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Time dilation argument

  1. Nov 8, 2014 #1
    A question about time dilation..

    I find myself in an argument / discussion about the theory of time dilation,
    and it seems to me, that the terminology is really the problem.
    Would it not be more accurate to say that the effects of time slow, as speed
    increases ? To say that our test of clocks at speed only prove that the clock
    lost time as it went faster, is a bit too simplistic. I tend to think it is true, but
    on a much higher level.

    Could we not say, that the cesium, or any particle’s decay rate / frequency is
    slower as it increases speed through space ? Would that same atomic clock
    run faster, if it were on a body moving through space slower than the earth ?
    Or, If we could ((throw that clock out the window )) and have it land, dead in
    space, would it’s cesium’s frequency / decay rate virtually burn itself out ??
    Would that not be the inverse of light speed ?

    If all activity / decay stops at the speed of light, for example, could this explain
    how a photon can cross millions of light years of space, only to release it’s energy
    when it is slowed by observation / impact ?

    Then it comes down to the definition of time. If we assume that time is the measure
    of motion, or decay, then yes, as speed increases, time slows. But, if we define time
    as a constant in the universe, one NOW followed by another NOW from the beginning,
    then we have to say... Yep. the clock just got slower !

    I have only a high school education, and some electronics, so the big question here is,,
    Does any of this make sense to any of you ? Thanks, I just had to ask...
    Red;
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 8, 2014 #2

    phinds

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    You are confusing frames of reference, I think.

    You, as you are reading this, are traveling at .999999c in the frame of reference of an accelerated particle at CERN and you are, in that frame of reference, massively time dilated. Do you feel slowed down?
     
  4. Nov 8, 2014 #3
    phinds;
    Thanks for the reply.
    I am trying to avoid the confusion of points of reference. Do we even know how fast we are moving through space ?
    In this case, the atomic clock reflects our, the earth's, speed through space. As test have shown, the clock, or more
    accurately, the frequency, or decay rate of a particle of cesium slows with an increase of speed. So, it seems that
    one could say that only the accuracy of the clock changed ? If that is the case, it leads to the other questions in my post.
     
  5. Nov 8, 2014 #4

    mfb

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    That question does not even make sense. There is no absolute motion, or "speed through space". It is pointless to ask about the speed of anything. You can ask for the speed of something relative to something else only.

    Also note that time dilation (from special relativity) is symmetric. You will see clocks on a fast spaceship going slower, and the spaceship will see clocks on earth going slower as well.
     
  6. Nov 9, 2014 #5
    mfb; I'm sorry. It was meant to be rhetorical. Of course we don't know.

    But if, for the sake of argument, we view space as static, and everything is moving through it,
    and get back to my questions. Our atomic clock, for example, is calibrated here on earth, at whatever
    speed we are moving. So we will call that 0 point of reference. In test we see that the clock slows down
    as we increase speed. What if, for our test, we just use our solar orbit, and set that same clock geosynchronous. ?
    Now, to us, and to our reference clock on earth, it is moving through space slower. So, In a year, we
    come back by, and check the time. Can we say that it is possible, our clock has gotten a little fast ?
     
  7. Nov 9, 2014 #6

    phinds

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    Actually, a geosynchronous sat will move FASTER through space, not slower, and yes it will show a different time from a clock on Earth. This very fact is taken into account in the GPS System (as is gravitational time dilation) else it would have you driving in corn fields and into the side of buildings.

    AGAIN, this is not an "effect" on either the clock in orbit or the one on the ground, it is merely a difference in their relative times. To each of THEM, they are ticking at one second per second, as is every clock everywhere (except the one on my kitchen wall, which is a bit slow).
     
  8. Nov 9, 2014 #7

    mfb

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    It is pointless to ask "what would special relativity predict if special relativity was wrong?"
     
  9. Nov 9, 2014 #8
    I feel that my core question is not being seen. It's more like a question of the accuracy
    of the test, and the possibility that motion, through space could affect the frequency / decay of an atom..

    Let's look at it another way. Our test subject is a piece of wood cut in 3 pieces. Our base line here on earth,
    we will say in high orbit, to eliminate gravity and atmosphere, is sample 1. Then we have sample 2 on a ship
    at .3 light, and our third sample is left on a rock we will call dead in space... Now after a bit of time. A long
    bit of time :) , we carbon date the three samples..

    Is it not possible, that sample 2, on our really fast ship, will date younger than our base line here ?
    AND, just as possible, that sample 3, which has been near motionless in space will date much older ?

    Bear with me. Maybe I'm not smart enough to pose the question correctly. It seems to me to be, at least,
    a possibility worth consideration, and I was hoping that is had been considered in theoretical physics.
     
  10. Nov 9, 2014 #9

    mfb

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    It is seen. The misconception you have appears here frequently. And the only way to solve it: you have to give up the idea of "moving through space".

    If the ship returns to earth to compare the measurements (this is important!), then yes, sure, sample 2 will be younger.
    Where is the difference between samples 3 and 1, assuming the orbit is so high we can neglect the orbital velocity?
     
  11. Nov 9, 2014 #10

    Nugatory

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    Do we carbon-date them at the same time in your thought experiment?

    If so, you will have to carefully explain how you determine that you are performing the measurements at the same time. It's easy if the samples are both in the same place at the same time, not so easy (google for "relativity of simultaneity" and "einstein train simultaneity") otherwise.
     
  12. Nov 9, 2014 #11
    Yes, I did mean to say that we collected the samples, and ran our carbon test..
    So why can we NOT use the idea of moving through space ? We know a lot more about what
    is in space, than what SPACE is. That IS the question. sample 3 was, in theory, not moving through space.
    So, could it be older, if in fact the sample going fast is younger ?

    Can we really say that we are not moving through space ?? IF that is fact, and I don't see how, then,
    my questions have been answered.. Movement through space could have no effect on matter, or particle decay..

    ???? So, space is NOTHING, and we are NOT moving through it ????

    I always thought space was something, we just don't know what, and assumed that we, along with everything
    else are moving through it.. I'm not ready to let go of that idea just yet.. :)
     
  13. Nov 9, 2014 #12

    Nugatory

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    Consider two spaceships moving away from each other at a constant speed. The observers in both spaceships report that they are at rest while the other one is moving away. How can we say that either one of them is right? The only thing that we can observe is that they are not at rest relative to one another, and that tells us nothing about their motion, if any, through space.

    Or consider that you are floating alone in a spaceship with no windows. Is there any imaginable measurement that you could perform that would tell you whether your spaceship was "moving through space"? If the spaceship had windows or other external detectors, you could look out and see that you were moving relative to the stars, the planets, the Andromeda galaxy, something... But this is a windowless spaceship.

    You might also google for "Michelson-Morley experiment"; this is the first of a number of experiments that have been done with increasing precision since the late 19th century in an effort to detect "movement through space". They couldn't.
     
  14. Nov 9, 2014 #13
    Nugatory;
    Thanks, but, if you read my first post, you would know that I am trying to keep this simple..
    I realize there are many variables, that would come into play.. So, yes, in my experiment, we would
    have come near our ( static ) sample, and had the space ship bring it back so we could date them.. :)
    So, to clarify, for the sake of this argument, I am taking the position, that time can not be altered.
    Then we have find another explanation for our test results, and this idea of movement through space
    came to my little brain.. Unfortunately, even in my thought experiment, the idea of finding a ( parking )
    spot is a stretch ! And, I am also not surprised that we have no way to detect movement through space..
    But, we do calculate our speed around the sun, and the speed of our galaxy, etc... How can we not say
    we are moving through space ? That photon, that left a star many years ago had to get here, so, in some
    way, did it not travel through space ?

    So, we have come down to the question above... Can we really say, that space is not something, we just
    have no way of knowing what, and movement through it can have no effect at some particle level ?

    Sure, this is all theoretical, but, do we know enough to say it's impossible ?
     
  15. Nov 9, 2014 #14

    mfb

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    If we watch the center of the galaxy, we see it moving. If we watch the ground on earth, it does not look moving.
    Who is right? There is no reason to say "the center of the galaxy is not moving but we are".
    We observe the Andromeda galaxy is coming closer to us. Is this galaxy moving? Are we? Are both moving? There absolutely no way to get a meaningful answer to those questions because no measurement prefers any view.

    Time dilation is symmetric, if it would come from some "motion through space" it could not be symmetric, so this is disproven by experiments.
     
  16. Nov 9, 2014 #15
    ( If we watch the center of the galaxy, we see it moving. If we watch the ground on earth, it does not look moving. )

    mfb;
    Here we go again.. You are talking about relative motion. Why can't we just consider any given thing moving
    through space, at some speed ? And if that motion could alter the frequency / decay of our particle, could it
    not be tested at different speeds, and return the same repeatable results, instead of applying those results
    to time ? If, to begin with we had the theory, that speed may affect the accuracy of our atomic clock, and we ran
    the same test, could we not have concluded that yes, we do have to adjust for true speed ?
    Then later, someone might say,, Wait,, maybe it is not motion, maybe it is really time ?

    If you feel, like I do, that this is going nowhere, feel free to close the thread..
    It is the very ( proof ) of time dilation, that's in question. So, using time dilation in arguments against
    a theory of motion through space does not work...

    Thanks to all; It has been interesting :)
     
  17. Nov 9, 2014 #16

    phinds

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    Well, since that's the only kind of motion there is in reality, and this forum is about reality, not about your mistaken belief system, he's kind of limited in what he can talk about.
     
  18. Nov 9, 2014 #17

    Dale

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    This "true speed" is fundamentally undetectable, i.e. not measurable. As such, it cannot have any consequence for a theory of physics, which is about predicting measurable outcomes. Something which cannot be measured has no measurable effects and therefore cannot be the cause of any measurable outcome.

    As interesting as the concept may be philosophically, it is scientifically vacuous.
     
  19. Nov 9, 2014 #18

    mfb

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    Time dilation has been measured with incredible precision. It exists. And the observations are not compatible with the way you would like our universe to work.
     
  20. Nov 9, 2014 #19
    The way I would like our universe to work ??

    I am in no way proposing any change in the way things work.. ! In my theory, idea, question,
    or mad ravings of an idiot, I pointed out that the very same tests, would show the same results.

    We can find plenty of examples where Joe takes a space flight, at whatever %light, and
    comes home to see that his twin brother has aged.. Take your pick. You know the story...
    And, does this ship not fly through space, however you want to look at it ??

    The results are all the same, but why is it so different, or so impossible, to consider that the ship,
    it's atomic clock, and Joe, simply slowed down on some molecular level ?
    Then wouldn't we say that the effects of time seem to slow at high speeds ?
     
  21. Nov 9, 2014 #20

    russ_watters

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    You seem to be contradicting yourself here. Relativity predicts certain results. Results that match our observations. You are suggesting different results from what is currently seen, aren't you? You previously said:
    Right. So, since what we observe matches Relativity exactly, we know we do not have to adjust for "true" speed and such a different theory would not work. Get it?
    If it had a speed through space, there'd be no way to know -- no way to measure it. The experiments show us that such a thing whether it exists or not, has no impact on what we are observing.
    Again, there is no way to tell the difference between "the effects of time seem to slow at high speeds" and time actually dilating. So it is easier to just assume that it is time itself that is dilating rather than try to come up with separate explanations for how speed might affect different physical processes.
     
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