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Length contraction of two spaceships

  1. Apr 27, 2013 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    Two space ships, each a hundred metres long when measured at rest, travel toward each other with a speed of 0.85c relative to the Earth.


    2. Relevant equations
    λ = 1 / √1 - (v2/c2)
    x' = λ(x - vt)
    L' = L / λ

    3. The attempt at a solution
    Well to be honest i may be missing an equation or something but that's what i was given.

    I find that the relative velocity of one spaceship to another (according to newton) would be 1.5c. This doesn't work using the equations above. I know i have to find the relative velocity according to Einstein's theory but i don't know how.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 27, 2013 #2
    So, you are trying to find the relative velocity of one to the other?

    Let the first space ship be space ship A and the second be space ship B.

    Consider ##v_{BA}=\frac{v_B-v_A}{1-\frac{v_Av_B}{c^2}}##.
     
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