Don't tachyons travel faster than light?
You say that nothing can travel at a speed greater than the speed of light, but there is evidence that tachyons travel faster than light.
Tachyons, if they were to exist, would by definition always travel faster than the speed of light. But there's no observational evidence that tachyons exist. The only reason why some people have proposed that such a particle might exist is because "faster-than-light" particles would satisfy all the relativity equations.
I may be using the word "satisfy" a bit loosely however. Tachyons would have to either have a mass or an energy which is an imaginary number. One could argue that this is a pretty nonphysical idea. They'd also have the bizarre property that if you give a tachyon more energy, it would slow down (but never move as "slow" as the speed of light).
Tachyons do serve one useful purpose though. They're frequently invoked in discussions of time travel in science fiction. :)
Get More 'Curious?' with Our New PODCAST:
- Podcast? Subscribe? Tell me about the Ask an Astronomer Podcast
- Subscribe to our Podcast | Listen to our current Episode
- Cool! But I can't now. Send me a quick reminder now for later.
- What happens to a substance if its speed is more than the speed of light?
- Does quantum entanglement imply faster than light communication?
- Is the speed of light constant?
How to ask a question:
If you have a follow-up question concerning the above subject, submit it here. If you have a question about another area of astronomy, find the topic you're interested in from the archive on our site menu, or go here for help.Table 'curious.Referrers' doesn't existTable 'curious.Referrers' doesn't exist
This page has been accessed 29448 times since March 23, 2003.
Last modified: February 13, 2004 10:41:26 PM
Ask an Astronomer is hosted by the Astronomy Department at Cornell University and is produced with PHP and MySQL.
Warning: Your browser is misbehaving! This page might look ugly. (Details)