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Homework Help: Confused about Special Relativity

  1. Mar 18, 2008 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    Suppose that we send a spaceship on a trip to Alpha Centauri, 4 light years away. The space ship travels at a constant speed of .5c, it stops at Alpha C. for 1 year and then it returns to the Earth at constant speed .5c.
    a. Draw a spacetime Diagram with axes x,ct and plot the worldine of the spaceship.
    b. suppose that 1 year after the departure of the spaceship we send a radio message from earth to the spaceship. Plot the worldline of the radio signal.
    c. At what time does it reach the spaceship?

    2. Relevant equations

    3. The attempt at a solution
    | .\
    | .. \
    | ... |
    | .. /
    | ./
    where the angle between the ct and x axis is given by

    theta = arctan(.5)

    b.)I drew a cone with an angle of 45 between the ct and x axis.
    c.) this is what i'm confused about. I'm not sure if I have to take relativity into account since c is the same in all reference frames. So, my answer is 1 year after the message is sent.

    Can anyone please tell me if any of this is right? Any help will be greatly appreciated.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 18, 2008 #2
    does anyone have any ideas? I'm still really confused about this one. The only things that we've gone over so far are the basic Gallilean transformations and Lorentz transformations. But, i just dont see how either of them would help here. Once again, if anyone could offer any guidance or feedback I would really appreciate it.
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