The Joules of the Universe
This diagram shows the energy transfer of a number of familiar events over the whole energy spectrum. The smallest unit of energy is the stationary photon. It is a photon that has such a long wavelength that its gravitational expansion causes the leading end to have a velocity of 2C while the trailing end remains at rest. The average velocity of the whole stationary photon is C but only the center moves at exactly C. Ten million times smaller and more energetic are the photons produced by 60 cycle alternating current power lines. At 18,000 km their wavelengths are nearly three times greater than the earths diameter. 10,000 times more powerful are the AM radio photons, which have wavelengths of just less than one kilometer. Television photons have wavelengths of a few meters and the 2.7 degree Cosmic Background photons are most intense at a wavelength of about one-millimeter. Several thousand times smaller are the many different colored photons of the visible spectrum. Another million times smaller and more energetic are the photons produced when an electron and positron join and then transform into two photons.
Up to this point on the scale all of the individual energy units had been individual photons. The energy of the next item, hydrogen fusion, is released not as photons but as the kinetic energy of the helium and hydrogen nuclei speeding away from one another. A few times more energy is produced in the fission of an atom of uranium-235. Photons are produced in these events, but the majority of the energy is contained in the rapidly moving neutrons and nuclei. The two photons produced in proton-antiproton annihilation each have energies of just under one billion electron volts.
The next few items on the scale are units of energy used in science and commerce. The erg is the energy of a gram of mass moving at a velocity of 2 centimeters per second. A foot pound is the energy of one pound moving at 2 feet per second. A calorie is the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of one gram of water one degree Celsius.
At about fifty joules, the most energetic cosmic rays to be measured are probably photons with wavelengths of about 10-25 meters and masses of about 10-15 kilograms. They are part of a background photon spectrum that originated when the matter of the universe was created. The photons at the upper end of this creation spectrum are extremely rare but have nearly unlimited energies with masses approaching that of the universe itself. The masses of selected photons from this spectrum are shown in = Blue and their wavelengths are shown in = Red.
One British thermal Unit raises the temperature of a pound of water by one degree. A watt-hour is a standard unit of electricity. A horsepower is a unit of work. Natural gas, gasoline, TNT, coal, and hydrogen are common fuels used to produce energy.
The kinetic energy of a human beings motion relative to the CBR photon rest is similar to the energies of the Titanics fall to the bottom, the first atomic bomb exploded in New Mexico and a bumblebee flying at one half the speed of light.
The photon energy produced by the annihilation of one gram of matter with one gram of antimatter is similar to the energy produced by the fission of 1000 grams of uranium-235.
The mysterious explosion that occurred in 1908 near the Tunguska River in Siberia could well have been caused by a photon from the creation photon spectrum hitting the atmosphere.
The kinetic energy of a human being moving at half the speed of light is only a few times less than the annual electricity production of the United States. The earths daily receipt of energy from the sun is about ten times greater than all of the electricity generated since Tesla invented three-phase alternating current and about thirty time less than the kinetic energy of the Titanic moving at half the speed of light.
The kinetic energy inherent in the earths motion relative to CBR photon rest is equal to the suns total energy output for about 100 years. If the earth were moving at half the speed of light its kinetic energy would be equal to the suns output for about 10,000,000 years.
On May 8th 1997 a gamma ray burst was detected far off in the universe that that released as much energy in a few seconds as the sun has produced since its formation. On December 14th of that year a much larger burst was detected that produced more energy than the entire Milky Way galaxy puts out in 10,000 years and even larger bursts have been measured since. Gamma ray bursts are most likely caused by photons from the upper end of the creation photon spectrum hitting bodies of matter in the universe at large.