Friday, November 22, 2013

The life of a photon

Light travels from the Sun to the Earth in about 8 minutes and 19 seconds. While it only takes 8 minutes and 19 seconds for the light from the surface of the Sun to reach us, it actually takes about 10,000-170,000 years for a photon to travel from the core of the Sun to the surface of the sun. That's how strong the magnetic field is.

I like to think about that sometimes.

One photon might take tens of thousands of years to emerge from the sun, zoom outward and encounter no obstacles at all in our solar system, heading out to who-knows-where for another however many hundreds, thousands, millions of years.

Another photon escapes that quantum furnace after an endless sentence, zooms out for just over 8 minutes, enters Earth's atmosphere, makes it past every atom of air, reflects off of the petal of a flower and is redirected into our eye where it ends its journey as one minuscule part of the image we see.

I don't know about you, but that's deep.

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