It was on this day in 1676 when Danish astronomer Ole Roemer gave the world it's one of the most important historical information- the speed of light, i.e. 299,792,458 metres per second. Until this day in 17th century, it was believed that 'Light' travelled instantly but it was Ole Roemer who first successfully demonstrated that even the light has a limitation and has a top speed of 3.00×108 m/s.
To mark this historic discovery, Google has created a neat animated 'Doodle' which depicts the Danish Scientist studying the phenomenon of speed of light. And to make the discovery even more insightful for our readers, we have compiled a list of five interesting facts about this day and the discovery, which changed the course of world and lead to important scientific discoveries.
Here you go.
Multiple Experiments before the Final Discovery
It was Dutch Scientist, Isaac Beeckman who first conducted experiments in 1629, which involved gunpowder explosions to find the speed of light. The experiment was unconvincing and a decade later in 1638, Galileo Galilei played with lanterns to come to a conclusion, which also didn't give any definitive results.
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Ole Roemer Finally Did it in 1676
Ole Roemer took the matter in his hands in 1676 and found that the discovery of speed of light involves study of outer space. He timed the intervals between eclipses of Jupiter's moons at different points on the planet's orbit of the sun and discovered that the gap between eclipses of Jupiter's moon ‘I0' rose by up to seven minutes when the earth was moving away from Jupiter, and came down when the planet approached Earth.
The measurements helped Roemer find a reasonably accurate estimate of the speed of light. Roemer used a bunch of calculations involving the diameter of the Earth's and Jupiter's orbits to conclude that it took around 22 minutes for light to cross the diameter of Earth's orbit around the Sun.
Christiaan Huygens later converted Roemer's findings to more commonplace numbers, showing that light traveled at about 220,000 kilometers per second.
Albert Einstein's theory of relativity is built on the premise that the speed of light in a vacuum is always the same.
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Did you know?
It takes about 1.3 seconds for light or radio waves to reach us from the Moon. And 14 hours to reach the Voyager 1 spacecraft, the only man-made machine to reach the farthest distance from earth. And guess what, its journey is still not ended.
Speed of Light is fast but not the fastest in Universe
Einstein's special theory of relativity states that nothing with mass can go faster than the speed of light. But there are some human minds that believe light is not the fastest thing in our universe. The speed of light i.e. 671 million miles per hour and 299,792,458 metres per second surely sounds blazing fast, but it's still not the fastest thing in universe.
Cool Science facts states that light takes four and half years to travel to the nearest star (other than the Sun), 100,000 years to travel across the width of the galaxy, and 100 billion years to travel across the observable Universe.
So what can Surpass the Speed of Light?
As per techtimes, a team at NASA may have unintentionally accelerated particles to faster-than-light speeds while using the EmDrive resonance chamber. If their findings turn out to be accurate, the team may have just discovered faster-than-light travel.
EmDrive resonance chamber is a proposed method of interstellar propulsion. If it ends up working as planned, there's a good chance that it could lead to a new breed of engine.
Besides, some cosmic phenomenons are touted to have speeds faster than light such as empty space (the Big Bang), Quantum entanglement and Wormholes.