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

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How do we know that photons are exactly massless and travel exactly with speed $c$ in vacuum?

I know that this question may sound stupid, but what I mean is that photons have some energy and no mass, yet the mass and energy are said to be equivalent (or maybe I got that part wrong). In an ...
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Speed of light originating from a star with gravitational pull close to black-hole strength?

Imagine you have a star which is on the brink of turning into a black hole. Lets say it is infinitely close to become a black hole, but not there yet. Since there is no event horizon, but a great ...
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467 views

Would approaching a distant star at near the speed of light unfold its entire history in “fast-forward”?

The light we detect today in our telescopes from distant stars is really old. If we could travel fast (lets say, 90% the speed of light) towards a star a million lightyears away, all the time looking ...
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Is speed of light ( Sun-to-Earth ) related to the movement speed of solar system?

The speed of light has been measured to be 299 792 458 m/s. Now, the Solar System is traveling at an average speed of 828,000 km/h (230 000 m/s). Summing up the numbers we get close to 300 000 000 m/s ...
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Why does the light travel slower in denser medium? [duplicate]

Wikipedia says that "in general, the refractive index of a glass increases with its density." And the refraction index of water vapor is less than ice, and even less than liquid water. Is there any ...
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522 views

How can photons interact with anything?

I read photons do not age because they move at the speed of light. So when a photon interacts with my eyes, aren't they apart in space-time by the difference of the time in the frame of reference of ...
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171 views

Speed of light that is traveling away from the observer

The second postulate of Special Relativity states: The speed of light in a vacuum is the same for all observers, regardless of their motion relative to the source. Now imagine the observer ...
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4answers
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Time dilation at zero velocity (and zero gravity)

From what I've learned, the more an object travels closer and closer to the speed of light, the more time will slow down for that object.. at least from an outside perspective.. It was shown that ...
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0answers
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Gravity propagation speed [duplicate]

Related to: The speed of gravity? In the related question and in many other questions here, it seems as if the propagation speed of the gravitational interaction is $c$. To my understanding, the only ...
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2answers
275 views

Weird case for relative velocities and special relativity

This has bothered me for a while. I've been taught that the formula for determining the perceived velocity on an object from another moving object's reference frame under special relativity is: $$v = ...
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1answer
132 views

What is the role of the speed of light in mass-energy equivalency? [duplicate]

Where does $c$ squared come into play in the equation $E=mc^2$. Multiplication obviously but how does energy equal mass times the speed of light?
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1answer
133 views

Does the light speed change in media? [duplicate]

Does the light speed change? The Theory of Relativity says that the speed of light in vacuum is the same and unchangeable, while I read that the speed of light in glass is lower than in air, and that ...
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0answers
35 views

Aim of the Michelson Morley Experimetn [duplicate]

What was the aim of the MM experiment? Many sources say that it was to measure the relativity velocity of the Earth through the aether. But I'm trying to understand what this exactly means, and why ...
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2answers
183 views

Speed of gravity in cosmological codes and ephemeris generation

There are few questions in Phys.SE concerning the speed of gravity, and the answers are traditionally that the speed of gravity equals to the speed of light. But in that case I have three more ...
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0answers
169 views

Theoretically if you passed the speed of light, would there be a sonic boom equivalent?

I know that it is technically impossible to reach the speed of light since the mass of the object traveling would reach infinity. Despite this if it were possible, would there be some sort of ...
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2answers
155 views

Expected result of vertical Michelson-Morley Experiment

What would the result of a vertical variation of the Michelson-Morley experiment be? I.e., if one were to compare light traveling along a horizontal arm with light traveling along a vertical arm ...
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4answers
312 views

What will be the relative speed of a photon in a light ray to another photon of opposite direction light ray?

If two light rays start simultaneously in the space from exactly opposite ends in opposite direction that is separated by a distance of 600000 km in a way they meet at the mid point (300000 km from ...
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1answer
61 views

twin paradox inferring cosmic speed limit

As I understand it, the twin paradox was integral to Einstein's conclusion that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light. Why wasn't there a similar conclusion for a hypothetical scenario ...
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3answers
105 views

Question about relative speeds on a different “scales of perception”

I was kind of puzzled yesterday when thinking about this. If we observe an object moving away from us with 10m/s we would say the object is moving away from us really slowly But if we (humans, ...
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1answer
69 views

Where / what is the source of the force that causes refraction?

So we know that as light moves from, say, a glass block to air, it speeds up and refracts, but if there is to be acceleration then surely there must be a resultant force to cause it? So where does ...
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1answer
263 views

Why light can't go faster then 300 000 km/s? What prevents it? [duplicate]

Why can't the speed of light be faster then approx 300 000 km/s? What prevents it?
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3answers
232 views

A vertical variation of modern versions of Michelson-Morley

For almost a year now, I have been in the uncomfortable position of having an idea. However, there is one nice thing about this idea. It makes a concrete, exact and relatively easy to test physical ...
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2answers
164 views

Light & Observer moving perpendicular to each other

Light is the yellow arrow. Observer is the black arrow. Observer is moving at a constant speed of v, w.r.t to a Galilean frame of reference. Now from the point of view of the observer (O), how ...
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218 views

Why is light speed the limit? [duplicate]

Why is the light speed a limit? Why can't anything go faster than light? Not even a single atom?
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2answers
141 views

Difficulty in understading a part of the book “A Brief History of Time”?

Sorry if the question is not upto the standard of the site but i really can't understand what the following para says. I am reading the book "A Brief History of Time" by Stephen Hawking and in the ...
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2answers
133 views

The speed of light as it approaches a massive body

No matter how fast you go, you will aways perceive the speed of light as constant. Taking that as a fact, the special relativity theory was formulated. Now, for what I understand about general ...
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2answers
196 views

Is there a delay in the effect of gravitational force?

Let's suppose there is a very massive object and a small object that are 1 lightyear apart. The massive object is large enough that the gravitational force pulling the small object is easily ...
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1answer
43 views

Twin paradox on a cosmic scale

I am referring to yet another version as the classical twin paradox. In my version the moving apart of the twins is entirely induced by space expansion between them and they move apart each other at ...
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2answers
332 views

What changes occur while an atom approches the speed of light?

My knowledge of atomic dynamics is a little superficial. But to my understanding an electron travels an orbital path around a nucleus of an atom. "correct?" So let's say that if a hydrogen atom were ...
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Does the speed of light in different mediums affect the lorentz transformation?

We know that the Lorentz transformation is derived using the speed of light in vacuum. But if we were to use it in water, would it change since the speed of light in water should also remain constant ...
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1answer
199 views

Why the speed of light is represented by $c$? [closed]

In almost every textbook, I've found that the speed of light is $c \approx 3 \times 10^8\: \mathrm{m/s}$. I wonder why it's just $c$ ?
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Would a beam of light moving through a vacuum be considered an example of perpetual motion? [closed]

I have a very limited understanding of Physics but if the beam of light was moving through a vacuum like space and had saw no obstuctions during its path, would that be perpetual motion in action?
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1answer
91 views

Theoretical Upper Bound on Processor Speed?

Barring aside considerations such as heat dissipation, capacitance, etc... (aka any sort of technological issue) what is the fastest speed of a processor? I am told that at distances of 1 planck ...
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1answer
71 views

What is the mass required for a star to have the gravity equivalent to a black hole?

At what mass does the light from stars ( I am talking about stars and not black holes) fail to escape the star's gravity? Is it the same (minimum) mass required for an object to be called a black ...
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2answers
184 views

Has anyone checked whether the speed of light varies according to gravitation

My physics is fairly basic, but I hope someone can answer without being too rude. A transparent medium such as water or glass refracts light and also reduces its speed, so I was wondering whether ...
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4answers
151 views

Why does special relativity talk about the speed of light in a vacuum?

What's the importance of the speed of light being in a vacuum? Does not being in a vacuum cause a difference?
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1answer
123 views

If an electron can't go faster than light, how is energy conserved here?

I came across a physics question recently about accelerating electrons with potential differences and it got me wondering. Here is the question that brought the concept to mind. First off, imagine ...
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2answers
101 views

Is it possible for a human being to travel at the speed of light? [closed]

Can our human body travel at the speed of light in a space shuttle? Indeed, can any material object with nonzero mass travel at the speed of light with respect to a valid inertial frame? If not, why ...
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2answers
186 views

Do photons feel gravity of approaching objects only?

I have read that photons while travelling near massive objects such as the sun experience gravitational pull which is why we see some stars at different positions than they are when seen towards the ...
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1answer
273 views

Is there a way to increase the speed of light itself?

When light enters materials it slows down due to its refractive index (due to absorbing and re-emission of photons). But, is there a way to increase the speed of light itself? Can there be some ...
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1answer
82 views

Do virtual photons/magnetic fields change speed in a medium?

Light can be slowed down to a walking pace and even stopped in a medium of hot rubidium vapour. If an electromagnet was placed in this medium and turned on would the popagation of the magnetic field ...
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2answers
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Do neutrinos travel faster than light in air?

I read in wiki that the speed of light is 88km/s slower in air than it is in a vacuum. Do neutrinos travel faster than light in air?
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1answer
78 views

Acceleration reaches speed of light? [duplicate]

Hi, I am thinking about acceleration. Let's think we have a force of $1$ N and a particle of $1$ kg, then acceleration will be $1$. So the speed gets higher every second and $c$ seconds later, in ...
5
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5answers
559 views

Does a photon instantaneously gain $c$ speed when emitted from an electron?

An excited electron looses energy in the form of radiations. The radiation constitutes photons which move at a speed $c$. But, is the process of conversion of the energy of the electron into the ...
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1answer
62 views

Speed of light energy

Considering the amount of energy necessary to accelerate a particle to the speed of light (ie; half the energy in the entire universe) how could we have so many things already going the speed of ...
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135 views

Time Delays in General Relativity

If gravity propagates at, or less than, the speed of light, and is therefore not instantaneous, does that introduce time delays to gravity? For example: suppose that we, the observer, sit within the ...
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2answers
753 views

Nothing can travel faster than the speed of light. In what frame of reference? [duplicate]

Since frames of reference are arbitrary, I can define a frame of reference that moves backwards with a speed greater than $c$, then any static object in that frame of reference is already traveling ...
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1answer
103 views

Special Relativity Time problem

Suppose there are two observers, they each own a light clock which were synchronised in the beginning and are moving relative to each other. So each of them accuses that the other person's clock is ...
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2answers
55 views

How fast does the collapse travel in a multiple slit experiment?

If we have a kilometer long million slit light source and make an observation on a slit at one of the ends, will the interference pattern fully collapse or partially collapse? is there any delay in ...
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Why does the speed of light in vacuum have no uncertainty?

I could understand that the definition of a second wouldn't have an uncertainty when related to the transition of the Cs atom, so it doesn't have an error because it's an absolute reference and we ...