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Speed of light?

  1. Nov 10, 2004 #1
    I'm new to educating my self on this field by reading..but i have a question.

    if you are approaching the speed of light wouldnt the things that you see be distorted, our eyes see by light so wouldnt this catching up to the speed of light fool our eyes? yeah it's kinda a dumb question but I needed an answer hopefully someone can help me. thanks
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 11, 2004 #2
    can anyone help me on this i've been pondering this for a while and it's eating me up lol.
  4. Nov 11, 2004 #3


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    If you are travelling close to the speed of light relative to other things (remember, all speed, except light, is relative), the other things will appear distorted according to the Lorentz transformation. In addition, light will be affected by a Doppler shift - sources that you are going away from will look redder, while those you are going toward will look bluer.
  5. Nov 11, 2004 #4


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    You might want to read some about Terrell rotation. There's a sci.physics.faq entry here

    Don't be dismayed if you don't understand the second part of the FAQ (the addition by Chris Hillman is highly mathematical. I'm afraid I don't understand most of it myself :-().

    But the effect you describe is known by the name Terrell rotation. There are many other web pages on the topic, and I haven't perused them all.
  6. Nov 11, 2004 #5
    With his and her I'm not sure they mentioned the different wavelengths and how much 'push' each color has relative to it's radiative qualities. Film also has a certain absorbtion and speed of absobtion. Anyway... Rotation and gravity have a definate effect on linear/electronic time. That combonation causes a harmonic which, like the sun, gives each body a particular 'tone'. Even blackholes exibit this trait. IOW the Universe and parrallel universes exibit a certain 'tone' until the harmonic is broken and they collide causing a total disruption. I've e-mailed to Dr. Greene about this in the past. I affectionately call it the 'Big 'brain''. I think the term has stuck. It's replaced 'Big Bang' theory at this point, I believe.
  7. Nov 12, 2004 #6
    Thank you guys very much i appreciate the info cleared alot up. Thanks
  8. Nov 12, 2004 #7
    By the way i have a question about the speed of light too.
    I have been told that the speed of light is not constant, actually is becoming faster and faster. Is that true? and if it's true, what's the effect of that to the relativity theory? can it be any thing relative to the speed of the expand of the universe
  9. Nov 12, 2004 #8


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    So far, the evidencethat it is changing is very thin and the amount that it could possibly be changing is very small. It does not affect Relativity.
  10. May 28, 2008 #9
    light speed.

    i was wondering about the speed and dual nature of light and an idea came into focus suppose light doesn"t travel as a standing wave but rather as a helical spiral and the photons are stuck to this spiral and i"ll call this spiral a magnetic line. magnetism i"ve read travels 186,000 m.p.s. how covenient two things that travel the same speed, the speed of electromagnetism. now i"ve also read that the Van Allen radiation belt has the same abilty, that is, to trap energy.so it dosen"t seem that great of leap to think that the photon isn"t traveling the speed of light it"s merely hitching a ride on a " non " closed loop magnetic line that is traveling the " speed of light ".if you look at the formation of a solar flare you would see the material, highly concentrated energy, following an invisible arc, meaning to me at least that the magnetic lines lead the way. and, by it"s self must be a helix at the sub atomic level, a very fast spiraling spring so to speak. that would sure clear up a lot of phenomenons of physics. well that"s the bare bones of the thought maybe it will inspire. remember a spring from the side looks a lot like a standing wave.. gravity guru.
  11. May 28, 2008 #10


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    gravity guru, light is the prorogation of a pulse of electromagnetic energy. So it's no co-incidence that light travels at the same rate as electromagnetism, since the two things are one and the same!
  12. May 29, 2008 #11
    thank you Wallce, could you describe how the electromagnetic packet of light energy travels from the sun. i"ve seen the picture of electromagnetism that show a twisted ribbon with electricity shareing an equal distance traveled with magnetism. i don"t care for that explaination. i hope yours is different. if not O.K. gravity guru.
  13. May 29, 2008 #12
    2.45ghz :)

    If you was inside that spaceship travelling near 'c' the incoming light meeting your movement forward would be compressed resulting into a shorter more energetic wavelength. And if you looked back at that receding sun behind you that light would be 'drawn out' resulting into a larger wavelength. If we talk about light as 'waves' this is :)

    Blue light is energetic short wavelengths
    Red light is unenergetic large wavelenghts.

    Why it is so?
    it has to do with the properties of light.
    One of the limits of light is that it can't ever reach above 'c' in 'empty space'.
    And mass in its turn can't ever reach 'c' in 'empty space'
    It will only build more 'relative mass' instead.

    But when you and that photon meet each other isn't your combined speed faster than light?
    No, if it was, then all we know would have to be replaced.
    And experiments shows us that it isn't.

    So how does our universe 'compensate' for that phenomena that seems so reasonable.
    It does it by changing the 'energy' and 'momentum' experienced in that light meeting you.

    If we are discussing invariant mass instead then our universe acts a little different.
    It builds up relativistic mass (momentum) depending on speed.
    So if it instead of a photon was a small stone you meet in front of your spaceship, then the relativistic mass would be rather high.


    And this all has to do with relativity, whatever you experience is relative to the spacetime 'frame' you are living in for the moment.
    In your .9999 'c' moving spaceship things like light and perceived happenings will be observed differently by you as compared to that observer 'standing still' relative you.
    Even time change depending on your 'frame'.
    But that change will only show itself to you when you compare it with for example that twinn you left at home.
    Last edited: May 30, 2008
  14. May 30, 2008 #13

    Hi, the conventional description of a light wave is an superimposition of an electric wave and a magnetic wave. When the electric and magnetic components are 90 degrees out of phase the light is said to be circularly polarized and that could be visualised as a spiralling spring. See here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polarization#Basics:_plane_waves
  15. May 30, 2008 #14
    If you want to know what things look like for somebody travelling at near light speed, visit this site for movies and images that show you exactly what it would look like. http://www.spacetimetravel.org/
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