Those moving near speed of light simulation videos

In summary, this video explains how spherical distortion is caused by time delay and the Doppler Effect.
  • #1
TomServo
281
9
Those "moving near speed of light simulation" videos

Lowly undergrad here. Have you people seen these relativity simulation videos?

http://youtu.be/bYdohPiFF6Y for example. My question is, what causes this spherical distortion effect? I know about length contraction and time dilation, but I'm thinking that this "fishbowl lens" look is due also to just time delay effects. I think I have an idea of how it works, and I'm going to describe it, and I'd be very grateful if you peeps could tell me how right or wrong I am:

Imagine an observer moving at a significant (constant) fraction of c, perpendicular towards a row of equidistant lights which are (in the observer's frame) blinking simultaneously (the observer is heading directly towards the lights). Each light creates a spherical wavefront (circular cross section, if viewed from overhead). Let's say the observer is heading towards the center light in the row (or just call whatever light he's heading towards the central light), and he hits the wavefront from this light first because he is nearest to it. The wavefronts of the lights on the side he hits at a later time, in proportion to their distance from him. And the photons are at a different angle, meaning if we replace the point-like light with an actual 3d object, he'd see a different side facing him, a side that is "pointed" closer to the center light (I really need graphics here, sorry).

I'm thinking that these effects are always present but so minute that we don't see them (except on stellar scales because of the ginormous distances). Am I at least on the right track here, that this is primarily a time delay, observational thing? Some youtube commentators are saying it's due to the distortion of space, but at constant velocity only length contraction would happen, right?
 
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  • #2


I think it's primarily due to the Doppler Effect. What you just described, I believe, is Length Contraction.

Anyways, take into account that neither observer has time truly passing more slowly for them, the "moving" observer will see everyone else's clocks appear to slow down.
 
  • #3


TomServo said:
Am I at least on the right track here, that this is primarily a time delay, observational thing?
You are correctly describing one of the visual effects - Terrell rotation

But if you ask about spherical distortion effect then this is caused by aberration.
I would recommend this video to understand aberration better -
 
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  • #4


TomServo said:
Lowly undergrad here. Have you people seen these relativity simulation videos?

http://youtu.be/bYdohPiFF6Y for example. My question is, what causes this spherical distortion effect?

This video is from this site:
http://www.spacetimetravel.org/
You will find extensive information about the various effects there.
TomServo said:
meaning if we replace the point-like light with an actual 3d object, he'd see a different side facing him, a side that is "pointed" closer to the center light (I really need graphics here, sorry).

See here:
http://www.spacetimetravel.org/bewegung/bewegung5.html
 
  • #5


Thanks everybody!
 

Related to Those moving near speed of light simulation videos

1. What is the purpose of creating videos simulating objects moving near the speed of light?

The purpose of creating these videos is to help people visualize and understand the effects of special relativity, which states that the laws of physics remain the same for all observers in uniform motion. By simulating objects moving at high speeds, we can see how time dilation, length contraction, and other phenomena occur at near-light speeds.

2. How are these videos created?

These videos are created using computer simulations and animations. The laws of physics, such as the equations of special relativity, are programmed into the simulation software, and the objects and their movements are then animated using computer graphics.

3. Can these simulations accurately depict the effects of moving near the speed of light?

Yes, these simulations are based on the laws of physics and are created using accurate equations and data. While they may not be 100% accurate due to limitations in technology and computing power, they provide a very close representation of how objects would behave at near-light speeds.

4. Are these simulations only for educational purposes?

No, these simulations are not just for educational purposes. They are also used in scientific research and can help scientists better understand and predict the behavior of objects moving at high speeds. They can also be used for entertainment and artistic purposes.

5. Is it possible for objects to actually reach the speed of light?

According to the laws of physics, it is not possible for any object with mass to reach the speed of light. As an object approaches the speed of light, its mass increases, making it more and more difficult to accelerate. Additionally, the energy required to reach the speed of light is infinite, making it impossible to achieve in reality. However, these simulations can help us understand the behavior of objects as they approach the speed of light.

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