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Homework Help: 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


    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


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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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