Properties of Photons: Light Source, Observers & Gaps

In summary: And if you look at the moon at night, you would see only a very small amount of light from the light bulb because it's orbiting so far from the Earth.
  • #1
KevinMWHM
27
0
A source of light is generating photons outwards from itself in all directions. At some point, wouldn't the photons become spaced apart enough to create gaps (I'm thinking of a bicycle rim where the spokes represent the photons moving away from the center of the rim representing the light source)? At which point, 2 observers, equal distance from the light source but at different angles, would not see the same light source?

I understand that I'm comparing a beam of light using an example of an object with mass, but I can't think of a better way to explain it.
 
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  • #2
You are forgetting that when you physically see something there is a time element too. For example when you see a bolt of lightning the amount of time that your eye registers it is actually much longer than the bolt is actually there. The cells in your eye get excited and send off a signal which your brain interprets. If you had an accurate enough observing device it could note whenever a photon struck it from any particular source. In reality as you get further and further away from an object it will seem to grow dimmer and dimmer, as your eye intercepts fewer and fewer photons. After a certain distance it would fade into the background. Your eye is not sensitive enough to pick out one photon of light. When it comes to electronic gizmos I believe there are some that you can tune down to that point. But then the uncertainty of where a particular photon came from may be problematic.
 
  • #3
Sure. Photons are very small. Less then a µm.
So if you stand far enough away from a light source there would be spaces in between the photons.
Let's say there was a light bulb on the moon and you look at it through a telescope.
You might not even see the light bulb because only a few photons per second hit your telescope.
 

Related to Properties of Photons: Light Source, Observers & Gaps

What is a photon?

A photon is a particle of light that carries energy and has zero mass. It is the fundamental unit of electromagnetic radiation and is responsible for all forms of light, including visible light, radio waves, and x-rays.

How does a photon act as a light source?

As a particle of light, a photon carries energy and travels at the speed of light. When it interacts with an atom, it can transfer its energy to the atom, causing it to emit light. This process is known as photon emission and is responsible for the production of light in sources such as the sun, stars, and light bulbs.

What is the role of an observer in the properties of photons?

An observer plays a crucial role in the properties of photons, as their observation can affect the behavior of photons. The famous double-slit experiment showed that the act of observing a photon can cause it to behave like a particle or a wave, depending on the setup of the experiment.

What is the gap problem in the study of photon properties?

The gap problem refers to the difficulty in reconciling the behavior of photons at the quantum level with the classical theories of light. While classical theories treat light as a continuous wave, quantum mechanics describes photons as discrete particles. This gap in understanding is still an ongoing area of research in the field of physics.

What practical applications do the properties of photons have?

The properties of photons have numerous practical applications in various fields, including telecommunications, solar energy, medical imaging, and quantum computing. Understanding the behavior of photons is also crucial in developing technologies such as lasers, LEDs, and fiber optics.

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