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The Ubiquitous Orbs

 “Orbs” have appeared in many digital photographs and video footage and many individuals and paranormal TV shows persist that they are the result of spirits that have been captured, but the truth of the matter is these are caused by environmental influences. There are a variety of factors to be considered and many renowned paranormal researchers have discounted orbs as being paranormal for many different reasons. Here are a few things that need to be considered and ruled out.

On rare occasion an orb captured on film will be of interest if it is shown to manifest, radiate its own light, either move directly to/leave a person and affect them in some way or follow a distinct path/route. The common factor for orbs appearing in photographs and on video are dust and debris. This can also include dead skin cells, dirt, pollen, animal dander, hair, decomposing insects, dust mites, waste from dust mites, lint, insulation from the building, etc.,

Dust Particle

Dust appear in film as orbs because of the retro-reflection of light off the dust particle. As investigations are carried out at night there might be flashlights involved, flash from cameras, infrared (IR) lights, and natural lights from the etc., that can light to reflect. It doesn't take much light to reflect from these dust particles and cameras are quick to pick it up. This can also be captured day or night.

Dust particles pics

Commonly people will argue that there was no dust in the area but that cannot be proven as it may not be possible to see dust particles with the naked eye it does not mean that dust particles are not present. Dust particles can be carried on clothing without even realizing it or may have settled on flooring, seating etc., Dust orbs can appear as translucent to solid depending upon the type of particle, proximity to the camera lens. Usually dust orbs are not bright, but this doesn't mean they can't be.

Another familiar cause are insects, naturally drawn to any light sources, even infrared light, they often appear as solid bright orbs of light. Again, people will argue that there weren’t any insects around at the time of shooting. This cannot be guaranteed as many insects are tiny and go unnoticed, such as gnats and fruit flies unless there are several flying together.

Elongated orbs are often insects in-flight that due to the speed of flight and the shutter speed, aperture of the camera creates an orb that appears to have a tail streaming behind it.

Moisture Particles

The atmosphere is filled with moisture molecules that cannot be seen with the naked eye but can be captured by a camera lens. Some moisture orbs are octagon or spherical but not all, they can be a variety of shapes and colors as well as moisture refracts light like a prism causing a rainbow of colors. However, not all water molecule orbs have colours.

 moisture particles


Orbs can also be a retro-reflection of light off an object, but light itself can cause orbs in photographs such as a light source like light poles or the reflection of the camera's flash. Also, try to rule out another person's flashlight in the distance or reflecting off a wall, window, or door. In physics, the phenomenon that creates orbs in photography is referred to as back-scattering. Back-scattering is a diffuse reflection of waves, particles, or signals traveling back to the direction it came from. So, this phenomenon can occur with more than just dust, insects, moisture, and light.

 Sony Cybershot diagram

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