Distance light travels in a relatively moving frame?

In summary, the conversation discusses a scenario in which a particle is moving at 0.5c in the +x direction and a lightbulb is at relative rest to the particle. The lightbulb flashes and the speed of light is measured by the particle. It is questioned whether the light wave will travel a distance of ct in the reference frame of the particle. It is clarified that the particle is actually moving with 0.5c compared to the lightbulb. The conclusion is that the light wave will indeed travel a distance of ct from the point in the reference frame of the particle.
  • #1
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I was wondering if say.. you have a particle moving at 0.5c in the +x direction and a lightbulb at relative rest to the particle.
The particle passes the lightbulb at t[itex]_{0}[/itex]
The lightbulb then flashes, the wave reaches the particle at a particular point, and the speed of light is then measured (by the particle) to be c. Does this then mean that the light wave will then travel a distance of ct from that point in the reference frame of the particle; t being any point in time that the particle wishes to measure the distance of the light wave from it.
 
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  • #2
Reikoku said:
I was wondering if say.. you have a particle moving at 0.5c in the +x direction and a lightbulb at relative rest to the particle.
The particle passes the lightbulb at t[itex]_{0}[/itex]
If the particle and lightbulb are at relative rest, how can they pass each other?
 
  • #3
Doc Al said:
If the particle and lightbulb are at relative rest, how can they pass each other?

Oh am I using the wrong terminology? I meant to say that the particle is moving with 0.5c compared to the lightbulb.
 
  • #4
Reikoku said:
I meant to say that the particle is moving with 0.5c compared to the lightbulb.
OK.
Reikoku said:
Does this then mean that the light wave will then travel a distance of ct from that point in the reference frame of the particle; t being any point in time that the particle wishes to measure the distance of the light wave from it.
Yes.
 
  • #5
Thanks Doc Al, that's helped clear up confusion.
 

1. How is the distance light travels affected by a relatively moving frame?

The distance light travels is affected by a relatively moving frame due to the phenomenon of time dilation. As an object moves closer to the speed of light, time appears to slow down for that object. This means that the distance light travels in a given amount of time appears to be shorter in a relatively moving frame compared to a stationary frame.

2. Does the distance light travels change in different directions in a relatively moving frame?

No, the distance light travels does not change in different directions in a relatively moving frame. This is because the speed of light is constant in all directions, regardless of the frame of reference. This is one of the fundamental principles of Einstein's theory of relativity.

3. How does the speed of the observer affect the distance light travels in a relatively moving frame?

The speed of the observer does not affect the distance light travels in a relatively moving frame. This is because the speed of light is the same for all observers, regardless of their own speed. This is a key principle of Einstein's theory of relativity.

4. Why is the distance light travels important in understanding relativity?

The distance light travels is important in understanding relativity because it is a fundamental constant that plays a crucial role in Einstein's theory. The constancy of the speed of light in all frames of reference is what allows for the concept of time dilation and the relativity of simultaneity.

5. Can the distance light travels be measured accurately in a relatively moving frame?

Yes, the distance light travels can be measured accurately in a relatively moving frame. While the perception of distance may appear to differ in a moving frame, the actual distance light travels remains the same. This can be measured using precise instruments and calculations based on the speed of light and the time dilation effect.

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