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Thread: Speed of Light question

  1. #1 Speed of Light question 
    Forum Freshman deadcat's Avatar
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    I was wondering what some opinions would be for a question about the speed of light that I have. If we (solar system/galaxy/bigger) are moving through space, which from my understanding most physicist believe, considering everything is moving away from everything (big bang, etc..) and even that rate we know of now is relative to the things around it. but lets say from "zero speed[1]", we were going, oh lets say half the speed of "true light[2]" then the speed of light we know of now (≈ 186,282.397 mps) would seem slower than if we were going "zero speed[1]". About half as slow, right? So considering this, Do you feel it would be possible to travel faster than the known speed of light, relative to the objects around it (for example, going in the opposing direction). If not, do you feel the known speed of light would be affected what so ever by the rate we are traveling through space?


    [1] - Zero Speed - Perfectly Still, not traveling at any speed, a theoretical 0 mps motion(less). Not moving at all.

    [2] - True Light - theoretical unknown speed of light that is faster than the speed of light that we know of. (≈ 186,282.397 Miles Per Second)


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  3. #2  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    You are assuming there is an absolute reference frame. The central point of relativity theory is that there is no absolute reference frame. They are all relative.


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  4. #3 Re: Speed of Light question 
    Forum Masters Degree Numsgil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deadcat
    I was wondering what some opinions would be for a question about the speed of light that I have. If we (solar system/galaxy/bigger) are moving through space, which from my understanding most physicist believe, considering everything is moving away from everything (big bang, etc..) and even that rate we know of now is relative to the things around it. but lets say from "zero speed[1]", we were going, oh lets say half the speed of "true light[2]" then the speed of light we know of now (≈ 186,282.397 mps) would seem slower than if we were going "zero speed[1]". About half as slow, right? So considering this, Do you feel it would be possible to travel faster than the known speed of light, relative to the objects around it (for example, going in the opposing direction). If not, do you feel the known speed of light would be affected what so ever by the rate we are traveling through space?


    [1] - Zero Speed - Perfectly Still, not traveling at any speed, a theoretical 0 mps motion(less). Not moving at all.

    [2] - True Light - theoretical unknown speed of light that is faster than the speed of light that we know of. (≈ 186,282.397 Miles Per Second)
    There were experiments in the late 1800s (early 1900s?) which demonstrated that even with the Earth moving through space, the speed of light is always constant. They measured it in the summer, and then again in the winter. The earth is going in the exact opposite direction, so you'd expect the speed of light to change as the Earth had different absolute velocity.

    But no such change was detected, to many many significant digits.

    Which lead to the rather disturbing idea that the speed of light is constant for all inertial frames. Which lead to special and general relativity.
    "A witty saying proves nothing." - Voltaire
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  5. #4 Re: Speed of Light question 
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Numsgil
    There were experiments in the late 1800s (early 1900s?) which demonstrated that even with the Earth moving through space, the speed of light is always constant.
    Michelson-Morley. 1887.
    Michelson, A.A. & Morley,E.W. On the Relative Motion of the Earth and the Luminiferous Ether, American Journal of Science 34: pp 333-345 1887
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  6. #5 Re: Speed of Light question 
    Forum Freshman deadcat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Numsgil
    There were experiments in the late 1800s (early 1900s?) which demonstrated that even with the Earth moving through space, the speed of light is always constant. They measured it in the summer, and then again in the winter. The earth is going in the exact opposite direction, so you'd expect the speed of light to change as the Earth had different absolute velocity.

    But no such change was detected, to many many significant digits.

    Which lead to the rather disturbing idea that the speed of light is constant for all inertial frames. Which lead to special and general relativity.

    That's awesome, this is exactly what I wanted to know. That's a nice little experiment to test that too. Thanks.


    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt
    Michelson-Morley. 1887.
    Michelson, A.A. & Morley,E.W. On the Relative Motion of the Earth and the Luminiferous Ether, American Journal of Science 34: pp 333-345 1887
    -

    You are assuming there is an absolute reference frame. The central point of relativity theory is that there is no absolute reference frame. They are all relative.
    Thanks for your imput also, I will try to research into these referrences for a better understanding of this.
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  7. #6  
    Forum Freshman deadcat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt
    You are assuming there is an absolute reference frame. The central point of relativity theory is that there is no absolute reference frame. They are all relative.
    What about the speed of light, isn't that always the same speed no matter what? Why not use that as a constant? (not for this theory obviously, but in general)



    Also,

    Here's a link for anyone that want's to see what wiki has to say about this:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luminiferous_aether

    basically it's a superseded scientific theory
    Quote Originally Posted by Wikipedia - Superseded Scientific Theories
    A superseded, or obsolete, scientific theory is a scientific theory that was once commonly accepted, but that is no longer considered the most complete description of reality by a mainstream scientific consensus; or a falsifiable theory which has been shown to be false.
    And a brief insight:

    Quote Originally Posted by Wikipedia - Luminiferous Aether
    In the late 19th century, "luminiferous aether" (or "ether"), meaning light-bearing aether, was the term used to describe a medium for the propagation of light.[1] The word aether stems via Latin from the Greek αιθήρ, from a root meaning to kindle, burn, or shine. It signifies the substance which was thought in ancient times to fill the upper regions of space, beyond the clouds.

    Later theories including special relativity were formulated without the concept of aether. Today the idea of aether, what Albert Michelson called "one of the grandest generalizations of modern science", is regarded as a superseded scientific theory.
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  8. #7 Re: Speed of Light question 
    . DrRocket's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deadcat
    I was wondering what some opinions would be for a question about the speed of light that I have. ........
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special_relativity
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  9. #8 Re: Speed of Light question 
    Forum Freshman deadcat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrRocket
    Quote Originally Posted by deadcat
    I was wondering what some opinions would be for a question about the speed of light that I have. ........
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special_relativity
    lol, thanks.
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