What its like to travel away from the sun at the speed of light


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Mind blown.


What’s it like?



Props to Mr. Swinehart for playing one of my favourite albums - Music for 18 Musicians. It’s great driving music.


It always kind of blows my mind to look at the stars at night and think that the photons hitting my retina left the stars years ago (and maybe thousands of years ago) yet from the perspective of the photons, they were emitted by the star and hit my eye instantaneously.


It takes about 45 minutes to get to Jupiter.

Even commuting in space sucks.


I find the early 1968 version of Charles and Ray Eames “Powers of Ten,” film interesting because it keeps track of the amount of time dilation on the observer that would be involved in traveling at the apparent speed implied by the film. (but not the visual effects) Because even though you CAN’T travel faster than light, you feel like you’re just accelerating faster and faster… https://vimeo.com/99432635




For example, from the photon’s point of view, the whole thing would pass in NO time at all.

Time dilation means that time appears to speed up as you approach the speed of light. From your point of view, a photon emitted from a star 3 million light years away takes three million years to cross space and reach your eye. But from the photon’s point of view, because it’s travelling AT the speed of light, no time at all has passed. It was created at the star, and it was absorbed by your eye. No time passed in between.

In the video above, if you were travelling at the speed of light with the photon, you’d reach Jupiter in an instant.


I was struggling to think of anything to post aside from “nice, I really like it!” And then I remembered I can just bash the awful headline, like usual!

It’s WRONG! Hrmpf. Should be “what you would get if … at very near the speed of light and you recorded with a superfast camera and then slowed down the footage to correspond to the time frame matching the one whence you departed.” These relativity paradoxes, you always have to remember that at some point the journey had to begin.


I didn’t realize that protons have, um, a proto-prefrontal cortex, much like those pre-cambrian insects.

The more you know, eh?


The superfast camera trick wouldn’t work. (It would work if the photon were travelling close to the speed of light. But at the speed of light, no time at all passes during the journey.)



But what I always wanted to know is: If you’re driving your car at the speed of light and turn on the headlights, what happens?


You can’t drive a car at the speed of light, because a car has mass.


Always, or only after watching the Steven Wright routine in the post just before yours?


That music doesn’t scare me. . . much.


And only the ones that land on eyes are visible.


Music credit please… Bad enough that classical music gets used willy-nilly without credit, but Steve Reich is still alive.