Speed of Light

This week, Austin has been working on rewiring the car, therefore there was not much for me to do in terms of the GPS Car this week. At the beginning of the week, a new GPS arrived and it functions with the old code. After this was discovered, Jed, Gerrick and I began work on measuring the speed of light. In order to do so, we use a power source that sends a signal to a laser and an oscilloscope. Th e laser is aimed at a mirror, and that mirror is pointed back at the device used to record the beam of light omitted from the laser. This device then also sends a signal to the oscilloscope. The time difference can be measured from the two signals. So far, the largest amount of time has been less than half a microsecond. We then determine the velocity of light using distance (which is measured with a tape measure) divided by time. Our results have been fairly consistent, averaging about 2.9×10^8 m/s. As the distance gets further, it is more challenging to line the laser beam up with the device that records the signal. Next week, we hope to measure at a distance of over 200 meters.

One thought on “Speed of Light”

  1. Nice results!! 200m may be challenging… the beam is going to spread — try to center the reflected beam on the sensor.. it’s intensity is greatest in the center.

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