Science of Light

Lesson Two


Sunlight and Climate


    To quote a doctor native to India :


    “In olden days the wise mothers used to massage their children with pure cow’s melted butter (“ghee”), and used to expose them to morning sun.  Even today, this folk medicine works wonderfully if used regularly.”


    In temperate zones there is more latitude in the time of day when the skin may be exposed, but even so, around 10 a.m. is usually quite fine, and safer for small children.


    Sunlight is the simplest and most natural way to insure vitamin D in the body, and this vitamin is necessary to the utilization of calcium in the system. Therefore sunlight, along with foods which are adequate in calcium content, helps insure proper bone growth and good teeth.  It has been claimed by some physicians that sunlight is the only thing, externally applied, that can be physically absorbed by the unbroken skin.


    In sunbathing, one should expose the skin only a few minutes the first day out, slowly increasing the amount of time each day, until at length an hour, or two at the most, can be safely enjoyed.


    Sunshine includes not only the visible portion of radiation from the sun, but also the invisible, such as ultraviolet and infrared rays.





    Ultraviolet light can cause sunburn.  At the beach on a hazy day, when the sun does not appear to be very bright, a person can get a particularly bad sunburn because so much ultraviolet light is scattered in all directions by the tiny water droplets in the air.  Fortunately, the earth’s atmosphere absorbs the short ultraviolet waves more strongly than it does those waves we see with, and so protects us somewhat from them.


    The higher up one goes in the atmosphere, the more likely he is to be sunburned.  At even five or six miles up in the air, the risk of sunburn and damage to the eyes is very great.  Because ultraviolet waves do not go through ordinary glass, however, goggles and window panes give good protection.    


    The invisible ultraviolet radiation which causes tanning comprises only a very small portion of the total radiation.  Nevertheless, it is very important to health, producing vitamin D by its action on substances in the skin and in plants.  The commonly used artificial source of ultraviolet light is the mercury arc.  Ultraviolet and near-ultraviolet rays also comprise the so-called actinic rays which are potent in effecting chemical changes on photographic films.  “Aktinos” is a Greek work meaning “ray”.


    Ultraviolet waves are important because they kill bacteria.  Dishes and drinking glasses can be sterilized by proper exposure to a beam of light from a mercury lamp or some other source of strong ultraviolet rays.  But while it is an important germicidal agent, the contaminated atmosphere over large cities robs radiation of practically all the shorter wavelengths in such areas.  The use of a home ultraviolet lamp is not encouraged, unless under skilled supervision.


Lesson two, page 2


      Radiation from the sun is the ultimate source of nearly all energy that is essential for the maintenance of plant and animal life on the earth, and the operation of most natural phenomena on the surface of the earth.


    It is the electromagnetic energy in sunlight that warms the earth.  On the way, the energy is all electromagnetic.  When the light hits the earth, part of it changes to heat.


    If the steady stream of sunlight ever stopped, the temperature of the earth would drop to around 450° below zero.  Then nothing could live here.  Visible radiation is commonly termed light; however the word “light” now has a broader meaning and includes the ultraviolet or that invisible portion immediately adjoining the shortest wavelength of visible radiation.  The visible portion comprises nearly one-half of the total radiation from the sun which is actually received at the surface of the earth, and the infra-red radiation, chiefly known for its heat-producing characteristics, accounts for almost all of the other half.


    An excess of radiation, due to factors such as atomic explosions which rupture the earth’s outer layer of ozone, are thought to be responsible for some skin cancer.  We can appreciate the importance of keeping the earth’s atmosphere intact, without holes, when we learn that the sunshine reaching the outer edge of earth’s atmosphere has a radiation closely equivalent in temperature of between 5800° to 6000° C, or about 10,500°F to 10,800° F.


    However, in traveling through to reach earth’s surface, this radiation is absorbed and weakened by various constituents of the atmosphere.  It is also scattered by air molecules, and this scattering occurs in the short wave-lengths, giving the sky its blue color, as seen from the surface of the earth.  To an observer in the stratosphere with fewer air molecules above him, the sky appears dark.


    Why do clouds look white?  A cloud floating in the air is made up of many small drops of water.  Each drop has a curved surface, so it scatters the sunlight that strikes it, scattering all colors in the sunlight equally, so when our eyes receive this light with all colors mixed in it as they are in sunlight itself, we see the cloud as something white.  When larger particles or droplets of water in the form of mist or fog are suspended in the atmosphere, the visibility is much reduced, and thus results in a loss of the blue color of the sky.


    Particles or drops that float in the air scatter all colors equally only if they are much larger than the wave length of the light that strikes them.  If they are about the same size as the light waves, then the scattering is unequal, and the resulting appearance is not white, as with clouds.


    On a clear day, the atmosphere consists of air molecules, dust particles and water droplets, most of them small in size compared to the wave length of visible light.  The sky appears blue to us because although sunlight passes freely through the ordinary thickness of atmospheric gases, these small particles scatter part of the light.  Violet light, whose wave length is much shorter, is scattered about nine times more effectively than the longer red waves.  Therefore the blue range becomes more visible.

Lesson two, page 3


    At sunrise or sunset, the angle of the sunlight has less effect on the short-wave lengths, as the sun’s rays travel a long path through the turbid lower atmosphere.  There is less scattering of the blue and violet rays, thus causing colors to appear from the longer wave lengths, or the red and yellow range.


    Northern lights or “aurora borealis”: Sometimes on dark nights, especially in the northern part of America , colored lights can be seen dancing in the northern sky, stretching in big streamers or vast fan shapes all the way from overhead down to the northern horizon.


    These lights occur when streams of electrons from the sun strike the atoms in the upper part of the earth’s atmosphere.  There the air pressure is very low and conditions are like those inside a gas discharge tube such as a neon sign or a mercury lamp.


    Similar lights, called the “aurora australis”, often flash above the earth’s south magnetic pole.  The reason these lights in the sky are brightest near the north and south poles is that the earth is a giant magnet.  Its magnetic forces send electrons from the sun spiraling in paths around the magnetic poles, and these produce the light when they strike atoms in the rarefied air.




    The prime cause of weather and climate are the amount and distribution in time and space of the solar radiation which is intercepted by the earth.  The angle of the sun’s rays to the horizontal plane of the earth is an important factor, as seen by the difference in climate between summer and winter, and between the poles and the equator.  The rays come in with more of a slant in winter because the earth is then tipped away from the sun.  As a result, the same amount of energy is spread over a larger surface in winter, and there is less heating.


    Man is a very adaptable animal, and changes gradually to cope with the environment in which he finds himself.  For example, in very high altitudes one finds persons of large lung capacity and higher concentration of blood corpuscles than at low altitudes, to regulate the oxygen intake according to bodily needs.  But upon moving to a different altitude, these characteristics can change in one generation, readapting to the breathing requirements in his new environment.


Sunshine and Climate


    There are essentially three skin types found in human beings.


    1)  The pinkish-white which burns when exposed to certain short-wave lengths in the solar and sky radiation.  It is found in the descendants of tribes from northwestern Europe , where sunshine is rare.


   2)  The second type is chocolate-brown or black, which is completely unaffected by solar radiation.  Presumable this pigmentation was originally acquired at the tropical margins of the deserts, and in the savannas.


Lesson two, page 4


    3)  The third skin type is changeable, taking different shades in the individuals, variously described as creamy white, olive, yellow, red or brown.  The primary distinction is that it can pale when covered, and darken or tan when exposed to the sun, an adaptation to the widespread climatic type where seasons alternate between cloudy rain periods and bright sky.


    Another climatically-induced characteristic in man and other warm-blooded animals is that individuals tend to be larger in cold climates, and smaller in the warmer sections of the earth.


    Metabolism rates are higher in the cold climates than in the hot.  This is due to the fact that heat produced by metabolism is normally lost through the skin, but where the temperature exceeds 83° F. the processes which accomplish this become insufficient, and perspiration starts, so that cooling by evaporation may take place.  At high temperatures and low humidity man loses large quantities of water.  This causes not only a problem of replacement but also creates a great strain on the circulatory mechanism.


    Thus the wisdom of avoiding exertion at midday becomes evident when living in hot areas.  It is better in such cases to work mornings and evenings, and take a long midday siesta.


    One need not be a scientist to observe the effect of sunlight on growing things.  Anyone having house plants can notice how spindly and pale most plants become after a time away from direct light.  They begin to bend toward the nearest window, reaching to catch sunlight which is needed to convert substances, which have been drawn from the roots up to the leaves, into usable food energy.  The growth of seedlings indoors (or of animals) can be promoted and speeded up by use of artificial light where natural sunlight is insufficient, especially during periods of shorter daylight hours.


    At such seasons, the poultryman may turn on electric lights for awhile in the morning and the evening, appearing to lengthen the day and quicken the growth of his baby chicks; while with laying hens also, egg production can be increased by simulating the longer daylight hours of the summer laying season.





    Photosynthesis is the process by which green plants harness the energy of sunlight, as absorbed by chlorophyll, to build organic compounds from carbon dioxide, inorganic salts and water.  This reaction is often called assimilation or fixation of carbons. “Photosynthesis” means, literally, “putting together with light.”


    While there are many ways by which organic substances are decomposed in respiration and similar reacting, there is only one reaction, photosynthesis, that for millions of years has counterbalanced death and decomposition.  If there were no vegetation on earth, animal life, including man, would quickly disappear.


    Among the many pigments appearing in the plant kingdom, only chlorophylls are known to convert sunlight into chemical energy.  Chlorophyll is the green dye whose color is so characteristic of meadows and forests.


    To recreate the processes of photosynthesis, light energy may be used in various ways:


1.  To speed up reactions that would proceed in the dark in the same way, but at much slower rates.

Lesson two, page 5


2.  For reactions that will not occur unless light energy is available.


3.  For a reaction in which the new products still hold as potential chemical energy a part of the light energy originally absorbed.


Remainder of lesson, and diagrams, as taught by Father Paul:


The invisible force which travels from the sun curves toward the earth and passes through the earth, then travels back as magnetic force,  The positive and negative.  Light does not travel, light exists, and hangs in big globes around the bodies of sun and earth.

    Chlorophyll travels in spirals of mist toward the sun, the source of light.

    The sun pulsates, and so does the self.  There has to be a return circuit.

    Air also is not just air; air is big globes.







Light rays travel in a curved line due to the action of gravity or the gravitational fields.






The Sun energy flows out in a U.V. form and returns to it in another dimension – and then out again.

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