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Questions tagged [faster-than-light]

"Faster-than-light", also known as superluminal velocities, refers to any sort of travel at a speed greater than the speed of light. Prohibited in mainstream physics due to the Special theory of relativity.

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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 ...
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Superluminal neutrinos

I was quite surprised to read this all over the news today: Elusive, nearly massive subatomic particles called neutrinos appear to travel just faster than light, a team of physicists in Europe ...
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Why is light bent but not accelerated?

Light is bent near a mass (for example when passing close to the sun as demonstrated in the famous sun eclipse of 1919). I interpret this as an effect of gravity on the light. However, it seems (to ...
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Do gravitational waves travel faster than light?

In Feb 12, 2016 edition of Times of India, an article read [with the discovery of gravitational waves, we will be able to] Track Supernovas hours before they're visible to any telescope because the ...
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If I run along the aisle of a bus traveling at (almost) the speed of light, can I travel faster than the speed of light?

Let's say I fire a bus through space at (almost) the speed of light in vacuum. If I'm inside the bus (sitting on the back seat) and I run up the aisle of the bus toward the front, does that mean I'm ...
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Status of experimental searches for tachyons?

Now that the dust has settled on the 2011 superluminal neutrino debacle at OPERA, I'm interested in understanding the current status of experimental searches for neutrinos. Although the OPERA claim ...
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Why is the observable universe so big?

The observable universe is approximately 13.7 billion years old. But yet it is 80 billion light years across. Isn't this a contradiction?
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How does faster than light travel violate causality?

Let's say I have two planets that are one hundred thousand lightyears away from each other. I and my immortal friend on the other planet want to communicate, with a strong laser and a tachyon ...
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Neutrinos vs. Photons: Who wins the race across the galaxy?

Inspired by the wording of this answer, a thought occurred to me. If a photon and a neutrino were to race along a significant stretch of our actual galaxy, which would win the race? Now, neutrinos ...
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Why didn't Lorentz conclude that no object can go faster than light?

Based on Lorentz factor $\gamma = \frac{1}{\sqrt {1-\frac{v^2}{c^2}}}$ it is easy to see $v < c$ since otherwise $\gamma$ would be either undefined or a complex number, which is non-physical. Also, ...
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Can space expand with unlimited speed?

According to this article on the European Space Agency web site just after the Big Bang and before inflation the currently observable universe was the size of a coin. One millionth of a second later ...
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If I am travelling on a car at around 60 km/h, and I shine a light, does that mean that the light is travelling faster than the speed of light?

The title says it all. If I was on a bus at 60 km/h, and I started walking on the bus at a steady pace of 5 km/h, then I'd technically be moving at 65 km/h, right? So my son posed me an interesting ...
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Do all the conservation laws of Physics take no time to propagate?

For instance, conservation of momentum, does it take time to propagate between two or more objects? If it does, then there would be some moment that the momentum is not conserved. If it doesn't take ...
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Why do the neutrinos (with mass) from a supernova arrive before the light (no mass)?

I've already read the below questions (and their answers) regarding neutrinos vs. electromagnetic waves propagating through space, but I'm still not clear on something. Neutrinos arrived before the ...
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Is it really possible to break the speed of light by flicking your wrist with a laser pointer?

Minutephysics has a popular YouTube video called "How to break the speed of light". In the video it states that if you flick your wrist while pointing a laser that reaches the moon, that the spot of ...
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How does “warp drive” not violate Special Relativity causality constraints?

I'm talking about this nonsense: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2014/06/11/this-is-the-amazing-design-for-nasas-star-trek-style-space-ship-the-ixs-enterprise/ Now, I'm aware that ...
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In superluminal phase velocities, what is it that is traveling faster than light?

I understand that information cannot be transmitted at a velocity greater than speed of light. I think of this in terms of the radio broadcast: the station sends out carrier frequencies $\omega_c$ but ...
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Quantum entanglement faster than speed of light?

recently i was watching a video on quantum computing where the narrators describes that quantum entanglement information travels faster than light! Is it really possible for anything to move faster ...
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Would warp bubbles emit gravitational Cerenkov radiation in general relativity?

Inspired by the gravtiomagnetic analogy, I would expect that just as a charged tachyon would emit normal (electromagetic) Cerenkov radiation, any mass-carrying warp drive would emit gravitational ...
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(Almost) double light speed

Let's say we have $2$ particles facing each other and each traveling (almost) at speed of light. Let's say I'm sitting on #$1$ particle so in my point of view #$2$ particle's speed is (almost) $c+c=...
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How do we know quantum entanglement works no matter the distance?

It is said quantum entanglement works regardless of distance. 2 particles can be entangled and information is shared instantaneously, even if they are lightyears away from each other. But how do we ...
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Could gravity accelerate light? [duplicate]

Gravity causes anything with energy to accelerate toward the source. Black holes, for example, have such strong gravity that they pull in light and don't let any escape. But can acceleration still ...
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Does gravity sometimes get transmitted faster than the speed of light?

Consider Earth moving around the Sun. Is the force of gravity exerted by Earth onto the Sun directed towards the point where Earth is "right now", or towards the point where Earth was 8 minutes ago (...
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Super Fast Message [duplicate]

It is known that a shadow can travel faster than the speed of light and break no known laws of physics, because it is not an actual thing. A shadow is just the blockage of light. However in the ...
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What are some scenarios where FTL information transfer would violate causality?

I've always heard people saying, "Faster than light information transfer can't happen because it would violate causality! Effects can precede their causes!" However, I'm trying to think of a ...
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Can a shadow move faster than the speed of light? [duplicate]

I'm just a layman with no real science background (a) I'm not really sure what a shadow is. Some people are saying that it's the absence of something (a photon?) and therefore it is not subject to ...
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How can muons travel faster than light through ice?

When a neutrino traveling through ice hits and interacts with an oxygen atom, muons are created. Cherenkov radiation can be created when muons travel through ice faster than light and create a ...
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Does the heat equation violate causality?

I've ran across the idea that, besides simply writing partial differential equations in covariant form, they need to be hyperbolic with all characteristic speeds less than the speed of light. A ...
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What happened to the idea of tachyonic or other superluminal neutrinos?

While hunting around for information about the recent OPERA measurement that hints at superluminal neutrinos, I discovered that this idea was actually considered back in the 1980s. Wikipedia lists as ...
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Gravitational slingshot of light using a black hole/massive object

Wikipedia has this page on gravity assists using planets. In some cases this effect was used to accelerate the spacecraft to a higher velocity. This diagram shows this in a very oversimplified manner. ...
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Do tachyons move faster than light?

I am trying to understand whether or not tachyons travel faster than light. The linked Wikipedia page shows some seemingly contradictory statements, and they are confusing. For instance, the first ...
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What do physicists mean by “information”?

On the question why certain velocities (i.e. phase velocity) can be greater than the speed of light, people will say something like: since no matter or "information" is transferred, therefore the ...
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What would be the effects on theoretical physics if neutrinos go faster than light?

Earlier today, I saw this link on Facebook about neutrinos going faster than the speed of light, and of course, re-posted. Since then, a couple of my friends have gotten into a discussion about what ...
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Why does the speed of light totally prevent instantaneous information exchange?

Based on the classical light-cone approach it's easy to see you can't transmit information faster than $c$ but why does the speed of light (as far as I know) treat information transmission in this way ...
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Physics behind this neutrino-related joke

In the comment section of a newspaper article reporting on the 2015 Nobel Prize for Physics, which was awarded for work on neutrino oscillation, I found the following joke: "I'm sorry, we do not ...
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The choice of measurement basis on one half of an entangled state affects the other half. Can this be used to communicate faster than light?

It is often stated, particularly in popular physics articles and videos, that if one measures a particle A that is entangled with some other particle B, then this measurement will immediately affect ...
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How can I show that the speed of light in vacuum is the same in all reference frames?

I have regularly heard that the Michelson-Morley experiment demonstrates that the speed of light is constant in all reference frames. By doing some research I have found that it actually demonstrated ...
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Is there such a thing as “Action at a distance”?

What ever happened to "action at a distance" in entangled quantum states, i.e. the Einstein-Rosen-Podolsky (EPR) paradox? I thought they argued that in principle one could communicate faster than ...
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Does it contradict special relativity that an electron beam in a television picture tube can move across the screen faster than the speed of light?

While looking at some exercises in my physics textbook, I came across the following problem which I thought was quite interesting: It is possible for the electron beam in a television picture tube ...
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Why does nonlinearity in quantum mechanics lead to superluminal signaling?

I recently came across two nice papers on the foundations of quantum mechancis, Aaronson 2004 and Hardy 2001. Aaronson makes the statement, which was new to me, that nonlinearity in QM leads to ...
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Will an object always fall at an infinite speed in a black hole? [duplicate]

Most of you if not everybody will agree that the stronger the gravitational pull, the faster an object will fall. For example, on a planet with 50 times the gravity of Earth, any object will hit the ...
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Is quantum entanglement functionally equivalent to a measurement?

I saw the following talk the other day: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEaecUuEqfc&feature=share In it, Dr. Ron Garret posits that entanglement isn't really that "special" of a property. He ...
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Thought experiment regarding an object approaching a mirror

Here's a thought experiment I came up with in class today when my mind drifted (I however highly doubt I'm the first to think about this since it is pretty rudimentary) : Let's say superman ...
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How far away must a galaxy be for its light never to reach us due to the expansion of the universe?

My understanding is that at the present rate of expansion of the universe some galaxies are growing more distant from us at such a rate that light from them will never reach us. My question is how far ...
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How can a quasar be 29 billion light-years away from Earth if Big Bang happened only 13.8 billion years ago? [duplicate]

I was reading through the Wikipedia article on Quasars and came across the fact that the most distant Quasar is 29 Billion Light years. This is what the article exactly says The highest redshift ...
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Why doesn't gravity speed up light?

We know that gravity speeds up a body; for instance, a meteor which enters the earth gets constantly accelerated up by earth's gravity. And from relativity we know that light bends near a massive body,...
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Can something travel faster than light if it has always been travelling faster than light?

I know there are zillions of questions about faster than light travel, but please hear me out. According to special relativity, it is impossible to accelerate something to the speed of light. However, ...
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Why can't I use Bell's Theorem for faster than light communication?

I read this description of Bell's theorem. I understand he's restating it slightly, so there may be incorrect assumptions there, or I may have some. I think Bell's theorem should lead to FTL ...
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Rotate a long bar in space and get close to (or even beyond) the speed of light $c$

Imagine a bar spinning like a helicopter propeller, At $\omega$ rad/s because the extremes of the bar goes at speed $$V = \omega * r$$ then we can reach near $c$ (speed of light) applying some ...
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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 ...