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

learn more… | top users | synonyms

1
vote
4answers
345 views

What is the universal speed limit relative to? [duplicate]

If all speeds are relative, then what "governing" force is that speed limit relative to? Is there some sort of fixed or absolute grid with locations everything is compared to? Does this also mean ...
0
votes
1answer
33 views

Light speed measured by observing Jupiter moons [duplicate]

The famous discovery that the light has speed measures the times of the immersion and emergence of Io, one of Jupiter's moons. However, I still can't comprehend this. Even when the Earth is further ...
4
votes
2answers
131 views

Can gravitational waves escape from inside of black holes? [duplicate]

I understand that light cannot escape from inside of an event horizon because the spacetime curvature is too warped for photons to escape. On the other hand, gravitational waves are ripples of ...
-1
votes
1answer
39 views

Does the speed of light vary depending on what it travels through? [duplicate]

The title is pretty much self explanatory. Does the speed of light vary depending on what it is traveling through? The speed of light through vacuum is 299792458 meters per second but does it change ...
3
votes
3answers
364 views

How long ago did the Universe end? (Or, how much warning will we get when it does?)

Only partly kidding... Let's suppose that a thousand, or a million, years ago there was an explosion of some gigantic star (or other celestial object) that was strong enough to destroy Earth and Life ...
1
vote
3answers
33 views

Frequency dependence of the speed of light in air

According to this link, the speed of light of different colors in a medium should be different. But if the refractive index of light in air is 1 then this means that the speed of light in air and ...
1
vote
1answer
45 views

Does the strength of a beam of light determine how much distance it can travel?

If I point a light torch to a cloudless, crystal clear and an absolutely pristine sky, will the light beam exit the planet and travel forever in the vacuum of space? (assuming it doesn't get perturbed ...
2
votes
2answers
71 views

To what fraction of the speed-of-light has any multi-atom molecule (or polyatomic ion) been accelerated?

Of course photons go $c$ in a vacuum, and seems there's data on electrons getting to $0.999999999976c$ and protons to $0.99999912c$. For the twins paradox to be plausible, one of the twins must ...
-2
votes
0answers
28 views

Observed speed of light [duplicate]

Suppose two very fast trains, train $A$ traveling a constant speed of $.5c$ and train $B$ traveling at a constant speed $.75c$, are on the same straight track heading straight towards one another. If ...
0
votes
2answers
68 views

What is the fastest speed that a massive object can travel at? [duplicate]

What is the fastest speed (in miles per hour) that a massive object can travel at? I have heard that an object can travel at the speed of light, but I've also heard that massive objects cannot travel ...
0
votes
1answer
40 views

Has light been used to measure relative velocity?

Here we have 2 lasers. Both are in the same frame of reference as is top box. Laser #1 sends the light directly through the hole in the top box on one side and the light eventually exits the hole ...
0
votes
2answers
92 views

What is the speed of light after it has entered a black hole?

I was just thinking about this the other day. Given Einstein's Relativity etc. assigning the cosmic "speed limit" the value of $c=299792458\:\frac{m}{s}$, we know that the event horizon is the point ...
0
votes
1answer
60 views

electrons inside nucleus and uncertainty principle [closed]

State the assumptions of the proton-electron model of the nucleus. Show that if one uses the Heisenberg uncertainty relation to estimate the speed of an electron inside a nucleus with a diameter of ...
0
votes
1answer
48 views

Only one invariant speed in special relativity

This is taken from Rindler's Special Relativity: Any effect whose speed in vacuum is always the same could have used to derive the Lorentz Transformation, as light was used in our derivation. Only ...
0
votes
1answer
38 views

Fermi velocity $v_F$ and speed of light

Can Fermi velocity $v_F$ be equal to speed of light, $c$, for ultra-relativistic electron plasma waves, in plasma physics, by using Fermi-Dirac distribution function?
0
votes
1answer
57 views

Time in a perfect vacuum? [duplicate]

If we were able to make a perfect vacuum with no forms of energy in, including all forms of light would time still go on in that vacuum and if it doesn't how would we tell that it doesn't? Then if we ...
1
vote
1answer
29 views

At what velocity would a body need to travel at to experience noticeable (couple minutes) time distortion?

When a person experiences higher speeds, the light must travel a greater distance to reach the person whom is moving compared to that whom is staying still. Right? So therefore, light takes slightly ...
1
vote
1answer
71 views

Laws of physics in curved space-time

The speed of light is not constant everywhere in a gravitational field. Suppose there is a region of space-time which is curved due to gravity such that the speed of light or any electromagnetic ...
-2
votes
2answers
39 views

Does matter become energy at the speed of light?

According to modern physics, we can't push matter to the speed of light. It would slow down (relative to its environment). But theoretically, if matter were to travel the speed of light, would it ...
2
votes
1answer
157 views

Why does light not slow down?

Clearly light bounces off of things, going really really fast. I'm curious to understand how light interacts with matter in order to bounce without: Applying force to the object Losing speed So my ...
0
votes
1answer
45 views

Can relative speed be faster than c [duplicate]

If there are two spaceships moving away from each other(in opposite directions) at a speed 0.6c, then wouldnt that make the relative speed of one from the other's frame of reference 1.2c? Does this ...
0
votes
2answers
62 views

During relativistic effects what would a person feel experiencing length contraction?

It has been determined that when accelerating a mass towards light speed it gains mass, experiences length contraction, and time dilation. During such a period of special relativity what would a ...
-1
votes
2answers
75 views

Special relativity thought experiement

Say you see a spaceship moving relative to you. On this ship you see a timer. When a beam of light is emitted from one end of the ship the timer starts. When the light reaches the other end of the ...
0
votes
0answers
25 views

How can I calculate time dilation as viewed from an accelerated frame?

Imagine I am speeding past you at near the speed of light, at a constant velocity. It is very simple for me to calculate what I will see looking at you. According to the Lorentz transformations from ...
0
votes
1answer
26 views

What would we see if a camera orbiting close to light speed beamed down images of us on earth?

If a camera was sent up in a satellite, put in orbit at close to light speed, and instructed to beam down images to earth, what would we see if we watched its video feed? (Ignoring the fact that ...
2
votes
2answers
61 views

How is it possible for the wavelength of light to change in a medium?

So my physics class has just finished a long unit on optics while at the same time I've been trying to teach myself relativity. I admit my understanding is probably rudimentary, but I figured all the ...
0
votes
1answer
45 views

Magnet and electromagnetic wave, and speed of light

I have this practice exam question: T or F. If you hold a magnet in your hand and wave it back and forth, you will create an electromagnetic wave that moves away from your hand at the speed of ...
-5
votes
1answer
63 views

What is the speed of a Photon? [duplicate]

How fast does a Photon travel through space? And is gravity able to influence a Photon's path?
0
votes
1answer
44 views

Minimum Distance for “Speed of Light Approach”

I tried to calculate the minimum distance between a planet and a test mass for the mass to attain the speed of light on colliding with the planet's surface if it were released from rest at the initial ...
0
votes
0answers
20 views

Measuring speed of an object relative to what? [duplicate]

I understand that everything in the universe is moving through spacetime and the spacetime vector is equal for all the objects. So if If something is moving at speed of light, the mass of it is zero ...
0
votes
0answers
39 views

If I am a light travel around Earth, what relativistic phenomenons do I have?

In school, or even in university, we are only taught Lorentz transformation in one direction. It is quite easy: $$\begin{align} t' &= \gamma \left( t - \frac{vx}{c^2} \right) \\ x' &= ...
0
votes
2answers
81 views

How was time defined before we knew the speed of light was constant or in classical physics? [closed]

Nowadays, we now about $c$ the universal speed of light. This lets us define the notion of distance in terms of time (despite the fact that it works the opposite way for our common units.) Before ...
-2
votes
0answers
47 views

Entangled particles and travelling at speed of light

I'm sorry to bother you guys with yet another question about quantum entanglement and speed of light, but I have a scenery in mind which I couldn't find on the net, so I'm gonna describe it here and ...
0
votes
0answers
35 views

What does the phrase 'muons are brought to rest' mean?

I have a physics question in a text sheet. I am currently doing work on relativity where calculations of rest frames and laboratory frames are being completed. The formula: $t(\text{laboratory frame}) ...
0
votes
1answer
34 views

space time contraction

What could be the reason that space and time contraction increases almost exponentially at the last decimals places close to the speed of light or close to singularity gravitational fields. Does this ...
-2
votes
1answer
59 views

Can photons “stop time”?

If traveling past the speed of light causes time to reverse than does traveling in time make time "stop"? If not then how do photons/mass-less particles experience time, if at all.
0
votes
0answers
43 views

Why do different wavelengths travel at different speeds through a medium? [duplicate]

Someone gave an explanation in another question: "Maxwell's equations predict that in a linear medium with permittivity ϵ and permeability μ, the speed of light in the medium will be v=1/ϵμ. When ...
1
vote
2answers
130 views

How can we show that the speed of light is really constant in all reference frames?

I had a debate with a friend who cannot believe that the speed of light is constant. He said something like: so what if in the Michelson-experiment the moving apparatus simply added a constant ...
2
votes
1answer
58 views

Why does larger permittivity of a medium cause light to propagate slower?

I was wondering about what physically happens when light is transmitted through a non-magnetic medium. Specifically, I’m trying to visualize how materials slow down light as the electromagnetic wave ...
2
votes
1answer
39 views

Does the payload of an Alcubierre drive have to be on board during the preparation phase?

I was thinking about the practical aspect of using an Alcubierre drive, assuming one existed. I'm no expert, but my understanding is that, since the destination has to be in the forward light-cone of ...
4
votes
0answers
104 views

Slower than light photons in vacuum?

This report on the BBC site suggests that optical photons have been prepared that travel slower than c in vacuum. How is this possible?
2
votes
3answers
808 views

Sending information faster than light

If I could ever send my friend any information faster than light it would violate causality. If he just guesses the information and acts on it before he could ever recieve it, everything is fine. What ...
1
vote
5answers
81 views

Does spacetime have a “preferred” speed/metric? [duplicate]

I read recently that spacetime has a preferred speed, c, and that all observers would agree on the speed of anything moving at c. In particular, there is nothing unique about light when talking about ...
0
votes
2answers
42 views

Can a Physical Quantity Change at a Pace That's a (>1) Multiple of Light Speed?

A light wave travels along the x-axis. The equation for the variation of an electric field with respect to location on the x-axis and time is as follows: $ E = E_{max} \sin( k x -kc t )$ where $k = ...
2
votes
2answers
648 views

Does light have initial velocity? [duplicate]

You are standing still in a vacuum, and you throw a ball that moves 10 m/s away from you. Now you start moving in one direction at 5 m/s, and throw the ball in the other direction, away from the ...
0
votes
2answers
125 views

Why does moving near light speed keep you young? [duplicate]

As was shown in the movie Interstellar, when you go close to a black hole or move near the speed of light in space, then your clock runs slower than a clock on Earth. In the movie, Matthew ...
1
vote
0answers
38 views

What happens when light is reflected from a surface moving in a medium with a huge refractive index?

Imagine a mirror is moving away from a light source in a substance through which the speed of light is very slow -- so slow that the speed of the mirror is close to being the same as the speed of the ...
0
votes
1answer
76 views

I want to know why light even moves at all.

Never mind in a vacuum, why and how does light even move at all? What propels it?
3
votes
1answer
329 views

The cap on massive particles's speed is below the speed of light due to Planck length?

This answer http://worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/a/8525/1991 claims that no particle can accelerate further after its de Broglie wavelength becomes Planck length. Given that speed at this point is ...