Photon Belt

photon belt

According to some new age channellers, the Earth will come into contact with something known as the "photon band" or "photon belt" in the not-too-distant future. They claim that when this occurs, our globe will be poured down with "pure energy." Those who have cleansed their "lightbodies" will be taken to heaven, while those who have not will perish/be left on earth to continue spiritual growth/have their souls purified.

It's worth noting that several unsuccessful forecasts for the timing of Earth's collision with the photon belt have been made. So far, the dates offered have been 1992, 1997, 2011, and 2012. Each has come to pass, leaving a bevvy of disgruntled crackpots in its wake. They slink away each time, making up an excuse for why nothing occurred and inventing a new date out of thin air. After their prediction failed in 1997, many of them began repeating this hilariously illiterate and nonsensical ad hoc rationalisation, verbatim: "Earth was put into a special hole in it [sic] that was drilled by a coherent bow wave of gamma particles from a nova that was first observed by astronomers in 1987." Then, undeterred, they set their sights on 2012.

While the photon belt is a component of a hazy new age philosophy, it does make certain specific assertions that may be tested.

  • Satellites found the photon belt in 1961, according to new age reports. Here, history is being rewritten. There were a lot of space-related events that year (for example, Yuri Gagarin became the first person to journey into space), but none of them included a "photon belt." Unless the government covered it up.

  • The band, they believe, encircles the Pleiades. This is likewise untrue, because no "photon belt" anomaly has been found around the Pleiades. The Pleiades star cluster is surrounded by an interstellar cloud of gas, plasma, and dust that looks streaky due to particle alignment with the magnetic fields between the cluster's stars. Technically, the Merope Nebula is a reflection nebula that was discovered in 1859, not 1961. It bears no resemblance to a belt, and there's no reason to believe it possesses magical abilities.

  • Our sun, they think, circles the Pleiades every 26,000 years, hitting the belt's midpoint every 12,500 years. The Pleiades are not orbited by our sun. Furthermore, we are moving away from them. We're presently 424 light years distant, according to the Hubble telescope's precision guiding sensors.

Although no photon belt has been found, is it theoretically feasible that one exists? Yes, but only under extremely unusual conditions. Photons move in straight lines, and only a black hole could cause them to create something resembling a belt. Black holes have curved spacetime, which causes light rays to bend around them at their event horizon, forming a photon sphere—the closest thing to a photon belt that exists. What would happen if we happened to come upon one? Would "pure energy" fall from the sky, purifying our souls? The pure energy notion isn't even worth thinking about since the way they're using the word "energy" is scientifically meaningless. Anyone who uses the word energy to signify anything other than "work potential," as the Debunkatron pointed out in Skeptoid episode #1, is abusing it and co-opting it for their own imprecise and ambiguous meaning. Energy is a computed number that may be connected with any system and is used to describe something's ability to accomplish work in the physical sciences. Because energy isn't a material in the same way that "volume" or "mass" aren't, talking about "pure" energy makes no sense—and isn't even incorrect. Our souls being cleansed...this assumes that we have souls to wash, yet the soul has never been separated or measured, and its existence has never been deduced via science. End of tale, the human brain is sufficiently complicated to develop awareness. However, spiritual awakening would be the last thing on our minds if we truly came into contact with a photon sphere. That is, unless you believe "spaghettification" (the stretching of things into long thin forms under an extremely powerful gravitational field, such as a black hole) is a good thing. I suppose I'll admit that it would stretch your brain, which isn't all that unlike than "growing your mind."

Finally, the photon belt appears to be a new-age take on the rapture legend. Someone wasn't happy with the plain, vanilla rapture, so they decided to spice it up a little. The ensuing jumble of half-baked ideas has the same basic plot as many rapture tales (a selected few leaving behind the great unwashed masses to be whisked up into a paradisiacal realm), but it's steeped in sci-fi technobabble, clothed in new age garb, and more difficult to believe than ever before. It's easy prey, and probably a harmless bit of pseudoscience (if there is such a thing), but it gives us a great chance to practise our scepticism.

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Posted By InnoTechzz