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Thread: Do photons decay?

  1. #1 Do photons decay? 
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    I was wondering, do photons decay after awhile of being launched?

    Now I know a photon when hitting an electron gives energy to an electron tha t liberates an other photon, but in vacuum, does it decay after awhile?

    And this brings me to a second question: When we shoot a laser through vacuum, how come wer can see it? A laser is a direct light with almost not deviation, and in vacuum, the photon cannot hit an electron because there is none! So, why can we see it?


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  3. #2  
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    of course they dont decay. to decay they need to hae a "sense" of time wich they dont since they travel at C. at those speeds time dont exist for the particles


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    I think they 'slow down' (or change frequency) rather than decay that is why the universe looks like it's expanding - they still travel at light speed though. Currently I have to say I am probably the ONLY person who subscribes to this theory.

    Everbody else seems to think photons are like old soldiers. :wink:

    For your second point on seeing laser in a vacuum the answer is, It makes it easier for the audience to see who's shooting who.

    I See Zelos has made yet another bold all encompassing statement about all photons. 8)
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  5. #4  
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    changing frequens and decaying is 2 different things.
    decay in particles physics is that it shots out a particle to become another particle(or atom) but a photon cant since they dont have any time to do that. with 0 time to act with you cant do a thing
    I am zelos. Destroyer of planets, exterminator of life, conquerer of worlds. I have come to rule this uiniverse. And there is nothing u pathetic biengs can do to stop me

    On the eighth day Zelos said: 'Let there be darkness,' and the light was never again seen.

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  6. #5  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelos
    changing frequens and decaying is 2 different things.
    decay in particles physics is that it shots out a particle to become another particle(or atom) but a photon cant since they dont have any time to do that. with 0 time to act with you cant do a thing
    The changing frequency of photons with time[if acceped] would [in my opinion]account for many things as yet unexplained.
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  7. #6  
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    If a laser were fired in a vacuum you wouldn't see it unless it was shining straight into your eye. If you were to spray some aerosol into the vacuum (reducing its vacuum status) it would scatter some light to the side and then you could see it from the side.
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    Red shifting is the term used for the overall effect of free space on light(lights frequency drifts into infrared as it travels long distances into space). The vaccume of space isn't completly empty either(hydogen, deuterium, tritium all exist in space) just as the speed of light is a baseline for speed free space is the base line for empty space(look up permeability of free space, permitivity of free space). Sub atomic and electron particle absorbtion and release of these photons are the cause of this and some other effects (photons are absobed to create neutrons and are released when they decay if the quarks inside the neutron change flavors during this process the photon released may be different from the photon absorbed this is all pretty tricky stuff). Red shifting takes a long time to occur and is used by astral physicists to help determine the distance of stars in the universe and the overall universes age and shtuff like that tchyall know whats I'm sayin. Yo!
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    If you where on another planet the atmosphere would dispurse a laser enough to be seen from a much wider angle, assuming it where pointed in that planets direction. With sophisticated enough equipement it might even be seen traveling in space due to the above(last msg) mentioned effects. These emisions are quite small and you would need some pretty high tech detectors, as of yet not invented (yall learn later that nothin is even close to cut and dry which is why physicist are still employed to this day).
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    Do photons decay over time? Yes! Decay is change and photons like everything else changes it just takes a hell of a lot longer for the effects to be witnessed and the reasons and ways this happens are very different from most other decay (they don't just die like people)
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beky
    Do photons decay over time? Yes! Decay is change and photons like everything else changes it just takes a hell of a lot longer for the effects to be witnessed and the reasons and ways this happens are very different from most other decay (they don't just die like people)
    how can it change like other particles when it has no time to change in?
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  12. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelos
    Quote Originally Posted by Beky
    Do photons decay over time? Yes! Decay is change and photons like everything else changes it just takes a hell of a lot longer for the effects to be witnessed and the reasons and ways this happens are very different from most other decay (they don't just die like people)
    how can it change like other particles when it has no time to change in?
    Oh do stop quoting Einstein, he's sooo yesterday.

    The universe is bounded - it is expanding. It is expanding into space, that space is infinite - the universe may expand indefinitely.

    The universe is the smallest sphere that will contain all the matter allegedly created as a result of the 'big bang'

    Those are the definitions I choose to accept whilst there is no credible alternative.
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  13. #12 I would have to think about that for a long time 
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    For instance I can give you this example. The electron seems to loose mass, if you check messurements over time. But the photon don't have any relativistic mass to loose. Or atleast not much. The photon is an electromagnetic impulse, if it's negative half looses mass like the electron, and the positive gains mass, it would still have and need the same momentum. And through relativity we allways get that it has the energy mcc even though that may vary in value if and only if c varies differently then the square root of the mass. So I dare to say that most likely energy will stay energy especially when room and time can't steal it and make nothing out of it as I know of. But I've heard that photons can split and fussion if you make them, if it was that you meant.

    But not by themselves, right?
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  14. #13  
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    It is expanding into space, that space is infinite
    you mean universe is infinite? then your wrong. it is finite. No matter what theory it is finite
    I am zelos. Destroyer of planets, exterminator of life, conquerer of worlds. I have come to rule this uiniverse. And there is nothing u pathetic biengs can do to stop me

    On the eighth day Zelos said: 'Let there be darkness,' and the light was never again seen.

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  15. #14  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelos
    It is expanding into space, that space is infinite
    you mean universe is infinite? then your wrong. it is finite. No matter what theory it is finite
    You mean the theory is finite, or that all theories says it is finite? I'm going to leave quietly now.
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  16. #15  
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    I mean that no matter what any theory says universe is finite and has finite space since the definition of the universe is the part we can see from earth wich is about 13,7 billion lightyears away
    I am zelos. Destroyer of planets, exterminator of life, conquerer of worlds. I have come to rule this uiniverse. And there is nothing u pathetic biengs can do to stop me

    On the eighth day Zelos said: 'Let there be darkness,' and the light was never again seen.

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  17. #16  
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    If you turn on the light do photons not start shooting out. If you point those photons at an object do they not create heat, if heat is created does this not mean energy is converted. Sure if a photon never hits anything it may go on for ever and ever and so on, but just like everything else it will eventually hit something(wether it's a sub particle so small we haven't theorized it as of yet is not the argument). The true question is, is a photon ever emited that has no predestined point of impact........... The universe is expanding and on this forefront the photon is our explorer into the unknown; but is it going out to infinity or is it predestined to a parabolic path in which it will be called back and where it will impact upon it's origin (by that I mean our universe not the emiting particle). If your just talking about bouncing a photon between two mirrors and it never changing or ending this just does not happen. Photons do have mass and time is not irrellevant to a photon who ever told you that was smoking to much greenery. E does not equal mc^2 (actually they added a litle to that equation within the past 5 years) and I never once quoted Einstein (although the equation and its derivatives are good all round methods of describing certain events). Kaons go faster than the speed of light and as they go faster they lose mass, so before you dismiss what I'm saying (which most of you are ready to argue against anything I say, I think it's this teeange obsession with finding perpetual motion and becoming rich and famous) think about the obviousness of my first line.

    P.S. If you want to tell me I'm wrong about something point out the fact that I said a neutron that has a quark flavour change is still a neutron smiles love yall
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelos
    I mean that no matter what any theory says universe is finite and has finite space since the definition of the universe is the part we can see from earth wich is about 13,7 billion lightyears away
    That's what we call the visible universe, the universe alone (or the actual universe) means all that is, and is as "Death" in Terry Pratchetts books thought, almost impossible to grip.
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  19. #18  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelos
    I mean that no matter what any theory says universe is finite and has finite space since the definition of the universe is the part we can see from earth wich is about 13,7 billion lightyears away
    Ok if you will not accept I have the right to play humpty dumpty, The universe is expanding into an [almost] infinite void. I say almost because there is a tiny piece of this void missing, it has been replaced by the universe, which, is expaning. The void is contracting as the universe replaces it. At some point the universe will be the same infinite size as the viod, with the interface being perfectly flat. As the system passes this point the void will become spherical and begin to contract. At the point where the void dissappears, the universe will of course 'crash' into itself from all directions. There will be a big bang which will then spread out. This second big bang will create the antiverse. After 15 billion years matter will form and declare itself 'I am the Borg' - thus the argument will be repeated every infinite number of years. I name this theory the Theory of the Oscilliverse. - See you there! :wink:
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  20. #19  
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    That's what we call the visible universe, the universe alone (or the actual universe) means all that is, and is as "Death" in Terry Pratchetts books thought, almost impossible to grip.
    its called visible universe among none-scientsits. cosmologs define the universe as the visible part. Everything outside do they have another name for but it isnt important since it cant effect us.
    I am zelos. Destroyer of planets, exterminator of life, conquerer of worlds. I have come to rule this uiniverse. And there is nothing u pathetic biengs can do to stop me

    On the eighth day Zelos said: 'Let there be darkness,' and the light was never again seen.

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  21. #20  
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    Thank you for all the fine answers!

    I've learned quite alot! It least I know a photon does NOT have mass and that it will never decay but practicaly slow down. As for the laser part, it's still a little fuzzy for me. By the way Billco, I do not like the theory of your "Oscillating universe" Well, I might find an agreement with it but first of all, I have to know if it considers a Black Hole like a bridge between two universes.
    P------------y--------------i----------------s
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    Alternate energy... or should we rather say alternate life?

    Are you interested in scientific high school projects? If you are, please contact me!

    "I must say that determination, devotion, and taking on challenges bigger then yourself is the way to become a master at anything" L.E.A.P.
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  22. #21  
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    .....decay but practicaly slow down.
    nope, it wont decay and it wont slow down. its frequens will only get less (or wavelenght will be longer)
    I am zelos. Destroyer of planets, exterminator of life, conquerer of worlds. I have come to rule this uiniverse. And there is nothing u pathetic biengs can do to stop me

    On the eighth day Zelos said: 'Let there be darkness,' and the light was never again seen.

    The king of posting
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    And by scientist you mean people who read alot of science books.

    If that was the case then the first scientist wouldn't be a scientist. You think about that.
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  24. #23  
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    If photons dont have mass than why does the gravtational field of a black hole suck them in. How can any of you difinitvely state that photons cannot be destroyed, even world renowned scientists don't have the balls to say that. I challenge anyone of you to find literature that states this and was written by a recognized member of the scientific community within the last fifty years. Not to mention that if its slowing down its eventually going to stop wether or not it takes 10^36 years to do this (the estimated decay time of a proton) is still not the argument. Nobody actually knows what happens to a photon when it is absorbed by sub atomic particles. The energy state achieved when the particles change isn't even clearly defined. The Parameters of Nucleosynthesis are in no way laws and photons are just another particle in these equations. Hope you find your inner peace brother man.
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  25. #24  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beky
    If photons dont have mass than why does the gravtational field of a black hole suck them in and further how the hell can any of you difinitvely state that photons cannot be destroyed, even world renowned scientists don't have the balls to say that. I challenge anyone of you to find literature that states this and was written by a recognized member of the scientific community in the last fifty years. Im going to say what ch'yall want to say to me but dont yall don't know what your talking about (no really).
    peace luv yall
    er... They are not 'sucked in' they travel in straight lines only. In terms of black holes these 'curve' space so the photons appear to an observer to have travelled a curved path. Near a black hole the curvature is so great that the 'straight line' is into it's clutches.

    Photons are not destroyed all the time they travel through space, this is because at the speed of light they are not subject to 'time'.

    Photons are a wave whilst travelling but are converted when they crash into something. They are not destroyed as such, their energy is converted.
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  26. #25  
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    That's an awfully outdated theory there Einstein (I swear somebody told me to stop quoting the old man). I'm not even contesting that I'm right I'm contesting that all of this is still theory either way; I mean when photons are absorbed by matter and create mechanical energy it may full circle and spit them out the other end. They may even be the same particles that they were when they were thrown into the mess at the begining, but thats still pretty sketchy. I mean do the math if the energy is absorbed and heat, movement and sound etc. are created is it not something other than light during this process. Unless heat, movement and sound are just a compilation of light movement. If light always travels in a straight line why is there diffraction(at some point light changes course. When it's absorbed if its still a photon its course would have to be circular and if not it would have to no longer be a photon so it would have decayed into something else)
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  27. #26  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beky
    That's an awfully outdated theory there Einstein (I swear somebody told me to stop quoting the old man). I'm not even contesting that I'm right I'm contesting that all of this is still theory either way; I mean when photons are absorbed by matter and create mechanical energy it may full circle and spit them out the other end. They may even be the same particles that they were when they were thrown into the mess at the begining, but thats still pretty sketchy. I mean do the math if the energy is absorbed and heat, movement and sound etc. are created is it not something other than light during this process. Unless heat, movement and sound are just a compilation of light movement. If light always travels in a straight line why is there diffraction(at some point light changes course. When it's absorbed if its still a photon its course would have to be circular and if not it would have to no longer be a photon so it would have decayed into something else)
    If you are talking about glass, there, the speed of light is slower this accounts for difraction, look it up. I'm too old to argue this one, so I'll pass it over to the young bucks becks :wink:
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