9. The Brightest Light
The radiance of our own Sun is already noteworthy. Now, imagine the combined light of a billion Suns. That’s about the equivalent of what physicists recently brought to life in a lab. Officially the brightest luminosity ever seen on Earth, the light also behaved in an unexpected manner. It changed objects’ appearances.
To understand this, one must look at how sight works. Photons need to scatter from electrons before vision becomes possible. Under normal circumstances, electrons bump one photon at a time. When something turns brighter, the shape usually remains the same as in lower light. The powerful laser used in the experiment scattered a jaw-dropping 1,000 photons. Since scattering equals visibility, the intensity at which it occurred changed the way the photons behaved and consequently how an illuminated object is perceived. This strange effect became more obvious when the super-sunlight got stronger. Because the photons’ normal energy and direction were altered, light and colors were produced in unusual ways.