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

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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 ...
31
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14answers
8k views

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 ...
28
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10answers
4k views

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 ...
18
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10answers
4k views

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 ...
18
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3answers
4k views

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 ...
17
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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 ...
16
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15answers
3k views

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 ...
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 ...
14
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5answers
2k views

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, ...
13
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5answers
2k views

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
3k views

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 ...
13
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5answers
1k views

The definition of an inertial reference frame in Einstein's relativity

I'm reading Sean Carroll's book on general relativity, and I have a question about the definition of an inertial reference frame. In the first chapter that's dedicated to special relativity, the ...
11
votes
6answers
2k views

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 ...
11
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4answers
556 views

How does one determine an inertial frame?

How does one determine whether one is in an inertial frame? An inertial frame is one on which a particle with no force on it travels in a straight line. But how does one determine that no forces are ...
10
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7answers
2k views

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
325 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. ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

Is the Earth the center of the Solar System? [duplicate]

Alright guys, so I attracted you with the title. Now, to preface the question, I am fully aware of the work of Copernicus, as well as the concepts of Heliocentrism and Barycentric Coordinates. I have ...
8
votes
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. ...
8
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7answers
418 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
2k views

Second law of Newton for variable mass systems

Frequently I see the expression $$F = \frac{dp}{dt} = \frac{d}{dt}(mv) = \frac{dm}{dt}v + ma,$$ which can be applied to variable mass systems. But I'm wondering if this derivation is correct, ...
6
votes
3answers
852 views

Do we need inertial frames in Lagrangian mechanics?

Do Euler-Lagrange equations hold only for inertial systems? If yes, where is the point in the variational derivation from Hamilton's principle where we made that restriction? My question arose ...
5
votes
4answers
698 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?
5
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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 ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

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 $$ {d^2r_1\over dt^2} = - { m_2(r_1-r_2)\over |r_1-r_2|^3} $$ ...
5
votes
1answer
364 views

Is General Relativity applicable for all coordinate systems?

My understanding was that relativistic physics can be expressed in any inertial coordinate system, but not arbitrary systems. That is, no experiment can determine if we are "still" or "moving" at a ...
5
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0answers
90 views

Lorentz transformation of Gamma matrices $\gamma^{\mu}$

From my understanding, gamma matrices transforms under Lorentz transformation $\Lambda$ as \begin{equation} \gamma^{\mu} \rightarrow S[\Lambda]\gamma^{\mu}S[\Lambda]^{-1} = ...
4
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6answers
2k views

Measuring speed of the moving train, if I'm inside it

So I am inside a coach in a train that is fully sealed (with no windows and a locked door). I have a torch, photo & time sensor and a scale with me. So, I place the sensor at one of the walls and ...
4
votes
4answers
187 views

When we talk about speeds in relativity theory, where are they measured?

I recently asked a question here about if the direction we travel matters in relativity theory: Does it matter in which direction I travel in relativity theory? After I got answers and making more ...
4
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3answers
396 views

Newton's First Law of Motion; Empirical Aspects

Newton's first law states that in an inertial frame, a body at rest continues to be at rest, and a body in constant rectilinear motion continues its motion, unless an external force is applied upon ...
4
votes
3answers
191 views

In what subfields and how far can the naive limit $c\rightarrow\infty$ of special relativity be carried?

Even if many interesting similarities between the classical and the quantum mechanical framework have been worked out, e.g. in the subject of deformation quantization, in general, there are some ...
4
votes
1answer
528 views

The form of Lagrangian for a free particle

I've just registred here, and I'm very glad that finally I have found such a place for questions. I have small question about Classical Mechanics, Lagrangian of a free particle. I just read Deriving ...
4
votes
3answers
252 views

Do bullet/gun physics change if the gun is traveling very fast?

If I'm running at say $400\: \mathrm{m/s}$ and a bullet travels at $400\: \mathrm{m/s}$ and I fire the gun, will I see the bullet leave the barrel? I either see it stay in the barrel floating ...
4
votes
2answers
670 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
948 views

Can an “absolute” frame of reference be determined by measuring the compression of light?

General relativity tells us that there is no absolute frame of reference (actually, it tells us that all frames are relative, which is close but not the same as there is no absolute frame). Special ...
4
votes
2answers
926 views

What is the formal definition of a stellar day?

I'm having trouble understanding precisely what a stellar day is. Neither the USNO nor the IERS sites provide a definition. And Wikipedia's description as the "rotation period relative to the fixed ...
4
votes
3answers
414 views

Does the Relativity Principle of Special Relativity imply homogeneity and isotropy of all the reference frames?

In Rindler's book: Relativity, Special, General and Cosmological, is stated on page 40 that the Relativity Principle (RP), when applied to just one Inertial Frame (IF), guarantees the homogeneity and ...
4
votes
1answer
86 views

Uniqueness of the equivalence class of inertial frames

Let us define an inertial frame as a frame of reference where the laws of physics take their usual form, as opposed to non intertial frames where one has to introduce pseudo-forces. We can further ...
4
votes
1answer
145 views

Does action really have to be Lorentz-invariant in SR?

From Landau & Lifshitz The Classical Theory Of Fields it is said: To determine the action integral for a free material particle (a particle not under the influence of any external force), we ...
4
votes
2answers
530 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
382 views

Is momentum conservation for the classical Schrödinger equation due to non-relativistic or due to some more exotic invariance?

I had no problem appliying the Neothers theorem for translations to the non-relativistic Schrödinger equation $\mathrm i\hbar\frac{\partial}{\partial t}\psi(\mathbf{r},t) \;=\; \left(- ...
3
votes
2answers
3k views

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 ...
3
votes
2answers
156 views

Handedness of Reference Frames?

I am developing a new derivation of the Lorentz transformation which I think and hope is more attractive to students than those I have seen in currently available texts. I am carefully defining and ...
3
votes
5answers
180 views

Will a warm body naturally slowdown?

Suppose a warm body moving in an empty space with high speed. The body emits radiation based on its temperature. The protons emitted forwards of the body will have higher energy due to Doppler shift ...
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 ...
3
votes
1answer
328 views

How does Newton's first law asserts the existence of inertial frames? [duplicate]

Recently I've seem here one answer telling that Newton's first law really assures the existence of inertial reference frames. But how is that? I really can't see it. As I know, Newton's first law ...
3
votes
2answers
442 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 ...
3
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3answers
1k views

How fictitious are fictitious forces?

How fictitious are fictitious forces? More specifically, in a rotating reference frame i.e. on the surface of the earth does an object that is 'stationary' and in contract with the ground feel ...
3
votes
1answer
63 views

How fast do you have to be traveling in order to travel one light year in one year due to relativistic effects?

My apologies if my understanding is incorrect, but I believe that as you approach relativistic speeds you experience time dilation as compared to an outside observer. So taking into account this ...