Relativity
Understanding of the universe developed by Albert Einstein (Old Earth Industrial/Atomic Age physicist); based on the postulate that the speed of light in a vacuum is constant and independent of the source or the observer, and that the mathematical forms of the laws of physics are invariant in all inertial systems. See also Special Relativity, General Relativity.

Table of Relativistic and Time Dilation Effects

The following shows the amount of distortion in length, mass, and time, that occurs in a ship travelling at non-relativistic, sub-relativistic, and relativistic velocity (as indicated by percentage of c - the speed of light). The closer to the speed of light a ship is, the greater the Lorentz contraction, hence the more compressed the ship appears to an external observer. Relativistic Mass also increases, as does time dilation, but rest mass remains constant. So for a 100 meter long vessel travelling at 95% of c its length (along the axis of movement) to an external observer would be 31 meters, its relativistic mass would have increased almost 3 times, and for every normal hour that passes the crew only age 18.7 minutes.

Velocity % c Length (metres) Mass (tonnes) Ship hour (in minutes)
0 100 100 60
10 99.50 100.50 59.52
20 95.39 104.83 57.20
30 95.39 104.83 57.20
40 91.65 109.11 55.00
50 86.60 115.47 52.10
60 80.00 125.00 48.00
70 71.41 140.03 42.75
80 60.00 166.67 36.00
90 43.59 229.42 26.18
95 31.22 320.26 18.71
99 14.11 708.88 8.83
99.9 4.47 2,236.63 2.78
99.9 0.71 14,142.20 1.17
100 zero infinity zero
 
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Development Notes
Text by M. Alan Kazlev

Initially published on 22 December 2001.

See also the Relativity Calculator