Ever wondered at what speed does the light travel? Well, someone sure did 340 years ago. And the outcome was the answer to one of the most convoluted questions in the history that we learn today.
In 1676, Danish astronomer Ole Rømer determined the speed of light was equivalent to 220,000 kilometers per second, about 26 percent lower than the accurate value. Although his research did not seem convincing at the time, it was confirmed two decades after Rømer's death that his findings were close to accurate. The actual speed of light is 299,762 kilometers per second.
Google is paying its tribute to Rømer's research with a Doodle on its homepage, which shows the Danish astronomer pacing back and forth after observing Earth, Jupiter and its moon through his telescope.
Renowned astronomer Galileo Galilei established the base for the determination of the speed of light through his studies, which concluded that the speed of light was too fast and that it was 10x faster than the speed of sound. Based on these observations, Rømer continued Galileo's research in finding the speed of light. Great scientific minds of the time, including Isaac Newton and Edmond Halley, backed Rømer's findings.
By timing the eclipses of Io, Rømer established that the light takes about 22 minutes to travel a distance equal to the diameter of Earth's orbit around the Sun. Hence the depiction of Earth, Jupiter and Io in the Doodle by Google, which shows the web giant's level of detail it puts in each of its Doodle.
Each and every Google Doodle is a reminder of historic events and a great way of learning for internet users about history. You can take a look at the Google Doodle archive for all the unique doodles Google has made in the past.