Riding Light

Design & Animation Alphonse Swinehart
Music Steve Reich
Performed By Eighth Blackbird

After nerding out on some astronomy books and documentaries, I wanted to illustrate how slow the speed of light is in relation to the vast size of the universe. This animation shows, in realtime, the journey of a photon of light emitted from the sun and traveling across a portion of the solar system.

It has now over 4 million views and has since been featured on The Washington Post, Huffington Post, Gizmodo, Fast Company, Vox, BBC, MSNBC, Cnet, Popular Mechanics, Daily Mail, and various publications and blogs around the world. It was also included as part of the exhibit Shine On Me at the Deutsches Hygiene-Museum in Dreseden, Germany from 2018–2019.

Alphonse Swinehart   ©2023