Tag Archives: Aliens

I Feel Like I’m Going Blind or All About Orbs

Okay, not really blind, but you try looking at pictures of so-called orbs for half an hour or so, and not get bleary eyed.

Orbs and Sasquatch, orbs and aliens, orbs and ghosts, orbs and nature spirits, orbs, orbs, orbs! You don’t seem them with your eyeballs, but they show up in your pictures. Nobody much reported them showing up in photographs until digital cameras got cheap and abundant.

People, orbs are back scattered light from your digital camera’s flash. They happen especially when the flash is close to the lens, as in cheap digital cameras and your cell phone. The flash bounces off small things floating in the air near your camera’s lens, things like dust particles, tiny water droplets, even small insects with glossy wings.

It doesn’t even have to be light from a camera flash. If you have a light on your video camera, infrared light on your infrared video cam, even ambient light from a fire or passing car, that light can bounce off dust and give you a moving orb.

Technically, the reflected light passes through your camera’s lens and creates what is called an Airy disk, named after George Biddell Airy. Airy wrote the technical analysis of what causes the Airy disk effect back in 1835. They are caused by internal refraction in a lens of light from a point source. If your light source is sufficiently tiny and uniform, you get a point of light in the center of the disk, with several concentric circles of light expanding around it. Airy disks were first observed in early telescopes, when astronomers were looking at individual stars.

How fondly I recall the many hours I spent, using the Airy disk effect to align the lenses in my old catadioptric telescope. You knew you got it right when the star was smack dab in the middle of the Airy disks.

Now, why don’t all those orbs in all those pictures, if the orbs are Airy disks, show a little point of light with rings around it? That’s because dust, bugs, and what all, aren’t perfect little reflectors, aren’t perfect little point sources of light. Also, your cheap camera lens probably sucks and has flaws in it, especially if it’s on your cell phone.

On the other hand, if you see orbs floating around with your eyeballs, and they don’t show up in your pictures, you don’t have Airy disks. What you’ve got is spooks. Run. Run fast.

First shared on the Squatcher’s Lounge Podcast:

For the reading impaired, an audio version of this quasi theory may be found here: