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Physics Question

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  • Physics Question

    I remember doing a physics problem in college that demonstrated that if you compared an object moving through space at close to the speed of light with an object standing still on earth, time on earth would advance at a much faster pace than it would for the object traveling at such a high speed in space. So lets say hypotheticaly An object moving at the edge of light speed moves away from the earth for 2 years and then returns home, thats 4 years total. In that 4 year time frame many hundreds even thousands of years may have passed on earth. Does anyone know the mathematical formula for solving this problem ? If so could you explain it to me because I have forgotten how to do it over the years.

    :)

  • #2
    Re: Physics Question

    Originally posted by CeeTee
    I remember doing a physics problem in college that demonstrated that if you compared an object moving through space at close to the speed of light with an object standing still on earth, time on earth would advance at a much faster pace than it would for the object traveling at such a high speed in space. So lets say hypotheticaly An object moving at the edge of light speed moves away from the earth for 2 years and then returns home, thats 4 years total. In that 4 year time frame many hundreds even thousands of years may have passed on earth. Does anyone know the mathematical formula for solving this problem ? If so could you explain it to me because I have forgotten how to do it over the years.

    :)
    The conditions you seem interested in modelling aren't stated with a considerable
    amount of scientific rigor, but I think I understand what you're asking. Let's try
    the simple approach: I can refresh your memory about the equation from the
    Special Theory of Relativity that relates to time. If T is the subjective time on Earth in
    your scenario, and T' is the subjective time on your space vehicle, v is the velocity
    of the vehicle and c is the speed of light:

    T = T' / Sqrt [ 1 - (v^2 / c^2)]

    It's not quite as simple as that sounds, because presumably, you cannot
    reach the (implied) high value of v instaneously. Presumably, you had to
    accelerate for some period of time to reach your target velocity. When
    we add acceleration for a long period of time into the mix, things start
    to become more complex. Let's not talk about renormalizing your velocity
    as v approaches c.

    All this is with reservations until enough of the conditions emerge to be
    certain what you're after. :)

    LSN

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    • #3
      Also, it begins getting horribly complicated if you cross any areas with any significant gravity because this slows down time as well.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Caliburn
        Also, it begins getting horribly complicated if you cross any areas with any significant gravity because this slows down time as well.
        Indeed. That's one consideration I was trying to skirt here. If he wants time
        dilation, some entertaining things could be done with intense gravitational
        fields. Getting his space craft out of said field intact is left as an
        exercise for the reader. ;)

        Based on the nature of his question, I didn't want to complicate
        the picture by dragging in General Relativity. I gather the poster wanted
        a "simple" answer, or what passes for one. Otherwise, it might be best
        to refer him to Misner, Thorne, and Wheeler or Wald on GR.

        LSN

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