Testing the Speed of Light

What do we really know about the speed of light? Scientists have been trying to answer this question with greater accuracy for many centuries. Yet, even today, there’s much we don’t know, and much to learn and understand.

But for now there are various ways to explain the speed of light. For example, light travels at the constant speed of 1,079,252,848.8 kilometers per hour, 670,616,629.3844 miles per hour, or 299,792,458 meters per second. The way light behaves can be explained with the use of equations, the Schwarzchild radius, Hubble parameter, and other physics.

Okay, great, but how about some basics? Well, we know, for example, that light basically travels 186,000 miles per second. That’s pretty fast… fast enough for light to circle the world 7 ½ times in one second, or for light from the surface of the sun to reach earth in approximately 8 minutes.

Nonetheless, scientists still question what we really know and understand about the speed of light. In fact, questioning what we know is one of the strengths of science- the idea that we don’t know anything for certain; this allows us to question deep-rooted paradigms, make new discoveries, and overturn old and incorrect ways of thinking.

Over at Phys.org there’s an article titled, “Theory that challenges Einstein’s physics could soon be put to the test.” The article highlights a group of researchers challenging the idea that the speed of light is constant. These researchers suggest that the speed of light could have been much faster at one point, and they’re ready to have their predictions tested experimentally. Professor Joao Magueijo from Imperial College London and Dr. Niayesh Afshordi at the Perimeter Institute in Canada are using a map of the oldest light in the universe, called a spectral index, and they’ve assigned an exact figure to it. They believe it won’t be long before physicists are able to confirm or reject their model based on future observations.

This is cool because there are plenty of problems with the current cosmology. The existence of hypothetical entities like dark matter and dark energy, and the horizon problem beg for a new paradigm. So it’s good that scientists are willing to formulate alternative models that could better explain the universe.

I have no idea what will come of their predictions, but at the present I’m not in agreement with the current cosmological model or what we think the speed of light is. As a creationist, I believe there are other explanations that better explain how distant light could reach the earth within a Biblical framework, such as Dr. Jason Lisle’s Anisotropic Synchrony Convention, which allows us to define the one-way speed of light.

I’ll also admit I’m skeptical that the predictions outlined in the Phys.org article will be successful, but it would certainly be exciting if their predictions are confirmed. At the very least I hope it spurs on future experiments and alternative explanations. It’ll be interesting to follow this story and see what develops.

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