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Special Relativity and time dilation

  1. Dec 11, 2014 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    Two spaceships are traveling with a relative velocity of 1.2x10^8 m/s, both carrying clocks.
    According to the captain of each ship, the other captains clock ticks more slowly than his own. By what factor do the clocks disagree?

    2. Relevant equations

    1/(1-(v^2/c^2))^1/2


    3. The attempt at a solution
    The only formula I can think of that brings up the time dilation going on is the Lorenz Factor, as the only given value is the relative velocity of each ship. I interpreted this question as the ships are speeding at a little over 1/3 of the speed of light past each other if they are using each other as a frame of reference, So I simply plugged the velocity (which is relative to each captain, using the other ship as a reference frame) into the equation to get... so the clocks disagree by a factor of 1.291.... I am not sure what units I would even place there or if it is just a number with no units.

    Is this the correct line of thinking?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 11, 2014 #2

    Delphi51

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    Homework Helper

    Yes, you are right on track and the factor has no units because it is a ratio of two times.
    I get a different number for the answer. I'm old and out of practise so you are probably correct, but do run it through again to check.
     
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