29th July 2015
From the Sun to Jupiter at the speed of light
At some point over the next few centuries, our spacecraft may achieve lightspeed travel, which is calculated at 299,792,458 metres per second, or about 670,600,000 miles per hour. What would it be like to experience such a fantastic speed? Alphonse Swinehart is an art director, designer and animator who has produced the video below. Alphonse writes:
"In our terrestrial view of things, the speed of light seems incredibly fast. But as soon as you view it against the vast distances of the universe, it's unfortunately very slow. This animation illustrates, in real-time, the journey of a photon of light emitted from the surface of the sun and traveling across a portion of the solar system, from a human perspective.
I've taken liberties with certain things like the alignment of planets and asteroids, as well as ignoring the laws of relativity concerning what a photon actually "sees" or how time is experienced at the speed of light, but overall I've kept the size and distances of all the objects as accurate as possible. I also decided to end the animation just past Jupiter as I wanted to keep the running length below an hour."
This video is best watched in full screen (button near bottom right when playing).