Speed of Light
- Tech

Speed of Light


We hear so much about Fibre Broadband and the speeds of download and upload but to know a little more, why not take a closer look at why and how the speeds can be achieved. First of all, let’s take a look at the Speed of Light.

The speed of light is considered the most important value in the universe, and for good reason. Such a complex problem is difficult to grasp in your head, but it is worth trying, as it is the key to understanding the different laws of the reality around you.

What is the speed of light and what is its value?

The speed of light is the speed at which electromagnetic waves travel in a vacuum or matter. Its speed in a vacuum has been measured to be 299 792 458 m/s, which is the highest interaction speed known to mankind. Under these conditions, it is also a physical constant (symbol c). This equation means that the speed of light in a vacuum is constant, regardless of changes in the inertial reference frame or, for example, changes in the frequency of the wave.

Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity had a major impact on our modern understanding of the speed of light. In one of his theorems, he showed that the speed of light is constant and equal to c. This condition is assumed to hold in all frames of reference. However, to date, no results have been obtained that refute this scientific genius’s theory. Therefore, the speed of light as a physical constant is likely to remain so for a long time to come.

What does the speed of light depend on?

Particle groups (photons) carrying electromagnetic waves always travel at the same speed and cannot travel faster or slower than 299 792 458 m/s. However, if a beam of light is emitted into a material medium, the speed of the electromagnetic wave is always lower than the speed of the same beam in a vacuum. Why is this the case?

When the wave hits the weakest obstacle in its path, its phase velocity immediately decreases, sometimes to a relatively low level. The passage of light through a material medium causes its charge to oscillate. When the oscillation of the charge in the medium returns to its original state, it emits a wave that arrives later than the wave carried by the medium. It is precisely because of this property of the medium that light appears to slow down. Although photons themselves maintain the speed of light, it takes a long time for electromagnetic waves to pass through molecular filters in certain material media.

What causes the speed of light?

The results obtained from measuring the speed of light depend largely on the measurement method used. Electromagnetic waves travel so fast that an efficient method using human senses alone cannot be found. Therefore, more sophisticated measuring devices, such as modulated light detectors, are used to measure the speed of light in a vacuum or in a material.

Can light be beaten?

The hyperspace force has long been used enthusiastically by writers and various science fiction films, for example in space travel, to enable astronauts to reach distant regions of space in a short time. However, the laws of physics dictate that this element should be left to the imagination rather than science. Can light win? Before we answer this question, we must remember the basic properties of light, namely electromagnetic waves. It is carried by photons, which are single particles with a rest mass of zero.299 792 458 This property, together with the light-wave nature of particles, is largely responsible for its ability to reach astonishing speeds of up to 458 m/s.

The problem arises when attempting to transfer such speeds to a body with a non-zero rest mass. Accelerating an object (be it a small particle or a large spacecraft) to such a speed requires an infinite amount of energy. This is because an increase in velocity is accompanied by an increase in the mass of the object, which means that the object is moving with increasing resistance to acceleration. The speed at which light travels in a vacuum is definitely a value that a massive object cannot exceed. Accelerating particles other than photons to this value is against the laws of physics.

Can you imagine the speed of light in a vacuum?

First of all, let’s have a point of comparison. Light in the optic fibre cable travels with the speed of 124,188 miles per second, hence 1000Mb/s fibre broadband speed is absolutely not the peak performance we can achieve.

The answer to this question is: individually. We don’t have to imagine anything, because today we have very precise measurement methods and we know that it is 299 792 458 m/s. In order to make sense in our minds of a value as great as the speed of light, it may be necessary to find a reference point to help us imagine it. Here is an example of such an illustration.

On the immense scale of the universe, the speed of light seems small. Light propagates continuously over large distances between celestial bodies, and astronomers can estimate parameters such as the direction and speed of celestial bodies with great accuracy based on light. Because electromagnetic waves have to travel long distances to reach observers on Earth, it can take a long time from the time an object emits a radio wave until it reaches Earth.

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