Posted: Sep 05, 2012 1:17 pm
by Adco
I am thinking about photons. They fascinate me daily. Every time I "look" at something I wonder how many photons are all around me at once, bouncing, reflecting, emitting. There must be a mega gazillion all the time. Even in areas where there are shadows. The photons must fly around, reflecting off surfaces to also light up places in the shadows. A shadow is just an area that has less photons hitting it.

What about when photons bump into each other? That must happen all the time. I guess nothing happens, they just carry on flying around until they get absorbed or reflected. OK, there's one answer sorted.

Has anyone calculated the numbers involved? Is it possible to even try? Just concentrate on any image around you. There are never any glitches or breaks in the image under normal viewing. The photons just keep coming, non-stop. It's not like a spray of water coming out a hose pipe that could get slowed down with high speed cameras so that you can see the individual drops, or is it?

Do our eyes, and brains, just interpret it as continuous or do they arrive in bursts or packets (quanta) to fast for us to be visually affected? I've never observed any flickering when you watch very high speed movies of balloons bursting etc. If they do arrive in packets, it must be at an extremely fast rate. And, how many photons in a packet?

Perhaps this is a silly obsession that I have with photons but hopefully there are a few other out there that also regard them as awesome and intriguing particles as I do.