The idea for atomic puke came about when I was trying to explain to my 8 year old daughter how color “worked”. You can think of the light we see as photons (little packets of energy) bouncing all around us. Many, if not all, of these little packets of energy have have been absorbed by atoms at one point. As photons “bump” into atoms, their energy gets absorbed into the electrons spinning around in the atom… the electrons speed up and start circling faster. The electrons don’t like spinning that fast, and just like us… they get a little ill and puke out a photon equal to the one they absorbed. So, what we see as light is “atomic puke”!
Maybe it’s not the best analogy but she still remembers it and it helps to bring up other questions about how the world around us works.
The goal of this site in to try and provide simplified explanations for things we see happening every day. I hope to provide original content as well as information and links provided by other sites I have discovered. I would be happy to take any suggestions on other sites that may be helpful.
Below is an atom with an electron circling. The electron recieves energy from a photon (aka packet of light… aka Electromagnetic Wave) and bumps to a higher level – think of it as spinning faster so it moves out a little from the center… it soon gets a little sick spinning that fast and pukes out a photon. Eventually this photon puke might make it’s way to your eye!
Image below just added… pictures by Noelle… animation by Mike…
Here is another example that I borrowed from another website. Below are two atoms – each with an electron circling. The electron on the left recieves energy and bumps to a higher level – think of it as spinning faster so it moves out a little from the center… it soon gets a little sick spinning that fast and pukes out a photon that gets absorbed by an electron in the atom on the right. It’s then puked out again. Eventually this photon puke might make it’s way to your eye!