• Support PF! Buy your school textbooks, materials and every day products Here!

Misconceptions about length contraction

  • Thread starter delton
  • Start date
27
0
Could someone please, briefy explain length contraction under general relativity?? Is it possibly for the universe to contract around a space ship so that the distances between stars become only inches.. and thus it becomes possible to reach stars lightyears away in very little time???


THe quiz "misconceptions on general relativity" on this site seems to support this, but is it true?? :confused:
 

Answers and Replies

429
0
delton said:
Could someone please, briefy explain length contraction under general relativity?? Is it possibly for the universe to contract around a space ship so that the distances between stars become only inches.. and thus it becomes possible to reach stars lightyears away in very little time???


THe quiz "misconceptions on general relativity" on this site seems to support this, but is it true?? :confused:
you sure this is a k-12 problem? :tongue2:
 
EnumaElish
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
2,285
123
If I were you I'd start with special relativity, which also predicts length contraction. I am not a physicist or a moderately intelligent person; and I feel as if I am lightyears away from the outermost circle of Gen. Rel. -- except when I am moving very, very fast. :smile:
 
HallsofIvy
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
41,732
893
Yes, it is true. If you are moving very fast- very close to the speed of light relative to some "stationary" place, youcan get from one star to another quickly.
 
501
0
HallsofIvy said:
Yes, it is true. If you are moving very fast- very close to the speed of light relative to some "stationary" place, youcan get from one star to another quickly.
Does that mean that in practical terms, it doesn't make much difference if the object cannot reach the speed of light?
 
HallsofIvy
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
41,732
893
Depends on what you mean by "practical". If an astronaut could fly at 90% the speed of light, he could fly to proxima centauri and back in only a few hours, relative to himself. However, to his wife and kids, the round trip would take more than 10 years!
 
27
0
Thanks guys, I just wanted some basic confirmation on this, and not anything too advanced...
 

Related Threads for: Misconceptions about length contraction

  • Last Post
Replies
1
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
9
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
4
Views
1K
  • Last Post
Replies
1
Views
583
  • Last Post
Replies
1
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
0
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
3
Views
1K
  • Last Post
Replies
11
Views
844
Top