“In our terrestrial view of things, the speed of light seems incredibly fast. But as soon as you view it against the vast distances of the universe, it’s unfortunately very slow,” the filmmaker, Alphonse Swinehart, wrote on Vimeo. “This animation illustrates, in realtime, the journey of a photon of light emitted from the surface of the sun and traveling across a portion of the solar system, from a human perspective.”
Things that show up along the way: The orbit paths and tilts of the planets, the minor planet Vesta (didn’t know about that one, did ya?), the dwarf planet Ceres and the incredibly long journey to Jupiter (we have new respect for you, Juno).
The filmmaker decided to end the video after Jupiter to keep it “short,” since it could have gone on another half hour just to get to Saturn, let alone Uranus, Neptune, the former-planet Pluto (#neverforget), or the Kuiper Belt.
“I’ve taken liberties with certain things like the alignment of planets and asteroids, as well as ignoring the laws of relativity concerning what a photon actually “sees” or how time is experienced at the speed of light,” Swinehart said, “but overall I’ve kept the size and distances of all the objects as accurate as possible.”
I hope they decide to make a full solar system film at some point. In the meantime, it would make a great video for VR.