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Space Science

Matter Discovered Traveling at Near Light Speed 403

mcgrew writes to mention New Scientist is reporting that scientists have clocked matter traveling at 99.999% the speed of light. "The fastest flows of matter in the universe shoot out of dying stars at more than 99.999% the speed of light, new observations reveal. When a massive star runs out of fuel, it collapses to form a black hole or a neutron star. In the process, some of the matter from the star also explodes outward at blistering speeds, producing an intense burst of gamma rays and other radiation."
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Matter Discovered Traveling at Near Light Speed

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  • by TheBearBear ( 1103771 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @01:16PM (#19493643)
    Hey guys, let's say you have a 500 foot pole out in space, far away from anything (no friction, nothing). you are on one end of the pole, and i on the other. Then i push the pole towards you. When does the other end of the pole move towards you, after MY END MOVES? is it instantaneous? or does it take .000000005 seconds of whatever. Like the atoms of the pole push each other on and on and so forth till it gets to the end. if it does take time, is it faster than light, or slower? what if the pole was 300,000,000 meters long? does it take about 1 second for u to notice the other end moves?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @01:17PM (#19493671)
    From the article:

    "The speed can be translated into something called a Lorentz factor, a number that describes how much time slows down for objects moving close to the speed of light.?"

    Let it be clear, time does not slow down for the object. Time, if there even is such a thing, rolls along as it always rolls along for the object. It's just that for most of the rest of the universe (which is more sedentary compared to that of the object), time speeds up.
  • This is not new... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mbone ( 558574 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @01:24PM (#19493821)
    "Superluminal []" expansion from Quasars have been known since the 1960's. (They appear to be superluminal, i.e., faster than light speed, as they are so close to the speed of light that time dilation becomes important.)
  • by brunascle ( 994197 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @01:27PM (#19493869)
    yes, light is particles, called photons. they are massless, which is what i believe allows them to move at the speed of light. and they always move at the speed of light too. i believe, in order to move at the speed of light, you must have always been, and always will, move at the speed of light. at light speed, time doesnt move, so you cant get out of light speed because that would require time to do so. i think it works the other way too.
  • Blistering speeds? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @01:28PM (#19493899)
    What exactly does that scientifically mean?

  • by maz2331 ( 1104901 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @01:39PM (#19494079)
    I'd expect the physical force would travel along the pole at it's local speed of sound in the material that the pole is made of. The pole's molecules have some space between them and are attracted to one another such that you have a solid. Therefore, pushing on one part of the pole will slightly compress the pole's material until the newly repositioned molecules bump into their neighbors and cause the motion to be propagated. If you try to accelerate the pole too quickly (faster than its local speed of sound) a shock wave will develop instead. Assuming your pole is iron and 300,000,000 meters long, the time would be 300,000,000 / 5130 seconds (speed of sound in iron is 5130 m/s), or 58479.532 seconds (16.244 hours). Actually, a pole that long would act more like a wire and flex all over the place - your push would probably act like a wave instead (just like if you whipped a rope). A 500 foot pole would be about the same, just faster due to shorter length. 500 feet is 152.4 meters, so the time would be 152.4 / 5130 seconds, or 297.08 ms. You would not notice the far end move for about 1/3 second. Simple physics at work here!
  • I am a genius (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nomadic ( 141991 ) <> on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @01:43PM (#19494141) Homepage
    If I stood on some of this matter that was flying out of a sun, and shot a bullet in the direction I was going, that bullet would break the speed of light!
  • Re:Speed of Gravity (Score:3, Interesting)

    by WaZiX ( 766733 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @02:06PM (#19494587)
    That same question was what got Einstein started in the first place actually....
  • Re:Speed of Gravity (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MindStalker ( 22827 ) <> on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @02:30PM (#19494977) Journal
    Whats funny is if the sun imploded you would never know (except for the loss of light of course) because you would be the same distance from the center of mass with the same total mass.

    But as other guy said, yea gravity propagates at the speed of light. We can test this (with precise instruments) because you can measure the pull of the moon easily. If gravity propagated instantly the moon would be pulling from an angle that would be 1.28 seconds ahead of where the moon appeared to be.
  • by Wookietim ( 1092481 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @02:36PM (#19495061) Homepage
    How do you know what the universe looks like when viewed outside of it?
  • Re:To be clear... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ajs ( 35943 ) <> on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @02:37PM (#19495071) Homepage Journal
    Didn't we already know about superluminal motion [] (which turns out to be near-speed-of-light motion, viewed oddly), active galactic nuclei [], etc.? What's the new info, here or is it just confirmation of what we'd known before?
  • Re:Red-shift? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @03:06PM (#19495493) Journal
    You should fight that. If you were traveling what, about 16% of the speed of light toward the stoplight, that "red" light (650nm) would have appeared "green" (550 nm) to you.

    Not to mention that there would probably have been relativistic effects making your speed (from your viewpoint) and your speed (from the cop's viewpoint) significantly different!
  • Conservation (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @03:11PM (#19495601)
    So what does that say about efficiency and/or the speed of the thing pushing the matter out at 99.999% of the speed of light? Either it's an extremely efficient transaction or whatever pushed on it was traveling faster.
  • by geekoid ( 135745 ) <<moc.oohay> <ta> <dnaltropnidad>> on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @04:24PM (#19496779) Homepage Journal
    If we had a device that could send a signal to earth from that star at the moment it expels this matter, we would have about 8 hours and 45 minutes. That's how much a radio signal traveling at the speed of light would beat the particle traveling at 99.999% at speed of light over 100 LY. If the signal isn't moving at exactly the speed of light, then we would have no warning at all.
  • by tcc3 ( 958644 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @07:02PM (#19498837)
    Yes and all the technology you used today was impossible right up to the point whenre somebody figured out how it wasnt.

    I hate it when Einstein is used as a muzzle for imagination and thinking outside the box. I think he would hate it too.

I came, I saw, I deleted all your files.