Why is water silver when we look at it from inside the sea?

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Why is water silver when we look at it from inside the sea?

In: Physics

Water and air bend light by different amounts (“index of refraction”). When two materials with different indices of refraction meet at a surface, there’s an angle where the surface becomes totally reflective. For the combination of water + air, when you’re in the water, that angle is wide enough that quite a lot of the water surface becomes totally reflective and looks like a mirror (i.e. silver).

This happens from the air too, but then it’s usually just reflecting the sky and we tend not to notice it as much.