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The second sentence in that Wikipedia article refers to objects in the vicinty of the field. If the field were even, all pervasive and continued forever, without limit, then one could not describe any object as "in the vicinity of the field" because all objects would be, and to exactly the same extent.
The confusion you may be having is with the word "indefinitely". You are taking it to mean "infinitely". The word actually means "undefined". Thus the sentence is saying "I can't tell you how far the field reaches, because it is too variable and complex for me to explain".
reply to post by dragonridr
Yes that is interesting but I dont see how it relates to what I was asking. Reading back the last few previous posts of mine I see how dysfunctional my writing has been, In my mind I can clearly see the problems which I am asking and know they are relative, the fundamental problems and curiosities that would plague any physical universal system that exists, and I want to know about the one that does. So I will try to be more clear, and try not to rush my thoughts and pile on the questions, I dont think this forum is going anywhere so I need to take a deep breath. What is the EM field, how does it exist? Are you trying to say the EM field is the vacuum? Or is the EM field its own energetic entity? If it is its own energetic entity, how does it exist, what is it, Do you comprehend the importance of this question and reality in which it seeks to know, and do you know the answer? When I ask, what is it, I mean, if you had to draw it, how would it appear, like if a child were to ask what is an apple, it would help to describe it using sensual data such as taste, and historical data such as its classifications as fruit and plant and how it grows on a tree, but what would also help would be an image of an apple. Like wise, talking about the very real very existent EM field, can you find a good drawing of one? What does the math say the EM field must look like? Are the lines of force associated with it actual lines, like fishing lines, like a quadrillion fishing lines every quantity of space, and the lines go from one side of the universe to the other? Or are these lines really made of particles, so the lines of force arent connected objects?
ImaFungiHm ok. Well I took that second sentence to mean that electrons are coupled with the field and so cause reactions with it, so the field is most strongly active closer to or in the vicinity of electrons. We are in the vicinity of the field of every electron in every star in the night sky, I must posit, for my measly eye is able to absorb the rippled field from that star, so that must mean either there is an EM field that exists between my eye, and all those stars, and all the galaxies our equipment can detect light from, Or, there is no field, and electrons shoot photon particles from their innards across the universe like projectiles from guns. Or some other theory.
If you hold your two fingers up at a distance of a few inches from one another, does the field reach between them? How does the field appear approaching plancks length?
So, in the case of starlight, extreme temperature causes an atom to 'glow', producing light (electromagnetic waves) by photoelectric effect (Einstein produced a brilliant paper on this before he had done any work on relativity). This light travels in the space between stars where there is no (or very little) matter and field strengths are low (i.e: there is no appreciable medium).
EM waves do not carry electrons with them, or require a medium to 'wave' and they only travel at light speed - these are observed things.
There are worse things about it you haven't considered yet, that bothered the eggheads when they first realized what was happening. One is, the photon is generally "bigger" in terms of the wave created than the atom. Much, much bigger. How does that happen? And even worse, how does the photon "know" what wavelength/energy to be, before the electron completes the drop in energy? When exactly does the photon emerge? At the beginning? As the electron drops? During the drop? At the end? Each opens up weirder possibilities.
ImaFungiThank you for taking the time to create that informative post. So, extreme temperatures, atom glows, meaning its electrons are accelerated causing a disturbance in the near by EM field? The light travels in the space... Before the extreme temperatures where is the light? Let me be clear on what im wondering and asking; How does an accelerated electron create an electromagnetic wave, before it creates the wave where is the potential wave, does EM wave come from the electron, or does it come from some essence surrounding the electron? If it comes from the electron itself, then that is like a baseball coming from a pitcher, or a chip of paint coming from a car, a separable object being ejected, but I was under the impression this is not what physicists believe occurs, they dont picture the electron to contain an infinite number of photons within itself that whenever the electron gets accelerated it cant help it self but to shoot some out. I was under the impression that there was an EM field, which only the electrons could interact with or disturb, and when an electron was disturbed, the field, surrounding the electron took on the characteristics of the electrons disturbance, in the form of a wave of frequency and length. So either the potential field exists between the sun and earth, like an ocean or a gigilion strings or lines of force, and when the electrons in the sun shake violently, the EM field surrounding the sun absorbs that electron energy and sends it outward...or there is no EM field between the sun and earth, every electron has an infinite quantity of photons, and when the electrons in the sun are shaken, the electrons shoot photons, and those photons travel to earth. If neither of those views are correct, what is the correct view?
Note that these shells and subshells are finite and as you reach the higher subshells, the stability of things become increasingly 'wobbly'. The effect is that energy gets re-emitted when the electron shells collapse back to more stable territory and each 'step' emits a photon of energy. The main way this energy is expressed is as an electromagnetic wave.
The moving electric field as the electron collapses from one subshell to another induces a magnetic field, at 90 degrees to it and this magnetic field, now spatially detached from the atom cannot sustain and so collapses, which is a changing magnetic field, which, in turn induces an electric field which also cannot sustain so it collapses, which is a changing electric field, which induces a magnetic field and so on ad infinitum...
Note that the re-emitted energy is not the same as the input energy. The emitted energy relates to the structure of the electron shells and subshells. In this way, different atomic structures have different features to their emitted energy. This is why we can determine determine the chemical structure of compounds by heating them up and looking at their emitted spectrum in a gas chromatagraph.
If you continue to apply energy to the atom, beyond what can be stored in the electron shells and subshells, the atom will set up an oscillation between its electron shell states that determines the color (frequency) of the output EM as well as the number of photons (amplitude).
Of course... maths!
edit on 20/12/2013 by chr0naut because: Small corrections
Nature exists before math, and nature is not numbers, nature is things. Math, in physics, is numbers and letters and symbols that attempt at =ing the things of nature. If there is no image or thing describable entity or mechanism that goes along with the numbers, the symbols, then you arent properly comprehending what the numbers are symbolizing.
The electron isnt actually leaving its atom and going to the next one energy is being transferred by a magnetic field through a virtual photon. This virtual photons dont really exist until energy in space time causes us to see them.
reply to post by dragonridr
Thanks thats pretty cool. How come before the E is moved, there are those lines coming out of it extending in multiple directions, what are those, is that field lines, do those actually exist in reality?
reply to post by Mary Rose
The guitar string is a good example. The guitar string, when plucked, moves in one dimension, from a frequency point of view. Magnitude is one dimensional, bigger or smaller.
A wave in water could be called scalar because although the wave crest moves away, the water particles only move up and down, like the guitar string.
Nerve cells propagate a depolarization wave along their length, which is actually a scalar wave of chemical reaction.
Electric polarity at a specific point in an AC wire could be considered as a scalar wave as it changes from positive to negative and back to positive etc.
Transverse waves are all electromagnetic radiation
Longitudinal waves are pressure waves
They are scalar wave creations,perceived as moving objects, which need a medium in order to propagate. Sound waves are longitudinal waves.
I remember some confusion about waves by trying to directly use their definitions. Scalar wave sounds like an oxymoron.