Conceptual Physics (12th Edition)

Published by Addison-Wesley
ISBN 10: 0321909100
ISBN 13: 978-0-32190-910-7

Chapter 29 - Think and Explain: 56

Answer

Glare is composed of polarized light, so polarized sunglasses can selectively filter out glare. Dark sunglasses just cut down on the total light intensity.

Work Step by Step

If the reflective surface is nonmetallic, much of the reflected light is polarized. The polarization direction is parallel to the direction of the reflecting surface. This is discussed on page 556, and diagrammed in Figure 29.33. Many reflecting surfaces are horizontal planes (roads, water, the hood of one's car, etc.), so the reflected light (glare) is polarized horizontally. Sunglasses with vertically-oriented polarization axes filter out the glare. Regular, dark non-polarized sunglasses just cut down on all light transmission.
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