Orbs: End of controversy?


From time to time we have to revisit certain subjects as evidence comes to light or discussion takes into previous conversations. One of those subjects visited often is the subject of orbs. Dust, pollen or spirits?

I ran across a great article pertaining to research into the orb phenomenon, at Parascience, where Steve Parson has done some great photographic research of orbs. Parsons used a Fuji 3D camera that has two seperate lenses that use a common flash and shutter button. What a found was that most of the pictures taken that had orbs in them either didn’t have the orb in the other lens picture, or if they did, not in the corresponding location.

From 2001 – 2003, Para.Science undertook a series of studies to determine the nature of orbs and also why they appear on digital cameras as previously reported on this site. The result of that earlier study demonstrated the probability that orbs were simply the result of airborne dust, moisture and other particulates reflecting the light from the camera flash back toward the imaging chip, resulting in the characteristic bright anomaly. The earlier study also suggested that in order to produce an orb anomaly within a picture a number of conditions need to be met; i.e. The camera flash must have been used at the time of picture taking. The airborne material must be located within a few centimetres of the camera lens and the material must also be within a narrow range of angles relative to the lens centre axis for the material to be able to reflect the light from the flash into the lens.This study did result in many people questioning the true nature of orbs and lead some to carry out their own experiments with the result that the probability that orbs are the result of airborne dust and other material has been widely acknowledged. However the inability of the previous study by Para.Science and others to conclusively demonstrate that airborne matter and moisture is responsible for orb production has allowed the debate between the orb believers and non believers to continue, to the obvious detriment to paranormal research and the continued confusion of all concerned.

An experiment considered some time ago by Para.Science was the use of stereo (left & right) photography to explore the orb phenomena. Using this technique it should be possible to test the hypothesis that orbs are airborne matter physically close to the taking camera. Thus, if an orb was found to be present on one picture of a stereo pair of pictures taken simultaneously and not present on the other; then the original source of that anomaly must be located within the angle of view formed between the flash and the lens in order that the flash illumination is reflected from the source to cause the bright anomaly to appear on the final picture. Also, such an object appearing on only one of the stereo pictures must be physically close to the camera. It would appear on both of the stereo pictures if it was located more than a short distance from the camera (normally less than 2-3cm), as determined by the separation of the two lens axes. Although stereo photography is a well understood technique that has been used with film photography for many decades the technical difficulties applying it to digital photography and ensuring that the resultant images were identical proved technically and practically insurmountable at that time. These difficulties included; finding a means of ensuring that both pictures were taken simultaneously, that both pictures had identical photographic settings i.e. focus & exposure and that both pictures had identical post image processing applied i.e. scene pre-sets, colour balance, file compression etc. The use of a stereo lens fitted to a digital camera was also looked at but discounted as firstly it partially blocked the light from the camera’s built in flash and secondly the use of a single lens / CCD meant that it would not be possible to fully exclude any artefacts and errors caused by the lens / CCD which is another known possible cause of some orb like photographic anomalies.

Read the rest of this article at Parascience

Source: Parascience