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Invisibility and the end of Earth

Thu Apr 11, 2013, 6:36 PM


Hello and welcome to the newest round of: random musings of an astrophysicist.

1. Invisibility

Invisibility is a popular ability in science fiction and fantasy. There is magical invisibility via spells, potions or cloaks. And there is technologically achieved invisibility in many forms. But if we were to ask the laws of physics, what would actually happen if we did turn invisible?
First, there are two ways to achieve true invisibility. Either light goes through you without any contact, or it goes around you.
And that's the problem. If light doesn't interact with you, then how do you see? No light falls into your eyes either, so you are blind. An interaction always works both ways. The world is getting no visual information that you are there, and in turn you get no information about the world.
But it is worse. If you were to turn perfectly invisible right now, you would pretty much explode and the particles that made up your body would fall into the Earth like little ghosts.
Why? Because the force that binds your molecules together and enables atoms to exist is the electromagnetic force (EM force). This is the force between two charged particles. How is this force transmitted? I mean, if you take two magnets and hold them close, how do they know they are there? How do they reach out across empty space and exert influence? Light!! Light is the carrier of the EM force. Your magnets fire particles of light at each other, and each such particle carries a bit of momentum and energy.
So, turning invisible in the way of having light go through you would mean to shut off the EM force. Only then would light from the outside no longer interact with your particles. But then, all your particles stop seeing each other as well. Shutting off the EM force = shutting off the glue that binds your particles together. BOOOM!! Hahaha.
But why would you fall into the Earth? Because gravity is currently pressing you against the ground, and the ground is pushing back via the EM force as well. This is true for all things you are touching. Touching simply means that your particles get close to other particles, which then interact via light. So this means .... shutting off the EM force = shutting off the ability to touch things. Thus your particles fall into the Earth as if it weren't there. Gravity still acts on those particles.


2. The end of Earth

Did you know that Earth as a living planet is now in the last 20% of its life time? Yes, only 1/5 of its life time is left.
There is a common bit of misinformation about this. Perhaps you have been told that the sun will become a red giant in about 4 billion years - it will expand and become so large that it may reach and swallow the Earth. But computer models can't entirely predict if the sun will become large enough for that or not. But no matter what happens, the Earth will be toast and life will end then. You heard about that, yes? It's WRONG.
The truth is, the sun will indeed become a red giant. This is part of the natural life cycle of our home star. But life will end 3 billion years earlier.
How???
Right now, our sun is in a phase called the main sequence. All stars go through this phase, before becoming giants or other. During the main sequence, stars are not stationary - they become continuously more luminous, hotter and larger. In its youth, our sun was only 70% as luminous as it is today. In 1 billion years, it will be 10% more luminous than it is today. At that point, its light will blow away Earth's atmosphere and vaporize the oceans, then blow away the water vapor, leaving the Earth a dry rock without air. And thus all life will end.
Fun fact 1: The sun will actually turn into a red giant more than once. If becomes one, then shrinks again, then becomes one again. This cycle goes faster and faster and is quite irregular, while the sun is blowing away its layers and forming a planetary nebula that one day, a distant civilization will photograph and put as their desktop backgrounds.
Fun fact 2: the official name of our sun is Sol. Why don't we ever use it outside of sci-fi?!
Fun fact 3: the sun is entirely snow white, as seen from space as well as from Earth. Any picture of the sun showing it as orange is a false color image, allowing you to see details.

Random fun fact for those who read everything: A question mark ? shows the ass of a cat from behind, when the animal is curious. An exclamation mark ! shows the ass of a cat from behind when the animal is surprised. !??!?!?!?! lots of cat butts. Meow meow meow. Hahaha.

This concludes this round of: random musings of an astrophysicist (who also happens to be a science fantasy writer and can't help but think about this stuff)
Now, where did I put that calculator again...

Add a Comment:
 
:iconagwada:
Agwada Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
"Random fun fact for those who read everything: A question mark ? shows the ass of a cat from behind, when the animal is curious. An exclamation mark ! shows the ass of a cat from behind when the animal is surprised. !??!?!?!?! lots of cat butts. Meow meow meow. Hahaha." <-- Hahaha. :) 

Nice journal entry! What would happen to the earth after it's remainder 20% of life is exhausted? Would it become less geologically active, or was that the part where the sun would become more luminous and vapourise our atmosphere? 
Reply
:icondarksilverflame:
DarkSilverflame Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Well the Earth is over 4 billion years old and the sun will evaporate the oceans in 1 billion years. Therefore the next 1 billion years will be the last 1/5 or 20% of the Earth's life span :)
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:iconagwada:
Agwada Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Ah, cheers, just thought to confirm. :)
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:iconkeyotea:
Keyotea Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
So the world would end in a billion years? So I can stop worrying about it ending in my lifetime.
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:iconroseofnoonvale:
RoseofNoonvale Featured By Owner May 6, 2013
Invisibility and the end of the Earth are subjects that are both fascinating and disturbing.
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:iconilonalion:
ilonalion Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2013
Can you turn temporarily invisible? teleporting!

...ilona
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:icongreendragon27:
greendragon27 Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Invisibility, the final days of Earth, and cat butts; I wish more textbooks were written like this.

... Might we also say that that last topic was a CATASStrophe? Sorry, I had to
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:icondarksilverflame:
DarkSilverflame Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Funny :D
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:iconyourworldisntreal:
yourWORLDisntREAL Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2013  Student General Artist
sol literarly means sun in swedish, just felt like mentioning that
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:icongreendragon27:
greendragon27 Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
And in Spanish, too
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:iconalphabetsoup314:
alphabetsoup314 Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It is possible to get EM waves to reflect around an object, and then meet again behind the object, with minimal distortions, and making it look as if the object isn't there:
[link]
[link]
However, so far it appears to only work for microwaves (which have a longer wavelength than visible light, and therefore easier to work with using the method shown in those articles), and in only one direction.

Another not-so-physics way of achieving 'invisibility' is to build a cloak or shield that projects the scene behind the object in front of the object - essentially turning the object into a TV. I've seen it done a few times, but not sure how far this method has gotten today.
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:icongwenvar:
Gwenvar Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2013   General Artist
Search for "cloaking devices".
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:icondarksilverflame:
DarkSilverflame Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yes, I know, but that is precisely one of the two methods I mentioned - making light go around you. You'd still be blind if it were a perfect cloak that encompasses you, because no light reaches your eyes :)
Reply
:iconeevee-magican:
Eevee-Magican Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2013
haha, awesome. Never thought about that. I'll have to keep that in mind cause now I can't create any character who's invisible. so question - if someone were to create an invisible suit of sorts. would it still react the same way with the person - or would the suit itself just combust and the person be left without it anyway? Kinda interesting to think about.

Otherwise with the sun thing, "we'll die one way or another even if the sun doesn't reach us" pretty much refers to the earth not being able to sustain life due to it, but I"m glad you clarified it anyway since not everyone does :3

p.s. I prefer curious cats better xD
p.p.s. did you find your calculator?
Reply
:icondarksilverflame:
DarkSilverflame Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Well, if the suit is to be invisible, it has to bend light around it like water flows around an object. If the suit were invisible in the sense that light goes through it, then not only would the suit dematerialize as explained in the journal, but the person in it would be visible normally, since the suit would be acting as if it weren't there ;)
Reply
:iconeevee-magican:
Eevee-Magican Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2013
lol makes sense
Reply
:iconchimichangaeater:
chimichangaeater Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Even if you found some way to make light pass through your body, you would still be able to see all the dirt, dust, and gross stuff on your body. You'd just look like a walking dirt cloud. I guess that's one way to get someone to bathe more frequently.
Haha, cat butts wth? ! ? ! ?
Reply
:iconsnappyirides:
SnappyIrides Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Hey there!
Thanks again for an awesome science segment! It's ironic, I take a break from uni work to go on da, and then I read something science related. So much for a brain break!!!!
I seriously didn't know that light (sort of) holds our molecules together! I've GOT to quiz my chem teacher about that!
You must, must, must do a journal on the 'invisibility cloak' that some bright spark made on the molecular level. I've heard of it, but I'm sure you know more about it than me! They got light to bend around something, can't remember how!
Reply
:icondarksilverflame:
DarkSilverflame Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Well, as long as the brain break didn't break your brain ... :)
All forces of nature are transmitted via particles; they are what carry the energy and momentum from one particle to another. So they don't only "sort of" hold molecules together, they actually do ;)
Reply
:iconsnappyirides:
SnappyIrides Featured By Owner May 3, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
that's a bizarre concept to wrap my head around!
Reply
:icondarksilverflame:
DarkSilverflame Featured By Owner May 3, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It's not actually that strange if you think about it: It's like two people sliding past each other on an icy surface, while shooting at each other with water pistols. The water molecules carry energy and momentum, so each person pushed the other one away. Just like two particles of the same charge push each other away by firing photons at each other ;)
Reply
:iconsnappyirides:
SnappyIrides Featured By Owner May 18, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
okay, thats a cool analogy :P
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:iconmmkaay:
Mmkaay Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2013  Student Digital Artist
:iconthisplz:

Smart people like you make the world a more awesome place.
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:icondarksilverflame:
DarkSilverflame Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
No, any good person makes the world a more awesome place :heart:
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:iconmmkaay:
Mmkaay Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2013  Student Digital Artist
If people like you say so since you know more than I do.
Reply
:iconrjl7983:
RJL7983 Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2013
Let it be said that there are virtual photons and actual photons; both exist but mediation between Leptons and Nucleons is not free light but a feild of virtual ones. It isn't just true that laying in the ground is a balance of EM and Gravity but the size of Nuetrons and Protons themselves is a balance between the strong and Weak Nuclear Force. the amazing thing is th EM Force is a dual nature being both attractive and repulsive yet poetically beng linked to the Weak nuclear force; partially controlling the size of Hadrons through the Electroweak force. Nature is full of balance. That being said very informative. Photons are an amazement on to themselves anyway.
Reply
:iconsunflower901:
sunflower901 Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2013
I love your science segments! As someone studying microbiology and immunology it's cool to see what's going on with earth and planetary sciences.
Reply
:icondestinyskitten:
DestinysKitten Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2013
Wow I love how you make it actually make sense especially for invisibility but you could just use telepathy and make everyone believe you are invisible when you're actually not =D
Reply
:icondarksilverflame:
DarkSilverflame Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
In fiction, you could of course do that, yes :D
Reply
:iconhaganetsubasaxiii:
HaganeTsubasaXIII Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2013
that was awesome love you
Reply
:iconcatelee2u:
catelee2u Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I leave this journal with goosebumps ;-)
Reply
:iconaquadragondavanin:
AquaDragonDavanin Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
while I was reading this my cat jumped onto my lap and looked at the screen, her tail was a question mark. She's cuddling me now. :3
Reply
:icondarksilverflame:
DarkSilverflame Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
That is sweet C:
And yes, those symbols ? ! actually do show what I described. It's not even just a coincidence :D
Reply
:iconaquadragondavanin:
AquaDragonDavanin Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
It's pretty cool. ^^
Reply
:iconlacriyme:
Lacriyme Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm one of those folks that read the entire thing, and I have to say, that is really interesting. I've always been one for science, and the invisibility thing in particular is very neat. I've learned quite a bit from this journal. Do keep writing them! C:
Reply
:icondarksilverflame:
DarkSilverflame Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you, I'm glad you liked it C:
Reply
:iconmamalucia:
MamaLucia Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2013  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Invisibility = "cat-ass-trophy." =P

(And PS, I ADORE cats.)
Reply
:icongfsa3:
GFSA3 Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
Thumbs up for fiery space death.
Reply
:iconhalf-heartedshadow:
Half-HeartedShadow Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
:iconmindblownplz:
Amazingly informative and yet funny as well.
And I never noticed the last few fun facts before you pointed it out... haha
Reply
:iconbeollain:
Beollain Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2013
you are a funny, yet informative bird
!?!?!?!?
Reply
:iconraikanearthdragon:
RaikanEarthDragon Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
WHAT NUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
Why Does Earth Have to Die DX
Reply
:iconnoodleishious:
Noodleishious Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Mother of god :O
Reply
:iconshadowdragon700:
Shadowdragon700 Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
very nice. the invisibility thing is quite agreeable, not that I've thought about it before, but now that you bring it up, I agree. Thus I prefer perception filters. rather than literally become invisible, tricking everyone to think you are not there is so much better.

And good luck finding your calculator. Those can be expensive.
Reply
:iconmotoneko:
MotoNeko Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2013
Btw, Sol is what we call the sun in swedish :D or if the sentence is like "Th sun is hot" you say "Solen är het" :D
Reply
:iconmotoneko:
MotoNeko Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2013
First, happy to hear that there is a possibility that the sun wont explode and then be erased :D but the thing about vaporizing earth.. have you thought that the sun could too make a gravitation? it could be that as the sun is growing it might move earth and some of the other planets further away? think like two wheels rotating around eachother while one of them is growing... just an idea :shrug:
Reply
:icondarksilverflame:
DarkSilverflame Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It's not only a possibility that the sun won't explode, because it can't. It has too little mass to do that. As for gravity, the sun has it right now like all other objects. Otherwise there would be no solar system to begin with. Size doesn't change its gravity :)
Reply
:iconmotoneko:
MotoNeko Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2013
who knows? in time poeople thought our world was flat
Reply
:icondarksilverflame:
DarkSilverflame Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
What do you mean, who knows? Gravity is well understood, we know how it works and we can calculate the gravity in the entire solar system and simulate the motion of the planets millions of years into the future. You may not know much about it, but others do.
Reply
:iconmotoneko:
MotoNeko Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2013
that's similar to what they thought about evolution, "God made every animal perfect" they said and then Charles Darwin comes and proves the opposite :D
Reply
:icondarksilverflame:
DarkSilverflame Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You are comparing science to religion. Gravitational physics is already a science and it is fact ;)
Reply
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