TIME literally is defined as the indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole.
On the other hand,
DILATION is defined as the action or condition of becoming or being made wider, larger, or more open.
They both together literally
More formally Time dilation is a physics concept about changes in the passage of time, as related to relativity. It is a difference of elapsed time between two events as measured by observers.
This concept first originated from Einsteins Theory of Relativity.
In Albert Einstein’s theories of relativity, there are two types of time dilation:
Case #1: In special relativity, clocks that are moving run slower according to a stationary observer’s clock. This effect does not come from workings of the clocks, but from the nature of spacetime.
Case #2: the observers may be in positions with different gravitational masses. In general relativity, clocks that are near a strong gravitational field run slower than clocks in a weaker gravitational field.
Before we go any deeper into time dilation, we need to clear our concepts on Newtonian Relativity and Electromagnetism.
According to Newton , velocities are relative to one another. He stated that
“The laws of physics (mechanics) are the same for any observer moving at constant speed.”Newton
In other words, we all play by the same physical rules, whether we are ‘moving’ or ‘standing still’.
Indirectly, this tells us that there is no such thing as absolute motion: if there is no physical experiment which can distinguish between an experimenter moving at (absolute) constant speed or sitting at (absolute) rest, the term ‘absolute motion’ has no meaning.
The only motion that matters is relative motion between objects.
And this is pretty much understandable. When we travel on an airplane we actually
And all the experiments we perform on the airplane will be agreed with the experiments performed on the ground. If you spill coffee on the
Provided!!!! there is no acceleration and the airplane travels at a constant velocity.
If you start accelerating than obviously, you can feel the effects of acceleration.
Now coming to electromagnetism.
Maxwell through the basic laws of electricity and magnetism derived the speed of the light. It was also concluded that whatever reference frame you are
But these two ideas are really conflicting.
This means that either Newton’s statements are incomplete or the speed of light may not just be a universal constant.
Soon Einstein realized that this dilemma could be fixed by just a small tweak with Newtons Laws of Motion.
To get rid of all the discrepancies, Einstein suggested that time must slow down to compensate both the theories.
Einstein called this time dilation.
Now in order to proceed further, we need to consider a more simple and accurate clock.
For understanding time dilation we consider a simple light clock that has a photon source, and mirrors above and below to reflect the photon back.
I can assure you that, whatever time you measure from this clock is same as you would measure from a pendulum clock or any other clocks for that matter.
Now lets picture the whole situation :
Allen has planned a short interstellar trip this upcoming winter vacation. his friend Rick, however, decides to sit back and relax and enjoy the lazy winters back at home.
So Allen goes takes his specially made spaceship that can travel very close to the speed of light.
He also has the light clock which ticks away with time t. Now as he is at rest initially inside the spaceship, we can see that the proton goes straight up covering a distance ct.
Now as Allen starts his journey and crosses earth and reaches space,
therefore if Rick were to observe Allen he would now see that the beam of the photon will have to travel a greater distance in order to reach the top mirror as the whole ship is moving ahead with some significant velocity.
This will eventually trace out a triangular path as shown.
Therefore now the time taken for the clock to tick once will change, and hence the new distance will be ct’.
Where t’ will be time measured by Rick at rest on back on earth.
so as we can see, we clearly get a right angle triangle, from which we can apply the Pythagoras formula and calculate the relation between the time t (time experienced by Allen on the spaceship) and t'(time experienced by Rick on earth).
This clearly shows that as the velocity of Allen’s rocket increases his time will be slower by this factor of gamma compared to Rick’s time on earth.
This is pretty mind-blowing and crazy to think! but this is something that is accounted for every day by our GPS Systems which are calibrated accurately by this factor. let us see a particular case,
let us now analyze a specific case,
It’s Allen and Rick again. Like the last time, Allen decides to take a short trip to the moon and as usual, the lazy Rick decides to stay back at the earth.
Allen proceeds towards the moon which is 384,400 km away from earth. He travels at 90% the speed of light which is approximately 270000000 m/s.
It takes him 2.846 secs to complete the round trip.
Therefore if he leaves the earth at 5:00:00 pm he would again return back on earth at 5:00:
But his time will not match with Rick’s clock back on earth!!!
lets see how,
Traveling at 90% the speed of light means,
Allen’s clock on the rocket will be slower by a factor of 2.3, which would imply that the clock on the earth will show the time 5:00:06.54,
This fact just really blows my mind! I mean Allen would theoretically go on a time travel and come back to a future earth (3 seconds though!)
It is thus well understood that for higher speeds and for longer distances the effects of time dilation will be significantly higher.
Now leaving all these hypothetical situations aside, there is real evidence for time dilation in reality.
It turns out that there are particles crashing into the earth’s atmosphere at 40-50km above the ground. When they crash into the atmosphere these cosmic rays, turn into muons.
Now it turns out that muons are particles with
So in the absence of Special Relativity, we would predict that the muons could never be detected as they would decay way before they even reach
However, since the muons are traveling close to the speed of light, that means their internal clocks are going slower with respect to the clocks on the ground. That means all their internal processes including the decay time will get slower.
The muons, therefore, decay much more slowly due to the effects of time dilation and therefore
This is a pragmatic example of time dilation in action.
So, we the faster we move through space the slower we move through time.
Due to its malleability time like space deserves its own dimension. In fact, Einstein claimed that the two were one. He called it the space-time fabric.
Einstein also suggested that massive objects like the sun bends this fabric of space-time due to its mass. He also stated that
More massive the object the more they affect the space-time fabric around it.
This is also true for earth’s gravity. We are pinned on the earth because the distorted space by the earth’s mass pushes us down from above.
Earths gravity thus intensifies as we move towards the center, where the curvature is maximum. An object that falls towards the earth accelerates towards its
It falls faster just right above the surface than it does, say when it is above the atmosphere.
We just saw that
This literally means that time runs slower on Earths surface than it does around the atmosphere.
However, if you measure time with a clock on the surface and on top of a mountain the effects will be really nugatory, in the order of nanoseconds.
Now because different planets have different mass and thus different gravitational strength, they also accelerate objects at different rates. This means a variable passage of time.
We see this effect in the movie Interstellar when they land at the watery planet close to the
The gravity on the surface is so severe that 1 hr on the planet is 7 years on Earth!!!!!
I mean its an ideal place if you wish to complete your
Time dilation even affects biological clocks!
More articles will be coming soon on Time Dilation.
please leave a comment below or ask any question you want to
I would highly recommend a few books that would really help you to know in-depth regarding the cosmos:
- THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING
- A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME
- GEORGE AND THE BIG BANG
- A Brief History of the Universe: From Ancient Babylon to the Big Bang (Brief Histories)
- The Physics Book: From the Big Bang to Quantum Resurrection, 250 Milestones in the History of Physics (Sterling Milestones)
- THE BIG BANG THEORY
- Relativity: The Special and the General Theory (Routledge Classics)
- Black Holes: The Reith Lectures
- The Oxford Companion to Cosmology (Oxford Quick Reference)
Cheers, and Thank you for reading!!
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