Capturing an instant of time

  • #1
just wondering why no one has made a camera that can truly capture an instant of time. I'm talking about an instant which is defined as an instantaneous moment that has 0 duration. Why do all cameras have shutters that open for a specified amount of time instead of just capturing a true instant of time which has a 0 for actual time that is past. Basically what I'm asking is if an instant of time exists as part of the physical world which has a duration of 0 time why can't we capture this instant on a camera instead of a camera being exposed for a specified amount of milli seconds it should just be an instant which would then never produce a blurry image since it wouldn't matter how fast matter is moving.
 

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  • #2
anorlunda
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:welcome:

You won't like this. A silly answer for a silly question. In zero time, zero light will enter the camera, so a picture of an instant is by definition just black. Therefore, all black pictures show zero time.

I suspect that you may have a better question than that, so think about it, rephrase it and try again.
 
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  • #3
DennisN
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I'm talking about an instant which is defined as an instantaneous moment that has 0 duration.
A trick question for you:
If we had a clock that ticked not each second (nor millisecond, nor microsecond, nor nanosecond etc) but each what you call "instantaneous moment that has 0 duration", then how fast would that clock tick? How many ticks would it do, let's say, each minute?
 
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  • #4
Drakkith
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Basically what I'm asking is if an instant of time exists as part of the physical world which has a duration of 0 time why can't we capture this instant on a camera instead of a camera being exposed for a specified amount of milli seconds it should just be an instant which would then never produce a blurry image since it wouldn't matter how fast matter is moving.
Let's assume we have a brightly lit scene and my camera sensor is taking in, on average, 1,000,000 photons per pixel per second (this is close to a realistic number). So I go ahead and take a picture. Oh no! This is far too many photons for my camera sensor to handle! The entire sensor array is saturated and my image is pure white! What can I do about it?

The easiest thing to do is to simply reduce the exposure time. So I change my camera settings and set my exposure time to 1/10th of a second. Now my camera sensor is picking up 100,000 photons/pixel. Unfortunately, this is still too high and I need to reduce my exposure time again.

Okay, now my exposure time is 1/50th of a second and my camera sensor is detecting on average of 20,000 photons/pixel. Much better! Now I have a good looking image!

Notice that all of my exposures have been of non-zero duration. This is because over a timeframe of zero, my camera's sensor detects zero photons! I actually can't even make my camera record a duration of zero! Even the physical processes that have to happen in order for the camera to start and end its exposure require non-zero duration. It's simply not possible, and even if it were, I would detect zero photons anyways.
 
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  • #5
scottdave
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A trick question for you:
If we had a clock that ticked not each second (nor millisecond, nor microsecond, nor nanosecond etc) but each what you call "instantaneous moment that has 0 duration", then how fast would that clock tick? How many ticks would it do, let's say, each minute?
Ha! Just don't open the shutter at all, and as far as you know, it did open for zero time.
 

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