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caustic


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(in optics) The curve or surface formed by the reflection of parallel rays of light in a large-aperture concave mirror. The apex of the caustic lies at the principal focus of the mirror. Such a curve can sometimes be seen on the surface of the liquid in a cup as a result of reflection by the curved walls of the cup. A similar curve is formed by a convex lens with spherical surfaces refracting parallel rays of light.

Subjects: Computing — Physics.


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