Video Of Traveling Away From Sun At The Speed Of Light

February 3, 2015


This is 'Riding Light', a video imagining the camera as a ray of light traveling away from the sun towards the planets of the solar system at the speed of light. Feel free to skip around though, because the video is over 43-minutes long (the time it takes for light to reach Jupiter) and it takes over 3 light-minutes to get to the first planet, Mercury, and a little over 8 light-minutes to reach earth. So if the sun blew up right this second, we'd actually SEE it explode about 8 minutes later. My God I wish I could make that happen.

Keep going for the video, but skipping around is the key here.

Thanks to ntgCleaner, who informed me it takes light from the sun almost 5.5-hours to reach Pluto's sad, lonely face.

  • Wow, the speed of light is really slow. We're talking about our tiny solar system with 10 planets and it still takes light well over 6 hours to get to the outer edge of the system. I've seen pictures taken by Hubble with dim galaxies 13 billion light-years in the distance and that's where they were 13 billion years ago. Imagine trying to reach them with a craft that travels 10 times the speed of light and you're able to sleep and not age indefinitely. Is the universe expanding indefinitely and you'll never reach the Big Bang threshold or is it slowing down, reversing and gravity is causing it to fall back in on itself? Let me know when you find out.

  • Sean

    This video presents light moving pretty darn slow. I find it discouraging to know if we ever have to evacuate Earth for whatever reason, its still gonna take us at least 4 hours to leave the freakin solar system. Not a promising notion.

  • Steven Collatos

    if you were going the speed of light away from the sun, wouldn't it look the same the entire trip, as if you never left? der. you would have to be going slightly slower than the speed of light in order for it to look like this, so that the light has time to reach your eye.

  • Nh80

    This music sounds like something from a Civilization game

  • InigoMontoya

    The damn video keeps pausing on its own.

  • KingO Dehnorth

    please. watch this high

  • Wilf Smith

    As cool as this is, to be honest you could have made a static background display for 45 minutes and ended up with a pretty similar experience...

  • archer923

    This video is great. I saw most of it. It bugged me the star field didn't actually move at all. 40 mins has got to show something move.

  • Forblat

    Nope. The video covers ~5 au. Even the closest stars would only have a ~1/3000 of a degree of parallax with respect to distant background stars

    The distances between the stars are so unfathomably large compared to the distance between the sun and the planets that you're traveling ~7x10^8 km vs. the ~5x10^13 km to the nearest star. Trying to see the stars move at that distance would be like trying to see how much a distant skyscraper moves when you take one step at a distance of 100 km away.

  • Matthew Anderson

    Wouldn't everything be redshifted? Or, really how much would even be visible at all? Since we're traveling at the speed of light and looking backwards, wouldn't any light traveling in the same direction be invisible entirely? I imagine light reaching us (as we'd be reaching it as well) from higher angles would be visible and less and less redshifted the higher the angle of intersection becomes, getting to our "normal" spectrum around where it's perpendicular, then blueshifting if we were to look ahead. No?

  • Forblat

    Well, from the frame of reference of the photon it is either everywhere or nowhere... it's a bit weird. one example:

    Travelling at very near the speed of light, though, does do weird things to what you see

  • Matthew Anderson

    I'd love to check out the links, but they are broken. :\

  • Pogmog

    Delete the bracket at the end of them. Actually, I may as well help out:

  • Forblat

    disqus is smarter than me

  • Jenness

    Well aren't you a smarty pants. I don't care, I wanted to see UFO's zooming around and freaky Martians waving at me too.

  • Guest

    All light doesnt move in the same direction as you. Looking "backwards" means nothing and the amount of redshift/blueshift at the tiniest scale of our own solar system is so negligible that even a computer would have difficulty telling the difference, much less your eyes.

  • ODwanKenObi

    I made it all the way to the end and didn't even see Uranus.

  • DrZanz

    Why did you wait so long? You can see Uranus whenever you want.

  • Frédéric Purenne

    I preferred the pixel video you showed a while ago.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Previous Post
Next Post