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Speed of light - I'm dumbfounded

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saul

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<p>I'm dumbfounded by a lot of physics experiments since I can't quite get my head round how precise measurements can be made with so much room for error. Especially when these were conducted so long ago and with such apparent accuracy.</p><p>Lights and mirrors up mountains many miles apart. How did they measure the distance so accurately 'as the crow flies' for instance.</p><p>Would there be a website anywhere that catalogues the mechanics behind experiments so the 'Doubting Thomas' in me may be satisfied?</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><img src="http://sitelife.space.com/ver1.0/content/scripts/tinymce/plugins/emotions/images/smiley-smile.gif" border="0" alt="Smile" title="Smile" /></p><p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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saul

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<p>While we're waiting:</p><p><br />A proton walks into a bar, and says<br />"Whiskey, please".<br /><br />"That's two bucks", says the bartender.<br /><br />An electron walks in:<br />"Whiskey".<br /><br />"Two bucks, says the bartender.<br /><br />Then, a neutron walks in, and asks for a Scotch.<br /><br />As he fumbles for his money, the bartender says<br />"You can put your money away".<br />"Why?" asks the neutron. The bartender replies,<br /><br />"No charge".</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><img src="http://sitelife.space.com/ver1.0/content/scripts/tinymce/plugins/emotions/images/smiley-wink.gif" border="0" alt="Wink" title="Wink" /></p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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Saiph

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<p>Nice joke, one of my favorites.&nbsp;</p><p>Well, the first thing to point out is that: the distances in the experiments are known to a good degree.&nbsp; Also that the great distance involved actually helps.&nbsp; If your distance is say, 10 miles, not knowing it to the thousandth inch isn't a big deal :)</p><p>For instance the speed of light has been calculated using the transit times of jupiter's moons.&nbsp; While the distance to jupiter (especially the first time) wasn't incredibly precise, it is far enough away that you can derive a good ball-park estimate.&nbsp;</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p align="center"><font color="#c0c0c0"><br /></font></p><p align="center"><font color="#999999"><em><font size="1">--------</font></em></font><font color="#999999"><em><font size="1">--------</font></em></font><font color="#999999"><em><font size="1">----</font></em></font><font color="#666699">SaiphMOD@gmail.com </font><font color="#999999"><em><font size="1">-------------------</font></em></font></p><p><font color="#999999"><em><font size="1">"This is my Timey Wimey Detector.  Goes "bing" when there's stuff.  It also fries eggs at 30 paces, wether you want it to or not actually.  I've learned to stay away from hens: It's not pretty when they blow" -- </font></em></font><font size="1" color="#999999">The Tenth Doctor, "Blink"</font></p> </div>
 
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