ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Understanding Temporal Dilation: The Time Vs. Velocity Equation - Part 4

Updated on September 25, 2009

If it had been possible for Suzie to look far into space into Sarah's fast-moving spaceship, it would appear as if Sarah were living her life in slow motion, at half the usual speed. Likewise, if it was possible for Sarah to look on towards the people on earth as she was zipping around the galaxy, everything would appear to be moving at a high speed frenzy, or twice the normal speed.

But to both Suzie and Sarah, it would seem as if their time was the "right" time. Not only would a watch or clock run slower in the moving ship, but Sarah's biological clock would also run slow. So while to Suzie it would seem as though Sarah had found the magical fountain of youth, they would have just as much "time" to live. If Suzie could read 100 books in her life span, Sarah could also read 100 books in her lifespan. It is just that to a stationary observer, Sarah would appear to be doing her reading in slow motion since Sarah's whole world is actually going in slow motion due to the high speeds.

These remarkable consequences are all based on the fact that the speed of light is constant. The closer that a person gets to the speed of light, the slower that time goes for them, and the faster the world around them seems to be moving. At 99.5 percent the speed of light, the world around Sarah would be moving nearly ten times faster than her own world. If she were to travel at this speed for twenty years, then return home, 200 years would have passed on earth. In a sense, she would have traveled into the future.

Following the rules of relativity further, if something could move faster than the speed of light, then it would actually go backwards in time. The faster an object moves the slower that the object experiences time, until at the speed of light time stands still. After the speed of light, time moves backward. This brings to mind the famous physics limerick:

There was a young lady named Bright,
Whose speed was far faster than light.
She set out one day,
In a relative way,
And returned home the previous night.

Although the limerick describes what Einstein predicted would happen if the speed of light could be surpassed, it is impossible for an object with any mass to actually go the speed of light, let alone exceed it. One hundred eighty-six thousand miles per second is enshrined in physics lore as the universal speed limit. This is due to the fact that the closer an object gets to the speed of light, the more energy it takes to further accelerate the object. It is always possible to get closer to the speed of light, but it would take an infinite energy source to actually accelerate to that speed. Since light has no mass, it is the lone thing in the universe that can travel at the speed of light.

Continued In: Understanding Temporal Dilation: The Time Vs. Velocity Equation - Part 5

Back To Start


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)