What is the Speed of All Forms of Electromagnetic Radiation in a Vacuum?

One of the interesting aspects of vacuums is things don’t travel at the same speed in the vacuums. Well, there are some things like a light that travels at the same speed but things like sound and other firms don’t travel like they do in the usual atmosphere. If you are interested to know what is the speed of all forms of electromagnetic radiation in a vacuum, then you have arrived in the right place.

In the below part of the article, we will discuss the vacuum, radiation, speed of things in the vacuum. Keep going through the article to find out everything you need to know about these things.

What is Electromagnetic Radiation and Vacuum

Electromagnetic radiation also known as EMR means the wave of the electromagnetic field that propagates through space. They carry electromagnetic energy. There can be different types of electromagnetic waves. Some of these include infrared, microwave, radio wave, ultraviolet, gamma rays, X-rays, etc. All of these waves are part of the electromagnetic spectrum. Radiation is the thing that differentiates these light or rays.

As we said above, electromagnetic radiation consists of electromagnetic waves. Basically, the waves of radiation are created through periodic changes of the magnetic field or electric field. Which wavelength of electromagnetic spectrum produce will depend on how the change occurs and how the power is generated.

A vacuum is a completely empty space. In our world, even when space is completely empty, there is still air in it. The word vacuum arrived from the Latin adjective vacuus or void or vacant. The right meaning of vacuum is free space. An ideal vacuum is where there is no air or any other particles. An example of a vacuum can be space. However, it cannot be considered as ideal as it is not completely empty.

It is actually quite hard to create an ideal vacuum. Your usual vacuum can reduce up to 20% of the air pressure inside the vacuum. There is a higher-quality vacuum cleaner that might be able to reduce the vacuum pressure a bit more. There are some ultra-high vacuums used in engineering, chemistry, and physics that can reduce the pressure a bit more.

Speed of All Forms of Electromagnetic Radiation in a Vacuum?

All forms of electromagnetic radiation mean the rays we have mentioned above. These include infrared, microwave, radio wave, ultraviolet, gamma rays, X-rays, etc. The electromagnetic are typically called light. That means the speed of the light is also the same as the electromagnetic radiation is 3.0 *10 8. That means the speed of the light in the usual atmosphere as well as in the vacuum is the same.

Do you know that the speed of the light is most prominent? No other thing can move at a faster speed than the speed of light. Light travels from one place to another in the form of wavelength. But what is wavelength? Well, let me discuss this with you. The wavelength is one complete cycle of the wave. Or, it is the distance between one complete cycle or two consecutive peaks of the wave.

Here peak means the highest point of the wave when the trough is the lowest point. There is another thing that you need to know about which is frequency. Frequency is the number of wavelengths that are traveling from one point to another in a certain period. They are typically measured in seconds and the unit for the frequency measurement is Hertz (Hz). The frequency will be higher when the wavelength of the light is higher. That is because one cycle requires a shorter period of time to pass through and more cycles can pass in less time. As a result, when the wavelength is shorter, the frequency will be higher.

A Bit More about Electromagnetic Radiation Speed

The speed of the light is the same in all inertial frames. That is because light doesn’t require a medium for transmission. That means electromagnetic radiation doesn’t require any medium to travel from one place to another. Light is a gathering of photons which is something interesting as it can work as both particle and wave. As they can behave both particle and waves, they don’t require any specific medium for propagation and travel through any space at the same speed.

The speed of light in the vacuum is exactly 299,792,458 meters per second. When we convert it into miles, it becomes 186,288 miles. The speed of the light is constant and it is expressed through “c”. Albert Einstein is a person who worked a lot with the speed of light. As per his theory of special relativity, nothing in the universe can travel faster than light. As per the theory, the speed of light can be considered as the speed limit for everything.

There is a unit called a light-year which means the distance which the light can travel through within one year. A light-year is around 10 trillion kilometers. It is such a distance that we can hardly imagine. Using the light-year unit, the physicists and the astronomers measure the distances of other things from our universe. You will be amused to know that it takes only one second for the light to travel to the moon. We can say that light is one light-second away from us.


The stars we see and we cannot see in our solar system can be either a few light-years to billion light-years away from us. And when the astronomers see things from light-years away, it is actually the past version of it. That is because that’s the light that existed when the light left them.

Speed of All Forms of Electromagnetic Radiation in a Vacuum is equivalent to light as we discussed in the article. And, it is constant for both vacuums and regular atmosphere. As the light doesn’t require a medium to travel, it is the same everywhere. We hope this article will help you to understand the speed of electromagnetic radiation in a vacuum.

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