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Thread: limits of luminosity

  1. #1 limits of luminosity 
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    Can anyone tell me how bright a thing can get?
    The brightest things I think I've seen directly with unprotected vision are:
    The Sun
    A Laser (accident)
    Sodium flame
    Arc welding
    Could a thing be so luminous as to blind you?
    How is luminosity measured?
    How about stuff outside the visible spectrum (IR for e.g)?
    Any thoughts at all would be appreciated, even the fantastical as I am researching for a short story.
    Thanks, Icarus.



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  3. #2  
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    The unit of measurement you are looking for is called intensity. It is the power per unit area, and could be any wavelength of light.

    I know you can burn out your macula by looking at the sun. That would not make you totally blind. You would stll have some peripheral vision. I suppose a bright enough light could damage the nerve and make you blind, I don't know.


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  4. #3  
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    Are photons subject to Pauli's Exclusion Principle? If not, I can't think of anything that'd limit the number of photons you could cram into a beam. (Of course, that's ignoring all kinds of practicalities.)

    Also, aren't gamma ray bursts one of the brightest known beams of photons?
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  5. #4  
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    Yeah, although I think that instead of burning your eyes the way the visible spectrum can, it will like with the rest of your body tear apart your DNA.

    , I'm not sure whether they are. I do not think so though....I guess the limit would be to where the distance between photons is the Plank length.
    Of all the wonders in the universe, none is likely more fascinating and complicated than human nature.

    "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe."

    "Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence"

    -Einstein

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    Use your computing strength for science!
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  6. #5  
    Forum Masters Degree organic god's Avatar
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    Are photons subject to Pauli's Exclusion Principle?

    photons are bosons and therefore are not subject to the principle
    everything is mathematical.
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  7. #6  
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    Ahhh, yes.
    Of all the wonders in the universe, none is likely more fascinating and complicated than human nature.

    "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe."

    "Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence"

    -Einstein

    http://boinc.berkeley.edu/download.php

    Use your computing strength for science!
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  8. #7  
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    lasers used to cut steel get quite powerful. They easily slice through a couple of centimetres of any material, so yes, you will have a problem if it happens to hit you in the eye. Blindness will only be a side-effect though.

    I think the power of such laser extends to several . Pulsed lasers can have powers above for very, very short periods. Those high power concentrations are only present in a very small focal point.

    I don't think there is a real limit. All photons can take the same space.
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  9. #8  
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    It would be funny if we forced the universe to form a "super photon" if we got the density to high for its liking.
    Of all the wonders in the universe, none is likely more fascinating and complicated than human nature.

    "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe."

    "Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence"

    -Einstein

    http://boinc.berkeley.edu/download.php

    Use your computing strength for science!
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