Island 3 Vernier Reflective Light 

Scientific Data and Analysis

Learn about wavelengths and color attributes of light. Students will use Vernier light sensors to learn how different colors and materials reflect and absorb light.


Vernier Reflective Light

How To Use Vernier Light Sensors

What Is Light?

All light behaves like a combination of extremely tiny particles called photons. A source of light, such as the sun, gives off an incredible amount of photons every second. When some of these photons hit our eyes, we see them as light.

If a lot of photons hit our eyes at once, we see them as a bright light. If fewer photons hit our eyes at one time, we see a dimmer light. When very few photons hit our eyes, we cannot see anything. This is why a room with no light appears black. Light sensors, like the one you will be using in this activity, work much the same way and can record amounts of light with precision. 

Light is a type of energy known as electromagnetic radiation, and we can harness this energy by turning it into electricity. Watch the video to see how this takes place.

Intensity Of Light

When we measure the intensity (I) of light, we are essentially measuring the number of photons hitting a unit area of your Vernier light probe every second.

There are too many photons to measure individually, so we compare the total amount of light to some standard measurement. A foot-candle is one unit of measurement that approximates the intensity of light emitted by a light source. Imagine putting your face one foot away from a lit candle—this is approximately the intensity of one foot-candle.

A lux, or plural luxes, is also a common unit of intensity when describing light viewed by a human eye. This is the unit your Vernier software uses. About 10 luxes equal a single foot-candle.