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YouTubers Filmed The Speed Of Light At 10 Trillion Frames Per Second

Light, famously, is pretty fast.

James Felton

James Felton

James Felton

James Felton

Senior Staff Writer

James is a published author with four pop-history and science books to his name. He specializes in history, strange science, and anything out of the ordinary.

Senior Staff Writer

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Light beams coming towards the viewer.

They wanted to film the fastest thing humanity knew about.

Image Credit: Zonda/Shutterstock.com

If you've been on the Internet you've probably heard of the Slow Mo Guys, the YouTubers dedicated to filming everything from guns firing bullets at other bullets to Will Smith wielding a big flamethrower in slow motion.

After doing it for over a decade, the team wondered whether they could attempt to film "the fastest thing we as the human race know of". This, of course, is light, traveling as it does at the absolute speed limit of the Universe: 300,000 kilometers per second (186,000 miles per second).

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To do this, they would need specialized equipment, which they found at CalTech.

"Now, we've filmed at some very high frame rates. We're talking up to about half a million, which is not to be sniffed at," the host explains in the video. "Their camera puts ours to shame and does 10 trillion frames per second. For reference, that is 20 million times faster than the fastest we've ever filmed on this channel."

With that frame rate, postdoctoral scholar Peng Wang – who assisted them at the Compressed Ultrafast Photography department – assured them that they could see the speed of light. Or more accurately, that they would see light moving the length of a bottle in 2,000 picoseconds of footage.

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The team explains that the camera only detects light itself, with the bottle being superimposed afterward. The result is nevertheless spectacular: capturing light as it moves, at 10 trillion frames per second.


ARTICLE POSTED IN

spaceSpace and Physicsspacephysics
  • tag
  • light,

  • speed of light,

  • physics,

  • YouTube

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