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Science

People Emit Visible Light 347

Posted by timothy
from the lots-of-girls-I-know-glow-visibly dept.
An Anonymous Reader writes "The human body literally glows, emitting a visible light in extremely small quantities at levels that rise and fall with the day, scientists now reveal. Japanese researchers have shown that the body emits visible light, 1,000 times less intense than the levels to which our naked eyes are sensitive. In fact, virtually all living creatures emit very weak light, which is thought to be a byproduct of biochemical reactions involving free radicals."
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People Emit Visible Light

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  • nothing special... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Draque (1367509) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @03:12PM (#28798715)
    This isn't any kind of new or unpredicted phenomenon. Everything that emits heat emits some light. The chances that the wavelength of a photon emitted by a human being (while giving off normal heat) will fall within the visible spectrum is very low, but given that we emit billions and billions of photons on a regular basis, it's sure to happen every now and then. Get sensitive enough cameras, and you'll see that glow from everything that isn't at absolute zero.
  • An "aura"? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Viper2026 (648272) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @03:14PM (#28798737)
    Whod've thunk it...
  • Biophotons (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Eukariote (881204) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @03:26PM (#28798935)
    Similar "biophoton" phenomena have been studied in the past at the International Institute of Biophysics [lifescientists.de]. It is most interesting as conventional theories do not predict such emissions.
  • Re:Establish in 2005 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 23, 2009 @04:07PM (#28799475)

    It was discovered in 1923 by a Russian scientist, Alexander Gurvitsh. It was re-discovered in the 70s by a German physicist named Fritz-Albert Popp. This stuff is really old, they discovered nothing new. Popp proposes that this emission is very different from typical black body radiation.

  • Re:Biblical? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Magic5Ball (188725) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @04:18PM (#28799631)

    Not really a halo...

    At least not to most people. Assuming that light sensitivity and light emission are independently normally distributed in the population, it's entirely possible that extremely sensitive individuals can see the light coming off the extremely bright individuals. Further, it is possible for genetically isolated populations to have gained extreme sensitivity or extreme brightness through the usual biological mechanisms, or if such traits were selected for through cultural or religious practices. Also, consider that relatively unstressed young Japanese men may not be fully activating whatever metabolism or physiology issues the light. There may be something to metabolism around "afterglow", women glowing when they're pregnant, unusual mental capacity, etc. which could easily generate 10 or 100 x the intensity observed in this study, and thus be observable by many people. (All sorts of biological processes span several orders of magnitude in concentration, intensity, energy, etc., and plenty of other bio-luminescent organisms show that the energy levels required to emit naked eye visible light are mostly not harmful to the organism.)

    Whether we are consciously aware of the brightness of others, or if we do anything with that information are topics for future study.

  • Re:Biblical? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bill_kress (99356) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @05:40PM (#28800669)

    Not that I really feel the ability to see auras would prove God or psychics or anything, but your conclusion is making an assumption that has no basis.

    Just because we can see a dim light, does not mean that a bright one would blind us. It tends to be true due to the way our iris works, but even in bright indirect sunlight we can see dim directed lights, and there is no saying that the iris would filter out all of a dim directed light.

    90% of our filtering goes on in our brains anyway. We filter away information we don't think we need--the way you may choose to lighten an image but lose some detail--the detail is still in the image, we've just chosen to view it in a way that doesn't allow us to see it.

    So it's possible that your brain could see things that others don't in the same way that a blind man can hear sounds you can't (or more accurately "won't" hear because your brain considers them background and turns them off)

  • Re:Uh, duh. (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 23, 2009 @07:23PM (#28801719)

    I'm not sure if your statement is insightful or anything, the only scientific proof I would think we have right now that acid would affect any real light perception is the simple fact that it causes major pupil dilation which makes you much more sensitive to light because youâ(TM)re obviously absorbing a bit more of it but I'm a skeptic if the effect you notice on LSD is anything short of just a hallucination. It is a hallucinogen after all.

    I've taken way more than my share of acid and talked to many people who have also and it's pretty well known experience to see major and minor "halo" affects around living things in particular but inanimate objects also. That said discounting all the other major affects you experience on acid it's remarkable enough to stand out and does make you think or at least explains where the mystical aura idea may have started from and crazy religions. Shrooms!!!

  • Re:Biblical? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by treeves (963993) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @07:33PM (#28801829) Homepage Journal
    Which, interestingly, is the oldest book in the Bible - not Genesis.
  • by petterb (1406373) on Friday July 24, 2009 @02:34AM (#28804131)
    Given that antioxidants neutralize free radicals, here's a test one could do to see if free radicals really are involved.

    Take two groups of people. Group #1 are people who's on the paleolithic diet (stone age diet), with very high intakes of antioxidants and thus a low level of free radicals. And group #2 are on the fast food diet or something that's really low in antioxidants and thus have a high consentration of free radicals in their bodies.

    I would expect to see more light from group #2.
  • Re:Biblical? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Kratisto (1080113) on Friday July 24, 2009 @06:03AM (#28805019)
    If light in the visible part of the spectrum is emitted by a falling tree in the forest undergoing biochemical free radical reactions, but no one is around to see it, does it emit visible light?
  • by powerlord (28156) on Friday July 24, 2009 @09:30AM (#28806127) Journal

    I'm curious though if the brain can be trained to pick up this information though.

    Most people believe that their entire vision is in color, despite the fact that the cones detecting color are only in the center of the eye. The edges of our vision (the "corner" of our eye) only sees black and white. The brain fills in the detail so we think we see it all in color.

    Likewise, if you can get the brain to NOT suppress the very rare photon events, then its possible that it could "save and correlate them" into what some people perceive as auras.

    It would explain why some people innately see them (their brain happens to have wired that way), and why others can see them after Meditation and practice (to train the brain to unfilter things).

    I'll admit I'm neither a Psychologist, a Biologist or Physicist, but to me at least its an interesting hypothesis.

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