Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

The Speed of Light

In science fiction one common device to allow the plot to proceed is some form of travel faster than light. Such things are of course impossible in the real world or are at least as impossible as time travel is since travelling faster than the speed of light and time travel are in fact one and the same thing.

When you consider relativity and the way that time actually proceeds more slowly for faster moving objects than it does for slower moving ones you can readily see that while to us it appears that light from the nearest star (excluding the sun) has taken over four years to reach us, to the light itself travelling at the speed that light travels at it has not only reached us instantly, it has reached everywhere else in the universe instantly as well. That’s the reason it is called relativity in the first place because time and space for a given perspective are always relative to that perspective and from its own perspective something moving at the speed of light is everywhere and everywhen instantly.

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