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

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What is the speed for an object that travel close to the speed of light?

I have some questions regarding Einsteins theory of Relativity that should be fairly easy to answer. Lets say we make an experiment where we have a rocket (with an astronaut inside) that travels very ...
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understanding time: Is time simply the rate change?

Is time simply the rate of change? If this is the case and time was created during the big bang would it be the case that the closer you get to the start of the big bang the "slower" things change ...
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1answer
391 views

Why are we talking about space curvature as if we know what space is? [closed]

1) Why are we talking about space curvature as if we know what space is? Every question about gravity seems to evoke an answer involving "space curvature" which seems like an undefined placeholder ...
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2answers
107 views

Causal reconnection

Can causally disconnected regions join up again? For example the universe is expanding faster than light creating cosmological horizon, but what if something causes the expansion to slow down and ...
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1answer
159 views

Is space curvature relative?

If I have an object that is of some length $l$ moving at a relativistic velocity $v$ for some reference frame in a 1D universe, then length contraction states that $l=\gamma\times l'$. But at the ...
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1answer
53 views

Derivation of superluminality in astronomy

Can somebody provide derivation of the relativistic explanation of (apparent) superluminality in astronomy? The derivation on wikipedia seems to be a bit confusing.
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1answer
73 views

At what rate does radiation exposure occur at high-c speeds?

If a future astronaut travelled to Alpha Centauri at a significant percentage of light-speed? Apart from increased blue shifted radiation from their direction of travel - how would they experience ...
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7answers
449 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
199 views

light travels a maximum speed… /? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is it possible for information to be transmitted faster than light? we know that speed of light is an unconquerable term in physics..light takes about 1 year to travel ...
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2answers
387 views

How do I adjust the kinematic equations to avoid reaching speeds faster than light?

I like some 'science' in my 'science fiction', so I started crunching out the kinematic equations for some of the scenarios my characters are getting involved in, and ran smack dab into an issue. ...
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0answers
165 views

How do I extend the Lorentz transformation metric to dimensions>4?

How do I extend the general Lorentz transformation matrix (not just a boost along an axis, but in directions where the dx1/dt, dx2/dt, dx3/dt, components are all not zero. For eg. as on the Wikipedia ...
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2answers
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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 ...
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82 views

Does relativity apply to something experiencing Centripetal forces?

If I tie a rope to a clock and spin it over my head, would it lose synchronization with a clock sitting at my feet?
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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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5answers
458 views

Does a interstellar spacecraft traveling at relativistic velocity require continous thrust to maintain velocity?

Assuming completely empty space, does a spacecraft traveling at 0.5 C require continuous thrust to avoid deceleration? If the spacecraft is traveling at 0.5 C, does it's relativistic mass act upon ...
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2answers
312 views

length contraction question

we know from eintein's theory of relativity that lets say, a ruler is travelling to a speed if light, then we can say that the ruler (from our view as observers) has shorten. but why, lets say we have ...
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1answer
128 views

reletivistic mass as seen by different observers

Imagine there are two observers $A$ and $B$ and a particle $P$. $A$ and $B$ are at about the same point, $P$ is some distance away. From $A$'s point of view, $P$ has velocity $V$ and $B$ has ...
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3answers
171 views

When a high speed neutrino just misses an old neutron star, why isn't it trapped?

Suppose a neutrino is seen travelling so fast that its Lorentz gamma factor is 100,000. It races past an old, no longer active neutron star, narrowly missing it. As far as the neutrino is concerned, ...
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2answers
204 views

Finding wave-fuctions of a Dirac particle for given 4-momentum and spin 4-vector

I've been reading through various materials on relativistic quantum mechanics, but I find the lack of simple examples disturbing. I'm acquainted with the general form the solutions to the Dirac ...
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2answers
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How to deduce the theorem of addition of velocities?

Lorentz contraction and time dilatation can be deduced without Lorentz transformation. Can you deduce also the theorem of addition of velocities $$w~=~\dfrac{u+v}{1+uv/c^2}$$ without Lorentz ...
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2answers
104 views

The relativistic mechanics of a battery that is being charged and accelerated at the same time

This might be an interesting question: Let's attach a battery into one end of an electric cable. Then we rotate the battery around, with accelerating speed, using 100 Watts of power, while the ...
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5answers
738 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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2answers
267 views

The Lorentz Transformations in the Micro-World

Two particles[or micro-observers] A and B are in relative uniform motion wrt each other in the x-x’ direction. The “observer” A decides to deduce[or interpret] the Lorentz Transformations wrt to B. ...
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1answer
302 views

Thought experiment about acceleration

Case 1: two people wake up in spaceships accelerating at 1g. They can measure or observe anything inside the room but not outside. They couldn't determine if they were on a spaceship or on earth. ...
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1answer
238 views

Are objects in a gravitational well shortened?

Bob is in a gravitational potential well, he moves a long vertical stick up and down a distance of 1 meters. Alice observes the upper end of the stick, at upper location. There is the phenomenon of ...
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Why has the ether been disregarded as a valid medium through which light can propagate? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Ether theory acceptance Although the Einstein's theory of relativity seemed to make the concept of an ether obsolete, did it necessarily invalidate it? Are there any ...
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1answer
193 views

What is the mass of individual components in a gravitationally bound system?

When material of rest mass M falls from infinity onto a black hole accretion disk, it gets heated and then emits so much light that the energy radiated away can measure up to about 30% or so of M c^2. ...
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frames of reference [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Help Me Gain an Intuitive Understanding of Lorentz Contraction Frames k and k' are inertial frames. Frame k' is moving at a velocity of magnitude v relative to frame k ...
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1answer
476 views

relativity and aberration of light

I am dealing with math and physics only at amateur level and I am writing regarding my question on relativistic aberration of light. Reading "Realtivity and Common Sense" by Hermann Bondi and some ...
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4answers
537 views

Reducing General Relativity to Special Relativity in limiting case

I understand that general relativity is applicable to gravitational fields and special relativity is applicable to case when there is no gravity. But is there a derivation on how to reduce General ...
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2answers
976 views

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

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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2answers
188 views

What will happen if we use a speed greater than light speed and find a body'motion and energy relative to it?

In Einstein's papers, he used light speed as a reference speed. What if we use a greater finite speed and do the same calculations. Won't this greater speed then be the limit.
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4answers
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Paradox?: What is the form of radiation experienced by a harmonically accelerated observer?

Theory predicts that uniform acceleration leads to experiencing thermal radiation (so called Fulling Davies Unruh radiation), associated with the appearance of an event horizon. For non uniform but ...
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2answers
200 views

Relativity and predictability

My old theoretical physics professor used to say that (already) (special?) relativity shows that "the future is not predictable". Any ideas how this should be interpreted?
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1answer
571 views

Time traveling and Time dilation within a multiplayer videogame [closed]

First thing first, I'm looking to implement this within a multiplayer videogame as a "special" skill or powerup, but, I'm willing to build it upon a physics based explanation/theory. The question may ...
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3answers
275 views

How to take into account the reference frames with the revolution and rotation of the Earth in OPERA's superluminal neutrinos?

Since the Earth is moving around the Sun, which is moving around Milky Way, etc... What reference frame is used for the complete motion of the begin/end points (which are non-inertial right?)?
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1answer
143 views

Showing that a given matrix provides the desired Lorentz transformation

I am working on problem 5.12 in Halzen and Martin’s Quarks and Leptons. We are asked to show that the matrix $$ S = 1 - \frac{i}{4} \sigma_{\mu \nu} \varepsilon^{\mu \nu} $$ represents the ...
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1answer
227 views

Is time the property of an object?

I don't know if the title makes much sense, but hopefully it will become clear with the text. Temperature is not a property of a point in the three dimensions, but actually of the object occupying ...
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3answers
473 views

How are accelerated reference frames non-symmetrical?

As in, if I'm accelerating away from the Earth, then does the Earth also appear to be accelerating away from me at the same rate? Or is there something to "break" this type of symmetry? My question ...
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4answers
777 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
394 views

Where does the minus sign appear from in the metric tensor?

Trying to understand Schutz's AFCIGR, where does the minus sign appear from in the metric tensor? I understand that this expresses the invariance of the spacetime interval. Schutz says (I think) ...
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2answers
583 views

Nature of spacetime 4-vector and tangent space?

An entry level confusion about spacetime. I understand that a 4-vector describes a point or event in spacetime. But I've also read (Bertschinger, 1999) that re spacetime "we are discussing tangent ...
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0answers
131 views

heliocentricity and the theory of relativity [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why do we say that the earth moves around the sun? I should preface by stating that I'm not a physicist and my knowledge of the theory of relativity is limited to what ...
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3answers
3k views

Difference between timelike and spacelike vectors

Other than one having a positive invariant scalar product and the other a negative one, what are the actual physical differences between these vectors?
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1answer
460 views

Length contraction in rotating frame?

If an observer were to rotate around a point at near light speeds, what sort of length contraction would he observe the universe undergo?
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181 views

Does a light cone look the same from all reference frames?

If there were a light cone centered at some point $P$, and you were to look at that light cone from different reference frames, would it change its shape? I know that points inside and outside the ...
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0answers
105 views

Can space-like fields not commute and still forbid faster-than-light signalling? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is microcausality necessary for no-signaling? If we try to measure two non-commuting observables, only the earlier measurement would be valid. The later measurement ...
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1answer
485 views

How will the Twin Paradox become, for Time Dilation, if no acceleration was ever involved?

I think one catch in Twin Paradox was about the big acceleration that can turn back the traveling twin from light speed outward bound, to become light speed inward bound. What if there is strictly no ...
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Quaternions and 4-vectors

I recently realised that quaternions could be used to write intervals or norms of vectors in special relativity: $(t,ix,jy,kz)^2 = t^2 + (ix)^2 + (jy)^2 + (kz)^2 = t^2 - x^2 - y^2 - z^2$ Is it ...
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Why are four-vectors needed in the Dirac equation, when there are 4 linearly independent 2D matrices?

I was taught that for the Dirac-equation to "work", you need matrices of the following form: $Tr(\alpha^i) = 0$. Eigenvalues +1 or -1 2 previous points together: equal number of negative and ...