Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Light Speed
Name: N/A
Status: N/A
Age: N/A
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: N/A


Question:
I am a science teacher, and throughout my training, never found out what would happen if you turned on your headlights while traveling at the speed of light. In a really fast car of course. david



Replies:
You CANNOT travel at the speed of light. Only massless particles can do so.

jasjeet s bagla


More importantly, to emit light you need to create electric and magnetic fields, and this requires charged particles. But no charged particle of zero mass exists. So charged particles, and hence creation of light, can only happen at speeds that are less than the speed of light. And what happens is completely determined by the relativity principle - in your frame of reference it looks just like normal light, but in a frame travelling close to the speed of light relative to you the light is "blue-shifted" or shifted to higher energy (such as X rays etc).

Arthur Smith



Click here to return to the Physics Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (help@newton.dep.anl.gov), or at Argonne's Educational Programs

NEWTON AND ASK A SCIENTIST
Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory