A system of coordinates used as the basis for describing the position and motion of objects

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Would time freeze if you can travel at the speed of light?

I read with interest about Einstein's Theory of Relativity and his proposition about the speed of light being the speed limit for anything with mass. So, if I were ...
8
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Is a photon “fixed in spacetime”?

From what I've read, according to relativity, a photon does not "experience" the passage of time. (Can we say there is no past/present/future for a photon?) Would it be better to say a photon is ...
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Why and how is the speed of light in vacuum constant, i.e., independent of reference frame?

I was told that the Galilean relative velocity rule does not apply to the speed of light. No matter how fast two objects are moving, the speed of light will remain same for both of them. How and why ...
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Does a photon in vacuum have a rest frame?

Quite a few of the questions given on this site mention a photon in vacuum having a rest frame such as it having a zero mass in its rest frame. I find this contradictory since photons must travel at ...
2
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6answers
596 views

Does the (relativistic) mass change? Why?

I learned recently that when an object moves with a velocity comparable to the velocity of light the (relativistic) mass changes. How does this alteration take place?
6
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3answers
395 views

The reference frame of $c$

I don't have a lot of knowledge of special relativity and associated topics; some of the few things I know are that "all motion is relative" (that is, there is no 'stationary reference frame'), and ...
5
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5answers
651 views

Time Dilation - How does it know which Frame of Reference to age slower?

Okay, I'm asking a question similar to this one here: Time Dilation - what happens when you bring the observers back together?. Specifically, I am curious about a specific angle on the second part of ...
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4answers
7k views

How does centrifugal force work?

I know what centrifugal force is, but how does it work? Why are things forced to the outside?
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2answers
111 views

Angular Momentum of a rigid, extended object

Angular momentum of an object is a physical quantity that depends on the chosen point about which to calculate the angular momentum. It is often said that an object that has been thrown up in the air ...
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1answer
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Derivation of the centrifugal and coriolis force

I was wondering how easily these two pseudo-forces can be derived mathematically in order to exhibit a clear physical meaning. How would you proceed?
14
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2answers
546 views

What does a sphere moving close to the speed of light look like?

What shape does the viewer in a reference frame with $v=0$ perceive? I suppose that since the sphere moves in one direction only (oX only, not oY) its section would change into an ellipse, where the ...
13
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6answers
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How exactly does time slow down near a black hole?

How exactly does time slow down near a black hole? I have heard this as a possible way of time traveling, and I do understand that it is due in some way to the massive gravity around a black hole, but ...
72
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8answers
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Why does a helium filled ballon move forward in a car when the car is accelerating?

I noticed that when I had a helium filled, latex ballon inside of my car, it moved forward in the cabin as I accelerated forward. The faster I accelerated forward, the faster the ballon went from the ...
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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 ...
3
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1answer
311 views

Reference frame involved in the Schrödinger's equation

I have a doubt as to in which frame of reference the Schrödinger equation is written? I think it is inertial but can't reason it out.
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4answers
2k views

The bigger the mass, the more time slows down. Why is this?

If I were to stand by a pyramid, which weighs about 20 million tons, I would slow down by a trillion million million million of second. Don't know if that's exactly right, but you get the point. Also, ...
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2answers
227 views

Watching something fall into a black hole from far away

I am observing (theoretically) an object falling into a black hole from a safe distance away. My understanding is that from far away it appears as if the body will asymptotically approach the event ...
3
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2answers
65 views

The speed of light as it approaches a massive body

No matter how fast you go, you will aways perceive the speed of light as constant. Taking that as a fact, the special relativity theory was formulated. Now, for what I understand about general ...
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2answers
209 views

What's a “noninertial frame”? [duplicate]

In some PSE questions or answers such as here (and comments below) there appears the notion of "accelerating frame" or (more or less equivalently) "noninertial frame". What's the definition of this ...
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4answers
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How is the speed of light constant in all directions for all observers?

Please imagine the following thought-experiment: Order of Events: Pulse - A single pulse of light is emitted from the light towards the mirror Reflect - The pulse hits the mirror and is ...
6
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2answers
365 views

Confusion with derivation of fictitious forces

I read the mathematical derivation of fictitious forces on Wikipedia and I'm having trouble understanding it. I went on a few other sites looking for a better derivation, but they're all basically the ...
2
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2answers
168 views

How long does it take for a black hole to form?

The well-known fable of an astronaut sending signals out to an external observer while falling toward an event horizon states that the time lapse between such signals becomes greater even if in the ...
4
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1answer
158 views

Is it possible to have uniform proper acceleration along a large object without breaking it?

I'm learning about accelerating reference frames (to eventually get grasp of general relativity too). I've just read about the Rindler coordinates and this one caught my eye Note that Rindler ...
2
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2answers
139 views

Light in Different Reference Frames

I think I'm just confused, but for some reason I thought that light moving straight in one frame would have to move in the same direction in another frame. I know there are photons-but because I have ...
2
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1answer
130 views

Explanation of a Foucault pendulum

The equations of motion of a Foucault pendulum is given by: $$\ddot{x} = 2\omega \sin\lambda \dot{y} - \frac{g}{L}x$$ $$\ddot{y} = -2\omega \sin\lambda \dot{x} - \frac{g}{L}y$$ where $\omega$ is ...
2
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3answers
270 views

If time slows down when you move faster, does this give you an “effective speed” different from your proper speed?

Suppose you're travelling at 0.9c toward the sun, and you tag past the Earth and start a clock. Would Lorentz contraction/time dilation cause you to get to the sun faster than (about) 9 minutes ...
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4answers
265 views

What is the exact mechanism by which time dilates?

What is the exact mechanism by which time dilates for a fast moving object? Can the time dilation be explained by any theory other than relativity?
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1answer
221 views

Accelerating elevator?

If your in an elevator accelerating downwards faster than gravity, would you be pushed up to the ceiling? Since gravity cannot match the acceleration of the elevator, you're wouldn't be able to move ...
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3answers
168 views

Will an object resting on a rotating platform move in a frictionless world?

Imagine that a pebble is placed on a uniformly rotating, frictionless disk. What will happen to this pebble? Will the disk slide under it and the pebble stay as is? Or will there be a centrifugal ...
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6answers
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Gravity on the International Space Station

We created a table in my physics class which contained the strength of gravity on different planet and objects in space. At altitude 0(earth), the gravitational strength is 100%. On the moon at ...
6
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2answers
2k views

How can time be relative?

I don't understand how time can be relative to different observers, and I think my confusion is around how I understand what time is. I have always been told (and thought) that time is basically a ...
2
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1answer
259 views

Degrees of freedom in the infinite momentum frame

Lenny Susskind explains in this video at about 40min, as an extended object (for example a relativistic string) is boosted to the infinite momentum frame (sometimes called light cone frame), it has no ...
0
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2answers
2k views

When does not Newton's 3rd law apply?

Is Newton's 3rd law valid in non-inertial frames? If so, then are there other cases for which Newton's 3rd law is not applicable?
21
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2answers
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The age of the universe

Many times I have read statements like, "the age of the universe is 14 billion years" . For example this wikipedia page Big Bang. Now, my question is, which observers' are these time intervals? ...
3
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1answer
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Is a preferred reference frame of the universe the old aether?

About two years ago I posted a question about a symmetrical twin paradox: Here. Recently a new answer was posted and an intense discussion ensued: Here. One of the points discussed concerns a ...
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2answers
371 views

Throwing a ball upwards in an accelerating train

If I throw a ball upwards to a certain height in an accelerating train, will it end up in my hand? At the moment I release the ball, it will have a velocity equal to that of the train at that instant. ...
5
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2answers
188 views

A thought experiment on vision and curved spacetime

What follows is a long self-made example to deal with my conceptual issues of visualizing curved spacetime. Imagine an observer floating somewhere in space. He feels no strain on his body, ...
3
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4answers
255 views

What does 99.9% speed of light mean when there is no absolute velocity?

So when people say: 'I am approaching the speed of light, and to get to 100% light I would need infinite energy' they are essentially saying that this situation is impossible? I read this in ...
2
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1answer
270 views

Two electron beams exert different forces on each other depending on frame of reference?

I am sure there is a simple explanation for my confusion, but I am a little puzzled: We are dealing with two parallel electron cannons that each produces a straight beam of electrons. They are placed ...
2
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2answers
270 views

A relative time dilation paradox.

Let us assume that there are two astronauts A and B who are floating in space. A sees B passing by and vice versa. A sends signals to B every minute. According to A since B is moving his clock will be ...
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2answers
162 views

Do heavier objects fall faster? [duplicate]

This question has been asked multiple times here and all over the internet yet I can't find a conclusive answer: Some claim that heavier objects do fall faster: Don't heavier objects actually fall ...
0
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1answer
232 views

Accelerated liquid in a U-tube

Consider a U-tube containing some liquid. The two ends of the tube are connected to closed volumes of air with different initial pressures, such that there is some difference in the liquid levels ...
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3answers
225 views

Does the Lorentz transformation not apply to light?

Since you would know that light always travels at the constant velocity with respect to all frame of reference ....according to relativity whenever we are traveling at speed of light our time with ...
9
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2answers
352 views

How fast can time flow? A question of time dilation

(I would describe myself as an illiterate physics enthusiast, so I hope you'll forgive me if my ignorance is borderline offensive.) If I've understood anything of the concept of time dilation, your ...
7
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4answers
728 views

Does the “Andromeda Paradox” (Rietdijk–Putnam-Penrose) imply a completely deterministic universe?

Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rietdijk–Putnam_argument Abstract of 1966 Rietdijk paper: A proof is given that there does not exist an event, that is not already in the past for ...
4
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2answers
141 views

Effect of gravity at near-lightspeeds

Let's say I'm in a space station, hurtling towards our galaxy nearly close to the speed of light. From my reference frame, I see the galaxy coming towards my ship at the same speed. I pass the Sun, ...
3
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2answers
333 views

If I travel close to the speed of light and come back, why is everyone else dead, and not me? [duplicate]

Consider the following scenario: I get in a spaceship, and travel really close to the speed of light for a while, and then come back. A lot of time has passed on the Earth, but since I was traveling ...
2
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4answers
113 views

How should observers determine whether they can be described as being “defined on a Lorentzian manifold”?

Consider infinitely many distinguishable observers, no two of whom ever meet; and who generally "keep sight of each other", but not necessarily "each keeping sight of all others". How should they ...
2
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2answers
60 views

Velocity in a turning reference frame

I often see the relation that $\vec v=\vec v_0+ \vec \omega \times \vec r$ in a turning reference frame, but where does it actually come from and how do I arrive at the acceleration being $$\vec ...
2
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2answers
235 views

Local inertial coordinates

It is said that we can introduce local inertial coordinates for any timelike geodesic. But why only for timelike geodesics? What about null geodesics? Perhaps it has to do with invertibility or ...