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
1answer
235 views

Observing photons

Your replies to my question about being able to see a photon, from the side (answer, unanimous, “no”) have raised in me some additional questions. Would it reasonable to think that in consequence, ...
21
votes
4answers
4k views

If a 1kg mass was accelerated close to the speed of light would it turn into a black hole?

I'm a big fan of the podcast Astronomy Cast and a while back I was listening to a Q&A episode they did. A listener sent in a question that I found fascinating and have been wondering about ever ...
1
vote
2answers
516 views

Reaching speed of light [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Rotate a long bar in space and reach c Sorry this is very naive, but it's bugging me. If you had a straight solid stick attached on one end and rotating around that ...
13
votes
3answers
2k views

Why the vacuum polarization does not decrease the speed of light?

On one hand, in the classical electrodynamics polarization of transparent media yields in lowering the speed of light by the factor of $n=\sqrt{\epsilon_r \mu_r}$ (refractive index). On the other, in ...
3
votes
3answers
3k views

Mass of particle near light speed in a medium

I am trying to get a common understanding from these two previous questions: Why does the mass of an object increase when its speed approaches that of light? What happens if light/particles exceeded ...
20
votes
10answers
13k views

Why and how is the speed of light in vacuum constant, i.e., independent of reference frame?

I was told that the Galilean relative velocity rule does not apply to the speed of light. No matter how fast two objects are moving, the speed of light will remain same for both of them. How and why ...
62
votes
18answers
6k views

Is it possible for information to be transmitted faster than light by using a rigid pole?

Is it possible for information (like 1 and 0s) to be transmitted faster than light? For instance, take a rigid pole of several AU in length. Now say you have a person on each end, and one of them ...
15
votes
11answers
47k views

Why does the (relativistic) mass of an object increase when its speed approaches that of light?

I'm reading Nano: The Essentials by T. Pradeep and I came upon this statement in the section explaining the basics of scanning electron microscopy. However, the equation breaks down when the ...
14
votes
2answers
2k views

Deriving the speed of the propagation of a change in the Electromagnetic Field from Maxwell's Equations

I've been told that, from Maxwell's equations, one can find that the propagation of change in the Electromagnetic Field travels at a speed $\frac{1}{\sqrt{\mu_0 \epsilon_0}}$ (the values of which can ...
16
votes
8answers
8k views

Accelerating particles to speeds infinitesimally close to the speed of light?

I'm in a freshmen level physics class now, so I don't know much, but something I heard today intrigued me. My TA was talking about how at the research facility he worked at, they were able to ...
5
votes
4answers
2k views

Measuring the speed of light and defining the metre - absolute or relative?

If the metre is now defined as the distance light travels in vacuum in 1⁄299,792,458th of a second and the speed of light is accepted to be ...
0
votes
3answers
641 views

Why does moving through space at the speed of light automatically limit us from moving through time? [closed]

If I'm moving through MY reference frame at the speed of light, isn't time still passing by normally for me? Help me think about this fourth dimension- space-time. I want to intuitively understand ...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

What happens if light/particles exceeded the speed of light for a particular medium

While the speed of light in vacuum is a universal constant ($c$), the speed at which light propagates in other materials/mediums may be less than $c$. This is obviously suggested by the fact that ...
182
votes
14answers
15k views

How does gravity escape a black hole?

My understanding is that light can not escape from within a black hole (within the event horizon). I've also heard that information cannot propagate faster than the speed of light. It would seem to ...
3
votes
4answers
286 views

Chosing a reference frame in which the earth is at rest and doesn't rotate

We may choose a non-rotating earth as our reference frame and ask ourselves: how about the planetary and stellar motions. A star at a distance of 10 million light years would turn around the earth in ...
26
votes
4answers
3k views

What is the mechanism behind the slowdown of light/photons in a transparent medium?

So light travels slower in glass (for example) than in a vacuum. What causes light to slow down? Or: How does it slow down? If light passes through the medium, is it not essentially traveling in the ...
40
votes
13answers
10k views

Home experiments to derive the speed of light?

Are there any experiments I can do to derive the speed of light with only common household tools?