Time Dilation Model & Wave Interference: Newbie Questions Answered

In summary, the conversation discusses the possibility of interference at the midpoint of a light ray's path in two different models. The first model, where the light ray is reflected back to its source, would not produce interference because there is only light going up or down at any given point. However, in the second model with a continuous beam of light, interference could occur in the overlap region where the upward and downward traveling beams intersect. This would require modifications to the diagram and the inclusion of both mirrors at all times.
  • #1
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I have some newbie kind of confusion The model in question is taken from wikipedia:
200px-Time-dilation-001.svg.png


and

400px-Time-dilation-002.svg.png


If, in the first model, the light ray is reflected back to its source, could there be some kind of detectable interference at the midpoint (where the blue arrows are)? If the answer is yes, would this happen in the second model, since from the outside perspective, at the midpoint the light ray does not appear to be reflected back on itself.

Thanks for any help!
 
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  • #2
Both diagrams are showing the path of a single short pulse, not a beam. So there is no interference in either case because at any point there is only light going up or light going down or (most of the time) nothing.

You could have a continuous beam of light bouncing back and forth and the first diagram would be valid and you would indeed get interference anywhere the beam crosses itself. However, the second diagram would need some modification. Instead of a thin line you would have a very fat line, so fat that the tail end of the upward traveling beam overlapped the front of the downward traveling beam, and you would get interference in the overlap region. You would also need to draw both mirrors all the time, as a pair of long horizontal lines, since there would always be light bouncing off them, instead of just showing them a couple of times.

Hope that makes sense.

Edit: Here's a sketch of what I mean - for a very short pulse you get the top diagram. If you stand at the bottom mirror, you'll only see flashes of light every time the pulse reaches the bottom, and since the upward going rays (in red) never cross the downward going rays you get no interference. However, if you have a long pulse, as in the bottom diagram, then the red rays and the blue rays (representing evenly spaced points along the beam) do overlap and you do get interference.
long pulses.png
 
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  • #3
Thanks for answering. That makes sense.
 

What is time dilation?

Time dilation is a phenomenon in which time appears to pass slower for an object that is moving at high speeds or in a strong gravitational field, compared to a stationary observer.

How does the time dilation model explain this phenomenon?

The time dilation model is based on Einstein's theory of relativity, which states that time and space are relative and can change depending on an object's speed and proximity to a large mass. The model mathematically describes how time is affected by these factors.

What is wave interference?

Wave interference is the phenomenon of two or more waves overlapping and interacting with each other. This can result in constructive interference, where the waves amplify each other, or destructive interference, where the waves cancel each other out.

How does wave interference relate to time dilation?

The time dilation model uses the concept of wave interference to explain how time can be affected by an object's velocity. The model suggests that time is a wave-like phenomenon that can be influenced by other waves, such as gravitational waves, resulting in time dilation.

Are there any real-life applications of the time dilation model and wave interference?

Yes, the time dilation model and wave interference have been proven to be accurate in various experiments and have real-life applications in fields such as GPS technology and particle accelerators. These concepts are also crucial in understanding the behavior of light and the universe at large.

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