Q:

How fast does light travel in air?

A:

Quick Answer

Light travels through a vacuum at 186,282 miles per second; through the Earth's atmosphere, it moves at 186,227 miles per second. The speed of light, in general, is affected by the medium through which it moves.

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Full Answer

The speed at which light travels through a medium depends greatly on the material of the medium, as different materials have a different refractive index. This index indicates how quickly light or other radiation moves through them. The Earth's atmosphere has a refractive index of 1.000293, which slows light infinitesimally more than in a vacuum.

Two independent teams of scientists claim to have slowed a pulse of light almost to a standstill by using a super-cooled gas of the element rubidium.

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