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Breathtaking video takes viewers from the sun’s surface to Jupiter in 45 minutes

Across the solar system at the speed of light: Breathtaking video takes viewers from the sun’s surface to Jupiter in 45 minutes

  • Realtime video allows viewers to travel from the sun to beyond Jupiter
  • Uses accurate distances and speeds to show size of solar system

It is an astonishing animation, letting you travel through the solar system at the speed of light.

Riding Light is a 45-minute short film that attempts to recreate what it would be like to hitch a ride on the back of a photon.

The realtime video allows viewers to travel from the core of the sun to beyond the orbit of Jupiter.

See the full video below

The realtime video allows viewers to travel from the core of the sun to beyond the orbit of Jupiter. Here, the journey begins on the sun's surface.

The realtime video allows viewers to travel from the core of the sun to beyond the orbit of Jupiter. Here, the journey begins on the sun’s surface.

As the journey progresses, users are shown stats about how far they have travelled - and when the next planet is coming up,.

As the journey progresses, users are shown stats about how far they have travelled – and when the next planet is coming up,.

‘In our terrestrial view of things, the speed of light seems incredibly fast,’ animator Alphonse Swinehart said.

‘But as soon as you view it against the vast distances of the universe, it’s unfortunately very slow.

‘This animation illustrates, in realtime, the journey of a photon of light emitted from the sun and traveling across a portion of the solar system.’

Although the video does not address how we would even perceive light and time if we were traveling at the same speed, it does use accurate distances and speeds to convey how big our solar system really is.

‘I’ve taken liberties with certain things like the alignment of planets and asteroids, but overall I’ve kept the size and distances of all the objects as accurate as possible,’ said Swinehart.

 Watch The Video 

The animation ends at Jupiter - to keep the film under an hour

‘I also decided to end the animation just past Jupiter as I wanted to keep the running length below an hour.’

The upper left corner keeps track of distance traveled and time elapsed since you’ve been vomited from the sun’s core and the upper right has a countdown to your next planetary encounter.

Swinehart, a Los Angeles animator who has worked for everyone from Apple to the BBC, said he got the idea from a book.

‘After nerding out on some astronomy books and documentaries, I wanted to illustrate how slow the speed of light is in relation to the vast size of the universe.

‘This animation shows, in realtime, the journey of a photon of light emitted from the sun and traveling across a portion of the solar system. ‘

Watch the full 45 minute video below




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