashlight. The phrase “darkness swallows up the light” is often used to describe this.

    Why is that? What contributes to the difference in how the spaces are Illuminated by the same flashlight/source?

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  3. #2  
    Forum Sophomore
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    Jan 2019
    Upstate New York
    The reflectivity of the walls, floor and ceiling.

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  4. #3  
    Time Lord zinjanthropos's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Driving in my car
    Quote Originally Posted by Bufofrog View Post
    The reflectivity of the walls, floor and ceiling.
    I like your answer and it made me think...... I’ve never heard of an animal with a reflective coat. There may be some I’m unaware of but something tells me there’s no advantage for predator or prey to be seen in the dark. Of course I’m only dealing with our part of the light spectrum and there may be some infrared or UV light reflective markings for some critters. Some plants may require light reflectivity to attract pollinating insects but not sure.

    I remember a time when my wife and I were driving in a rural setting and we had to go up a 300’ incline at night. As we approached the summit I saw small lights moving across the road ahead. Thankfully we slowed to down to closely observe and were totally surprised to find a herd of deer crossing the road in front of us. The lights turned out to be the deers‘ eyes reflecting our headlights. Otherwise the herd was completely invisible to us until we got real close. We stopped and let them pass.
    Last edited by zinjanthropos; October 15th, 2020 at 08:28 AM.
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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