Let’s say a green laser is shone onto a target ten meters away. Suppose we look at a photon as it attempts to travel to the target. Please correct my assumptions as needed. Assumptions: 1. It could get “lucky” and miss all of the nitrogen and oxygen atoms. In this case it would be essentially traveling in a vacuum and travel at the full speed of light. 2. It could hit an atom indirectly causing the photon to scatter or disperse and not reach the target. 3. It could hit either a nitrogen or oxygen atom directly transferring all of its energy to the atom, but due to the atom’s structure and the photon’s energy level a new photon is not emitted. I believe it takes at least a Ultraviolet photon to get a photon out of a nitrogen or oxygen atom.
The problem is there no event that simply slows the light to the refractive index air. What am I missing? It seems like all of the events either misdirect, stop or have no affect on the photon.