Movement of Light
May. 12th, 2006 @ 09:10 am
true, assuming space is really the vast empty vaccuum we like to think of it is... and true, it may be devoid of a lot of the common atoms and molecules we think of... but there may be a ton of electrons, photons, quarks, etc., flowing through space to allow all of those things to travel just fine. It may be a vaccuum from our perspectives... but it's not a perfect vaccuum. There's a lot of "stuff" out there... it's just either not something we detect, or so widely dispursed that it doesn't come up in a detectable way. Further, if light is both a particle and a wave, it can ride the vastness of space just fine since it has everything it needs to get around.
Indeed, you are correct.
The theory on electromagnetic waves (forgetting about the particulate properties of light for a moment) does not require a medium in which to propagate. It's a bit unintuitive, but the waving is caused by the interaction between the electric and magnetic components of the wave. A varying electric field gives rise to a magnetic field (similar to an electomagnet), and a varying magnetic field gives rise to an electic field (similar to a generator). These field variations self-propagate through space, continuing on the "waving" though their mutual interaction.
cosmic radiation is also just another form particle wave. light, microwaves, cosmic radation....they're all made from particles that act like waves.
besides, i don't think physicists get too bent out of shape over this debate anymore. start talking about string theory though, and you've got trouble...
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