# Would wall sockets glow if human eye could see light at 50Hz?

The title is self-explanatory. I know that the electrons at the tip of Live get pushed in and out with respect to Neutral. (You shouldn't say there is no current; since there is air, a poor conductor, but still a conductor)

Does this back and forth motion of electrons cause emittance of photons at 50/60Hz? If so, assuming we have gained some 50/60Hz light-sensitive cells on our retina due to pure chance, don't you think it would be fun to see a glow around wall sockets and wouldn't you use it as a sleeping lamp?

• You don't have to see it, because you can often hear it: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mains_hum – probably_someone Sep 11 at 19:00
• No reason to think that the ends of the wire would radiate any more than anyplace else along the wire. (And note: The materials of which your walls, floors, and ceilings are made most likely are completely transparent to 50Hz "light.") The question is, do the wires in your walls have the right geometry to be an effective antenna at that frequency. I don't know much about antenna design, but here's some folks who know quite a lot: arrl.org/shop/ARRL-Antenna-Book-23rd-Softcover-Edition – Solomon Slow Sep 11 at 19:20
• @SolomonSlow considering the wavelength of EM radiation at 50 Hz is about 6,000 km, unless your house is the size of a small planet the geometry of the wiring is fairly irrelevant to its efficiency as an antenna. – alephzero Sep 11 at 19:24
• Normal sockets appear to lose way less than 1 W of power (since it is small compared to "vampiric" power losses from connected by standby or switched off devices). 1 W LEDs are definitely visible, and I suspect we could see 0.1 or even 0.01 W losses (we do see starlight after all, about 10^${-8}$ W/m$^2$). But 50 Hz eyes would need rather long photoreceptors - it is hard to get directionality at low frequency. – Anders Sandberg Sep 11 at 19:24
• Maybe a different question worth asking: What would an "eye" look like if it was capable of forming a real image from "light" rays that had a wavelength of 6000 km. – Solomon Slow Sep 11 at 19:24