A specific reference frame that describes its coordinates in a manner that does not depend on time and is isotropic.

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Why do we say that the earth moves around the sun?

In history we are taught that the Catholic Church was wrong, because the Sun does not move around the Earth, instead the Earth moves around the Sun. But then in physics we learn that movement is ...
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7answers
3k views

What determines which frames are inertial frames?

I understand that you can (in principle) measure whether "free particles" (no forces) experience accelerations in order to tell whether a frame is inertial. But fundamentally, what determines which ...
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15answers
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What are the mechanics by which Time Dilation and Length Contraction occur?

What are the mechanics of time dilation and length contraction? Going beyond the mathematical equations involving light and the "speed limit of the universe", what is observed is merely a phenomenon ...
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3answers
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Deriving the Lagrangian for a free particle

I'm a newbie in physics. Sorry, if the following questions are dumb. I began reading "Mechanics" by Landau and Lifshitz recently and hit a few roadblocks right away. Proving that a free particle ...
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1answer
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Kepler problem in time: how do two gravitationally attracted particles move?

Two particles with initial positions and velocities $r_1,v_1$ and $r_2,v_2$ are interacting by the inverse square law (with G=1), so that $$ {d^2r_1\over dt^2} = - { m_2(r_1-r_2)\over |r_1-r_2|^3} $$ ...
18
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10answers
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Is Mach's Principle Wrong?

This question was prompted by another question about a paper by Woodward (not mine). IMO Mach's principle is very problematic (?wrong) thinking. Mach was obviously influenced by Leibniz. Empty space ...
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5answers
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Newton's Bucket

Newton's Bucket This thought experiment is originally due to Sir Isaac Newton. We have a sphere of water floating freely in an opaque box in intergalactic space, held together by surface tension and ...
13
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2answers
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Does the speed of light vary in noninertial frames?

The speed of light is the same in all inertial frames. Does it change from a non-inertial frame to another? Can it be zero? If it is not constant in non-inertial frames, is it still bounded from ...
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7answers
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Is rotational motion relative to space?

Let's assume that there is nothing in the universe except Earth. If the Earth rotates on its axis as it does, then would we experience the effects of rotational motion like centrifugal force and ...
9
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2answers
324 views

Understanding the “$\pi$” of a rotating disk

Let us say you are in an inertial reference frame with a circular planar disk. If you take your meter measuring rods (or perhaps tape measure) you can find the diameter and circumference of the disk. ...
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4answers
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Inertial frames of reference

I'm struggling with the notion of an inertial frame of reference. I suspect my difficulty lies with the difference between Newtonian and relativistic inertial frames, but I can't see it. I've read ...
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5answers
2k views

Is acceleration relative?

A while back in my Dynamics & Relativity lectures my lecturer mentioned that an object need not be accelerating relative to anything - he said it makes sense for an object to just be accelerating. ...
5
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4answers
697 views

Why does Newton's third law exist even in non-inertial reference frames?

While reviewing Newton's laws of motion I came across the statement which says Newton's laws exist only in inertial reference frames except the third one. Why is it like that?
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7answers
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Is there any true inertial reference frame in the universe?

Is there any true inertial reference frame in the universe? Newton's first law states that an object at rest remains at rest, and an object performing uniform motion performs uniform motion, until ...
3
votes
2answers
438 views

Foucault pendulum

The equations of motions for a Foucault pendulum are given by: $$\ddot{x} = 2\omega \sin\lambda \dot{y} - \frac{g}{L}x,$$ $$\ddot{y} = -2\omega \sin\lambda \dot{x} - \frac{g}{L}y.$$ What are the ...
2
votes
3answers
352 views

Why is Newton's first law necessary?

Newton's second law says $F=ma$. Now if we put $F=0$ we get $a=0$ which is Newton's first law. So why do we need Newton's first law ? Before asking I did some searching and I got this: Newtons first ...
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3answers
2k views

Flying a toy helicopter inside an accelerating train [duplicate]

Scenario: You ride in a train, you have this helicopter toy. The train is not yet running when you flew your helicopter on a constant altitude (say 1 meter above the train's floor). Question: What ...
0
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2answers
1k views

Argument for proving Earth-Centered Earth-Fixed (ECEF) reference frame is non-inertial

Today I heard an argument to prove that the Earth-Centered Earth-Fixed (ECEF) reference frame is non-inertial. It seriously doesn't make any sense to me but I also heard that same argument was made by ...
49
votes
8answers
18k views

Proof that the Earth rotates?

What is the proof, without leaving the Earth, and involving only basic physics, that the earth rotates around its axis? By basic physics I mean the physics that the early physicists must've used to ...
28
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10answers
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What is the Earth truly rotating about/revolving around?

Earth rotates on its axis and revolves around the sun, the sun revolves around the galaxy, the galaxy is also moving. So Earth's net rotation as observed from a fixed inertial frame consists of all ...
23
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5answers
3k views

Paradox in special relativity

Yesterday we started relativity on our physics class, and my professor taught us a few concepts. We did some examples on how things changed by looking them from different reference systems, and a ...
20
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7answers
4k views

Why does rotation simulate gravity if motion is relative?

In Einstein's theory of relativity, if motion is truly relative, then why would somebody in a rotating space station experience (artificial) gravity? I mean, I get why they experience gravity IF the ...
14
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5answers
2k views

What problems with Electromagnetism led Einstein to the Special Theory of Relativity?

I have often heard it said that several problems in the theory of electromagnetism as described by Maxwell's equations led Einstein to his theory of Special Relativity. What exactly were these ...
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5answers
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What does a frame of reference mean in terms of manifolds?

Because of my mathematical background, I've been finding it hard to relate the physics-talk I've been reading, with mathematical objects. In (say special) relativity, we have a Lorentzian manifold, ...
11
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6answers
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If the solar system is a non-inertial frame, why can Newton's Laws predict motion?

Since there is no object in the universe that doesn't move, and the solar system likely accelerates through space, how did Newton's Laws work so well? Didn't he assume that the sun is the ...
3
votes
2answers
395 views

Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) and its relation to Inertial Frames

We know that the CMB is isotropic when viewed outside of the spinning and revolving earth. Is it homogeneous? Can we relate the CMB to an inertial frame in the Newtonian sense (in which space and ...
8
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7answers
412 views

What does the statement “the laws of physics are invariant” mean?

In the first paragraph of Wikipedia's article on special relativity, it states one of the assumptions of special relativity is the laws of physics are invariant (i.e., identical) in all inertial ...
4
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2answers
529 views

Landau's ambiguous statement about the existence of inertial frames

Landau writes "It is found, however, that a frame of reference can always be chosen in which space is homogeneous and isotropic and time is homogeneous." Does he mean that we can prove the existence ...
3
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2answers
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Fictitious forces confusion

I have a hard time understanding the subject of fictitious forces. Let's discuss a few examples: 1) I'm sitting inside a vehicle which is accelerating in a straight line. I feel like someone is ...
4
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2answers
669 views

What is the inertial frame that explains the Foucault Pendulum?

I know that the Foucault pendulum rotation in relation to Earth is a proof that the object is inertial in relation to the distant stars. But what makes them more important than the Earth? Are they an ...
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2answers
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Earth-Centered Inertial (ECI) reference frame as approximate inertial frame of reference

In many practical applications, one can consider the Earth-Centered Inertial (ECI) reference frame approximately as an inertial reference system, though strictly speaking, it is non-inertial. Is ...
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3answers
175 views

Why does the Michleson-Morley experiment only contradict the aether?

This question is related to Validity of Maxwell's equations with no aether or relativity? (so please read this first). In this question, the answers seem to suggest that getting rid of the aether ...
0
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0answers
167 views

Determining Ether Drag - Aberration of Starlight

In order to determine the relative motion between the Earth and the ether (the medium through which light supposedly propagated. It has zero density and complete transparency), scientists used the ...
0
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3answers
3k views

Centripetal/Gravitational Force

Suppose a satellite is orbiting the Earth. The gravitational and centripetal force supposedly point towards the Earth. Therefore, the net force is towards the Earth. Since the satellite doesn't fall ...