My professor recently gave us this paradox to solve as extra credit. The problem involves a runner moving at 4/5c holding a pole that has a proper length of 15 feet. They are moving towards a barn with a proper length of 10 feet. There is another observer standing off to the side somewhere who is not moving relative to the barn.
So, the observer sees the barn with its proper length, but the pole held by the runner is seen as 9 feet due to length contraction, so to him the pole fits in the barn. However, the runner sees the barn undergo length contraction to where its 6 feet wide, but his pole is still 15 feet long.
We identify two events, the pole hitting the back of the barn, and the back of the pole coming into the front of the barn. In each case the events are flipped relative to the other, and by calculating delta s^2 we find that they are space-like separated.
The question is of course, does the pole fit in the barn?
I'm not asking for the answer, just want pointed in the right direction here, so if this is the wrong place to ask this let me know.. and I didn't check other questions on the same topic because I'm afraid of coming across the right answer by accident.
My greatest difficulty with this is telling who is wrong, if either of them are. I did some reading on the relativity of simultaneity, and from that it seems like they would both be right! I remember reading that if two events are space-like separated, it's not possible to say that they absolutely occur at the same time. I'm not sure how the timing of the events play into this though. The delta t for the observer is positive while the delta t for the runner is negative, which I think is what indicates that they don't observe the events at the same time?
The main question though, 'does it fit?' seems to imply that it does or doesn't fit, so I feel like I'm supposed to give a yes or no answer here, but I don't think I can, because I think this situation entirely depends on which observers frame you're in.