Q10.15  For sound waves, the Doppler formula for frequency shift differs slightly between the two situations: (i) source at rest; observer moving, and (ii) source moving; observer at rest. The exact Doppler formulas for the case of light waves in vacuum are, however, strictly identical for these situations. Explain why this should be so. Would you expect the formulas to be strictly identical for the two situations in case of light travelling in a medium?

Answers (1)

The sound wave requires a medium for propagation.so, even though both given situation may relate to the same relative motion, they are not identical physically since, the motion of the observer, relative to the medium is different in two situations. Hence, we cannot expect the Doppler formula to be identical in both given cases.

When light waves are in a vacuum, there is clearly nothing to distinguish between two cases.

for light propagation in a medium, two situations are not identical for the same reason as in the case of sound waves.

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