The union of special (SR) and general (GR) relativity. Use this tag if both SR and GR apply.

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In special relativity, is it correct to say the speed of a body B relative to A is the same as measured by every observer?

Here, two objects A and B are moving relative to each other. I use the Einstein velocity addition formula $v = {v_1 + v_2\over 1 + {v_1 v_2\over c^2}}$ to calculate the relative speed between A and ...
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7answers
505 views

Relation between coordinates and frames of reference

I always get a little uneasy that all the theories I can think of (at least since Newton) are constructed in a way such that they would be true in heaven and on earth ... but we can never go ...
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2answers
114 views

How can a photon have energy when its mass is zero? [duplicate]

How can a photon have energy when its mass is zero? According to Einstein's equation $E = mc^2$ energy depends on $mass*c^2$ Light has zero mass so the energy would be zero too but solar cells use ...
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0answers
34 views

How can we represent the 3 space coordinates uniquely by one point that can be put on a single axis?

In the Space-Time diagram (in the rest frame) we often take the Space axis as the horizontal axis and the time axis as the axis perpendicular to it as in the given figure. While there are other ...
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1answer
82 views

Pauli exclusion principle and relativity

I'm somewhat curious about how the Pauli Exclusion Principle functions when relativistic time becomes a significant factor. Just to clear things up, my (possibly poor) understanding goes like this. ...
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4answers
917 views

Special Relativistic Time Dilation — A computer in a very fast centrifuge

Ok, I've stumbled onto what I think is a bit of a paradox. First off, say you had some computer in a very fast(near light speed) centrifuge. You provide power to this computer via a metal plate on ...
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2answers
68 views

Space: a vacuous void or an entity?

I am a chemist and, until recently, a senior Research Manager with a major chemical company. Please excuse the potentially naive ramblings of an idiot in what follows, but I do not have the ...
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4answers
148 views

In $1$-dimensional space, how would the gravity generated by an electron affect a photon moving away from the electron if the photon can’t slow down?

Suppose we had a universe obeying the same physical laws as our own. But it had only one spatial dimension (represented by the $x$ axis) and it was totally empty. There are just two point-like ...
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82 views
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1answer
180 views

Has anyone yet been able to prove relativity wrong? [closed]

I was in a physics group, then a student (or a professor, I don't know) posted this- Mohammad Shafiq Khan > Physics > The space-time concept including the formula $E=mc^2$ are proved baseless in ...
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1answer
56 views

Boyles law & relativity

In relativity when an object approaches the speed of light, $c$,its volume decreases due to length contraction. As a thought experiment, consider a rectangular metal box travelling at a relativistic ...
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1answer
80 views

Special relativity and Lorentz transformation

I recently learned about special relativity and different reference frames. The conversion from two inertial reference frames is given by Lorentz transformations: $$x' = ...
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0answers
32 views

Weizsäcker–Williams approximation

I'm having some trouble understanding the Weizsäcker-Williams approximation What I think it is is the following: I have a charged particle at high speed, close to the speed of light, at this speed ...
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1answer
116 views

Why invariance is important?

The concept of invariance seems to have a great importance. Indeed, the fact that the laws of Electrodynamics are not invariant in every inertial reference frame led to the theory of Special ...
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2answers
95 views

Acceleration to lightspeed using gravity

Suppose we have a very advanced spaceship that (aside from colliding with planets or entering a blackhole) is indestructable, and can go very fast, but is incapable of moving at lightspeed on it's ...
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1answer
135 views

Could there be a time dilation of 2,000,000x between Earth and other parts of the universe?

Don't ask me why, but you may be able to guess why I would ask such a question. The question is, what kind of conditions would have to be present in a universe in order for billions of years pass in ...
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4answers
209 views

Expected result of vertical Michelson-Morley Experiment [duplicate]

What would the result of a vertical variation of the Michelson-Morley experiment be? I.e., if one were to compare light traveling along a horizontal arm with light traveling along a vertical arm ...
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4answers
115 views

What is the mass of a sphere?

A solid sphere of mass M is rotating along an axis. We can consider it as a collection of large number of point masses, every point mass is moving with respect to center of mass with velocity which ...
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2answers
43 views

Relativity: stationary vs moving

In the book The Elegant Universe, Greene describes a situation in which there are two space travelers, George and Gracie, moving in relationship towards each other at a constant velocity with no other ...
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0answers
22 views

Do photons exert gravity? [duplicate]

I read about GR today and came across the Bonnor beam. As I understand it, two parallel light beams (in a flat space) will in fact creep – slowly – towards each other. As Wikipedia puts it: On the ...
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2answers
953 views

Mechanism by which electric and magnetic fields interrelate

I read that force due to electric field on some particle in one reference frame can exhibit itself as force due to magnetic field in some other reference frame and that electric and magnetic fields ...
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1answer
94 views

Relativistic addition of velocities in the y-direction? [closed]

I've been having some difficulty with the problem described below, please have a look: Two particles with identical masses (m) undergo a collision. Before the collision they move with velocities ...
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5answers
71 views

Light's oscillation in time

Electromagnetic waves have electric (and magnetic) fields that oscillate spatially and with time. But light, moving at the universal speed limit, is a "space-like" object according to relativity since ...
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2answers
1k views

Careers in physics that are related to quantum mechanics or relativity? [closed]

Personally I learned Physics in high-school and found it very interesting, I read up a lot about physics in my free time. Personally I am also a programmer which I think is also good when it comes to ...
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1answer
48 views

Simultaneous observations in relativity

Consider an object which responds to two different signals A and B: it responds to signal A with blue color and signal B with red color. Also, it responds only to the signal that reached first. In ...
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1answer
48 views

Time and speed - Theory of relativity - 'felt time'

Assuming time is relative according to the objects current speed, means that a clock within a space shuttle which has 30% of light speed is 'ticking' slower than a clock staying on planet earth just ...
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2answers
60 views

Michelson & Morley

I KNOW this is a common question in it's topic, but not in this form.. I'm reading a book which explains the significance of certain aspects of experiments.. This section is called "null ...
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1answer
31 views

Orbital variations [closed]

My question relates to relativity and the warping of spacetime. If the geodesics approaching the star are coplanar with the ecliptic how can polar planetary orbits form?
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3answers
4k views

How to calculate time dilation in approaching speed of light

If a spaceship travels close to the speed of light (say, at 0.9c), how do I calculate the time as the spaceship pilot experience it? I thought the formula was $$t = \frac{t_0}{\sqrt{1-v^2/c^2}}$$ ...
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1answer
61 views

Long rod in an expanding universe

Suppose you have a metal rod, of vast length, floating in space. From it's center-of-mass reference frame it is assumed to be at rest with respect to the CMB. The rod will have some degree of ...
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1answer
105 views

Laws of physics in curved space-time

The speed of light is not constant everywhere in a gravitational field. Suppose there is a region of space-time which is curved due to gravity such that the speed of light or any electromagnetic ...
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4answers
394 views

Effect of gravity upon light and bagels

According to this question and this web site, photons undergo twice the deflection from gravitational fields as do physical objects. However, the weak equivalence principle states that locally, ...
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0answers
30 views

How can I calculate time dilation as viewed from an accelerated frame?

Imagine I am speeding past you at near the speed of light, at a constant velocity. It is very simple for me to calculate what I will see looking at you. According to the Lorentz transformations from ...
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1answer
56 views

What would we see if a camera orbiting close to light speed beamed down images of us on earth?

If a camera was sent up in a satellite, put in orbit at close to light speed, and instructed to beam down images to earth, what would we see if we watched its video feed? (Ignoring the fact that ...
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1answer
59 views

What are the differences between special and general relativity? [duplicate]

What are the differences between special relativity and general relativity? I am looking for a naive, non-mathematical explanation.
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1answer
185 views

What is the speed of a Photon? [duplicate]

How fast does a Photon travel through space? And is gravity able to influence a Photon's path?
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49 views

Can two free floating clocks synch up without a common reference?

If you had two clocks out it space somewhere and they could communicate by radio, would it be possible to coordinate a synchronization to the same degree as if they began their journey from the same ...
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0answers
44 views

Laws of physics for a point in cyclical 2D motion

A follow up question to the question in What does the statement "the laws of physics are invariant" mean? and Formal definition of an observer? Which laws of physics are they talking about ...
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0answers
25 views

Will the center of mass of the whole system change when object swims on curved surface?

In the example given here, the object can move on the frictionless surface of the sphere by changing its shape periodically. So will the center of mass of the whole system change after the object ...
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2answers
364 views

Lorentz-Transformation in a closed loop (Sagnac)

I have a problem transforming from one system to another when the direction of motion is changed. To demonstrate the problem I'll set up an easy example with intuitive numbers: enlarge ↵ left: ...
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0answers
39 views

Relative time difference and the gravitational potential of the geoid

I'm having trouble with something from a problem set on relativity and time. We are given the equation for time elapsed on a clock on the Earth's surface relative to time at the geocenter ...
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0answers
68 views

What is static mass increase effect predicted by General relativity?

According to wikipedia, static mass increase is predicted by Einstein's General Relativity. In the book 'The Meaning of Relativity' by Einstein, inertia will increase when the object is near a ...
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3answers
126 views

Spacelike to timelike four vectors

First at all, let me just say that I'm not a Physicist, I study mathematics. So, I have this question. If you have a spacelike four vector, is there any transformation that could change it to be a ...
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1answer
45 views

Can invisible galaxies exist? [duplicate]

Is it possible that there are newly formed galaxies which are moving so fast that we will can't see them, even though they exist "inside" our visible universe? I've been wondering if this could be a ...
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0answers
47 views

Possible Lack of Invariance in Two Inertial Reference Frame Scenarios

Two objects are connected together via a ideal spring which is compressed initially. Then the spring is released, the two balls are no longer connected and go their separate ways. Assume no other ...
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3answers
247 views

Are some events simultaneous in all reference frames? (Einstein goes drinkin')

If simultaneity is not a universal characteristic (eg. events are not simultaneous in all reference frames), then why do some events seem to be simultaneous in all reference frames as in the following ...
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1answer
100 views

Can an observer B move in such a way that his clock will run faster than that of a fixed observer A?

My understanding of Special and General Relativity comes from books which attempt to explain them to non-experts in these fields. Let A and B be observers, which at some time t(0), are together at ...
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1answer
70 views

Paradox of nesting black holes and release of energy

By dumping a gas cloud into a small black hole, I can produce radiation energy, this is how quasars produce energy. By dumping the previous black hole, with the gas cloud inside, into a black hole, ...
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0answers
24 views

What does velocity relative to CMB mean? [duplicate]

I've see some velocities such as that of the Sun quoted as "relative to the cosmic microwave background"? How is this different to measuring velocities relative to that old, discredited idea, the ...
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0answers
126 views

What are the equations of motion that model near light speed orbits of a massive body about incredibly massive bodies?

In Kip Thorne's recently published book, The Science of Interstellar, he describes, by means of an illustration, the complex nature of a spacecraft orbiting a massive black hole with velocities ~ ...