Did ya know that? · Uncategorized

What’s that fallin’ from the sky?

Have you ever looked up at the sky for a long time (don’t say you haven’t, you can’t be that  busy) and seen those white colored ball-like, filamentous beaded thingies falling down. When you first look at them, they seem to be forming from millions of tiny dots and then they become like a string of beads and fall slowly towards the horizon.

Well, I know I see them. At first I thought that I had some eye problem, then my mom told me she saw them too and I was so damn sure of this being an unknown genetic defect (yes, I know, silly, silly me) that I did not speak of them again, to anyone. Fast forward to a few weeks back when my physics teacher was discussing how we perceive things, he told us about how we see those things in the sky. I was so shocked that I wasn’t alone in seeing them, that I wondered this out loud, to which Sir asked me if I thought that I was the only one who could see them (hopefully, it was a rhetoric question). More than half of the class just sat there, jaws open (not fully but kinda) as they didn’t understand what the teacher was talking about despite him having made a drawing on the board. Maybe that’s because they’ve never taken the pain of glaring at the sky and the clouds. But I was highly thankful my teacher did, I know now that I’m not psychic or having some genetic mutation!

They are actually called as blue sky sprites (I think) and are not some supernatural phenomenon. In fact, what they are, is something that left me spellbound. In reality, they are our own white blood cells or WBCs streaming through the very minute blood vessels of our conjunctiva (a covering on our eye that turns pink when we have ‘pink eye’). When WBCs or RBCs (red blood cells) pass through blood vessels generally, they do so in bulk.However, our conjunctiva has very fine and thin capillary sized blood vessels. So, the WBCs and RBCs pass cell by cell from there. Now, the WBCs, being white in color, allow the blue light from the seemingly blue sky to filter in and the WBCs themselves appear to us as the dotted structures. You might ask, why don’t RBCs do the same? Well, there’s simple logic behind that as well. The RBCs, being red in color (surprise, surprise!) reflect the blue light and hence don’t let it pass through.

Sometimes it’s funny how simple things really are. And what’s more fun is that my beloved subjects, biology and physics explain them so well #nerd. See, being geeky isn’t so bad at all! So, there you have it ladies and gentlemen, the great blue sky sprites!

 

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