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Solar photons (Theosophy World #6)

Oct 01, 1996 08:01 PM
by Maxim Osinovsky

> by Eldon Tucker
> In the May, 1993 issue of DISCOVER MAGAZINE, there is discussion
> of the progress of the photon in escaping the sun. (A photon is a
> "particle" of light.)
> The article tells us that a photon created at the center of the
> sun doesn't simply come flying out, but may take as long as
> 170,000 years to reach the surface. It suggests that a photon's
> average forward speed is about 5/1000 inch per second (1.5 feet
> per hour). Once the photon reaches the surface, it achieves the
> full speed of light, which is 186,282 miles per second.

> What would things be like in a locality where the speed of light
> was 1/3 inch per minute, where space was filled in a sea of
> energy, where physical forms as we know them simply could not
> exist?

> There is much to think about regarding the sun and its
> relationship to the earth. The sun is both an important symbol, a
> useful analogy for understanding life, and an key component in the
> workings of the inner worlds. Scientific information about the sun
> provides us clues with which we can deeper our metaphysical
> understanding. Let's explore!

I did not read the above mentioned issue of the DISCOVER
MAGAZINE, but I am sure that if the discussion was based on
generally accepted scientific ideas, the above interpretation is
incorrect.  (Of course, if it was based on some non-orthodox
thinking about photons, then we are in the grey area, and
everything is possible; but then again, none of the non-orthodox
theories of photons is confirmed experimentally.)

According to modern physics, the local speed of light of photons
is always, under all circumstances, is same and equal to 186,282
miles per second, and can never be more or less than that.  (It
was hypothesized that photons have a very small rest mass; if it
would be confirmed it would mean photons could have any speed
below the above limit.) The APPARENT speed of light (not photons)
in material substances may be lower (e.g., around 140,000 miles
per second in the ordinary glass).

What the DISCOVER discussion should have meant, is, however,
something different--not the speed of photons but the speed of
photon transfer in the solar matter.  Due to its high
absorptivity, photons cannot pierce the solar matter (like
neutrinos do), and are quickly absorbed, then new photons are
emitted in some other directions, reabsorbed, and so forth;
consequently, they move along broken trajectories in a chaotic
manner, and only slowly, very slowly approach the exit surface of
the sun.  This process is called radiative transfer, or photon

So it does not look like "scientific information about the sun
provides us clues with which we can deeper our metaphysical
understanding." In fact the modern model of the sun and its
structure (the so called standard model of the sun) is rather
simple and boring, and explains everything except the observed
flux of solar neutrinos.

Evidently the model captures only the most superficial features
of what we call 'sun' in theosophy, and unfortunately it does not
give yet any clues to the solar life.  In microcosmical terms, it
is something like a model of heat transfer in the human body
based on the level of food intake and thermal properties of
tissues and bones--it is evident this model does not provide us
any clues even to human physiology, not to mention human
emotional, mental, and spiritual life.

It may be a tricky business to develop far reaching speculations
on the basis of popular expositions of scientific ideas found in
magazines for non-professionals as those expositions are usually
grossly oversimplified and may be misleadingly'clear.'

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