How long does it take light to travel from the sun to Pluto?

Size comparisons: Earth, the Moon, and Pluto

Light is the fastest thing in the universe. Nothing can travel faster than the speed of light. What is the speed of light? It’s about 299,792 kilometers per second.

But even the speed of light is no match to the vast virtually infinite emptiness of the universe. Heck, even in our very own solar system it can take light hours to reach a distant planet.

And to illustrate the fact, James O’Donoghue, a Nasa scientist based at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, USA, created this brilliantly simple video that shows how long it takes light – originating from the sun – to reach the planets in our solar system.

It takes about 8 minutes for light to reach Earth and over FIVE hours for the same light beam to reach Pluto, the farthest known (dwarf) planet in our solar system. At its closest point to Earth, Pluto is about 4.38 billion kilometres away.

Check out the video:

To put that into perspective, if you drove off to Penang from KL at the same time as the beam of light leaving the sun to Pluto, you’d probably reach Penang first with time to spare before light reaches Pluto.

We may not be able to travel at the speed of light but at least this is one race that you can say you’re faster than light.

[image credit]

Amin Ashaari