How long does it take for a photon from the Sun to reach your camera sensor (or film) and help form a photograph? If you answered “8 minutes,” you’d be kind of right, and but also kind of wrong. An answer that’s more correct is “at least tens of thousands of years.” Read more…
Here’s an interesting look at the amazing camera being developed at MIT that shoots a staggering one trillion frames per second — fast enough to create footage of light traveling:
[...] the researchers were able to create slow-motion movies, showing what appears to be a bullet of light that moves from one end of the bottle to the other [...] Each horizontal line is exposed for just 1.71 picoseconds, or trillionths of a second, Dr. Raskar said — enough time for the laser beam to travel less than half a millimeter through the fluid inside the bottle.
To create a movie of the event, the researchers record about 500 frames in just under a nanosecond, or a billionth of a second. Because each individual movie has a very narrow field of view, they repeat the process a number of times, scanning it vertically to build a complete scene that shows the beam moving from one end of the bottle, bouncing off the cap and then scattering back through the fluid. If a bullet were tracked in the same fashion moving through the same fluid, the resulting movie would last three years. [#]
They believe that the technology may one day be useful for medicine, industry, science, or even consumer photography.