What is a Shadow?

I follow you around in the light, I say goodbye to you in the night? Who am I?


Does everything has a shadow?

Take a look around and see what all things form shadows. You will notice that swings, trees, cars, tables and almost everything else has a shadow. Any object – living or non living that can block light can cast shadows.

Leaf and a banner both have a shadow
Leaf and a banner both have a shadow, Image Credit: Flickr User: Image credit zeevveez, via cc

How are shadows formed?

Sometimes objects can block light which means that no light is able to pass through that object. An object from which no light can pass through is called an opaque object. The easiest example is our body. Stand in the way of a beam of a light from a small torch. Ask someone to stand behind you and spot the beam of light. The person behind you will see no light since your body did not allow it to pass. Whenever light is not able to go through an object, it creates a dark area around the object. This patch where the light can not reach is called a shadow. Opaque objects create clear dark shadows.

The opaque stem of the pumpkin blocks the light to form a sharp shadow
The opaque stem of the pumpkin blocks the light to form a sharp shadow, Image Credit: Flickr user Muffet, via cc

Why do shadows keep changing sizes?

The size of the shadow depends on the angle at which the light is falling on the object. Your shadow keeps changing throughout the day. It is longest in the early morning and the late afternoon? At noon, when the sun is overhead there is little or no shadow at all. Why? The position of sun changes throughout the day, thus changing the angle at which the rays fall on the ground. A long time ago people tracked the length of shadows throughout the day to keep track of time. The world’s earliest clock was a sun clock.

Why does our shadow chase us?

Shadows are our constant companions
Shadows are our constant companions, Image Credit: Flickr User: Georgie Pauwels, via cc

If the source of the light is moving, the direction of the light rays in which they fall on the object also changes. This movement of light from the source makes the shadow move. In the case when the object is moving, the shadow moves as it is formed where all the moving object blocks light. It is that simple!

Did you know that shadows are used to make puppets? Yes, they are, and such an art is called Shadow Puppetry!

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46 responses to “What is a Shadow?”

  1. shafali Avatar

    wow it is so beautiful perfect for my lil sis

  2. crystal lim pin yi Avatar
    crystal lim pin yi

    Thanks to your website I can find my answer which I was searching for .

  3. alisa Avatar

    this is a really great website for my children.

  4. shanira Avatar

    i like this website because it helps me with my science homework

  5. Nadila Avatar


  6. dhanush Avatar

    I like it.

  7. marina araiza Avatar
    marina araiza

    Perfect info.

  8. Zeal2000 Avatar

    cool stuff! thanks Kinooze.


  9. fatima taskeen Avatar
    fatima taskeen

    it has the correct information .it helped me for my activity

  10. lalain Avatar

    this is really great facts

  11. senthilkumar Avatar

    very useful and very nice
    it helped me to score marks in my

  12. amnah Avatar

    Excellent now I can easily understand the definition of a shadow. Thank you very very much

  13. George Avatar

    Wow! This website is perfect for my project!

  14. Shenook Avatar

    awesome for my kids

  15. Celine Avatar

    So cool

  16. Toni herring Avatar
    Toni herring

    Brillant for my children’s homework!! Thank you

  17. Mrs. Sanders Avatar
    Mrs. Sanders

    Awesome shadow information, perfect for our daycare children as an activity starter. Thank-you very much! Sanders Creative Kids

  18. Giorgia Avatar

    Good info but it would be good if there was more

  19. Riya Avatar

    Wonderful explanation!! Easy to relate to a child

  20. Ella Avatar

    wow this helped me with my test thx

  21. Mr trolol Avatar
    Mr trolol

    This was amazing for my year 7 prep thanks I’m using this website more often

  22. Mariam Avatar

    WOW! that will help me for my assessment

  23. ashvik Avatar

    its very presentably explained.

  24. Jovelle Avatar

    Awesome. I have learnt the definition of a shadow, it was good for my Concept Map homework. I would have got a C instead of an A+ if it was not for this website.

  25. jai Avatar

    thank you for that information it really helped

  26. Ollie Avatar

    Cool presentation,easily understood.

  27. sucilla athanase Avatar
    sucilla athanase

    me too. it is a good definition for our children

  28. tmsregi Avatar

    It is really a very helpful website for me to teach my students. Thanks alot

  29. danasia Avatar

    thank you very much this website will help me with me science home work thanks for the help

  30. Teniola Avatar

    Nice one and very awesome. A white board either opaque, translucent or transparent.

  31. Adi Avatar

    Cool ,easy to understand

  32. smart one Avatar

    Did anyone else besides me and my classmate notice it said “Does everything HAS a shadow”?

  33. dimitrip Avatar

    this website is helpful. ;D ;3

  34. Vera Avatar

    Thanks this really helps with my school project

  35. shatia Avatar

    doing this for a project for my school we are talking about shawdows is is so boring but atleast i know something about shawdows – shatia

  36. Ken Avatar

    I really like this website it will help me with my science test this week !!
    And when my lil sis go’s into kindergarten and grade 1,2 and 3…
    I can help her with her science

  37. Zona99 Avatar

    I know, right? this is perfect for kids!

  38. maddy Avatar

    same, it helped me write my essay that I was supposed to do

  39. big Z Avatar
    big Z

    This is perfect for what I am doing in class. Thanks :)

  40. zanya Avatar

    we are doing this for a project about shadows too shafali

  41. Kenzie Avatar

    Hello darkness mild friend

  42. Lauren Avatar

    Im a kid and I say that all I though was the shadows were made of blocked light, I guess I was right but this website made it even more understandable.

  43. Steve Glover. Avatar
    Steve Glover.

    My sister once asked me if total darkness was ‘just one big shadow.’ I said, “No, – because all shadows need a source of light to be cast…”
    Am just remembering the sheer, sweaty struggle of our physics tutor as he did his best to explain that light did not weigh anything! It is quite possible that in the way he was explaining, that he was Wrong! I shall leave the answer to that one for each to find out. Most folks would be surprised about how the question is answered! Regards. Steve. i & i Art.

  44. Samuel G. Tedros Avatar
    Samuel G. Tedros

    this is a good way to find out about shadows

  45. harry Avatar

    thank you, need that information for School work

  46. john Avatar

    Great for kids!

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