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Thread: Novice Photon Question

  1. #1 Novice Photon Question 
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    Hello, um so in school we're doing photons and the electro magnetic spctrum and I have a maybe simple question. In light are we seeing the photons or the energy being released from the molecules in the air? You know when energy hits an atom the electron jumps and then drops with a release of energy and its own fingerprint color... but since there is such a varied amount of molecules in the air it might shine white (white is all colors I think)

    Um, dont attack me for being simple please


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  3. #2  
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    If I'm not mistaken, the energy released from the impact and subsequent electron excitement is in the form of photons. I could be wrong, but that is what I remember. When the molecule is struck by the photon, the energy of the photon is absorbed into the electrons and excites them into a higher energy state, and as they return to their original energy state, they release a photon at the a given wavelength, which is what causes the color of the light.


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  4. #3  
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    WRONG, the color of light is a function of the wavelength of the photon, has nothing to do with bouncing off air , the phton hits photoreceptors in the retina and is converted into an impulse that the brain iterprets as a color. if you could stand it you would SEE the same color in a vacuum. what we see as white is acombination of all colrs simultaneously.
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  5. #4  
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    All Im asking is, is it the photon or the realeased energy that we see?
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  6. #5 Re: Novice Photon Question 
    Moderator Moderator Janus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by okkaoboy
    Hello, um so in school we're doing photons and the electro magnetic spctrum and I have a maybe simple question. In light are we seeing the photons or the energy being released from the molecules in the air? You know when energy hits an atom the electron jumps and then drops with a release of energy and its own fingerprint color... but since there is such a varied amount of molecules in the air it might shine white (white is all colors I think)

    Um, dont attack me for being simple please
    We see photons. We also see the energy being released by the molecules, but that is because that energy is in the form of photons.

    But it is not because of the mixture of molecules in the air that we see a mixture of colors (white). it is because the Photons themselves are a mixture of different frequencies which are the different colors of light we see.

    When a photon hits an atom, is absorbed and causes an electron to jump. It is because that atom can absorb that particular frequency of light. And in most cases, when the electron drops, it releases a photon of exactly the same frequency. (One exception is fluorescent materials that when they absorb certain frequencies of light, the electron drops in stages releasing two or more lower frequency photons).

    Generally, if you see light of a certain color it is because that frequency of photon was emitted by the source, and it was not "added" by the molecules it interacted with along the way, (molecules can however subtract photons of certain frequencies from the mix by absorbing them and not re-emitting them but increasing their own kinetic energy instead.
    "Men are apt to mistake the strength of their feelings for the strength of their argument.
    The heated mind resents the chill touch & relentless scrutiny of logic"-W.E. Gladstone


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  7. #6  
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    You are discussing the source of the photons ,not our perception of them .
    Color is afunction of the wavelengthb , the end.
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  8. #7  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fizzlooney
    You are discussing the source of the photons ,not our perception of them .
    Color is afunction of the wavelengthb , the end.
    okkaoboy is already familiar with differing energy levels of photons emitted when an electron changes orbitals. Therefore the discussion offered by Janus is relevant and likely to be useful to okkaoboy.

    (Try not to be so intense. It comes across badly.)
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