How does cold air affect light?

83 viewsOtherPhysics

Hot air can cause heat distortions, could cold air cause something similar? How extreme would it have to be? How would it look?

The only info I have found is that happens to heat in cold, not vice versa.

In: Physics

2 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

It’s not the heat itself that causes the distortions, it is the difference in air temperature and them chaotically mixing. Light travels slightly differently between hot and cold air, so having the two swirl around each other is what causes the distortion–if you had perfectly still hot air, you would not get this effect, and similarly, there’s no ‘cold air distortion’ that isn’t just the above.

Anonymous 0 Comments

The frequently low humidity of cold air can make for very clear viewing, but that’s not a direct effect of the temperature.