When does the refraction of light occur?


Quick Answer

Refraction occurs as light moves through the boundary between a fast medium and a slow medium. The transmission of light across the boundary causes the wave length and speed of the light wave to change.

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Full Answer

The speed of the light wave depends on the properties of the medium through which it is traveling. Aside from changing direction at the boundary between the two different media, the light wave also slows down or speeds up and changes into a wave with a shorter or a larger wave length. Refraction occurs as long as the speed of the light wave is altered. The indices of refraction of the media determine the degree of bending, as described by Snell's Law.

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