I stumbled on a book that seems to throw the concept of length contraction upside down to me. Maybe someone can help me here. All the books I've read to date, a popular example might be Elegant Universe, say that an object moving near the speed of light past an observer will appear squashed or contracted along its length. Green even had images in his book of a normal racecar at rest (as seen from the side) and one moving near light speed, which was the same exact image just squashed into a smaller size from left to right. Now I'm reading a book called Einstein's Universe by Nigel Calder. He talks about a spaceship passing the Earth from east to west at near light speed and viewing it from a telescope: "As you turn the telescope straight upwards, to try to see the spaceship at its moment of closest approach, you will see its tail facing you. In other words, instead of facing along its line of travel past the Earth, the spaceship appears to be turned to a point away from the Earth. Even at less extreme speeds, a passing spaceship will appear to be swivelled away from the Earth. You will see part of its tail when you would expect to see the ship from sideways-on. Again the reason is that the light entering a telescope pointing straight outwards from the Earth has been launched somewhat backwards from the spaceship, allowing for the aberration. Many accounts of relativity say, quite incorrectly, that a passing spaceship appears unnaturally squashed or contracted along its length. It DOES appear foreshortened but only in accordance with the entirely natural perspective of an object seen from an angle." I hope you can see my confusion. I'll also add that Calder's book was written in 1979 so it can possibly be outdaded info. In previous chapters he also talks about seeing around corners as you approach light speed, which is another concept I am unfamiliar with.