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Thread: unanswered questions

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
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    I've never gotten satisfactory answers to these questions. Maybe someone here would be able to.
    1. Take a laser. Click it on. Click it off. Now there would be a burst of collimated/coherent light of the length of the speed of light times the time the laster had been turned on.
    My understanding is that if this were done in space then this packet of light would be traveling at the speed of light.
    Now if I were to have aimed it at a lens or someother transparent medium it would slow down while it entered and traveled thru that lens.
    My question comes from what happens when it reenters the vacuum of space. I understand that it would resume it 's prior speed of light through a vacuum.
    If this is so, than would it be wrong to say that it accelerated? And if it did accelerate where did the energy come from to accelerate it?
    Would the length of the packet be shorter?
    2.) Are all atoms of a particular isotope of an element identical? Are they different from each other? How do we know this? The same question again now on electrons, photons protons neutrons.
    3) If space is a vacuum, would it not function like a vacuum cleaner, that is suck from the earth the contents of our atmosphere?. It seems to imply that gravity has to overcome a resistance. Sort of that space itself is a form of anti-gravity?
    4) If something were traveling towards the earth at the speed of light would it be invisible?
    5) What direction is our solar system traveling. Towards what star is that ? and by the same token from which star are we receding?

    thank you

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
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    616
    I guess this topic best fits in the Q&A section. I'm sure one of the moderators would move it to there.

  3. #3
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    Originally posted by 92bounderdiesel@Dec 5 2004, 08:17 PM
    would it be wrong to say that it accelerated?
    Yes, it would be wrong. The light is composed of individual photons, which are being absorbed and re-emitted by the electron clouds in the glass. What it is doing in the glass is slower becasuse it makes more stops along the way.
    2.) Are all atoms of a particular isotope of an element identical? Are they different from each other? How do we know this? The same question again now on electrons, photons protons neutrons.
    Concerning electrons, they are identical. Protons and neutrons behave as though they are identical, but there may be instantaneous differences inside them related to the movement of the quarks they are composed of. Photons do not need to have identical energies. As to atoms of an individual isotope, they do not need to be identical in a microscopic sense. There are isomers, which are different semi-stable spin configurations of the nucleons making up the nucleus, but going further, at any instant the nucleons are all rattling together in a variety of ways. One piece of evidence for you that nuclei are not all identical is that for radio-isotopes, like Uranium-235, they do not all decay at exactly the same time, and in fact some isotopes decay in several different ways. If they were truly identical this would not be possible.
    3) If space is a vacuum, would it not function like a vacuum cleaner
    Vacuum does not have sucking power. Atmosphere has pushing power.
    4) If something were traveling towards the earth at the speed of light would it be invisible?
    Yes, until it got to us.

    5) ... from which star are we receding?
    We are moving away from the Orion Nebula.
    Forming opinions as we speak

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
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    I live on the west coast of northern america, have no telescope or binocculars and know nothing about the stars other than the location of the big dipper and the north star. How would I find the orion nebula?

  5. #5
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    Originally posted by Sphinx@Dec 5 2004, 10:38 PM
    How would I find the orion nebula?
    Roughly speaking it is in the middle of Orion. The actual nebula as huge, govering a large fraction of the sky. The I might be best to just say we're coming from the general direction of Orion. There is one particularly bright part of the Orion nebule which is often called M42-The Orion Nebula. This is the middle 'star' in a string of stars called Orion's knife [or sword], just below the three bright stars making up his belt.

    As to actually finding Orion, it is one of the easiest constellations in the sky to see, because of the several bright stars in it. You'll need a star chart to locate it. About nine tonight, you should see it above the horizon in the East to Southeast part of the sky.
    Forming opinions as we speak

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