Light speed is slower than people think and this video is blowing minds
Over on Reddit this very clever illustration of the actual speed of light speed is blowing minds all over the place.
It was originally posted by planetary astronomer Dr. James O’Donoghue – @physicsJ – on Twitter and it’s since been shared tens of thousands of times.
This is why.
— Dr. James O'Donoghue (@physicsJ) September 30, 2019
And if it turns out light speed doesn’t look quite as fast as you thought it would then rest assured you’re not alone (it’s all relative, though).
Here are just a few of the many comments it prompted.
‘Blows my mind how slow the speed of light is…’
‘It may look slow but the distance it’s traveling is unimaginable.’
‘It’s only like 4 inches.’
‘If aliens are looking at us “with a telescope” (maybe something crazier) that’s far away enough,they might be seeing dinosaurs or primal humans… and not us.’
‘It’s quite unfathomable just how big space really is. This visualization really showcases this nicely.
‘The speed of light, the fastest speed possible, takes ages to get from the sun to Earth, even though this is practically next door.
‘Light also seems to travel slowly between earth and the moon – this shows just how much space there really is between the planet and its natural satellite: enough room for all the other planets of the solar system to fit in nicely end-to-end.
‘Now imagine the vast distances between our solar system and the other stars in our galaxy, and how it takes years, centuries, millenia, for light to travel through.
‘This is not to mention the vast, empty void between galaxies.
‘Space is so big that our human brains cannot grasp the sheer scale of it.’
And finally, some ‘fun space facts’ courtesy of n4pth4.
‘The speed of light is : 186,000 miles a second.
‘The Sun is 93 million miles away, so sunlight takes 8 and 1/3 minutes to get to us.
‘Pluto orbits 40 times farther from the Sun than we do. Light from the Sun takes about 5 and 1/2 hours to reach it.
‘Alpha Centauri is the closest Star (other than our sun), it takes 4.3 years for its light to reach us….. Yup, that’s 4.3 years travelling at 186,000 miles a second. That means the light you see from it in the night sky is already 4.3 years old… That star may not even be there anymore.
‘Finally, it would take 100,000 years at light speed to cross our galaxy the Milky Way.’
For more of this sort of thing, follow Dr. James O’Donoghue – @physicsJ – on Twitter here.
We’re off for a lie down.