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Length contraction question?

  1. Jun 9, 2013 #1
    If an object were to approach the speed of light, its length, as measured by an observer, would become shorter and shorter. But what about the view of the speeding object? If the object is approaching the speed light, then would the world surrounding it appear to be shorter as well?

    I say this because, in a speeding object's R.F, its surroundings are going to towards him near the speed of light while it is stationary. So, if its surroundings are going at such high speeds, then would that mean there would be length contraction as seen by the object?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 9, 2013 #2


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    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Hi Dgonzo15! :wink:
    Yes, that's completely correct. :smile:

    (i have a feeling there's going to be a supplementary question …
    but i'm off to bed :zzz:)
  4. Jun 9, 2013 #3
    So what if I'm driving on the road in a car near the speed of light? I can't see how the road would contract, since, eventually, the car itself would have to contract in width in order to fit within the boundaries of the road; and I believe that I would not experience myself contracting in my own reference frame. So what happens in this case?
  5. Jun 9, 2013 #4


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    Staff: Mentor

    The contraction is only in the direction of motion. Thus, the width is unaffected and both you and an observer at rest relative to the road (think guy standing at the side of the road) will agree about the width of the car.
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