What are light waves?

  • Light travels in waves.

  • Light waves travel in straight lines.

  • Light waves travel faster than sound waves.

A short video explaining the concept of light waves.

How does light move?

Light travels as waves. Light waves don't always need particles to travel through. They can also travel through outer space or a vacuum.

Light waves travel in straight lines. You can detect them with your eyes, and also with instruments such as cameras. They are reflected by mirrors and change direction when they travel from the air into glass or water.

Light travels very fast. It has a speed of 300 million metres per second in a vacuum. It only takes 8 minutes and 20 seconds for light to travel from the Sun to the Earth. Light travels through the air about a million times faster than through sound, which explains why you see lightning before you hear thunder.