hi Just wondering if someone can clarify for me whether it is merely the length of a moving object that appears contracted to a stationary observer, or whether it is also the distance between the moving object and other objects in its direction of motion that appears contracted. Or is the distance contraction (between the moving object and other objects in its direction of motion) only experienced by the moving observer (in the moving object) in his/her direction of motion? I have read numerous books on relativity and this issue always seems to be left rather fuzzy for some reason. Many thanks for an answer. BTW I have no maths - am just an interested layperson who has read countless books on relativity, but still confused! PS - having looked at a few other threads I am still a bit hazy, but it seems that I am confusing actual contraction with visual appearance contraction - my question is really about whether the distance is actually contracted in the direction of motion, and from which reference frame is this so - the stationary observer, or the observer who is moving with the object?