Riding Light is a 45-minute animation/short about moving at the speed of light. Basically, it’s a ride through the solar system from the Sun outward at the speed of photons. It’s a long, mostly empty solar system, and I feel insignificant.
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It’s incredible to watch.
The video ‘s upper left corner has a counter keeping track of both the distance the ‘photon’ (read: you) has travelled and the time elapsed since leaving the sun’s fiery mantle. The upper right corner counts down to the next planetary body. This also lets you skip around from planet to planet, because there isn’t much in-between.
While it’s a brilliant animation, it’s not entirely accurate. For example; travelling at the speed of light does mean the traveller perceives things, such as time and light, differently. Beyond that, the film keeps size and scope well in hand and uses real distances as we travel through it.
All that we are, as a species, goes by in 2 seconds flat: we are all on just one little rock. Its humbling to think about sometimes.
The animation was made by Alphonse Swinehart, who spawned the idea after going through some old astronomy textbooks. Its one of those videos that fills you with awe at how big things are and how even the speed of light isn’t that fast in the vastness of space. It’s also filling me with a bit of depression over how little there is out there and we are barely a footnote in a video about our own solar system