In middle-school science class you learn that the light you’re seeing from the Sun took eight minutes to reach you. But, in actuality, it took a bit longer than that.

Ten million years longer.

Photons are created deep in the Sun’s core. Though they travel at the speed of light, some 186,000+ miles per second, they only travel a few centimeters within the Sun before being reabsorbed again. It can take around 10 million years for a single photon to make it from deep within the Sun to its outer surface. Some call this “the random walk of photons”. When the photon finally leaves the Sun’s surface it takes a mere 8 minutes to cover the distance between the Sun and Earth — some 93,000,000 miles.

Photons must be so frustrated for that first 10 million years.

Image credit: Jean-François Colonna.