Category Archives: Light

Post 1

Like other electromagnetic particles, light has a specific velocity at which it travels. Further, it is presumed to be the fastest theoretical speed of any particle. The speed of light–referred to as “c” in a vacuum–is roughly 300,000,000 m/s. Since it moves so fast, most people never observe light as a moving particle or something […] Continue reading

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The Ultimate Race

We take it for granted that the speed of light is the universal speed limit; nothing can go faster than light. The knowledge of light-years is crucial to understanding the images that we see in the night sky. These images are not of the celestial bodies as they currently exist, but as they once were, […] Continue reading

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The myth of travelling at Light Speed

3*10^8 m/s. Wow. It’s practically impossible to conceptualize something moving 300 thousand Kilometers every single second, but believe it or not photons are doing this as we speak. To put this blistering pace into perspective, the distance from the North Pole to the South Pole is about 20,000 kilometers. Not even close to the length […] Continue reading

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Light: Dangerously Fast?

Gamma Ray Burst Close-Up Credit: NASA/Swift/Mary Pat Hrybyk-Keith and John Jones The Image above is an artists rendition of a phenomena known as a Gamma Ray Burst (GRB), where a star can project massive amounts of dangerous high energy light across the Cosmos. GRB’s are bit outside the scope of our solar system, so I […] Continue reading

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Achieving Light Speed: Curvature Propulsion

Space curvature propulsion is a theoretical idea that has been explored through science fiction (including Cixin Liu’s Remembrance of Earth’s Past trilogy) as method of allowing ships to travel through space at or beyond the speed of light. While this idea currently resides firmly in the realm of science fiction, the theoretical basis is rooted […] Continue reading

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Legitimate and Illegitimate Cases of Exceeding Light Speed

This image of CERN provided by TIME was taken at the peak of the 2012 craze over the facility’s discovery of neutrino particles breaking light speed. Since the barrier of light speed has been such an insurmountable rock and cornerstone of physics, the neutrino’s clocked speed increase of 0.0025% was groundbreaking. Although I was only […] Continue reading

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Using Variable Stars to Find Exoplanets

One of the preeminent methods for finding exoplanets is tracking periodic variations in stellar brightness. In class, we practiced this technique by examining the light curves of certain variable stars and identifying the presence of orbiting exoplanets. In the real world, scientists must first identify variable stars and then determine which of these variable stars’ […] Continue reading

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Black Holes: A great mystery of the universe

Black holes are one of the greatest mysteries of our universe. However, using just a few concepts that we have learned in class, we can understand the basic constructs of black holes. A black hole is the result of a single point in space containing extreme mass (this point is called a singularity). Similar to […] Continue reading

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Where does the speed of light come from?

It might seem that the definition of the speed of light is simple–light can only physically go as fast as 300,000 km/s. This is true, but there is a lot more that goes into that number, and it doesn’t really have much to do with light. There is a lot more that goes into that […] Continue reading

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Earth’s Atmosphere and Life

Earth’s atmosphere is conducive to life in a way other terrestrial worlds’ atmospheres are not.  This is because of the greenhouse effect, which keeps Earth warm and allows water to exist in its liquid form. Other planets such as Mercury which do not have an atmosphere or the greenhouse effect are extremely hot during the […] Continue reading

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