The speed of light is fundamental universal constant that marks the maximum speed at which information can propagate. Its value is $299792458\frac{\mathrm{m}}{\mathrm{s}}$.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

1
vote
3answers
87 views

Lightspeed (invariance) measurement methods

I would like to know, how measurements of the speed of light are conducted these days, especially in the context of the invariance of $c$. Do all the methods involve mirrors to redirect the photons ...
5
votes
5answers
320 views

Special Relativity, 2nd Postulate — Why? [duplicate]

As a lowly physics undergrad who has been chewing on this 2nd postulate of special relativity for a year or more, I simply can't wrap my head around reasons why it is true or how Einstein might have ...
0
votes
4answers
66 views

The Equivalence Principle approaching the speed of light [duplicate]

If, in local system, an accelerated system is completely physically equivalent to a system inside a gravitational field. Acceleration results in an increase in speed. Right? What happens when the ...
0
votes
1answer
45 views

Doppler Shift when Light Travels Through Two Different Mediums

When considering the Doppler shift, the 'canonical equation' is $$f=\frac{c+vr}{c+vs}f_0$$ However, this equation seems to run into trouble in the following situation: A light source inside water is ...
1
vote
0answers
57 views

What is light and how does it travel? [duplicate]

My question is: What is light, and, more specifically, how does it travel? I've been contemplating a theory that I watched on Youtube (which has no real credibility to my knowledge), the Cosmic ...
1
vote
0answers
39 views

How can light travel at speed of light? [duplicate]

I am well aware that the speed of light is a universal constant at which nothing but light can travel. But why? Why can even light travel at such a speed? Our maths tell us that anything with rest ...
5
votes
2answers
340 views

Speed of light in general relativity

My question has a few parts concerning the speed of light in general relativity. Firstly, time changes in response to gravity and speed. Therefore, as gravity effects time in an area of space, should ...
2
votes
2answers
90 views

Expanding universe and the speed of light [duplicate]

When physicists talk about the expanding universe they often say that the distant galaxies are not really "moving" away but instead the space itself between us and them is expanding. If this is true ...
0
votes
2answers
91 views

Energy & Mass of a Photon [duplicate]

$$\text{Please read the whole question before answering}$$ Before I ask my question, I would like to say that "Yes, I do know a photon has no mass." I was helping someone here on P.SE with the ...
2
votes
1answer
79 views

Approaching speed of light: why do objects appear further away in front of me?

A Slower Speed of Light is a video game created by the MIT Game Lab which allows users to experience what it would be like if the speed of light was closer to normal walking/running speeds and thus ...
1
vote
0answers
29 views

What causes light to travel? [duplicate]

What is the force that causes it to move and why does it maintain the speed for so long? If it has no mass, why is it effected by mass?
1
vote
2answers
194 views

A curious case of Relativistic Velocity Addition [duplicate]

The relativistic velocity addition formula is $$u = \frac{v+u'}{1+ \frac{vu'}{c^2}}$$ Where $u$ = velocity of projectile seen by rest observer "A" $v$ = velocity of moving observer "B" as seen by ...
2
votes
1answer
96 views

Is light so important in special relativity?

I'm an amateur physics enthusiast with no formal university education in Physics. So my question might sound very naive, so forgive me. I had this question in the back of my mind since the wrong ...
1
vote
2answers
28 views

When gravity pulls on light it blueshifts or redshifts it, which way around does it go?

when light is propagating away from a mass does it get blue shifted or red shifted? And if its going towards a mass whats the effect?
1
vote
2answers
76 views

Speed of light and distance

Our measure of distance (the meter) is defined in terms of how far light in a vacuum travels in a specific time. When light travels through another medium, we say it travels at a different speed. Why ...
0
votes
0answers
33 views

How does light travel at the speed of light? [duplicate]

If it is impossible for matter to accelerate to $c$ (because doing so would take infinite energy), and if light can be deemed matter (because of wave-particle duality, photons are matter, right? And ...
2
votes
2answers
128 views

Is time nothing but the speed of light (or the light itself)?

With regard to relativistic effects on time, all the examples and explanations revolve around light and its speed. Especially in explanatory situations that explain this using photon clock, it seems ...
1
vote
3answers
151 views

Does this count as moving faster than light?

I'm not familiar with any complicated physics equation, however I do understand some basics. Suppose there is two objects, both of them are moving away from each other in a 3-dimensional space, which ...
1
vote
1answer
50 views

Universal speed limit [duplicate]

Is there any reason the universe has matter not being able to exceed the speed of light, or why there is a speed limit in the first place? I know why it can't, meaning the basic physics of it. I ...
1
vote
1answer
64 views

If the mass of an object or system is a measure of its energy content, multiplied by speed of light squared…?

If the mass of an object or system is a measure of its energy content, multiplied by speed of light squared, does it mean that the total potential energy of the rest mass of object or entire system ...
5
votes
2answers
148 views

Which electromagnetic radiation is faster in water, microwaves or light?

Well I've been asked this question, but I haven't been able to come with an answer yet using books and some web searches. The point is as the title says, to answer the question with the whole ...
5
votes
1answer
67 views

How did Fizeau make his famous speed-of-light experiment?

I heard once in a TED talk how Fizeau measured the speed of light in the 19th century. Here is the link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8UFGu2M2gM You can read about it here in Wikipedia: ...
3
votes
0answers
61 views

What is the derivation of the speed of light $c$ that is not based on electromagnetism? [duplicate]

The "speed of light" is not just the speed of electromagnetic radiation, but of any massless particle. Therefore must not there be an expression for $c$ that is not in terms of $\mu_0$ and ...
26
votes
6answers
6k views

Can you run away from your shadow?

Now this might be a silly question but it's actually bugging me, this one might be easier to understand if you have kids that watch (or used to watch) Peppa Pig. In one of the episodes, about shadows, ...
1
vote
1answer
90 views

Speed of light versus pull of gravity - Is $c$ really the limit? [duplicate]

The understanding I have is that the speed of light is considered to be the highest attainable speed in physics. Of course there are theories of tachyons but since those haven't been proven we'll ...
-2
votes
1answer
48 views

If we could reach very high speeds, could we measure the velocity of the Earth this way?

If we could reach (nearly) the speed of light with spaceships, could we measure the velocity of the Earth by launching three perpendicular rockets, accelerating them, and measuring how much fuel ...
9
votes
2answers
166 views

Which of these theories on why light slows in media are true?

This question is similar to previously asked questions, but the responses to them are confusing and I think it may be better covered by listing out all the potential answers for clarity. It's a ...
0
votes
1answer
23 views

Dissipating light pollution

If all the lights in a city, and the area surrounding it were shut off. How long would it take for the light pollution to clear, so the light from stars could be seen?
1
vote
0answers
32 views

Is there any acceleration of light? [duplicate]

I find it hard to believe that photons always travel with 3 x 10^8 m/s just from the start. But there must be some acceleration of light. Maybe huge or taking place in picoseconds. So what maybe the ...
0
votes
1answer
88 views

Maximum speed higher than the speed of light

I wanted to ask if higher speed than the speed of light will be discovered, will scientists be able to adjust the special relativity to the new situation? I read that informations transmitted faster ...
1
vote
0answers
11 views

Consistency of the Speed of Light [duplicate]

My question is simple and possibly stupid, but I wanted to know hypothetically what would happen if two objects start moving away from each other at half the speed of light (0.5c). Is the observed ...
1
vote
3answers
310 views

Does the the quantum field theoretic process of particle–antiparticle annihilation break the axioms of Special Relativity?

$\textbf{Note that this diagram hasn't anything to do with the question directly.}$ After a particle and its antiparticle annihilate, their energy is converted into a force carrier particle, such ...
-2
votes
1answer
84 views

Travelling at/over speed of light, I fire a laser in front of me. What happens to the light from the laser? [closed]

For a moment, assume that travel at/over the speed of light is possible, and we fire a laser in front of us, what happens to the light emitted from the laser? Would the photons scatter, or would the ...
1
vote
1answer
23 views

Relation between intensity of light and refractive index

The intensity of light (as calculated from time average of the poynting vector) is given by $I = (1/2) \epsilon v E_0^2$. Here the intensity is dependent on the velocity of light in the medium. The ...
6
votes
7answers
293 views

What is $c + (-c)$?

If object A is moving at velocity $v$ (normalized so that $c=1$) relative to a ground observer emits object B at velocity $w$ relative to A, the velocity of B relative to the ground observer is $$ v ...
3
votes
1answer
63 views

If gravitational radiation (or anything) cannot escape a black hole, how can it produce redshift or curve spacetime? [duplicate]

There is an apparent paradox in a Black hole. Keenan Pepper wrote: Electromagnetic radiation cannot escape a black hole, because it travels at the speed of light. Similarly, gravitational ...
1
vote
0answers
22 views

Perception when Moving at the seed of light? [closed]

Let us assume that a person moves at the speed of light say towards a planet -say Neptune. Neglecting the relativistic mass effects of the person, what would be his perception? In Vsauce- a YouTube ...
0
votes
2answers
145 views

How can individual photons have different amounts of energy?

If photon is an elementary particle, how can different photons have different energy, if $E=mc^2$ and all photons have (or don't have) the same mass and the speed of photon is constant shouldn't it ...
1
vote
1answer
75 views

What is the speed of light from a star moving towards a observer.? [duplicate]

We can say that in vacuum speed of light is constant. But if the star is moving with a certain velocity does it add that velocity to the velocity of photons emitted out of that star?
0
votes
0answers
30 views

What makes photons travel at the speed of light? [duplicate]

Photons are the only elementary particles which can travel at speed of light. What are the qualities of the photon that enable it to travel with the speed of light?
4
votes
3answers
494 views

Why does light travel at the same speed when measured by a moving observer? [duplicate]

I know the hypothesis that the light speed is constant is retained by experiments. But is there any theory explaining why the light speed is constant no matter how an observer moves relative to light? ...
0
votes
2answers
77 views

$F=ma$ calculation taking relativity into account?

Newton's second law of motion states that $f = ma$. However, in this equation, theoretically there could be a value of $f$ and $m$ that results in an acceleration that is enough to push an object past ...
1
vote
1answer
31 views

Which experiment would be able to detect change in the speed of light? [duplicate]

Since the unit of distance is defined in terms of speed of light in vacuum, if the speed of light in vacuum were to change by "magic", what experiment would be able to detect that? Is there a theory ...
13
votes
5answers
3k views

Is speed of light and sound rational or irrational in nature?

Just as circumference of circle will remain $\pi$ for unit diameter, no matter what standard unit we take, are the speeds of light and sound irrational or rational in nature ? I'm talking about ...
-4
votes
1answer
99 views

Massless particles and the speed of light - New? Theories of existence [closed]

"The best understanding we have is that it [light] is a disturbance in the electromagnetic fields of charged bodies." http://einstein.stanford.edu/content/relativity/q212.html This is a link to the ...
0
votes
1answer
118 views

How does it seem to be that space/time always equals c?

Given the way objects move, they seem to be going all the same "velocity" so to speak, that velocity being the speed of light. Except, velocity is displacement/time, so if something goes faster, the ...
0
votes
5answers
361 views

Why Light and Observers have different laws of physics [closed]

Special relativity states: The speed of light in a vacuum is always $c$, regardless of the velocity of the observer. The laws of physics are the same for all observers in uniform motion. These two ...
2
votes
1answer
27 views

Does Light (EM Signal) undergo accelration during reflection? [duplicate]

Since Average acceleration is defined as, Average acceleration over a period of time is the change in Velocity divided by the Duration of the Period. Does Light (EM Wave) undergo acceleration during ...
0
votes
1answer
49 views

Experiment with spring and two light sources emitting light in opposite directions

Two (almost massless) light sources connected with a (almost massless) spring emit light beams in opposite directions. What is the speed at which the spring extends?
-5
votes
2answers
126 views

Do the laws of physics that apply to all observers also apply to a non-observer? [closed]

The Timelessness of a photon https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ELA3ReWQJY An observer's laws of physics are time based. "When you're traveling at the speed of light, time does not exist" - Neil ...