I just watched the movie Interstellar and the question was asked of why/how high-speed travel would slow time within an area.
Curious as I am, I watched several YouTube videos to quickly 'educate' myself. I believe I have the concept, but almost every example uses a light mirror as the core component.
I fully acknowledge that my issue with the theory probably either stems from the way it was explained (the internet being what it is) or my understanding, so I'll state my assumptions:
- Rays of light always move at the same speed
- I presume this means that regardless of the speed at which the object emitting the light is moving, the light travels the same speed (i.e. light does NOT inherit momentum).
So if an object containing a light mirror is moving at 99% the speed of light, it seems to me that the ray of light will not only move diagonally toward the opposite mirror. Rather, it will emit in all directions. Thus, some light will move straight toward where the opposite mirror WAS at the moment it was emitted/reflected. However, some light will also make it to where the opposite mirror will be. So it seems ridiculous to assume the light is traveling a further distance -- you're just measuring a different ray of light - one that happens to be going somewhere else entirely!
Simplified example?: Two men are in the back of a truck moving 100 mph north. the men are facing each other looking east and west. One man passes a ball to the other man. But let's assume this ball has the characteristic of light that does not allow it to inherit momentum. As soon as the ball leaves one man's hand, it will move 100 mph SOUTH relative to the men, so it never makes it to the second man. Let's call this "Ball A". But if the ball also has the characteristic of light that allows it to scatter in all directions, let's call the ball (of countless balls 'ejected') that will happen to make it to the other man some seconds later, further down the road (thrown to where the man WILL be, not where he IS) "Ball B".
My point is, it seems like the theory of special relativity (again, as explained) is comparing Ball A and Ball B as if they are the same thing. One does move further and does takes longer to get there, but ITS A DIFFERENT RAY OF LIGHT! It just shares the same origin!
This theory, as explained, seems to both utilize and ignore a critical characteristic of light - it's static speed (and thus, lack of inheriting momentum).
What am I missing or misunderstanding?
Until I'm more properly educated, it seems to me the only thing that changes is the time at which events are observed, not the actual occurrence of events. So yeah, if you could travel incredibly quickly, you could watch the dinosaurs roam the earth with an incredible telescope from ~65 million light years away, but you wouldn't be able to do a bunch of laps around the universe at 2000% the speed of light (assumed possible) and later walk WITH dinosaurs. You'd just be able to observe something in time, not alter/slow time.