B Re: Absolute Zero Velocity

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1. Dec 6, 2018

Robert Rapplean

You may think you've seen this before, since I've seen similar discussions in the archives of this, but I think I've distilled the thoughts down to a couple of facts that contradict the common beliefs regarding relativity.

Let me preface this with a basic observation: Lorenz invariance does not apply between things that change their inertial frame of reference. The transforms state that all frames are equivalent, not that there is no difference between them, or that experiments that cross between frames will always produce the same results.

The contradicting statements are as follows. If either of these is mistaken, please let me know where I can find a reference.
1. Velocity is always relative, not absolute.
2. When an object decelerates, time dilation decreases.

For the second statement to be true, there must be a difference between acceleration that increases time dilation and acceleration that decreases time dilation (a.k.a. deceleration). When thinking about this, please remember that we aren't talking about two objects and their relative movement, but also talking about the typical speed of the rest of the universe in relation to those two objects.

For General Relativity, we know that moving things out of a gravitational field will decrease time dilation. It's pretty obvious that, just by measuring microscopic differences in time dilation, we could identify the direction of the gravitational gradient (even if we couldn't feel it) and follow that arrow to a point of minimal gravitational dilation. An absolute zero might not be possible simply because there is nowhere in the universe that doesn't feel the effects of other gravitational bodies, but you could still follow the gradient.

Similarly, it should be possible to follow such a gradient towards an absolute zero velocity. Again, no more achievable than absolute zero temperature, but if you can measure a gradient, you can follow it. If you can follow it, then it must lead somewhere.

My conclusion is that there must be an absolute zero velocity, even if such a thing is meaningless for the purpose of Lorenz invariance.

Thoughts?

2. Dec 6, 2018

andrewkirk

On the contrary, that is what is being referred to in statement 2. Velocity-based time dilation is only a meaningful concept in relation to two identified inertial frames of reference. It is a concept from special relativity that only deals with inertial reference frames.

There is no such thing as 'deceleration relative to the rest of the universe'. There is such a thing as reduction in magnitude of peculiar velocity, but that is a concept from general relativity, and is not what 2 is referring to.

3. Dec 6, 2018

Staff: Mentor

Both statements are correct. They do not contradict each other.

Yes, there is a difference, but there is no absolute truth to that difference. It is a difference that depends on the reference frame. The same object at the same moment will be accelerating in one reference frame and decelerating in another. In a frame where it is accelerating its time dilation is increasing and in a frame where it is decelerating it’s time dilation is decreasing.

You can do that but there is nothing absolute about it. Each frame would say that the minimum time dilation is at rest in that frame.

4. Dec 6, 2018

Robert Rapplean

This, at least, is a new suggestion. Thank you. Can you throw magic words my way so I can dig through that research?

My understanding is that time isn't relative to anything. Its passage is the one absolute in the universe, although everything experiences it at its own rate. I'm failing to see how something can be simultaneously increasing and decreasing the rate at which it experiences time.

This statement suggests that it's impossible for anything to perceive an object with less time dilation than itself, yes?

5. Dec 6, 2018

A.T.

Depends on what you mean by "perceive" and if you are in flat or curved space-time (near gravity sources).

6. Dec 6, 2018

Orodruin

Staff Emeritus
Then your understanding of tine dilation is wrong. What you are missing is that time is relative, in particular simultaneity is.

Also, your statement 1 is true also in classical physics and statement 2 is a result of special relativity that logically follows from its postulates. Obviously you are not going to disprove relativity using statements that are derived from the relativity postulates.

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7. Dec 7, 2018

Mister T

The results of measurements are invariant. Reference frames are mathematical constructs, they can't effect the results of measurements.

And by the way the assertion that all inertial frames are equivalent is called the Principle of Relativity. It's not a consequence of Lorentz transformation. In fact, it's an underlying assumption of the transformation equations,

8. Dec 7, 2018

Ibix

That would be contradictory, yes. But relativity says you will always see your own wristwatch tick at one second per second. Other observers may say your watch is speeding up or slowing down depending on whether they see you as accelerating or decelerating.

You seem to have some fairly fundamental misunderstandings about relativity. By way of a reference, therefore, I'd suggest Taylor and Wheeler's Spacetime Physics. The first chapter is available online if you want to have a look before buying.

Last edited: Dec 7, 2018
9. Dec 7, 2018

Staff: Mentor

Simple example:
A and B are moving towards one another. A clock between them is initially at rest relative to A (so moving relative to B) and accelerates towards A until it is moving at the same speed as B. Its speed relative to A will increase (acceleration); its speed relative to B will decrease (deceleration) until eventually it is at rest relative to B.

A will find that the clock is initially ticking at the same rate as his own clock, but runs slower as it accelerates. B will find that the clock is initially running slower than his own clock but runs faster as it decelerates until it is ticking at the same rate as his own.

The apparent contradiction here is the same as the apparent contradiction in the standard textbook examples - because A and B are moving relative to one another, A will find that B's clock is running slower than his own, but also B will find that A's clock is the one that is running slow - and the resolution is the same: Relativity of simultaneity.

10. Dec 7, 2018

Orodruin

Staff Emeritus
My signature remains as relevant as always ...

11. Dec 7, 2018

Staff: Mentor

It will be easier and clearer to use math. Are you familiar with the Lorentz transform and algebra, how about calculus, or four-vectors?

That is a misconception. Time is also relative. Specifically, coordinate time is relative to the reference frame.

There is a separate concept of time called proper time, which is the time on a clock that travels with an object. It is invariant, but it also cannot be extended beyond the worldline of the object.

Yes, with a couple of important caveats. First, it is only true in flat spacetime. And second, “perceive” in this case means “calculate with respect to its momentarily comoving inertial frame”.

12. Dec 7, 2018

Mister T

Time dilation depends on relative velocity, the greater the velocity the greater the amount of time dilation. When the velocity is zero there is no time dilation.

Saying that you can't have less of something is a strange way to say that a magnitude is zero.

13. Dec 7, 2018

Staff: Mentor

I don't think you have thought through how you would to this and what it would look like.

For example, if you had two spaceships flying toward each other, neither accelerating and they were continuously broadcasting time signals, each would measure the other's clock running faster than their own, and by the same amount. This has to be true, otherwise the Lorentz transformation wouldn't work!
That isn't a conclusion, it's just a belief you have. Nothing in your post - even if correct - implied there must be one, just that we could find it if there was one. People have been experimenting on that assumption for 150 years and failing to find it.

14. Dec 7, 2018

Ibix

To note, here Russ is referring to the direct measurement of tick rate, with no adjustment for the Doppler effect due to changing distance. If you do adjust for that, you recover the "moving clocks run slow" result of time dilation.

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15. Dec 7, 2018

Staff: Mentor

I think the statement works both ways.

16. Dec 7, 2018

Ibix

I'm not disagreeing with what you wrote (and I've removed a sentence from my quote of your post to make it more clear what I was referring to). I was just making explicit the distinction between the direct invariant measurements and their interpretation in a reference frame. Failing to realise that this distinction even exists seems to be a fairly common source of confusion when learning relativity, from experience here.

17. Dec 7, 2018

Robert Rapplean

Thanks, Dale. Yes, I've worked with all of those. I had to build an understanding of quaternions for a rendering project about eight years ago. I'm still trying to wrap my head around Minkowsky space-time.

I think that this statement is imprecise. Unless you know of a phenomena where time runs backwards or not at all (black holes don't count), then it's just the perception of the passage of time that is relative, not time itself.

18. Dec 7, 2018

Staff: Mentor

How do you define and measure the difference between "perception of time" and "time itself"? Hint: "time" has one definition, not two.
That doesn't really have any connection to what followed it.

[mod hat]
Several moderators are participating in this thread and have been surprisingly deferential so far. Please note: PF is a place for learning and discussing known science. It isn't a place for speculation or assertion that hundred year old, solidly proven theories are wrong. This thread needs to take on a more learning and less challenging tone or it will need to be locked.
You weren't affronted or insulted. But you do need to review our rules again:

19. Dec 7, 2018

Robert Rapplean

Thanks for the suggestion. I'll try that.

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20. Dec 7, 2018

Robert Rapplean

If you mark off any event, everything in the universe will thereafter consider that event to be in the past, although It's just the amount in the past that is in question.

Last edited by a moderator: Dec 7, 2018