Info-graphic/speed of light

mad grab's picture

ok havent been on the boards due to a lot of work heres a wip i thought id share its due friday. i have to work some things out but i like the concept. what do yall think

mad grab's picture


heres 1 AND 2

pstanley's picture

<font class="dontLookLikeCrap">It's neat, but the graphic seems to me to be misleading. The impression the graphic gives is that a bullet travels at roughly 1/3 of the speed of light, a plane at around 1/4 and a car at around 1/10.

This is nonsense. Taking your figures, a bullet actually travels at around 1/25,000 of the speed of light.

Or, put differently, your chart makes it look like after one second a bullet fired from a handgun would be nearly halfway to the moon, and a car would be an appreciable way there. But depending on the date it would take (by my rough calculation) around 34,000 seconds (around 9 hours) for an object going at a constant 25,000 mph to make it to the moon. So after a second a bullet is not 1/3 of the way there, it's about 1/34,000 of the way there. It's the equivalent for a bullet to 1 second on the journey from London to New York is for a person. And as for the car ...

I doubt you can produce any sort of chart which will meaningfully compare something travelling at around 7 miles per second with something travelling at around 180,000 miles per second.

I don't think that the perspective scale makes it OK. The size of the markers for planes and so forth don't respect the scale (your car is about 100 times the size of earth). And if anything it has the opposite effect, because it makes it look like the objects at the torch end have actually gone further than a regular scale would suggest they had, in other words the perspective is going in the wrong direction for these purposes.</font>

luciano_perondi's picture

In my opinion, you should specify that you are using a logarithmic scale!!
If not, people don't understand why a bullet travelling 25000 MPH is halfway to the moon.

pstanley's picture

I don't think that specifying a logarithmic scale will make it OK, for two reasons.

1. This is a graphic. Specifying a log scale would make it honest, but the instinctive reaction to the scale would still be wrong. As a graphic it would not be doing its job.

2. The perspective would have to be reversed. As it stands, the impression given by the perspective (earth small and distant, moon large and near, plus the circular scale bands) is that 1cm of "graphic" movement near the torch is *more* "on the ground" than 1cm of graphic movement near the moon, but the log scale would have to be quite the reverse for this to work.

Perhaps with an explicitly log scale and a reversal of the perspective (so we viewed it from the earth/torch end) the impression might be better. But I doubt it can be made quite right.

aaron_carambula's picture

Just a quick observation, it looks like the graph and the flashlight don't line up in perpsective.

beejay's picture

> I doubt you can produce any sort of chart
which will meaningfully compare something
travelling at around 7 miles per second with
something travelling at around 180,000
miles per second.

I think you CAN graph the two, if you keep
Time as the x-axis and show two logical
representations for the y-axis over
a fraction of a second.

One (the bullet) might travel the length of a football field,
the other (light) might travel the distance from X planet to Y planet.

These could be representing graphically
fairly easily, although you'd have to work
out the math, and which commonly recognizable
reference points might work.

I'm not going to do any math here, just
pointing out that there MIGHT be a
divergent solution.

don't know if I'm making any sense, but
solutions sometimes come in cans.


mad grab's picture

hey all thanks for the feedback, sorry i didnt respond but after reading the response i went in a totally new direction.

thanks for pointing things out.

when i get some time i will post it.

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