Any relationship between light from the sun and electricity?

In summary, the conversation discusses the relationship between the blue spark produced by a Van der Graaff machine and the light from the sun. It is explained that both are forms of light, but have different causes and cannot be directly compared. The conversation then shifts to discussing the idea of giving the Van der Graaff machine to a blind person and whether it would be appropriate or poetic to say that it will "zap their senses with energy" like the sun used to "zap their eyes." The speakers ultimately conclude that this may not be scientifically accurate, and suggest alternatives for the blind person to experience energy in a safer way.
  • #1
templedog
14
0
I have a Van der Graaff machine here. When I touch it with my finger I get zapped by a big blue spark. Does this spark of light have any relationship or commonality with the light I see all around me from the sun?

If not, can someone please try to convince me that it does...
 
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  • #2
When the charge is transferred to your finger (which is more conducting than the insulating band on the Van der Graaff generator) it ionises the air. When the ionized atoms fall back to their original state they emit energy in the form of light.

In the sun light is produced by a fusion reaction in which two elements merge to a heavier element, which is lighter than the sum of the original elements (i.e. massbefore > massafter). The difference in mass is equivalent to energy (by Einstein's theory of special relativity) which is emitted as light.

So the commonality is that in both cases we're talking about light, and all light (like radio waves, heat (IR) and UV) consists of photons. I wouldn't really say that they are comparable though, as there are really different causes for both phenomena. May I ask what lead you to asking this question?
 
  • #3
thanks for the reply and insight. I also posted here if your interested in what they said at yahoo. http://answers.yahoo.com/question/i...W2mUrDqDHQx.;_ylv=3?qid=20090128004037AAFh953

I am curious because I want to give this Van Der Graaff generator to a friend of the family who is blind. I wanted to give it to him with the understanding that because he can't see; he can still enjoy the energy in a different way. But if someone says its totally different. The sun and the spark are too radically different things, it loses the meaning...I might as well give him a set of stake knives> LOL...
 
  • #4
Would it be wrong to say. Here is a machine that will zap your senses with energy, just as the sun use to zap your eyes when you could see?

Kind of poetic I guess, but is it unscientific? Can anyone do better?

I don't know how to articulate it correctly in regards to scientific definitions. I want to be truthful.
 
  • #5
There is a sort of tentative relationship if you consider the source of power for your Van de Graaff.If,for example, your power station burns fossil fuels you are re-releasing solar energy that fell on the planet millions of years ago.
 
  • #6
I may be strange here, but is it really a good idea to give your friend a Van de Graaff source so that he can zap himself? Can't he just rub himself on some synthetic carpet and then go touch a metal door knob? It is a lot safer!

Zz.
 
  • #7
templedog said:
Would it be wrong to say. Here is a machine that will zap your senses with energy, just as the sun use to zap your eyes when you could see?

Kind of poetic I guess
Definitely poetic, and informally you can say that, yes.

templedog said:
but is it unscientific? Can anyone do better?

I don't know how to articulate it correctly in regards to scientific definitions. I want to be truthful.
I don't really see any scientific way to compare the two... they're just totally different manifestations of a very general and undefinable concept called energy.

templedog said:
I am curious because I want to give this Van Der Graaff generator to a friend of the family who is blind. I wanted to give it to him with the understanding that because he can't see; he can still enjoy the energy in a different way
I agree with ZapperZ that this would be a good idea if you don't like your friend as much as you pretend.
Otherwise, if you want your friend to enjoy energy in a way that is less likely to do damage, you should give him a solarium or something :smile:.
 

Related to Any relationship between light from the sun and electricity?

1. How does the sun's light produce electricity?

The sun's light does not directly produce electricity. Instead, it is the process of converting light energy into electrical energy that produces electricity. This is done through the use of photovoltaic cells, which are made of materials that can convert sunlight into electricity.

2. Is all light from the sun able to be converted into electricity?

No, not all light from the sun can be converted into electricity. Photovoltaic cells are most efficient at converting light from the visible spectrum, specifically the red and blue wavelengths. Other wavelengths, such as infrared and ultraviolet, are less efficient or not able to be converted at all.

3. How does the intensity of the sun's light affect electricity production?

The intensity of the sun's light does have an impact on electricity production. The higher the intensity of light, the more energy is available to be converted into electricity. This is why areas with high levels of sunlight, such as deserts, are often ideal for solar energy production.

4. Can solar panels still produce electricity on cloudy days?

Yes, solar panels are still able to produce electricity on cloudy days. While the amount of electricity produced may be slightly lower than on a sunny day, it is still possible for solar panels to convert light energy into electrical energy even when the sun is not fully visible.

5. How does the angle of the sun's light affect electricity production?

The angle of the sun's light does have an impact on electricity production. Solar panels are most efficient when they are facing directly towards the sun, so the angle of the sun's light relative to the panels can affect the amount of electricity produced. This is why it is important for solar panels to be installed at the correct angle for maximum efficiency.

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