# Thread: The Speed of light (photons)

1. Can someone tell me; when an electron changes orbits and throws off its energy in the form of a photon; this travels at the speed of light which is around 186,000 miles per second, right ?

What I am wondering is does the photon as soon as it leaves the atom accelerate upto this speed (even if the acceleration is immensly quick) OR does it just "jump" from 0 speed to the speed of light without any acceleration at all ?

2.

3. IT is commonly believed instantaneous, ie no acceleration, possibly due to it's 'zero mass'.

4. but an electron does have mass, its just extremely little

5. But the photon DOESN'T, and it's what is going at the speed of light.

6. And if it had any mass, it could not travel at the speed of light. Because, as it approached the speed of light its mass would become infinite. Correct?

7. right, with mass you can't reach the speed of light because mass becomes infinte.

How it works is... the electron in the orbital becomes a photon and with the photon's zero-mass it instantly hits the speed of light, WITHOUT ACCELERATION, gets to the next orbital and becomes an electron again.

8. Originally Posted by shawngoldw
right, with mass you can't reach the speed of light because mass becomes infinte.

How it works is... the electron in the orbital becomes a photon and with the photon's zero-mass it instantly hits the speed of light, WITHOUT ACCELERATION, gets to the next orbital and becomes an electron again.
No, the electron does not become a photon. It simply emits a photon, and drops to a lower energy level.

9. Okay; so the electron throws off the photon and drops to a lower energy level / orbital plane, right ?

I got that but surely that must mean that in order for the electron to go back on to a higher energy state; it must absorb something, right ?

I heard somewhere that a photon is actually both an electron AND a positron at the same time. Is this true ?

10. Originally Posted by cassidym
And if it had any mass, it could not travel at the speed of light. Because, as it approached the speed of light its mass would become infinite. Correct?
no one really knows; mass such as a space ship would increase in mass (simular to a BH) but not necessarily in size, as it closed in on C.

a photon unit is said to be in all waves. the frequency of the waves vary and give value to the visual concept.

11. Yes, Jackson, you are correct in saying that your size doesnt change; your mass has increased becasue your energy has; and mass and energy and interchangable.

Although whilst approaching C to an observer your space ship would appear shorter due to the lorenz contraction. Why this happens I have no idea. Possibly it could be due to the pressure of the ether; (if one exists)

Also, as you approach C and your mass increases, does your gravitational pull increase also ?

12. Originally Posted by Legendary
But the photon DOESN'T, and it's what is going at the speed of light.
my mistake, i read it wrong, sorry

13. Those who were seriously debating this topic may now continue, the remaing posts about 'leprachauns' etc has been split as a new topic in the trash can!

EDIT 6th Jan 07, 13:30 GMT
It seems I have not made myself clear, I WILL delete any/all further posts to this thread which are not 'serious' contributions to the topic.

DO not add to this thread any further hairbrained, discredited, or coke-induced 'theories'

14. why is photons listed as a particle in wikipedia?

15. There is and has been for several hundred years a debate upon whether Photons are particles or waves, I suggest that in view of this, placing it in particles may be reasonable.

16. why is photons listed as a particle in wikipedia?
its just as much a particle as it is a wave. It is our lack in udnerstanding of its true nature that causes the particle/wave duality and by that often requires one model to describe at a certain event.

The Photon is neither particle or a wave. Its not something between or anything like that. It is just different ways of describing it at different points.

17. Zelos,

Would you consider that a photon is a wave unitl a measurment is made on it, at which point the very act of measuring it, destroys it and it then becomes a particle?

Is this not a concept of possibility recognised by Quantum theory?

18. no i wouldnt consider it like that. I dont consider a photon as a particle or wave. I consider it as something with certain propeties that behaves in a certain way.

Is this not a concept of possibility recognised by Quantum theory?
i think you refer to the thing about the wavefunction that collapses upon measurment and gets a defined point more or less.

19. Originally Posted by Zelos
no i wouldnt consider it like that. I dont consider a photon as a particle or wave. I consider it as something with certain propeties that behaves in a certain way.

Is this not a concept of possibility recognised by Quantum theory?
i think you refer to the thing about the wavefunction that collapses upon measurment and gets a defined point more or less.
I would explain it as lengthcontraction along y,z plane. I think they act like waves, cause the particles are really next to eachother. I've written about y,z contraction. I know you would find me right. After all, compareably, how fast can a x moving particle move along zy? Is it not less then c when x =/= 0, from observer perspective? Wouldn't that solve the whole thing?

20. dont know if it cause im tired or just bored or anything but i dont see what it really has to do with what i said

21. Cause then it is a particle and a wave. Wave cause they act as if they are next to eachother. Particle cause everything is.

22. they are neither, they arent particles nor waves.

the reason they cant occupy the same space is cause forces literlly force them to take up seperate spaces, but also cause QM rules forbid same QM number in the same point of space

23. Originally Posted by LeavingQuietly
Originally Posted by Zelos
no i wouldnt consider it like that. I dont consider a photon as a particle or wave. I consider it as something with certain propeties that behaves in a certain way.

Is this not a concept of possibility recognised by Quantum theory?
i think you refer to the thing about the wavefunction that collapses upon measurment and gets a defined point more or less.
I would explain it as lengthcontraction along y,z plane. I think they act like waves, cause the particles are really next to eachother. I've written about y,z contraction. I know you would find me right. After all, compareably, how fast can a x moving particle move along zy? Is it not less then c when x =/= 0, from observer perspective? Wouldn't that solve the whole thing?
LQ, If you post enough of your theories, do you realise that one day one of them might actually coincide with mainstream science?.

Could you explain to a complete and utter moron what you mean by 'length contraction' - so far in my life I have only seen one explantion for this, which, I am afraid due to it's graphic nature, I am unable to demonstrate here.

24. lenght contraction? whats so hard to understand? distance gets shorter with speed

25. I was hoping to see if he understood it and could explain it.

26. x(observer) > x(traveler) since ct(traveler) depends on initial speed to the observer because (ct)^2 - (vt)^2 = (ct)^2. I know, it's wierd and some may even allready know it, but it deserves to be said and I'm sad about that contraction problem you've got there Kidding!

27. No problem, It's a very regular occurence about 4 hours after expansion...

28. Just don't let the universe explode first! once again kidding.

Okay, did I pass the test, or did I stink to much Union Oil?

29. x(observer) > x(traveler)
is true, but so is the very opposite aswell

Just for the sake of easy equations, lets use units where C = 1 its easier then in SR and GR

30. Why not 2? Then you can go in 1 when you go in half lightspeed, and all photons moves twice as quick! :P

31. Okay im wondering now; plasma gives off light. so im thinking to myself; maybe when the electrons are full of energy, as they are nearing the speed of light anyway in their orbits; would it be feasable to say that perhaps an electron (which has mass) actually reaches the speed of light when it has enough energy and then collapses in on itself ? (through quantum gravity?) but instead of creating a black hole, it creates a worm-hole to another orbit but before it disappears through this worm-hole and re-appears on another orbital plane it sheds some of its energy, and this energy becomes a photon, which has no mass as the mass has collapsed and travels at the same speed the electron was travelling moments before it collapsed (the speed of light).

32. You are clearly thinking of electrons as a tiny spherical mass orbiting a nucleus, this was [as far as I know] originally postulated to explain it's behaviour but seems to have cought on. Some modern thinking suggests an 'energy cloud' as opposed to a distinct mass.

It is a personal belief of mine that electrons, nuetrons and protons are all just alike in that they are each a quanta of energy, though clearly have different 'properties'. Wait and see.

MOD NOTE: I am considering moving this thread to 'physics' if anybody disagrees please PM me. - Megabrain.

33. an energy cloud ?

of what ? (dont say energy lol)

i find it hard to fathom; if indeed it is the way that i am picturing it to be; then how can we say that this orbit has 2 electrons, this one has four etc.....unless of course......perhaps this cloud of energy instead of being 2 electrons or 1 electron, perhaps the cloud has a certain strength of charge in that charge level 1 would equate to what used to be called 1 electron then charge level 2 is what used to be called 2 electrons etc.....

and yeah move it to the physics forum, its more relevant to that now.

34. the electron move from one orbit to another by jump since it doesnt have a specefic orbit.
The more accurate model of the atom dont see orbits like bhor did but rather a cloud with a probability of finding the electron. The electron have certain Quantum Numbers and each number represent a energy value (some QN energy levels are identical) so a so called jump is a change of QN and by that also energy and the clouds shape changes accordingly to the QN.

Electrons cant excede the speed of light in movement. This is the reason why mercary/quicksilver is liquid instead of solid. This is where the relativistic effects makes a significan differens in the QM world

35. Okay, now im intuiged. (This is likely to get moved to another subject) but.what does electron speed have to do with the viscosity of mercury ?

Also........I wasnt suggesting that the electrons exceeded the speed of light; my point was, if they have mass, then maybe they reach a point of critical mass ?

36. critical mass of what? critical mass is often refered to the amount of matter required to sustain a nuclear fission reaction

37. yes i know, but doesnt critical mass also refer to the point when a stars mass/energy becomes such that it will collapse on its own gravity ?

38. yes that is it also refered to at sometimes but its not as defined as the nuclear one is

39. Oh I see

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