In the latest installment of the Fox TV show “Cosmos”, host Neil deGrasse Tyson states the creationist’s viewpoint that the Earth is 6,500 years old is wrong based on the speed of light.
On the Sunday, March 30, 2014 showing of the Fox TV show “Cosmos”, American astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, the host of the show, explained why the Earth cannot be 6,500 years old as creationists believe it to be.
Cosmologists, who study the universe, contend based on scientific studies that the Earth is about 4.54 billion years old. Learn more about how scientists determined the age of the Earth by reading the Scientific American article “How Science Figured Out the Age of Earth
The October 20, 2013 SciAm article by Paul S. Braterman begins, “For centuries scholars sought to determine Earth’s age, but the answer had to wait for careful geologic observation, isotopic analyses of the elements and an understanding of radioactive decay.”
Tyson states that distances in the universe -- such as from the Earth to other planets like Neptune, which is about 2.7 billion miles (4.3 billion kilometers) away at its closest point to Earth, and to galaxies and nebulas such as the Crab Nebula, which is about 6,523 light-years from Earth -- are measured using the speed of light -- the "yardstick for the universe".
The speed of light is approximately 186,000 miles per second (300,000 kilometers per second). That is, in one second light travels about 300,000 kilometers. The distance that light travels in one year in a vacuum is called a light-year. This distance is approximately 6 trillion miles (10 trillion kilometers).
To compare the speed of light to the speed of the fastest automobile (the Venom GT
, which goes about 270 miles per hour [435 kilometers per hour]), the speed of light is converted to about 700 million miles an hour, or 1.1 billion kilometers an hour.
Tyson explains that the planet Neptune is about 4 light-hours from Earth and the Crab Nebula is about 6,500 light-years from Earth. In both cases, it takes light 4 light-hours and 6,500 light-years to reach Earth, respectively.
That is, when we look at Neptune through a telescope we see light that has taken 4 hours to reach Earth. And, when we look at the Crab Nebula we observe light that has traveled about 6,500 years to reach our eyes.
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