Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson shot down the idea of the “speed of dark” on his StarTalk podcast while recognizing that the idea does have a literary appeal.
“What is the speed of dark? If darkness is the absence of light, dark has no speed at all,” deGrasse Tyson explained to co-host Eugene Mirman.
deGrasse Tyson pointed out that philosophers like to ask that kind of question, but he argued that while the question sounds gramatically correct if one properly aligns “the words and nouns,” that does not make it scientifically legitimate.
“It’s like saying, ‘What flavor cheese is the Moon made of?’ deGrasse mused.
“So the answer is zero,” Mirman offered. “While the Moon is not brie.”
“Just because we have a word for something that is the absence of light doesn’t mean the absence of light is a thing, then, to ask questions about, physically,” deGrasse Tyson responded.
Watch deGrasse Tyson break down his reasoning, as posted by StarTalk Radio on YouTube on Friday, below.
[Image via Neil deGrasse Tyson Facebook fan page]