ELI5: Explain Like I'm 5

optical properties of water and ice

Do you remember playing with a glass of water on a sunny day and seeing the light make colorful patterns reflecting off the surface of the water? That's an example of the optical properties of water!

Water and ice are both clear, meaning you can see through them, but they interact with light in different ways. Water absorbs light, so it looks blue when you look at it from the side, because the blue light is scattered and reflected more than other colors. This is why the ocean looks blue when you look at it from a distance.

Ice, on the other hand, is made up of solid water molecules that are aligned in a lattice structure. Because of this arrangement, ice reflects light instead of absorbing it, which makes it look white.

When light passes through water or ice, it also slows down and bends. This is called refraction. When the light hits the water or ice at an angle, it can cause the light to bend in a way that makes objects appear to be in a different location than they actually are. This is why sometimes you see a fish or a rock in the water that looks like it's in one place, but when you try to touch it, it's actually in a different spot!

Overall, the optical properties of water and ice are really interesting because they show us how the things we see in the world around us can be influenced by the way light interacts with different materials.