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The speed of light - just how does it feel?

October 16th, 2018, by Guy Harris

Let’s be honest - you’ve always wanted to know what the speed of light really meant. Oh, 8 minutes 19 seconds to Earth - you knew that - but how would it feel? If you were a photon emitted by the sun, how fast would your trip feel as you zoomed through the solar system, past each planet and moon? Even Einstein pondered riding a beam of light.

Alphonse Swinehart has just the video []
to show you. He writes:

“In our terrestrial view of things, the speed of light seems incredibly fast. But as soon as you view it against the vast distances of the universe, it’s unfortunately very slow. This animation illustrates, in realtime, the journey of a photon of light emitted from the surface of the sun and traveling across a portion of the solar system, from a human perspective.”

Time to the the next object is shown in the top right of the screen. The most impressive view starts at around 43 minutes, as we pass by Jupiter, and through the orbits of its moons. What about travel time to Proxima Centauri, the nearest star? You would need a 4-year video for that.

As Buzz Lightyear says ‘To infinity, and beyond!’