Light through the Sun

The speed of light is less through dense materials. Since the sun is so dense it takes a photon of light around 30 million years to travel from the core to the surface. From the surface of the sun, a photon of light takes eight minutes to reach Earth.

10 thoughts on “Light through the Sun”

  1. Plasma breaking – I heard it takes 4,000,000 years and 50% of sunlight is this old, rather then the usual 8 1/2 minutes. These old photons start off as gamma rays in the core, they lose kinetic energy by bouncing between plasma ions to their way to the surface and are changed to visible light.

  2. Photons – Actually the photons that do reach the earth are roughly only 8 minutes old. When a photon is first created in the suns core it lasts only a short time wherein it is destroyed creating a mini atomic explosion. The effect of that creates the fusion of a new photon that is sent further out (I believe this is where your plasma ions come into effect). This process happens over microscopic distances throughtout the entire distance of the sun which accounts for the time it takes to reach the surface. So, in essence the light we see now can be traced back to a series of atomic exlposions dating 200,000 years ago, not 30 million years ago. Sorry, I’m a Physics Major!

  3. curious – Then in theory if the sun would explode (red giant) it would take us eight minutes to realize. I am confused though does it actually take eight minutes? Beings the sun more then doubles in size?

  4. 8 minutes – Well, I think basically what it means is that we would be on an 8 minute time delay when anything happens to the sun in its current state. As for when it turns into a red giant the time would be completely different. As distance between 2 masses decreases by half, gravity inflicted on each other is quadrupled. So as the sun gets larger and hence closer, the earth is being pulled closer at an even faster rate. I think it’s easier just to say that we’d all be dead so lets not even worry about it.

  5. I’m sorry but SHUT THE F–K UP – I HATE it when people post things like “I don’t care” in a clearly labeled thread in a site obviously named “Worthlessfacts” for a REASON. If you don’t care, WHY WOULD YOU LOOK AT IT? It makes no sense at all. ————————————————————————————————————————– Anyway, I’m really surprised it could take THAT long. About photons being destroyed and produced, it doesn’t really work that way. Photons are emitted from certain particle decay, but rarely if ever go away. Besides, it is essentially impossible, many would argue useless, to attempt to track a single particle. Each time you measure it you would have no way of knowing that it is the same particle. Because you cannot very accurately determine both a particles position and momentum at the same time, there is really no way to tell one photon and another apart.

  6. Oh and – I’m sorry for the double post, but I wanted to add this. Yes, factsfromhighheaven, if the sun were to, say, suddenly disappear, we wouldn’t know for eight minutes. For the same reason when we see a star that is, say, 1 million light years away, we are actually seeing what it was like 1 million years ago when the light we see was originally emitted. Interesting, isn’t it?

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