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Matter Discovered Traveling at Near Light Speed

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the celestial-slingshot dept.

Space 403

mcgrew writes to mention New Scientist is reporting that scientists have clocked matter traveling at 99.999% the speed of light. "The fastest flows of matter in the universe shoot out of dying stars at more than 99.999% the speed of light, new observations reveal. When a massive star runs out of fuel, it collapses to form a black hole or a neutron star. In the process, some of the matter from the star also explodes outward at blistering speeds, producing an intense burst of gamma rays and other radiation."

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403 comments

Kudos to the editor (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19493565)

Much better subject line than what was found in The Firehose...

(The original subject line said "Matter found travelling at the speed of light", or something along those lines.

Close != At.

Given all the Complaints and BS the mods have to put up with sometimes, I think they should get complimented for a job well done as well.

Re:Kudos to the editor (1)

Tofystedeth (1076755) | more than 6 years ago | (#19493613)

They could have done even better. How about "Really damn close to speed of light." Though I guess at that speed, .001% is still a hefty amount of m/s.

Re:Kudos to the editor (4, Funny)

It doesn't come easy (695416) | more than 6 years ago | (#19493829)

Actually, the speed was calculated to be 99.9997% but there was a rounding problem when the report was generated via their new-fangled AI system and the system kept crashing from the unexpected logical impossibility...

Blistering speeds? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19493899)

What exactly does that scientifically mean?

THANKS SLASHD0T FOR YOUR PR0FESSIONALISM!!

Re:Blistering speeds? (5, Funny)

forrestt (267374) | more than 6 years ago | (#19494357)

It's the speed at which an object in a vacuum must travel to spontaneously get blisters to appear on its surface. What did you think it meant?

Re:Kudos to the editor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19494473)

agree

To be clear... (5, Informative)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 6 years ago | (#19493569)

We've known about gamma ray bursts for a long time. It's just that now we know how fast the matter is moving that causes these bursts.

99.999% (5, Funny)

Trigun (685027) | more than 6 years ago | (#19493575)

Slackers.

Re:99.999% (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19493849)

Yeah, that's slow compared to scuttlemonkey. I just submitted it this morning, now THAT'S fast! Maybe we can power starships with a compliment of scuttlemonkeys? Or would they produce too many gamma rays?

-mcgrew

Question? (1)

jrwr00 (1035020) | more than 6 years ago | (#19493627)

I wonder, How long does it travel at that speed, does it hit other things (like planets and other stars) or what?

Re:Question? (2, Informative)

brunascle (994197) | more than 6 years ago | (#19493681)

TFA answers just that:

but when it starts colliding with surrounding gas, it creates afterglows in visible and infrared light... [they measured] peaks of 153 and 180 seconds
turns out, the times it takes to produce the afterglow is actually what they use to measure how fast it was moving.

99.999% Of the speed of light (4, Funny)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 6 years ago | (#19493633)

will be snails pace when we get warp technology.

Re:99.999% Of the speed of light (1)

Gentoon (1115037) | more than 6 years ago | (#19493861)

Maybe in the star trek world, but not in Einsteins.

Re:99.999% Of the speed of light (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 6 years ago | (#19494145)

Maybe in the star trek world, but not in Einsteins.

The confirmation of general relativity doesn't prove that it works in all cases.

What's the speed of force? (5, Interesting)

TheBearBear (1103771) | more than 6 years ago | (#19493643)

Hey guys, let's say you have a 500 foot pole out in space, far away from anything (no friction, nothing). you are on one end of the pole, and i on the other. Then i push the pole towards you. When does the other end of the pole move towards you, after MY END MOVES? is it instantaneous? or does it take .000000005 seconds of whatever. Like the atoms of the pole push each other on and on and so forth till it gets to the end. if it does take time, is it faster than light, or slower? what if the pole was 300,000,000 meters long? does it take about 1 second for u to notice the other end moves?

Re:What's the speed of force? (4, Funny)

The_REAL_DZA (731082) | more than 6 years ago | (#19493731)

The only way you'd get a superluminal effect is if you had a perfectly rigid pole (and, seeing as how this is Slashdot, I'm going to discount that possibility.)

Re:What's the speed of force? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19494169)

I know you're joking, but even a perfectly rigid pole would be subject to the propagation of forces. Think about what forces have to propagate in order to tell the other end of the pole to move. One atom has to repel the next atom using electromagnetic force, weak and strong nuclear forces, which has to in turn repel the next atom, etc, etc. There is an elastic repulsive process which goes all the way down the pole until it reaches the other end. And we know the fastest that this can happen is the speed of light. So the pole will be momentarily compressed as the force propagates.

No information can travel faster than the speed of light, as a general rule.

Re:What's the speed of force? (3, Informative)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#19494475)

What you're saying essentially is that there's no such thing as a perfectly rigid pole.

Re:What's the speed of force? (2, Funny)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 6 years ago | (#19494227)

I'm sure there are plenty of ridged poles around. Just very few of them are used.

Re:What's the speed of force? (2, Funny)

ArtuRocks (956605) | more than 6 years ago | (#19494517)

And which fundamental law of the universe is the one that dictates good use of a rigid pole requires more than one entity?

Re:What's the speed of force? (5, Funny)

totallygeek (263191) | more than 6 years ago | (#19493749)

Hey guys, let's say you have a 500 foot pole out in space, far away from anything (no friction, nothing). you are on one end of the pole, and i on the other. Then i push the pole towards you. When does the other end of the pole move towards you, after MY END MOVES? is it instantaneous? or does it take .000000005 seconds of whatever. Like the atoms of the pole push each other on and on and so forth till it gets to the end. if it does take time, is it faster than light, or slower? what if the pole was 300,000,000 meters long? does it take about 1 second for u to notice the other end moves?



Do not try to push the pole. That's impossible. Instead, only try to realize the truth: there is no pole. Then you'll see, it is not the pole that is pushed, it is only yourself.


Re:What's the speed of force? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19493831)

Do not try to push the pole. That's impossible. Instead, only try to realize the truth: there is no pole. Then you'll see, it is not the pole that is pushed, it is only yourself.

Woah!

Re:What's the speed of force? (1)

sk8king (573108) | more than 6 years ago | (#19493761)

I have often had the same thought, except in my mental experiment, there is a rope instead of a pole.

Re:What's the speed of force? (1)

mcmonkey (96054) | more than 6 years ago | (#19494235)

I have often had the same thought, except in my mental experiment, there is a rope instead of a pole.

In your mental experiment, you're pushing a rope?

Re:What's the speed of force? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19494391)

In your mental experiment, you're pushing a rope?

He meant pulling a rope. But he did not mention "pulling a rope" in order to avoid the rabid attack of slashdotters making the predictable jokes about rope pulling.

What do I mean? "Pulling YOUR rope or someone else's?!" Or perhaps, "You'll never get anything done, light speed or not, if you just sit around pulling your rope!" Or maybe, "So you say somehting happens really fast when your ropeis pulled?"

Re:Speed of sound (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19493763)

It will be whatever the speed of sound is in the pole. Assuming a perfectly rigid material it would be instant, but there is no such thing and the actual speed will much less than c.

Re:Speed of sound (1)

TheBearBear (1103771) | more than 6 years ago | (#19494115)

AH. THEN here is the truly weird part! Let's say you have a 600,000,000 meter pole. it will take light about 2 seconds to reach from one end to the other. Let's just say, for simplicity's sake, the actual speed of is such that it will take 10 seconds for the other end of the pole to actually move. If I pushed the pole 4 meters forward, and the other end hasn't moved YET, wouldn't the pole be 599,999,996 meters long, for that time being? That is to say, it shrunk? isn'tthat weird???

Compression & Flex (1)

maz2331 (1104901) | more than 6 years ago | (#19494135)

The pole would compress and flex. Even solid steel can be compressed like air with enough force.

Consider the force involved (2, Insightful)

benhocking (724439) | more than 6 years ago | (#19494277)

If you were to push a 600,000 km pole 4 meters over a period of 1 second, then you've probably exerted a lot of force (pressure) in order to do so. Imagine that the pole weighs 100 grams per meter (i.e., it's fairly light). That pole has a total mass then of 60,000,000 kg. Assume that the force/acceleration is uniform, and you find that 4 meters over 1 second (starting from rest) requires an acceleration of 8 m/s^2. That implies a total force of 480,000,000 Newtons or about 108 million pounds of force. Not surprising that it would shrink a little under so much force...

Re:Speed of sound (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 6 years ago | (#19494307)

Not really. At that length the pole would be like pushing a wet noodle. The other end may never move.

Re:Speed of sound (1)

Tofystedeth (1076755) | more than 6 years ago | (#19494341)

Thank you. You brought a wonderful image to mind of Archimedes in space, pressing on a gigantic pole, and having the end spring back sending him caroming around the solar system.

Re:Speed of sound (1)

Tofystedeth (1076755) | more than 6 years ago | (#19494319)

Actually, by my understanding of it, the pole would only be 599,999,996 at the exact moment the other end begins to move. The rest of the time it is either shrinking to that length, or growing to it. This only even applies if you push it 4 meters in less than 2 seconds. More than 2 seconds and the other end will have started moving before you reached full compression. Unless you were able to instantaneously push the end of the pole, then it would simply be growing for the full 2 seconds.

Re:Speed of sound (5, Insightful)

NMerriam (15122) | more than 6 years ago | (#19494459)

That is to say, it shrunk? isn'tthat weird???


Not really. Take a brick of Jell-O. Push one end. You'll move it, but it will distort in shape, compress, wobble, send waves, etc.

The only difference between Jell-O and every other solid substance is that your eyes and brain just aren't precise enough to see at a small scale that they are all behaving the same way, just to different degrees.

Speed of Gravity (1)

drgonzo59 (747139) | more than 6 years ago | (#19494159)

What if it is the gravitational field that changes. Say the sun disappeared or exploded, would we find out about it immediately or after so many minutes. In other words, do the gravitational field disturbances also propagate at the speed of light?

Re:Speed of Gravity (4, Informative)

EMeta (860558) | more than 6 years ago | (#19494197)

Yeah, Gravity moves at the speed of light. That's all part of general relativity.

Re:What's the speed of force? (1)

brunascle (994197) | more than 6 years ago | (#19493769)

well now you've got me wondering. i know it's not instantaneous, but i cant figure out the physics of it. someone please answer this or it'll bother me all day.

Re:What's the speed of force? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19493811)

The speed at which the push propagates is the speed of sound in the medium.

Re:What's the speed of force? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19493779)

Inter atomic and magnetic interactions are goverened by the electromagnetic forces between electron shells. All fluctuations of the electromagnetic field propagate at the speed of light.

Re:What's the speed of force? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19494139)

The electromagnetic field may be "updated" at the speed of light, but it takes some time for the next atom in the bar to react to the change (i.e. to integrate the acceleration into a displacement).

Re:What's the speed of force? (1)

mashade (912744) | more than 6 years ago | (#19493781)

I imagine this depends on the material the pole is made of. You could technically make a pole out of jello, though it wouldn't be very useful. (except maybe for dancers...)

Probably, this would be a function of the density and hardness of the material the pole was made of. What you are getting at is interesting though -- and is essentially the way sound moves, pushing air molecules into each other until the wave of that sound reaches you.

Re:What's the speed of force? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19493803)

I think that this person [allisonstokkepics.com] might know.

Re:What's the speed of force? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19493855)

So, I think you model the rigidity of the pole by the electromagnetic forces of the atoms.

It's not at the speed of light; It's less. I don't know how much less.

It doesn't take a full second for a 500 hundred foot pole to wiggle at the other end.

But make it 500 hundred light years long, and, assuming you have the strength to push such an enormous mass, it's going to take you at least 500 hundred years for the other end to "wiggle."

Re:What's the speed of force? (1)

BradleyUffner (103496) | more than 6 years ago | (#19493857)

Im fairly sure physical movement moves at the speed of sound through that medium. Since sound waves are small compressions of the material it actually the same speed that the movement would be transmitted at.

Re:What's the speed of force? (5, Informative)

Barterer (878209) | more than 6 years ago | (#19493863)

The "speed of force" as you put it, is not really a speed inherent to force. You would be measuring how fast a tensile or compressive wave passes through the pole, same as the speed of sound through it. It would be much slower than the speed of light.

Re:What's the speed of force? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19494075)

Assuming that the pole does move at the speed of sound or close to it, how do we even know what the speed of sound is in the environment where this pole is in the emptiness of space? All of our measurements for the speed of sound have been taken on earth where there are external forces that influence it.

Re:What's the speed of force? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19494243)

oh my god
slashdot you're killing me!

Re:What's the speed of force? (1)

JesseL (107722) | more than 6 years ago | (#19493935)

Your shove on the pole would travel down it's length as a compression wave. I'm not sure but I suspect the the wave would travel at the speed of sound in whatever your pole was made from (if it was steel @ 4500 m/s it would take 1,111.1 hours for the compression wave to travel 3,000,000 meters)

Re:What's the speed of force? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19493941)

As a consequence of the theory of relativity, it is impossible for a material to be perfectly rigid. The intermolecular forces between the molecules of the chain (mostly electromagnetic) will cause a "chain reaction" that propagates the force at sub-light speed.

Re:What's the speed of force? (3, Informative)

Russ Steffen (263) | more than 6 years ago | (#19493943)

I asked this question in a physics class and the answer I got, which makes quite a bit of sense, is that force travels through a material at the speed of sound. So if in your example your 500 foot pole was made of steel, the opposite end starts moving roughly 30 milliseconds after you push the near end. (The speed of sound in steel is very roughly 5000 meters/sec.)

Re:What's the speed of force? (1)

magarity (164372) | more than 6 years ago | (#19494201)

The speed of sound in steel is very roughly 5000 meters/sec
 
So if you fire said steel pole out of a rail gun with a 10,000m/sec muzzle velocity the pole would come out -500 feet long?

Re:What's the speed of force? (1)

JesseL (107722) | more than 6 years ago | (#19494479)

Only if all the force of the rail gun is applied to only the back end of the pole. If the force is applied equally to the entire pole at once, there shold be no distortion.

Re:What's the speed of force? (1)

wanerious (712877) | more than 6 years ago | (#19493953)

In physics, we usually model the atoms in the solid pole as connected by stiff springs. The speed of communication of a force between one end and the other would depend on the stiffness of the springs (or, realistically, on the rigidity of the material the pole is made of). This is usually defined to be the speed of sound in the material, and it is typically much, much less than the speed of light.

Re:What's the speed of force? (0, Troll)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 6 years ago | (#19493963)

The force will propagate at the speed of sound in metal, which is about 200,000km/s or 2/3 the speed of light typically.

Re:What's the speed of force? (4, Informative)

Cadallin (863437) | more than 6 years ago | (#19493969)

Wow, I was hoping that there would already be an explanation answering this, but here you go: The speed of "force" as you put it, is actually quite slow. It's a actually the speed of sound through the object. Why? Because when you push the rod, you're bumping the molecules, they have to push the molecules in front of them, and on until you reach the end. This is actually a sound wave propagating the medium, you just usually can't hear it. Now, if you had a perfectly rigid pole (cue penis jokes here) it would seeming move instantly. However, no known substance is anywhere close to perfectly rigid. Even atomic nuclei, which are, far, far more rigid than bulk matter, behave like drops of fluid and can have waves propagate through them. So no, you can't forge a pole to another planet and communicate instantly, it would be hugely slower than normal radio.

Re:What's the speed of force? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19494001)

Learn how to spell the word "you", you fucking idiot.

Re:What's the speed of force? (2, Informative)

lelitsch (31136) | more than 6 years ago | (#19494061)

Way before you run into any relativistic effects--or even the speed of sound inside the pole--basic 17 century Newtonian physics [wikipedia.org] will make the process less than instantaneous.

Also, thanks to Newton's Third Law, space is like Soviet Russia: In space, the pole pushes you [utk.edu] .

Re:What's the speed of force? (1)

EMeta (860558) | more than 6 years ago | (#19494065)

To oversimplify: Most solid matter has some stiffness. You know, like springs' K. Even the most brittle objects bend a bit. (Glass, say, has an extremely large stiffness.) Now model your rod like a system of two balls connected by a spring. [ O--VVV--O ] If you push one end (then stop), the other end will move, and eventually return to the same equilibrium (given no other forces applied). the time it takes to propagate the force, as you can probably now see, is determined by the spring's stiffness (& damping, etc., but mostly stiffness for your rod in question). Relativity might do some funky stuff to its rate, if you pushed it really fast, but it can still be well modeled by a suficiently long chain of above diagram.

Ahh, the sadness of upper level Mechanical Engineering: rigid bodies are a fable.

Re:What's the speed of force? (2, Interesting)

maz2331 (1104901) | more than 6 years ago | (#19494079)

I'd expect the physical force would travel along the pole at it's local speed of sound in the material that the pole is made of. The pole's molecules have some space between them and are attracted to one another such that you have a solid. Therefore, pushing on one part of the pole will slightly compress the pole's material until the newly repositioned molecules bump into their neighbors and cause the motion to be propagated. If you try to accelerate the pole too quickly (faster than its local speed of sound) a shock wave will develop instead. Assuming your pole is iron and 300,000,000 meters long, the time would be 300,000,000 / 5130 seconds (speed of sound in iron is 5130 m/s), or 58479.532 seconds (16.244 hours). Actually, a pole that long would act more like a wire and flex all over the place - your push would probably act like a wave instead (just like if you whipped a rope). A 500 foot pole would be about the same, just faster due to shorter length. 500 feet is 152.4 meters, so the time would be 152.4 / 5130 seconds, or 297.08 ms. You would not notice the far end move for about 1/3 second. Simple physics at work here!

Decimal Point.... (1)

maz2331 (1104901) | more than 6 years ago | (#19494113)

The 500 foot pole would actually take 29.7 mS, not 297 --- decimal error. So expect about 1/30 second delay between push and movement at far end.

Re:What's the speed of force? (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 6 years ago | (#19494101)

As the other poster said, the only way the transmission of force would be instantaneous would be if the pole were perfectly rigid. However, that's not really possible.

The best way to think about it would be to look at your pole as a series of springs and masses attached end-to-end. It will take time for the wave from your energy input on one end to propagate through and reach the other end. And since it consists of moving masses, that wave cannot travel as fast as the speed of light.

At least, that's my understanding...

Re:What's the speed of force? (5, Insightful)

gatkinso (15975) | more than 6 years ago | (#19494399)

>> is it instantaneous

No. Imagine a train at rest. The engineer decided to back up. Boom boom boom go all the cars in sequence as the slack between them is eliminated by the cars compressing together. Finally, the caboose moves. Same deal with matter, but on a much smaller and faster scale, involving molecules and atoms.

Once again they got it wrong (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19493671)

From the article:

"The speed can be translated into something called a Lorentz factor, a number that describes how much time slows down for objects moving close to the speed of light.?"

Let it be clear, time does not slow down for the object. Time, if there even is such a thing, rolls along as it always rolls along for the object. It's just that for most of the rest of the universe (which is more sedentary compared to that of the object), time speeds up.

Re:Once again they got it wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19493783)

There, sir, is such thing as time, and you have just wasted all of ours.

Re:Once again they got it wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19494195)

and you have just wasted all of ours.
So I take it you don't have time to go with me for a quick lunch?

That explains it! (0, Redundant)

navygeek (1044768) | more than 6 years ago | (#19493701)

The fastest flows of matter in the universe shoot out of dying stars at more than 99.999% the speed of light
And since we know that mass increases as something approaches the speed of light, I suppose this explains why so many of the FORMER (read: career death) stars of American Idol have put on so much weight!

Speeding. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19493709)

"mcgrew writes to mention New Scientist is reporting that scientists have clocked matter traveling at 99.999% the speed of light"

I hope someone pulled it over for speeding? Wouldn't want anyone to get hurt.

Light is particles... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19493751)

There are theories that light has the same properties as particles. So if light moves "at the speed of light", then it stands to reason other particles could as well.

Re:Light is particles... (5, Interesting)

brunascle (994197) | more than 6 years ago | (#19493869)

yes, light is particles, called photons. they are massless, which is what i believe allows them to move at the speed of light. and they always move at the speed of light too. i believe, in order to move at the speed of light, you must have always been, and always will, move at the speed of light. at light speed, time doesnt move, so you cant get out of light speed because that would require time to do so. i think it works the other way too.

Re:Light is particles... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19494111)

Ummm, it moves at the speed of light because that's what it is. Also, what the hell do you mean time doesn't move? If time didn't move then the light couldn't move it would be frozen in place. Since we can see light travel from point A to point B we know it moves. Ergo time does move when travelling at the speed of light.

Re:Light is particles... (4, Informative)

gatkinso (15975) | more than 6 years ago | (#19494353)

Actually, and believe you me I am no damn physicst (can't even spell it), a photon has no "resting mass", but does have momentum, which implies that there is an upper limit to is mass which cannot be zero.

WTF does that mean? Dunno. OK screw that. No more Wiki for me.

Re:Light is particles... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19494443)

light can slow down greatly when passing through matter though. They have materials where lasers are slowed down to dozens of km/h through them.

Re:Light is particles... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19494337)

Wrong!

The difference is that light (photons) has no mass. Particles with mass cannot travel at the speed of light.

cool (3, Funny)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 6 years ago | (#19493813)

now all we need is to capture a sun in supernova mode to power out space ships, hope it has a good fuel tank...

This is not new... (4, Interesting)

mbone (558574) | more than 6 years ago | (#19493821)

"Superluminal [wikipedia.org] " expansion from Quasars have been known since the 1960's. (They appear to be superluminal, i.e., faster than light speed, as they are so close to the speed of light that time dilation becomes important.)

So what happens... (1)

SporkLand (225979) | more than 6 years ago | (#19493955)

... when one of these hits earth?

Re:So what happens... (1)

Sporkinum (655143) | more than 6 years ago | (#19494211)

According to the show "Universe" which is showing on the History Channel now. If a gamma ray burst from a quasar hit the earth, it would boil off the ozone layer and basically kill the planet. I believe they said the likelyhood of that happening was 1% of the lifetime of the earth, whatever that really means. Was kind of a cool show, but had lots of the boogie man universe is gonna get ya. Kind of irritating actually.

Re:So what happens... (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 6 years ago | (#19494387)

that happens, and that. There's another one. Again. Another.

the point is, basically nothing. It happens all the time.

I am a genius (3, Interesting)

nomadic (141991) | more than 6 years ago | (#19494141)

If I stood on some of this matter that was flying out of a sun, and shot a bullet in the direction I was going, that bullet would break the speed of light!

Re:I am a genius (1)

gatkinso (15975) | more than 6 years ago | (#19494283)

No. It would not. The bullet would appear to do many different things, depending on your frame of reference.

None of them involve the bullet appearing (or actually) attaining or surpassing the speed of light regardless of the frame of reference.

Re:I am a genius (1)

Zaatxe (939368) | more than 6 years ago | (#19494377)

If I stood on some of this matter that was flying out of a sun, and shot a bullet in the direction I was going, that bullet would break the speed of light!

No, because 0.001% of the speed of light is still 300,000 meters per second. I don't believe you will find a gun that shoots a bullet that fast.

But you have an interesting theory there, nonetheless. I once asked myself what would happen if two space ships flying at 70% of the speed of light and one cross the another, flying in opposite directions. Since speed is relative to the a point of reference, one space ship would be at 140% of the speed of light to the other. So, what happens?

Re:I am a genius (1)

gatkinso (15975) | more than 6 years ago | (#19494509)

on each ship, the other appears to be appraoching at a speed approaching the speed of light.

on a 'stationary point between, each ship appears to be approaching at thier respective speed, but the rate of closure appears to be approaching the speed of light.

I think that is how it goes.

I know, makes no sense except to the guy whose avatar is beside this story!

Re:I am a genius (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19494477)

Speeds don't add up linearly. It's more complicated formula involving c and a square root, but for low speeds it seems like they just add together.

From your point of view, you would be going at 0m/s and the bullet would be travelling at, say 300m/s.
From some one else's point of view, they might seee you travelling at 0.99999c and the bullet would be going at 0.99999c+$something_much_less_than_300m/s

Re:I am a genius (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19494489)

No, the bullet would not. The bullet would still be going some appreciable fraction of the speed of light, but it would not exceed it. Think about the fact that relative to the matter exploding out the other side of the star, the lump you're on is - by your rationale - going ~199.99998% the speed of light. Except, it's not. They're both going 99.9999% the speed of light, in different reference frames, that have little in common.

Cause we've been there? (0, Offtopic)

slapout (93640) | more than 6 years ago | (#19494193)

We know this because we've sent starships out to observe it up close...no wait, we haven't.

I really wish we were doing more in the area of manned space exploration.

Re:Cause we've been there? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19494241)

We know this because, even though it is happening very far away, WE CAN SEE IT YOU GODDAMN DOLT.

99.999%? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19494255)

They just haven't "seen" anything traveling at light speed.
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