The special theory of relativity describes the motion and dynamics of objects moving at significant fractions of the speed of light.

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Light angles measured in moving reference fame (SR, homework)

I've managed to get through all of this question without trouble until part d). The full question is given here: I've calculated the "true" angles of Star A and Star B as 71.57 degrees and 45 ...
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Is $E^2=(mc^2)^2+(pc)^2$ correct, or is $E=mc^2$ the correct one?

I have been having trouble distinguishing these two equations and figuring out which one is correct. I have watched a video that says that $E^2=(mc^2)^2+(pc)^2$ is correct, but I do not know why. It ...
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125 views

What is the derivation of $E=mc^2$? [duplicate]

How did Einstein derive his most famous equation: $$E=mc^2$$ Is the above equation a special case of $$E^2=m^2c^4+p^2c^2$$ Its derivation? What is the difference between them?
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3answers
121 views

Why are we not able to move at the speed of light again? [duplicate]

In many many answers here and papers everywhere, it's often stated that no object can move faster than light. Why is that again?
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1answer
128 views

Time dilation: faster or slower?

I was wondering about Time-dilation in Special Relativity. I am still a middle school student who wonders so please excuse me if I missed any important aspects. Let us assume we have a system of ...
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Is it a postulate or a well proven fact that speed of light remains constant w.r.t any observer?

We usually heard that speed of light in vacuum $c$ remains same no matter how observer is moving? I am wondering whether is it taken as a postulate or a proven phenomenon that $c$ is constant ...
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Is reflection instantaneous?

I was wondering while reading "On the Electrodynamics of moving bodies" by Albert Einstein (1905) (Translated to English). In the paper, he describes the time as being: by definition that the “...
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4answers
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What's so special about the speed of light? [duplicate]

What's so special about the speed of light? Why do many equations in physics include the speed of light in vacuum $c$? Why do so many thing depend upon it? Why can't it be the speed of sound? ...
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3answers
263 views

When a body accelerates, it gains (relativistic) mass; after stopping, is the (relativistic) mass different from before it started accelerating?

When a body accelerates, it gains (relativistic) mass $m$ according to the relation $$m=\frac{m_0}{\sqrt{1-(v/c)^2}},$$ where $m_0$ is the (rest) mass. But after it stops is the gained (relativistic) ...
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Recommended books for a “relativity for poets” class?

I teach physics at a community college and have developed a new course titled "Relativity for Poets," which I will be teaching for the first time in spring 2015. As implied by the title, it's a ...
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Precession of relativistic orbit in pure inverse-square force [closed]

PROBLEM: Show that Special Relativity predicts a precession of $\pi (GMm/cl)^2$ radians per orbit for any elliptic orbit under a pure inverse-square force. Where $G$ is gravitational constant, $...
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354 views

What conditions should be met to notice a Doppler effect on light?

What relativistic conditions should an observer meet to notice the Doppler effect on a sample light wave, and is it even possible for one?
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Center-of-mass frame for massless particles

Given a scattering event where a photon and electron go in and a photon and electron come out, what is the center of mass frame? I'd say, since the photon has no mass, it's the rest frame of the ...
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2answers
162 views

No length contraction in thought experiment with co-moving measuring stick

Suppose a person standing on a platform were to observe and measure the length of a train passing by. Instead of the usual approach involving a clock and knowing the speed of the train, the person ...
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1answer
223 views

What wilI I observe when travelling at almost the speed of light? [duplicate]

If I and a group of friends are travelling at or just below the speed of light - can I see myself, can I see them, or they me? Would we see anything at all?
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If something is not moving in space, is it moving on the time axis at the speed of light? [duplicate]

I heard this theory yesterday: If something is not moving in space, then it is moving on the time axis at the speed of light. I realize that in essence there is no object which can be considered as "...
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1answer
101 views

Length contraction

I am trying to work out the length contraction using the Lorentz transformations. Here is how I stated the problem: Suppose a bar (whose proper length is $L$) is moving at speed $u$ (to the right) ...
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0answers
108 views

Relativistic Doppler Effect and the Sagnac effect

What I think I know about the Sagnac effect can be found here. It occurs to me that the equations for calculating the time do not take the Doppler effect into account. I'm familiar with the very ...
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0answers
102 views

How can light have the same speed for all observers? [duplicate]

I'm a little confused on this. If you're travelling at, say, 10% of the speed of light then light is travelling at 3x10^8 ms^(-1) relative to you. If you're moving at 80% of the speed of light and ...
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52 views

Breaking the speed of light…? [duplicate]

I know the speed of light can't be broken, but I cannot figure out why the following scenario is not possible. I'm not a physicist myself but I know the basic stuff. Assume you're in a car ...
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44 views

Clock synchronazation in special relativity using signal other than light

I'm reading Taylor & Wheeler "Spacetime Physics" and have a question about possibility of correct clock synch using signal other then light. For example, we choose reference clock(A) and at time=...
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1answer
140 views

Doesn't the second postulate of special relativity imply the existence of “luminiferous ether”? [closed]

Einstein expressed his Second Postulate in On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies as: light is always propagated in empty space with a definite velocity $c$ which is independent of the state of ...
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240 views

How does EM radiation depend on the reference frame?

In special relativity, magnetism is electrostatics in a different reference frame. This is how we explain the magnetic field being produced by moving charges (aka currents). Charges that move produce ...
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65 views

Lorentz transformations an EM fields

When deriving the Lorentz transformation equations in undergraduate physics classes, teachers typically analyze the behavior of an ideal clock and a rigid bar. Once the behavior of clocks and rods is ...
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3answers
212 views

Does the Doppler effect disprove the constancy of $c$? [closed]

Why doesn't the Doppler effect disprove the relativity postulate that $c$ is constant relative to all sources or observers? It seems it does because of the following example: Suppose a ship of ...
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79 views

How can we assume that reaching the speed of light slows down time? [duplicate]

How can we assume that gaining the speed of light slows down time?
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1answer
193 views

Does a moving object really shrink due to length contraction? [duplicate]

Is length contraction an optical illusion? Does object really shrink? Though measurements say yes, does it really happen? Or I have to say object is really measured to shrink?
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New Supersymmetry Algebra

We know that SUSY generators commute with translation $$ [P_\mu,Q_\alpha]=0 $$ I have some questions: What is this equation physical meaning? Is it possible to make "SUSY-like" generators that do ...
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73 views

A simple coordinate transformation

I'm currently taking my first shot at reading Einstein's 'On The Electrodynamics' (with plenty of mathematical background). With a few pictures, everything has been crystal clear to my intuition, up ...
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1answer
144 views

Transformation to a uniformly rotating frame

I'm midway through a problem at the beginning of a GR course, my question is simply this: If $$ x=x'\cos\Omega t-y'\sin\Omega t $$ where $x'$ and $y'$ indicate the rotated frame of reference. What ...
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Do photons have relativistic mass?

I am conducting research on photons and was wondering if they have relativistic mass. I already know that they they have zero rest mass. Any answers are welcome!
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174 views

Can time pass for a photon if it's moving in a medium? [duplicate]

If time does not pass for a photon traveling at the speed of light, which can only occur when traveling in a vacuum, what happens when it is slowed down by traveling through non vacuum space like ...
3
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1answer
110 views

Special Relativity: Finding the Euler Lagrange of a massive particle

Knowing that $$\tag{1} L= -mc\sqrt{-\eta_{ab}\frac{d\xi^a}{d\lambda}\frac{d\xi^b}{d\lambda}}$$ we get $$\tag{2} p_a=\frac{\partial L}{\partial(d\xi^a/d\lambda)} = m\eta_{ab}u^b.$$ How come? If I ...
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If rest mass does not change with $v$ then why is infinite energy required to accelerate an object to the speed of light?

I know that as the velocity increases, the mass of the object also increases so it becomes tougher and tougher to move the object which ultimately leads to a requirement of infinite energy to ...
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290 views

why does a change in velocity cause length contraction, mass gain and the slow down of time? [duplicate]

How did the universe 'know' to do that? Or is there an intuitive explanation for it?
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1answer
83 views

Why isn't time axis vertical? [closed]

Why isn't time axis vertical? I don't find any reason behind it. This graph is drawn in tree frame. Though the tree isn't moving the time axis isn't vertical. Please help me to understand it. This ...
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0answers
102 views

What does traveling close to speed of light mean?

This has been bugging me for a while. We all know in relativity that if you travel close to speed of light, all sorts of crazy things happen. But what does it mean to travel close to speed of light? ...
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49 views

Relative time/space - Two clock thought experiment [duplicate]

Please pardon my english. Here is my simple thought experiment. ...
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2answers
160 views

why do we use the equation we do for special relativity when there is a shorter, more intuitive one?

$\frac{1}{\sqrt{1-v^2/c^2}}$ is the equation physicists use to calculate time dilation.Why don't they use $\sqrt{1+v^2/c^2}$ which is faster and also more intuitive (for me at least) Although now I ...
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4answers
374 views

The pole and the barn paradox (stretching the pole)

The basic variant of this paradox makes sense to me but I have problems in proving mathematically variation of this non-paradox. So lets imagine that we have barn and pole which is stationary to the ...
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1answer
70 views

Lorentz Transformation at t=0

Suppose I have two reference frames $S$ and $S'$, where $S'$ is moving with velocity $v$ with respect to $S$. The Lorentz transformation equation for time in reference frame $S$ is given by: $$t'=\...
7
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1answer
335 views

What does a relativistically moving capacitor “look” like? [duplicate]

Suppose I have a parallel plate capacitor with a vacuum between the plates, a voltage $V$ across them and a capacitance of $C$. What will this arrangement look like to an observer in a uniformly ...
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1answer
56 views

Are 2 time intervals the same only for same speeds?

I'm only amateur in modern phsyics having read some about relativity theory and time measurements depending on relative movement. Is it true that 2 clocks measure time the same only if the relative ...
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1answer
89 views

Change in line density of electrons

We're proving that electricity and magnetism are essentially two manifestations of the same underlying phenomenon by using the toy example of a positive charge moving parallel to an infinitely long ...
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I am looking for a good primer on Special relativity [duplicate]

I am starting a course in Gravity and Quantum Field Theory this year, and I have all of the prerequisites except for a few topics in Special Relativity. I have had some SR, but only the 1-dimensional ...
2
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1answer
72 views

Special relativity and missing factors of $c$

I am doing problems in a textbook called 'Introduction to Classical Mechanics' by David Morin. In one of the questions it says the following: In the lab frame, two particles move with speed $v$ ...