Orbs appearing as a vortex was opened using a Positronic Ion Field Generator.
Details, and a photo of this device can be found at the end of this article.
This subject is constantly being discussed and rehashed. Paranormal orbs of light or energy keep surfacing on websites as proof of spirits. And the skeptics keep debunking them as dust. I also keep getting them submitted as evidence, and I keep debunking them as well. As a result I have written this essay that will not only debunk them but give the evidence serious researchers need to put this topic to bed once and for all. So, for one final time, "What are Orbs?"
Orbs - The Final Word
They are "Dust!" But let's clarify, I am using the term dust in this essay to cover all particulate matter. If one wishes to debate dust versus pollen versus water vapor this report will touch on a few basics but won't go into great detail. That is the subject for another article!
But, you ask, Are there any orbs that are not dust? To answer that I will say yes, but they are rare and not what is generally seen in photos. Energy forms such as a plasma or ball lightning may appear as an orb. But if you capture those on a photo the conditions are drastically different than the typical night time orb photo. Either of those would be self illuminating and would appear without the use of flash even in total darkness. So for now we'll leave those out of the discussion and come back to them later. Thus we can make a blanket statement here regarding how to tell a "real" orb.
A real orb will either cast a shadow of itself (passive) or
create shadows from other objects in the photograph.(active)
Typical dust orbs are passive, that is they do not shine of their own accord; they reflect back the light from a flash or other light source. Refer to Figure 2A below as I explain how dust appears as an orb in a picture. Note the location of the dust orb It is far too close the camera for it to be properly focused. Plus, it is very near the camera flash and will receive a very intense flash when the picture is made. So even though it is small it will catch a lot of light and reflect brightly.
The next concern is the size of the orb. Dust is generally very small, on the order of a few microns, so something else must account for the wide variation in the size of orbs. The answer is the distance from the camera. Just as your finger appears much larger when held closer to your eye the dust particle appears larger as it gets closer the camera lens. The actual sizes of dust particles are actually quite similar. While some variations do occur, most common dust is less than 50 microns in size. Larger particles tend to fall out of the air rather quickly.
One may be tempted to think that the size of the particle will determine its size in the picture. That is not the case due to the depth of field errors and the inability of the camera to properly focus on this point. The apparent size is much greater, often by a factor of several thousand, than the actual size of the particle.
But another interesting characteristic relates to the orb's apparent brightness. Even though it gets closer the camera and should reflect more light, it doesn't become much brighter. That is because the total amount of light reflected is spread out over a larger area of the picture. Intensity changes little but the area covered by the orb in the photo goes up considerably as the dust particle gets closer to the camera.
So a statement can be made:
Generally speaking, The larger an orb appears the closer it is to the camera.
It has nothing to do with its "energy level" as some believe.
Another factor present when comparing orbs is luminosity, or how bright it appears. This is determined by its composition. Some materials reflect light better than others. Thus two orbs, assuming both appear about the same size in a picture, can differ in intensity based on how well each reflects the light of the flash. Some dust particles are rather dark in color while water vapor may be quite bright. Thus a water vapor droplet may appear much brighter than a similar dust particle. This is especially true of pollen, different varieties are quite different in their light reflecting properties.
Related to luminosity is color. Obviously different compositions of matter may differ in color, therefore the color of an orb is also based on its composition. In the case of water vapor the clear nature of the particle may separate the color spectrum much as a prism does. This can also affect the apparent color of the orb.
Some believers may say otherwise, but The color of the orb
is related to its composition, not its "mood".
One more important fact needs pointed out here before we go on. Pictures are two dimensional in nature. They can show us height and width, but unless you are using a special 3D camera cannot directly display depth. By the way, as a side comment here, the dual lens of a 3D camera system is immune to dust orbs since it is impossible for a single dust orb to be in the same"sweet spot" of two lenses at the same time! Something to consider if you are doing paranormal photos!
Compare the two illustrations above. Figure 2A shows the dust orb we have been discussing and the light path which illuminates it. Note it is near the camera, inside the camera's depth of field. Thus it appears out of focus and orb-like in appearance. This is the "sweet spot", the point where the dust particle is close enough to be well inside the camera's depth of field and also be illuminated and photographed at the same time. This set up will create the typical orb photo.
Now consider how the 2 dimensional limitation affects the picture. Most pictures focus on a subject about 6 to 12 feet from the camera. Most of us expect our picture to focus on that area. Again consider Figure 2A. The dust orb appears in the picture and is located above the subject's head in the finished picture. Its luminosity is about that of the subject, and the well defined edges of the orb defines it as near the subject. The viewer is tricked into thinking the orb is a baseball sized orb floating directly over the subject. And when this happens the believers in orbs run off saying they just caught a paranormal orb floating above our hapless subject!
Not so fast here! Look at Figure 2B. This is the configuration the way the believer sees it. Consider, the flash put out a fixed amount of light across the entire field of view when it fired. (Red Outline) It lit the subject, the wall behind him, and our orb as well. Let's assume 50% of the light which struck the orb was reflected back to the camera. That is the amount which would be required to illuminate an object or orb at that point in the picture to the level most consider orbs to be. It would show as a semi-transparent object lit to about the same intensity as the subject.
But something else even more important needs pointed out. Since the flash was uniform, a fixed amount of light was generated. If 50% of that was returned by the orb, only the remaining 50% could pass through the orb and illuminate the wall. This reduction would show as a shadow on the wall as seen here. When you view the picture you will see a shadow with one exception. That exception is the orb wasn't really there. This is the way a true orb versus a dust particle can be identified. Look for the shadow. If its there, you have a paranormal orb. If not, you have dust.
Now back to those Active Orbs. I put that off till now simply because they are very rare. Possibly the reason is most people don't take pictures in a manner which they would appear. Consider, active orbs are those which shine on their own accord. They are self illuminating. As such, they will show up in a picture with no flash used, they will illuminate the scene. They will cause other objects in the picture to cast shadows on the scene. Consider them much as you would a light bulb hanging in the picture illuminating the field of view. The bulb, not your flash, will provide the light for your picture.
You can take advantage of this as well. Since you are wanting active orbs, simply set up your camera on a tripod in a totally dark room. Set your shutter speed to its "bulb" or open position and open the shutter for a period of minutes to hours. If no lights are turned on you will get a totally dark picture. If an active orb just happens by its light will expose the frame for you. Since dust doesn't shine on its own, dust orbs are not the issue here.
There is one more situation where an active orb might creep into your picture that needs mentioning. If you take a close-up picture at night there is a possibility that a distant light source may appear as an orb. The reason is that in the close-up the camera focuses on the subject placing everything behind it beyond the depth of field. If some other pin point of light is in the background it will appear much like the dust orbs mentioned earlier. The limited amount of light available though likely will prevent any visible shadow from being cast by the foreground objects. So before thinking you caught an active orb recheck the scene in daytime or take a second picture of the same scene to rule out the distant light source issue.
Orbs have faces, I can see them in pictures.
That is a case of pareidolia coupled with how our brains are wired. one of our basic instincts and that of most animals is the "Friend or Foe" conditioning. What do you see in the simple picture below?
If you are like most people you see a face, two eyes and a nose or mouth. It is an example of how our brains assign a face to any pattern that even remotely resembles that configuration. We do this because our ancestor's survival depended on identifying other people who they came in contact with. Friend or foe? Mis-identify and it could result in one's death from an enemy. So even today we apply this reasoning when we encounter something that even remotely could resemble another human face. (By the way, "face" outnumbers the second most common identification almost 2 to 1, the second being Bowling Ball.)
So what really causes the patterns in a dust orb? Up until now we assumed our dust orb to be a simple undefined speck. In reality they are an irregular shape. If we examined one under a microscope would see parts which reflect better than others. We might also see the particle is actually like a short string or fiber instead of a speck. If we were to examine how the light reflects from various parts of the dust particle we would see points where the light is added and subtracted from the total amount. Then the depth of field error would blend this into random patterns of lighter and darker sections confined to the overall area where the orb is seen. And if any three of these light or dark areas just happen to form a "face", then the orb has one too. Refer back to Figure 3!
Chromatic Aberration is another cause for patterns in orbs. To explain, In optics, this is a type of distortion in which there is a failure of a lens to focus all colors to the same convergence point. It occurs because lenses have a different refractive index for different wavelengths of light (colors). With regards to orbs, because they are already outside the camera's depth of field, this problem is made worse. Standing waves are created as the light interacts inside the lens. And just as noted previously these add and subtract causing patterns of color. They add another level of ambiguity to the orb. Or maybe make the face even more pronounced!
And Finally... What about orbs with tails?
As with most still photography tails are the result of motion blur. Consider, even if you use a tripod and the rest of the picture is clear, an orb can move past the camera just as you make your picture. Of course for those who believe the orb is over the subject's head considerable movement would be needed to explain the length of the tail often seen. But we are dealing with a dust particle inches from the camera. At this close range only a fraction of an inch of movement by the dust particle is needed. The next time you have sunlight coming in through a window, stop and look at the dust particles floating in the air. Have you ever seen one NOT in motion?
Hopefully this article will explain orb photos and in so doing will help get some of this bad evidence out of circulation. The paranormal field has enough to do without trying to justify those who attribute paranormal abilities and claims to common household dust.
About that Positironic Ion Field Generator I refered to at the beginning of this article? Here is a picture of it by daylight!
And in the background you can see a pile of dirt, or "Orb Preserve", comprised of literally millions of "Orbs!"
All one needs to do to duplicate my demonstration is to vigorously apply the Ion Field Generator to the Orb Preserve and take a flash picture at night through the resulting vortex!