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

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What's the purpose of the speed of light in $E = mc^2$?

Is $E=mc^2$ not just $E=m$. What does the speed of light have to do with this other than to give it a really big number so it looks cool? What spectrum of light is used? How can we test the speed of ...
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Why don't we substitute for $p$ in $E = pc$?

See, the energy of a photon is given out by $E = pc = hv$ why don't we substitute for $p$ in $E ^2= p^2 c^2 + m^2 c^4$ by putting $p = \gamma mv$ and then get a value for $m$ (which will be $0$ for a ...
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About accelerating particles

Can a particle moving below the speed of light be accelerated more and more until it is travelling at c? IF so does it behave like electro-magnetic radiation?
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How does $E=mc^2$ put an upper limit to velocity of a body?

How does $E=mc^2$ put a upper limit to velocity of a body? I have read some articles on speed of light and they just tell me that it is the maximum velocity that can be acquired by any particle. How ...
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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 ...
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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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How Are Galaxies Receding Faster Than Light Visible To Observers?

We know that some galaxies are moving away from us faster than the speed of light and we know it by measuring the redshift, but how's that possible? If they're moving away say at 2c, how would the ...
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Why does light seem so slow when compared to everyday observations here on Earth? [on hold]

I can walk to the local market, and if I need to get across town I'll drive. Likewise, I can reach out of state destinations quickly by flying. On the otherhand, traveling at orders of magnitude ...
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Why can't light escape from a classical black hole?

Photons do not have (rest) mass (that's why they can move at speed of "light"). So, my question is how the gravity of classical$^1$ black hole can stop light from escaping? -- $^1$ We ignore ...
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About the speed of light

If Mr. E is aboard a spaceship traveling near the speed of light the usual reason for the spaceship not going faster than $c$ is the (relativistic) mass of the ship increases without bound, I think. ...
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38 views

The speed of light, objects moving against each other and the effects of a clash

Physics is a hobby interest of mine, so I may be asking a senseless question, but there is something I cannot get my head around when it comes to relative frames, the constant speed of light (as a ...
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Detecting absolute motion inside a box

This is not a contradiction and I know it is impossible but still consider a thought experiment by me and point out if something is wrong. See the following picture and then the explanation follows. ...
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Resultant wave in the Michelson-Morley experiment

I was wondering when the two waves in the experiment, don't they lead to constructive interference? Consider the first case in the image. The two combining waves should lead to constructive ...
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1answer
85 views

Is there a connection between exclusion principle and the speed of light?

As far as I know exotic stars are composed of degenerate matter created by the balance between gravity and pressure of exclusion principle and as the mass of the star grows it goes into more ...
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180 views

Disk spinning at the speed of light

Of course, I mean that the edge of the disk is traveling at the speed of light. This is a question that popped into my head a few years ago when I was learning about some basic relativity in high ...
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Is the “How to break the speed of light” minute physics video wrong?

I am referring to this video, on YouTube, by minutephysics, which has quite a lot of views. In the video it states that if you flick your wrist while pointing a laser that reaches the moon, that the ...
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250 views

Travel at the speed of light

Is it me who have a poor understanding, or does all matter have to become 'pure energy' in order to achieve speed-of-light speed? If so, does that mean that no material can achieve the speed of ...
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1answer
21 views

Spinning theoretical object moving faster than the speed of light [duplicate]

Let's say you have the Earth, or any celestial body, spinning as it is. What if you build a tower from the surface, and extended it out into space. If it was built far enough, could the furthest end ...
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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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SPEED of LIGHT as photons reach black holes [duplicate]

As photons reach a black hole and begin fall in - is their speed increased as they go down (like a vacuum cleaner does to dust).
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163 views

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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61 views

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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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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Is 2.5x speed of light possible between two objects?

These news are in Finnish: http://www.hs.fi/ulkomaat/Kaukaisin+havaittu+galaksi+et%C3%A4%C3%A4ntyy+maasta+valoa+nopeammin/a1305618680897 The main excerpt is: "Distant galaxy moves away from us as ...
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Extended Rigid Bodies in Special Relativity

I was reading Landau & Lifshitz's Classical Theory of Fields and I noticed that they mention that an extended rigid body isn't "relativistically correct". For example, if you consider a rigid ...
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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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How accurate are our calculations about distant stars keeping in mind their enormous distances?

Since many stars are hundreds of light years away from the Earth and therefore, what we observe of them today is really their distant past, how can we say anything with certainty about their ...
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Double light speed

Let's say we have 2 participles facing each other and traveling at speed of light Let's say I'm sitting on #1 participle so in my point of view #2 participle's speed is c+c=2c, double light speed? ...
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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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What is the meaning of speed of light $c$ in $E=mc^2$?

$E=mc^2$ is the famous mass-energy equation of Albert Einstein. I know that it tells that mass can be converted to energy and vice versa. I know that $E$ is energy, $m$ is mass of a matter and $c$ is ...
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104 views

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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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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Which properties of electricity and magnetism are responsible for the speed of light being what it is? [duplicate]

I have always been fascinated by the speed of light. I have wondered how it was originally calculated before we had equipment sensitive enough to clock light speed. All I know about it is that the ...
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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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How does velocity cause time dilation?

I've been trying to learn about the speed of light and time dilation, but I'm at an impasse. The presented facts say that if I travel around the solar system at 50% the speed of light and then come ...
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1answer
101 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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How did the scientific community receive this measurement of speed of gravity

This link and this one concern a recent measurement, by Chinese scientists, of the speed of gravity using Earth tides. They find it is consistent with a speed equal with the speed of light, with an ...
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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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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
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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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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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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 is related to the permeability and the permittivity of the material. But this is not what I'm interested ...
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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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Why plane em waves are basic?

Why are plane EM waves required in the derivation for the speed of EM waves in term of absolute permeability and permittivity? I can't understand how to calculate flux for electric field passing ...
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How can a photon have no mass and still travel at the speed of light?

I've read a number of the helpful Q&As on photons that mention the mass/mass-less issue. Do I understand correctly that the idea of mass-less (a rest mass of 0) may be just a convention to make ...
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The definition of an inertial reference frame in Einstein's relativity

I'm reading Sean Carroll's book on general relativity, and I have a question about the definition of an inertial reference frame. In the first chapter that's dedicated to special relativity, the ...
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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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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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Is there a universal rest frame of reference?

I am still struggling with C being a constant and what that implies. So can an experiment be done to find the resting state for the universe? Take a device with an observer and a light source and two ...
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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 ...