Speed of light

Posted: August 2, 2011 in Physics

The following is from http://www.physlink.com/education/askexperts/ae283.cfm

So you see when you start off – at zero speed (0% of speed of light) your time is just regular i.e. the time slowing factor (xt) is equal to 1. As you speed up your time runs slower by the factor shown on the y-axis. As you are approaching 100% of the speed of light your time slows more and more until it is infinitely slowed down. (You should realize that everything slows down including your heart beats, your thoughts, etc.) So for an example if your ship goes at 98% of the speed of light and you take a one year journey, when you return to Earth five years have gone by.

This to me only describes the activity from one frame of reference as it relates to the other. But what it does not explain is how the speed of light can be a constant rated at 299,792,458 meters per second. If I were traveling 98% the speed of light, time would be one fifth of what it is at the beginning of the journey. So would not the speed of light then be 1,498,962,290 meters per second as measure by the traveler? Therefore the speed of light is only a constant in relation to your frame of reference. It is not a universal constant. I AM WRONG THANKS CURT! But this did lead me to explore more.

09/29/2011– Thanks Curt for making me revisit this. Relativistic Speed of Light of the traveler compared to the observer frame that is the only reference point we have to even clock the traveler should then be 98%c + c or re-written e=m(v + c)2 with rsl =(v + c) or e=mrsl2. No speed limit required.

  1. Curt Cameron says:

    I think that’s the point of the Theory of Relativity.

    The speed of light is constant in every frame of reference. This is universally true. For the traveler in your example, his measurement of the distance that he traveled will be different than for the stationary observer, keeping the speed of light exactly at c in his measurements. All the math works out.

  2. jetsrock says:

    Hi Curt,
    Thanks for your comment. I appreciate it. I need to digest it more. I am having a hard time imagining what would happen if he turned on a flash light. Or if from the outside we could clock the speed of light in a vacuum that was being carried by the traveler.

  3. jetsrock says:

    I was also wondering if energy equals mass times the speed of light squared wouldn’t an object traveling at a high rate of speed have more energy than one at a referential state of rest? By the speed of light increasing with the speed of the object it would seem to take that into effect.

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