# What's the speed of light when viewed from the side?

The speed of light is the same in every direction; specifically, $$c=299,792,458$$ m/s. This fact was proven by Michelson and Morley in 1887, when they measured the speed of light very precisely using the Michelson-Morley interferometer. They proved more than that, though: the speed of light is not only independent of direction, it is also independent of the speed at which the observer is moving. This was one of the main discoveries that gave Special Relativity its credibility in the early 20th century.

In this case the speed would be same for anything sent from A to B, as seen from C. Since there is no relative velocity between the points A, B and C, the magnitude of the speed of any object going from A to B, as seen from A, B or C, or any other stationary point with respect to the triangle, would be the same.

For light, the magnitude of its speed would be the same even if the points where moving with respect to each other, the speed of light is the same for all frames of reference, independent of their relative position or velocity.

Before even beginning to answer the question, there is one thing that needs to be cleared up about the question. The whole idea of "viewing light from the side" is more complex than you think it is.

If a rocket ship were traveling from A to B, and it were equipped with some kind of running light, you might be able to see the rocket ship from point C. But what you are actually seeing is light (photons, if you will) that were emitted from the running light, and happened to be aimed in the right direction to reach point C, where you are located.

But if a photon is on its way from A to B, it doesn't emit other photons that go off in all other directions, some of which end up at C. The only way a photon is going to emit photons towards C is if it interacts along the way. If the photon smashes into an atom, for instance, and the atom gains some energy that it releases as other photons, then you might be able to see that from C. But now the original photon is never going to reach point B, because it smashed into an atom on the way.

So we need a whole bundle of photons, released from point A towards point B, that interact in some way along the track between A and B. Each of these interactions will cause a different point of light, and these will reach you at different times and from different directions. From this you may be able to infer the speed of that bundle of photons going from A to B.

I'm pretty sure that the speed will turn out to c, the speed of light. Any change in distance caused by the angle of view will be compensated for by a change in time delay, so it will all come out in the wash. That's how I see it.