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Basically, a photon is a wiggle in the electromagnetic field. Since electromagnetic fields are emitted by charged particles, to make it wiggle means wiggling a charged particle. Whenever a charged particle, such as an electron, accelerates, it generates photons.There are very sophisticated quantum models for how this happens, but it all comes back to charges moving.
Bizerl: The detector doesn't do anything until it has a certain length, then it goes "bing!" and we say that it has detected a photon.