200 Proof: Light is Dimmer from Far Away

17) “Olber’s Paradox” states that if there were billions of stars which are suns the night sky would be filled completely with light. As Edgar Allen Poe said, “Were the succession of stars endless, then the background of the sky would present us a uniform luminosity, since there could exist absolutely no point, in all that background, at which would not exist a star.” In fact Olber’s “Paradox” is no more a paradox than George Airy’s experiment was a “failure.” Both are actually excellent refutations of the heliocentric spinning ball model.

WARNING: DO NOT ATTEMPT THE EXPERIMENT EVEN IF YOU ARE THE AUTHOR OF THIS QUOTATION!

I would like to offer the example of a light bulb. If the light bulb is on, and someone looks at it from across the room, it will appear dimmer than if the light bulb is inches away from the eyeball.

In fact, a certain number of photons have to hit the human eye’s photosensors to even register as visible. I believe this number is 3, but I may be wrong. Regardless of the precise number, light can fail to be perceived for a number of possible reasons.

Reason 1: The light source is too dim to be registered as visible given the distance of the light source (this is why telescopes will point at the same section of sky for hours trying to absorb as much light from the dark sections of sky to identify very distant stars).

proof17-dim

Reason 2: The light source is blocked out by something more bright (like how stars disappear with the bright sun present).

proof17-bright light

Reason 3: The light source is blocked out by something dark (inluding dust, people in movie theaters standing up, and my dog).

proof17-dark block

Reason 4: The light source is too far away to have reached the observer given the time since it was created.

Proof17-distance

So there are a lot of reasons that light does not get seen. The idea that all of these dim lights might add up to a bright light all of the time is like trying to figure out how many laser pointers it would take to make a light bright enough to shine on the moon.

Even so, none of this has anything to do with the Earth being a spinning ball or moving around the sun. If you buy the short age of the universe, you can only see 3000 light years away, so you can easily explain Obler’s Paradox.

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