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
2answers
199 views

What will happen if we use a speed greater than light speed and find a body'motion and energy relative to it?

In Einstein's papers, he used light speed as a reference speed. What if we use a greater finite speed and do the same calculations. Won't this greater speed then be the limit.
6
votes
3answers
748 views

Why don't quantum effects invalidate the speed of light barrier?

While proving that no matter can reach the speed of light (a fact which I call the kinetic energy barrier), Einstein uses the fact that he can calculate the velocity and position of an electron. ...
3
votes
1answer
166 views

The range of light

It occurs to me that the empirical evidence shows that there is a point out in space where light stops coming from. Putting aside the expansion of the universe for a second, and focusing strictly on ...
19
votes
10answers
12k views

Does the Pauli exclusion principle instantaneously affect distant electrons?

According to Brian Cox in his A night with the Stars lecture$^1$, the Pauli exclusion principle means that no electron in the universe can have the same energy state as any other electron in the ...
20
votes
1answer
2k views

How did Rømer measure the speed of light by observing Jupiter's moons, centuries ago?

I am interested in the practical method and I like to discover if it is cheap enough to be done as an experiment in a high school.
1
vote
1answer
212 views

Light vs neutrino speed comparison in a real tunnel

Given current accuracy of the techniques, is it possible to identify a real, existing tunnel (stright I think) to make the direct comparison of the speed of light and of neutrinos? The hypotetical ...
0
votes
3answers
462 views

How do physicists justify using $c^2$ in equations?

Excuse my ignorance but I see physicists use $c^2$ in equations and I was wondering what reasoning they use to justify $c^2$ since, as far as I understand, $c^2$ must be an absurd quantity because ...
4
votes
6answers
609 views

When has the speed of light been measured, recently?

Yes, it is weird, absurd, but I can't stop thinking that the would-be superluminal neutrino speed has been computed by an arithmetic operation (space/time) and not by direct comparison with a ...
4
votes
5answers
913 views

Why are $\mu_0$ and $\epsilon_0$, which appear in electrostatics and magnetostatics, related to the speed of light which appears in electrodynamics?

$\epsilon_0$ and $\mu_0$ appear in electrostatics and magnetostatics. When we include time varying fields we have electrodynamics and the appearance of c which turns out to be related to $\epsilon_0$ ...
-1
votes
1answer
7k views

How light years is measured? [closed]

How are light years are measured? I remember the distance between earth and moon are measured by the delay in light which travels and comes back. But how are light years calculated?
4
votes
3answers
1k views

What if we could give photons some mass?

I was reading an article and these paragraphs got me wondering... Before I list the replies, here is some background. The Higgs mechanism describes an invisible field that, it is argued, split one ...
0
votes
1answer
422 views

Speed of Light, Photons or WaveSpeed?

The speed of light is almost 300 000 km/s. The photons have a speed along the wave, and the wave have a speed straight forwards. What is the speed of light? Is it the speed the photons have along ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

why is mechanical waves faster in denser medium while EM waves slower?

Why is it that mechanical waves/longitudinal waves/sound travel faster in a denser/stiffer medium as in steel compared to say air, while EM waves/trasverse waves/light travels slower in a (optically) ...
-4
votes
1answer
215 views

$E=mc^2$ why is it $c^2$ and not just $c$?

Why is constant for the conversion of mass to energy square of the ligths speed? is it bedside it's the fastest real matter? .
1
vote
2answers
181 views

What are the implications of the speed of light broken? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What would be the effects on theoretical physics if neutrinos go faster than light? I don't know if it's been asked before, but I couldn't find a thread about it. I ...
8
votes
2answers
658 views

Do gravitational waves slow down as they pass through matter?

I've heard that gravitational waves travel at the speed of light, and have some parallels to electromagnetic waves. EM waves slow down as they pass through matter (speed of light in glass is slower ...
0
votes
2answers
460 views

Does gravitational differences affect the distance light travels? (a thought experiment)

My question is: How is light passing through different gravitational densities affected? The value of "c" is constant in a vacuum. I'm curious about if various time frames have any effect. This is ...
1
vote
2answers
595 views

What happens to body chemistry at the speed of light? [duplicate]

Assume that I'm traveling at the speed of light in one direction. My brain is also traveling at the speed of light in that direction. Presumably there is at least one receptor site in my brain that is ...
15
votes
4answers
2k views

Does a photon in vacuum have a rest frame?

Quite a few of the questions given on this site mention a photon in vacuum having a rest frame such as it having a zero mass in its rest frame. I find this contradictory since photons must travel at ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

At what fraction of the speed of light have people traveled?

I'm guessing that, this would be someone in a rocket or something... When they hit their top speed, at what fraction of $c$ are they traveling?
2
votes
3answers
370 views

Does the Special Theory of Relativity “form” the foundation of Modern Physics?

Does the Special Theory of Relativity "form" the foundation of Modern Physics? My question is in reference to Geoff Brumfiel's Scientific American article "Particles Found to Travel Faster than Speed ...
8
votes
4answers
3k views

Why is the speed-of-light “the upper limit” rather than the speed of “particle type X”?

Basically, I can't stop wondering why light (the photon) is so special, compared to all the other particles known (and unknown) to modern day physics. Could it be that there exists an upper limit on ...
2
votes
1answer
216 views

The relation between the speed of light and the Big Bang Theory

I would like to know how much of the Big Bang theory is dependent on the constancy of the speed of light. P.S.: It might be guessed that I am asking this because of the recent CERN news. Yes, of ...
2
votes
1answer
421 views

Do the particles that were found to break the speed of light really break Einstein's theory of relativity? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What would be the effects on theoretical physics if neutrinos go faster than light? Update: Loose cable caused faulty results Apparently, researchers at CERN have found ...
4
votes
0answers
975 views

Can neutrinos travel faster than the speed of light? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Superluminal neutrinos What would be the immediate effects if light does not go at the maximum speed possible? This is a hot topic right now, so I thought we should ...
12
votes
3answers
220 views

If neutrinos travel faster than light, how much lead time would we have over detecting supernovas?

In light of the recent story that neutrinos travel faster than photons, I realize the news about this is sensationalistic and many tests still remain, but let's ASSUME neutrinos are eventually proven ...
1
vote
0answers
154 views

What would the impact be on the physics world if neutrinos DO travel faster than light? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicates: What would be the immediate effects if light does not go at the maximum speed possible? Superluminal neutrinos I was reading this article about a group of scientist ...
1
vote
1answer
1k views

What do physicists mean when they say “speed of light”?

Does it make sense to say, "The speed of light varies?" Some may say right off the bat "Yes, it changes as a wave passes through a different medium." However, I'd like to say no, because when I hear ...
4
votes
4answers
528 views

Exactly how is the constant measured velocity of light deduced from Maxwell's equation?

For electromagnetic radiation the velocity of propagation is $c = 1/\sqrt{\mu_0 \epsilon_0}$. Since both $\mu_0$ and $\epsilon_0$ do not vary in any inertial frame, then $c$ must be constant in any ...
7
votes
5answers
2k views

High speed and low speed photons

Looking at the discovery of the neutron, and I came across this page: http://www-outreach.phy.cam.ac.uk/camphy/neutron/neutron3_1.htm The animation on the left, talks about low energy photons and ...
2
votes
5answers
6k views

Reflection At Speed of Light

I have looked online to no avail. There is two competing answers and I am curious to know which one is right. Someone asked me this question. If you are traveling at the speed of light can you see ...
3
votes
2answers
369 views

How to measure faster than light electric energy?

According to relativity,nothing can break light barrier.But a recent preprint shows energy transmission of commercial electric power (f=60Hz) is faster than light. (It is not the drift velocity of ...
2
votes
1answer
491 views

Spin up, spin down and superposition

I'm just starting to study quantum mechanics. Please explain the error in this thinking: You set up decay of two $\pi$ mesons and get $2\mathrm{e}^-$ on Mars and $2\mathrm{e}^+$ on Earth. On Earth ...
8
votes
4answers
981 views

At what speed does our universe expand?

Conceivably it expands with the speed of light. I do not know, but curious, if there is an answer. At what velocity, does our universe expand?
3
votes
1answer
360 views

Microsecond trading with neutrinos

The Spread Networks corporation recently laid down 825 miles of fiberoptic cable between New York and Chicago, stretching across Pennsylvania, for the sole purpose of reducing the latency of ...
5
votes
2answers
706 views

How can I explain the scientific basis of the constant speed of light to a $c$-decay proponent?

This Phys.SE question asks why and how the speed of light is constant. I would like to ask a related, almost converse question: Given that the speed of light is constant, how could I explain to a ...
-1
votes
2answers
1k views

Does gravity spread instantly? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: The speed of gravity I am real noob in physics, so sorry if this question is really stupid. Today in a casual conversation I claimed that if the sun were to instantly ...
30
votes
4answers
3k views

What really cause light/photons to appear slower in media?

I know that if we solve the Maxwell equation, we will end up with the phase velocity of light being related to the permeability and the permittivity of the material. But this is not what I'm ...
14
votes
6answers
2k views

Double light speed

Let's say we have $2$ particles facing each other and traveling at speed of light Let's say I'm sitting on #$1$ particle so in my point of view #$2$ particle's speed is $c+c=2c$, double light speed? ...
4
votes
4answers
306 views

Massive particles and speed of their propagation

Can one show that in quantum field theory at least some example massive particles propagate with speed less than speed of light, while massless travel at speed of light? Well, motion is a different ...
8
votes
1answer
1k views

Tachyon and Photons

Is there a particle called "tachyons" that can travel faster than light? If so, would Einstein's relativity be wrong? According to Einstein no particle can travel faster than light.
2
votes
2answers
181 views

Thought experiment that seems to involve something growing at twice the speed of light. Is anything wrong?

Let foo be some unit of distance and bar be some unit of time which have been chosen so that the speed of light c = 1 foo/bar. Position several observers along a line each separated by one foo, and ...
0
votes
1answer
252 views

What happens when light moves perpendicular to a moving object?

Imagine the folllowing situation: A coherent light source is attached to a car such that the emitted light beam path is "being crossed over" by the car i.e. the long parallel light beams are struck by ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

Michelson rotating mirror experiment

Could someone explain the calculation required to answer this question. It is from a text book and the answer is recorded as 585Hz but I cannot replicate the answer. In 1931 Michelson used a ...
2
votes
2answers
898 views

Why is travelling around the speed of light a problem?

I don't fully understand what would happen if we could travel at the speed of light. But I saw somewhere here that it would mean events happen out of order. But why is this a problem. It is said that ...
12
votes
3answers
988 views

Can the speed of light become complex inside a metamaterial?

The speed of light in a material is defined as $c = \frac{1}{\sqrt{\epsilon \mu}}$. There are metamaterials with negative permittivity $\epsilon < 0$ and permeability $\mu < 0$ at the same time. ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Can you use a laser to measure the speed of light with a rotating mirror?

I have learned that the classical measurement of the speed of light with a rotating mirror does not work with a laser (as opposed to, say, a mercury-vapor lamp). Can you tell me if and how coherency ...
1
vote
3answers
2k views

Max rocket speed in interstellar space?

Interstellar space propulsion...if a spaceship were to get beyond our Sun's gravitational pull and since there is no atmosphere/wind/friction in space...does that mean, if an engine was constantly ...
6
votes
5answers
3k views

Maximum speed of a rocket with a potential of relativistic speeds

Ultimately, the factor limiting the maximum speed of a rocket is: the amount of fuel it carries the speed of ejection of the gases the mass of the rocket the length of the rocket ...
7
votes
3answers
11k views

Why is the speed of light defined as 299792458 m/s?

Why is the speed of light defined as 299792458 m/s? Why did they choose that number and no other number? Or phrased differently: Why is a metre 1/299792458 of the distance light travels in a sec in ...