The rate of sound and also speed the light room different, i beg your pardon is why you’ll always see lightning prior to you listen the thunder. If the lightning is a mile or 2 away, that’s a good enough street that the speed distinction becomes apparent to your brain.

You are watching: How many times the speed of sound is light

Morgridge institute for study

A Light and also sound are an extremely different. Sound is actually a mechanical disturbance v air or an additional medium. Sound always needs a medium to take trip through, and the form of tool determines that speed.


Imagine a bunch of molecules bouncing approximately in the air. If you hit things or do a fast motion, the molecules that you press are going come hit the persons in former of it. You’ll gain this disturbance in the direction of take trip of yet you do the early stage motion, and it will relocate through the medium. That’s just how sound travels, as a pressure wave.


Light, top top the various other hand, is not a pressure wave. The a basic particle. One beam of irradiate is frequently called a photon, and also it’s an electromagnetic disturbance. Light doesn’t need a tool to travel.


The speed of sound through air is about 340 meters every second. It’s much faster through water, and also it’s even faster with steel. Light will travel with a vacuum in ~ 300 million meters every second. For this reason they’re entirely different scales.


No information can propagate much faster than the speed of light. If you have actually light that’s going through media, it have the right to travel slower than that.


But the speed of sound and speed of light are completely incomparable. You usually don’t notification this speed difference on a day-to-day basis. This speed distinction does end up being apparent, for example, v lightning. You’ll constantly see lightning prior to you hear the thunder. If the lightning is a mile far or 2 miles away, that’s a good enough distance that girlfriend will an alert the speed difference.

See more: How Long Should Water Heaters Last 20 Years? (The Answer Might Shock You!)




Brandon walker is a Ph.D. College student in clinical physics in ~ UW-audioeditorfree.com and also medical engineering research assistant in ~ the Morgridge Institute for Research.


about the series

Blue Sky scientific research is a collaboration of the Wisconsin State Journal and the Morgridge Institute for Research. The concerns are posed by visitors to science Saturdays in ~ the exploration Building, a monthly series that features interactive exploration stations centered roughly a certain topic. The Blue Sky science team then sets out to uncover an professional to prize the questions. Come view other videos in the series, see: http://go.audioeditorfree.com/bluesky For an ext on the Morgridge Institute, see: http://morgridge.org/


* ns understand and also agree the registration ~ above or use of this site constitutes covenant to its user agreement and privacy policy.
*