Laser + Light Bulb = Static

by Octapoo

Monday, July 6, 2020 at 04:11:00 UTC

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I was pointing a laser pointer at a light bulb and the laser light looks like static when you look at it. I was thinking about this and realized that the static I'm seeing might be because the coherent laser light is getting scattered around and either adding together or canceling out in different places. However, the spots were rather big compared to the relatively tiny wavelength of light, which made me think that maybe the effect isn't occurring in the bulb itself, but rather in my eyes, and the static I'm seeing is of the resolution of the "pixels" in my eyes.

So I took a picture of the bulb to test this theory, expecting to see the static in the resolution of the camera's sensor if that's the case. It was a bit of a challenge to get the camera to focus on the bulb correctly but here's what I got:

If you zoom in, this is what you see:

More zoom to see pixels:

So, IDK, but maybe my hypothesis is correct. The pattern is definitely at a finer resolution than it appears with my eyes, so that tells me that it's at least somehow related to what is capturing the image.


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