Video demonstrating the speed of light is blowing people’s minds
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Featured Image Credit: Instagram / nowspacetime
We all know the speed of light is fast, but just how fast could it possibly be?
Well for starters, there are some misconceptions around just what the speed of light actually is. Light isn't the only thing that travels at the speed of light, it's just that light, or photons, is what is visible to us so it makes most sense for us to call it that.
All sorts of waves and particles are capable of travelling at the speed of light. It's getting stuff faster than that which is the tricky part, or rather quite likely impossible.
That's because rather than referring specifically to light, as in visible light, the speed of light is actually more like a universal speed limit.
One video has now shown just how quick the speed of light actually is, by superimposing it over Earth and our solar system, and the results are pretty impressive.
Something travelling at the speed of light in a vacuum around Earth would complete around 7.5 orbits per second at the Earth's surface. That's a pretty astonishing fact. But what's even more astounding is the commonly known fact that it takes light eight minutes to reach Earth from the Sun.
Considering how fast the speed of light is, that says as much about the size of our solar system than it does about how fast light is.
Looking at the stars is effectively looking into the past, as the light can take so long to reach us that we see the stars as they were a long time ago, not as they are now.
While many things can travel at the speed of light, nothing that we currently know of travels faster than it. So it's quite useful as a way to measure things, because nothing can possibly travel faster than that.
In response to the video, one person joked: "Light is slow AF".
Another said: "This video explanation of light speed may not be the hero we want, but it’s definitely the hero we need."
Meanwhile, a third said: "Space blows my mind"
But just how fast is the speed of light? Well on paper it's 299,792,458 metres per second. To put that in perspective, in miles per hour that 671 million miles per hour, or 186,000 miles per second.
In short, it's quite fast. So fast that to the human eye it doesn't even register as travelling.
Confusingly, light itself doesn't always travel at the 'speed of light'. Things can get in the way of it and hamper its movement. It's even possible in physics to slow light down so much that we can actually see it moving with the naked eye by directing a laser through extremely cold sodium atoms.
The speed of light that we all know and love is actually the speed of light in a vacuum, completely unhampered and undeterred.