# Slowing time

## Main Question or Discussion Point

I know this has been asked tons of times on here. But I never seem to understand the answers. So I challenge all you smart people to explain it as simple as possible. How does time slow down for a person who is traveling at a hihg speed and not for someone standing still? The person standing still is still moving around the solor system, that is traveling around the solor system. There is no universal time frame. So if someone is traveling very fast away from me why would he age slower and not me, how could time now who is traveling and who is not. Please make the answer as easy as possible.

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D H
Staff Emeritus
If someone is traveling very fast away from you, that other person will appear to you to be aging slowly. From the perspective of that other person, her watch is working just fine, thank you, but yours is not. From her perspective, it is you who is aging slowly.

Really? Then why do I always hear about how if someone was in a space ship traveling close to the speed of light would return to earth to find that everyone else has aged more than him?

bapowell
That's the twin paradox. The difference in this set-up is that one twin returns to Earth. In doing so, this twin must at some point slow down and change direction. It is this acceleration that breaks the symmetry. But you are right to be surprised -- that's why it's a seeming paradox! If the two twins never meet up again, they both go on aging normally according to themselves, but each ages slowly according to the other.

George Jones
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Funny that bapowell and I both started with the same phrase.
Twins?!

I know this has been asked tons of times on here. But I never seem to understand the answers. So I challenge all you smart people to explain it as simple as possible. How does time slow down for a person who is traveling at a hihg speed and not for someone standing still?
This is one of the interesting predictions of the theory of relativity. It was verified experimentally, see the "Haefele-Keating" experiment.

Yes, i have read all of these things. But that is where I get confused. How could one twin age more than the other if there is no universal time frame? If these twins were the only 2 things in the universe how would anyone know who is traveling more than the other. tehy would both be traveling equal to eachother?

JesseM