According to Einstein’s general theory of relativity, the speed of light is 299,792,458 m / s in a vacuum. But recently, James Franson, a physicist at the University of Maryland (USA) claimed to find evidence that light is slower than Einstein’s assumption.
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Supernova SN 1987A. (Photo: NASA).
Franson made this conclusion based on data obtained during observations of supernova SN 1987A from Earth. The supernova SN 1987A exploded and created the power equal to 100 million Suns in 1987.
Researchers on Earth have captured photon and neutrino particles from the explosion, but the photon particles arrived 4.7 hours later than expected. At that time, scientists thought that this delay could be due to photons coming from another source.
Franson said that because the photon has a vacuum polarization feature, it means that a photon splits into electrons and positrons in an extremely short time before recombining into the same photon, creating a gravitational difference between the pair of particles. charge, resulting in small energy impacts when they combine. This energy is enough to delay the travel time so the light slows down.
During the 168,000 light-year journey (distance from Earth and SN 1987A) the vacuum polarization may occur many times with many other photons resulting in a delay of 4.7 hours.