Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Colliding orbs?

Before orb collisionThis video (here) appears to show two orbs colliding. The reason for thinking that they collide, rather than simply pass close to each other, is that one of them goes off in a radically different direction after their encounter. Both orbs are in the middle of the frame. One (white) orb appears to be moving diagonally upwards from left to right. It continues on that track afterwards! The other (bluish) orb is going roughly horizontally, from left to right, and then goes vertically downwards after the encounter. At least that's what appears to happen, assuming the orbs don't somehow change colour during their encounter, which I think is highly unlikely as I've never seen an orb radically change colour like that! After the apparent collision, both orbs come into focus ('de-orb') and reveal themselves to be dust fibres. The fact that they both come into focus at the same time shows they are at the same distance from the camera, increasing the likelihood that it is a real collision.

Orb collisionIn the first photo (above right) you can see the orbs approaching each other. Notice how each 'orb' looks fuzzy. This is because they are actually both tight groups of overlapping orbs, indicating that the objects causing them both have multiple highlights. In the second photo (right) the orbs have apparently collided and appear as one single orb, brighter than both of its constituents.

In the third photo (below right) the two orbs are travelling apart following the apparent collision. The white orb is continuing on its upward journey. The blue one has apparently been diverted downwards. Both objects have 'de-orbed', as they are now in focus, and are revealed to be linear dust fibres. The fact that they both come into focus shows that they are each moving away from the camera. In fact, the orbs were already getting smaller before the collision, suggesting that they were moving away from the camera even then.

After orb collisionThese orbs are, of course, the out of focus highlights of bits of dust. As we can see, these particular dust particles are fibres and large by the standards of domestic dust (explaining why they appeared as overlapping orbs before the encounter). This makes a physical collision more likely than it would be for typical dust particles (and typical orbs) which are significantly smaller. Given that the white orb continued more or less unaffected, it is probably rather heavier than the blue orb. Given that these two bits of dust are large, by normal standards, it is likely that orb collisions are quite rare.

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