FACT: Light travels very quickly; specifically 299792458 metres per second or 1.803 × 10¹² furlongs per fortnight for you fans of the extra pointless. Now we know how fast light is lets get some figures of relative relevance. First of all, as many an amateur astronomer or physicist may tell you, light only takes a measly 8 minutes to get from the suns surface to us on Earth. That’s 8 minutes to cover a vast 150 million kilometers (93 million miles). But that is not the full story, because light doesn’t get made on the surface, it comes all the way from the core of the sun. Now using our previous figures we can tell that light should only take 3 seconds to escape the sun and head for earth, unfortunately light doesn’t always travel at light speed. It slows down occasionally, especially when it hits stuff. Unfortunately for the little rays of light the sun happens to be made of stuff.
So the light hits a great deal of sun stuff on its way out, slowing it down a great deal. This means it reaches the surface quite a bit after the 3 second mark. Take a guess at how long.
The answer is 170,000 years. The light is slowed down to such a degree that it takes a total of 170,000 years and 8 minutes for light to reach us on earth from the time of its creation. So make sure to fully enjoy the sun’s light, it has ha d a long journey.
NOTE: DO NOT STARE AT THE SUN WITH YOUR EYES – IT IS SURPRISINGLY LUMINOUS AND CAUSES GREAT PAIN!