PhysLink.com Logo

Question

How long did radio commands take to travel from the Earth to Voyager as it passed Neptune?
Asked by: Amanda

Answer

Well, radio waves are electromagnetic waves, so they travel at the speed of light, which is about 3x108 m/s. According to http://www.physlink.com/Reference/AstroPhysical.cfm , Neptune is 4.5x1012 m away from the sun, and since Earth is only 1.5x10^11 m away from the sun, I'll just assume that we're about 4.5x1012 m away from Neptune.

This means that the radio signals took (4.5x1012 m) / (3x108 m/s) = 15,000 seconds (or a little over 4 hours) to get to the Voyager.
Answered by: Gregory Ogin, Physics Undergraduate Student, UST, St. Paul, MN



Science Quote

'For the sake of persons of ... different types, scientific truth should be presented in different forms, and should be regarded as equally scientific, whether it appears in the robust form and the vivid coloring of a physical illustration, or in the tenuity and paleness of a symbolic expression.'

James Clerk Maxwell
(1831-1879)


All rights reserved. © Copyright '1995-'2018 PhysLink.com