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 Be the first pioneers to continue the Astronomy Discussions at our new Astronomy meeting place...The Space and Astronomy Agora Re: Object With Mass Approaching 'c' Would Seem To Disappear... Forum List | Follow Ups | Post Message | Back to Thread Topics | In Response ToPosted by nåte/">nåte on October 27, 1998 15:54:56 UTC

no, but your partially true. It depends on your observation position. If you are inline with the same vector angle that the object is traveling, (looking straight on) then it will appear that the length gets longer. But, only in the vector that the object is traveling on.

If you are an observer perpendicular to the object, it will appear to length contract. This also applies to distance contraction as well. This is why it is possible to travel such long distances in a relatively short period of time..when traveling very near to 'c'.

Here is an example of what you are referring to...

Imagine a train traveling extremely fast on a track. This train is also very long. Lets say its 100 miles long and is traveling at .998c. Okay, now you (an observer) are observing the train heading towards you while standing a few feet from the trains track. You observe the front of the train and you observe the rear of the train (in an ideal sense). Now, the time it takes for light to reach you from the front of the train is different from the time it takes you to observe the light coming from the rear of the train.

Therefore, the time you observe the rear of the train, the actual position of the rear of the train has moved; thus giving the illusion of length expansion.

Now, given the same exzample, observe the train from a perpendicular (90°) viewpoint. The same illusion will not take place because of your physical perspective.

The reason lenght contraction occurs is due to relativistic effects, not physical effects.