A Visualization of How Fast Light Is: It’s Actually Quite Slow [Video]

Check out this video by NASA scientist James O’Donoghue showing how fast… or horribly slow, the speed of light actually is.

In a perfectly empty vacuum, a particle of light, which is called a photon, can travel 186,282 miles per second (299,792 kilometers per second), or about 670.6 million mph (1.079 billion kilometers per hour). This is incredibly fast. However, light speed can be frustratingly slow if you're trying to communicate with or reach other planets, especially any worlds beyond our solar system. To depict the speed limit of the cosmos in a way anyone could understand, James O'Donoghue, a planetary scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, took it upon himself to animate it. The situation gets downright depressing when you start looking outside the solar system. The closest-known exoplanet, called Proxima b, is about 4.2 light-years away from us (a distance of about 24.7 trillion miles or 39.7 trillion kilometers).