Sunday, February 1, 2015

Alphonse Swinehart - "Riding Light"

Riding Light is a presentation of a photon (a packet of light) emitted from the sun and traveling for 45 minutes at relativistic speed. Through his shared vision, Alphonse Swinehart gives us a glimpse at, not only the speed at which light travels but, also, how insignificant the size of our home really is compared to our solar system - at the very least. The following comments about this musical 800-million-plus-kilometer sprint across part of the solar system (at which point, we have only just passed Jupiter), were posted by the author on Vimeo, and describes how he put this extraordinary visual together.

Alphonse Swinehart:

"In our terrestrial view of things, the speed of light seems incredibly fast. 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.

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

Music: Steve Reich "Music for 18 Musicians"
Performed by: Eighth Blackbird