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Re: Time Dilation Explained (as I Know It) In Illustrative Fashion...{attn: Paul Rest}

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Posted by Paul Rest/">Paul Rest on October 8, 1998 01:37:04 UTC

Yes, that helps a lot. I understand it now. Thanks a bundle.


: First, one has to visualize the dimension of time : and space as an entity beyond nothingness. It : is true that space is nothing, and besides itself : holds nothing. However, a way to visualize time : and space is to observe how the effects of gravity : and velocity reveal its very nature. What a better : way to observe "nothingness" than to observe two, : if you will, "recipricols" of time/space.

: Lets start with gravity. The phenomenon of gravity : is quit amazing in fact. The force that a mass has : among another mass is that of attraction to eachother. : One can visualize this in a two dimensional field by : assuming a rubber sheet suspended in air being held : at the four corners of the mat. place a heavy ball : or object in the center and notice the distortion : the "mass" has on the mat. (space time) If you were : to place a smaller mass near this depression it would : "pull" towards the center of the mass. the key thing : here is 'center' of the mass. gravity always has : its point of origin from the center. One can see : how this relates to, and is reality in our dimension : of time and space. The effect is there.

: Now, where does time and velocity come in here? : Well, imagine a grid of lines inscribed on that rubber : mat. If there is a mass present those lines that : form a grid are now quite distorted. (depending on : the amount of gravitation...) Now the concept of time : comes in... Imagine time moving at the speed of light : traveling on those lines on the mat. Without the : presence of gravity the lines seem straight. In the : presence of gravity the lines seem distorted, right? : well in fact they are, but it depends on what frame : of reference you are observing. Imagine you are an : observer from the "straight" line area observing the : "curved" space/time far away. well, when light (which : remains at a constant velocity (c)) is traveling along : the "curved" portion of time/space it appears to takes longer : for it to travel the same "apparent" distance from : your perspective. Now on the same note, say you were : observing light travel on the "straight" portion : of space/time, from the "curved" portion of time/space. : Well, the "apparent" time it takes for the light : to travel on the straight path seems to go faster; : thus time dilation in both instances.

: Now, time dilation is not limited to gravitational : forces... it also is related and affected by velocity.. : If you could approach the speed of light, time and space : would become more and more curved; until eventually : space and time would be infinitely curved. this, : however, would only be possible if one could achieve : the velocity of light. thus the effects of time : dilation are apparent in velocity factors as well.

: there are other factors that happen in both gravitional : and velocity time dilation as well. Like length : contraction, mass increase, ect. However, these are : all apparent increases. They are only observable : from someone observing from a stationary reference. : It is interesting to note that given that these : effects (mass increase) are apparent to the stationary observer, : how these "affect" the traveler are quite apparent. : Thus the reason it is impossible to reach the speed : of light, due to theoritical mass increase. Even : though if you were to observe your own space craft : traveling this speed you would notice no mass increase : or length contraction, just you would notice the ever : increasing need of energy to accelerate at an exponential : rate.

: Note: You would observe, looking at the outside : universe, time and space "becoming" infinitely curved, : till eventually (if you could travel (c)) time : would stop, this dimension would be gone... But your : apparent mass would be infinite and your apparent : volume... zero. :)

: : I hope this will clarify or illustrate for you. : I choose visual exzamples because this is the way : I think and visualize much of physics.

: take care...

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