Astrophysics (Index)About

free streaming

(particles moving long distances without disturbance)

The term free streaming refers to the movement of particles over long distances without any absorption or scattering over that distance. The free streaming scale of some type or classification of particles is a general distance these particles do this, the term used for measurements, analysis, or estimates. Photons from the Sun reaching Earth are free streaming over that distance, whereas when still within the Sun, they are absorbed, re-emitted and otherwise scattered, and when they reach Earth atmosphere, some are scattered, producing the brightness of the sky. The photons of the CMB that we observe have been free streaming from the recombination. Neutrinos free stream from the Sun's core, generally right through Earth because their interaction with other matter is so rare.

Further reading:

Referenced by pages:
CMB polarization
dark matter
surface of last scattering