I will just describe a common thought experiment to do with special relativity and a question I have about it. Note this question only applies to the realms of SPECIAL relativity. Imagine a scenario in which there are 2 spaceships A and B. Each spaceship has its own clock. Spaceship B moves a uniform speed, v, past A. When A and B are exactly adjacent the clocks are synchronized to read the same times. Now considering the reference frame in which A is stationary. B will move away from A and A will thus observe B's clock going slow due to time dilation. My question is what does this time dilation apply to? Does this not just apply to the perception of Bs clock in As reference frame? Surely to an observer in B looking at clock B no dilation would have occurred. So technically an observer in A looking at clock A would read the same time as an observer in B looking at clock B at any point in time. So is time dilation just something that an observer observes when observing a clock moving relative to it. In which case would it not be correct to say that in actual fact both clocks read the same time, it's just that by someone in A looking at B's clock an incorrect perception is obtained? In which case time dilation does not really occur and is just a misperception. Surely this is true in the sense that a stationary individual and someone moving at a constant velocity will observe the same rate of clock ticking on their own watch...? Moreover the fact that if we were to be in a reference frame with B at rest B would observe A's clock going slow leads to a kind of paradox in that each spaceships sees the others clock going slow. I can make sense of this apparent paradox by applying my above logic in that the spaceships are only perceiving the others clocks to be slow, where in actuality both clocks keep the same time for observers looking at their own clock. If I'm talking rubbish can you please explain why and what you think I am misunderstanding? And also how to explain the apparent paradox in that each spaceship sees the other clock going slow.