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Thread: Rocket + telescope + light= all the events ever

  1. #1 Rocket + telescope + light= all the events ever 
    not ADM!N grmpysmrf's Avatar
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    I've heard that if you had a rocket fast enough (hinging on the possibility of faster than light travel being possible) and a telescope powerful enough, that you could over take the light that has reflected on the Earth since the inception of it and actually watch past events taking place on the reflected light... When I heard this theory it was attributed to Einstein... any truth to this fantastic tale?


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    Forum Professor pyoko's Avatar
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    None, unless you throw physics out the window.


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    Forum Masters Degree Implicate Order's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grmpysmrf View Post
    I've heard that if you had a rocket fast enough (hinging on the possibility of faster than light travel being possible) and a telescope powerful enough, that you could over take the light that has reflected on the Earth since the inception of it and actually watch past events taking place on the reflected light... When I heard this theory it was attributed to Einstein... any truth to this fantastic tale?
    It is not necessary to complicate matters like this with speculative physics such as a hypothetical rocket that travels faster than light as we have very valid Laws that says this cannot be achieved. The best way to be simply blown away is to recognise that as you look out to the stars you are actually looking back in time. It takes time for light from distant stars to be received in our retinas and processed in our brain. This equates to the time that light travels from a source and also the time necessary for processing to be undertaken. For example when we look up to the stars and observe with the naked eye the Andromeda galaxy we are actually looking back in time 2.5 million years. That is because it has taken 2.5 million years to emanate from that source and hit our retinas and be processed. The Hubble and Spitzer telescopes can even be able to look back in time to approximately 13.2 Billion years ago. Not far away from the estimated age of the universe of approximately 13.8 BY.

    As we look to the stars or anywhere for that matter we are actually looking at past events. Note also that the notion of simultaneity of events depends on the frame of reference of the observer and is not the same in all reference frames. When you start trying to understand this you need to enter the domain of special relativity. Everything seems normal until you get to extremes in velocity and then things become quite counter-intuitive and mind-bending. :-))
    Last edited by Implicate Order; January 14th, 2014 at 04:47 AM.
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  5. #4  
    not ADM!N grmpysmrf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Implicate Order View Post
    It is not necessary to complicate matters like this with speculative physics such as a hypothetical rocket that travels faster than light as we have very valid Laws that says this cannot be achieved.
    Well, that's really what it is is speculative. So, Albert never said this in the realm of speculation?
    Sorry if this belongs in the Science Fiction thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by Implicate Order View Post
    The best way to be simply be blown away is to recognise that as you look out to the stars you are actually looking back in time. It takes time for light from distant stars to be received in our retinas and processed in our brain. This equates to the time of light travel from a source and also the time necessary for processing to be undertaken. For example when we look up to the stars and observe with the naked eye the Andromeda galaxy we are actually looking back in time 2.5 million years. That is because it has taken 2.5 million years to emanate from that source and hit our retinas and be processed. The Hubble and Spitzer telescopes can even be able to look back in time to approximately 13.2 Billion years ago. Not far away from the estimated age of the universe of approximately 13.8 BY.
    AHHHH, I knew this one. YaY me
    I like how it makes my brain feel when I stop to think that the light and the heat I feel from our sun is already 8 minutes old. Yeah, I know, I'm a moron.



    As we look to the stars or anywhere for that matter we are actually looking at past events. Note also that the notion of simultaneity of events depends on the frame of reference of the observer and is not the same in all reference frames. When you start talking trying to understand this you need to enter the domain of special relativity. Everything seems normal until you get to extremes in velocity and then things become quite counter-intuitive and mind-bending. :-))
    Alright, from your link I went to the ladder paradox. It seems to me that special relativity is perception expressed as math. So, but perception isn't always reality. So, wouldn't tweaking those numbers so that C or A happen first (I'm looking at the Gif on the link you provided) be altering to a perception that may be false? the fact that B always ends up second (at least in the examples that were provided) when V is changed to anything but 0 makes me think that there is a "correct" way to perceive it.
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    Forum Masters Degree Implicate Order's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grmpysmrf View Post
    Well, that's really what it is is speculative. So, Albert never said this in the realm of speculation?
    Sorry if this belongs in the Science Fiction thread.
    No, don't worry about the sci-fi part because we can quickly convert things to reality by trying to understand what relativity is about.

    Einstein definately conducted thought experiments when developing the Theory of Special Relativity such as what would happen when travelling on a light beam etc. That's what theoretical physicists typically do. He certainly would have pondered whether anything could travel faster than c but ultimately he had very good reasons to define a constant c as the maximum speed anything classical can travel at. It represents the universal speed limit. This value c should not be merely associated with the speed of light in a vacuum. It is the 'natural speed of any massless particle in a vacuum in special realivity'. I won't complicate matters here but in actuality when spacetime is treated as one entity (as relativity insists), then everything in inertial motion travels at c in spacetime. What is important is how much of this motion is attributed to travelling trough space versus travelling through time when dealing with these seperately. Note that inertial motion relates to all those objects travelling at constant velocity with no forces acting and includes stationery objects. Actually the notion of a stationery object is hard to pin down but it relates to an observers frame of reference where an object in another frame of reference is stationery relative to them, a comoving frame of reference.

    Relativity is about exactly that, namely the relationships between things. So concepts such as stationery, constant velocity etc. depend on the point of view between the motion of an observer and the motion of the observed. It can be stationery in one frame of reference and moving in another. The critical thing however is that there is no experiment that can be performed to decide whether something is actually stationery or in inertial motion. That's why you can play ping pong on a train moving at constant velocity and also play ping pong on the platform. We like to think that the Laws of relativity extend throughout the universe so we can play ping pong the same way on another planet in another galaxy one day.

    Quote Originally Posted by grmpysmrf View Post
    AHHHH, I knew this one. YaY me
    I like how it makes my brain feel when I stop to think that the light and the heat I feel from our sun is already 8 minutes old. Yeah, I know, I'm a moron.
    Congrats....and you are not a moron. You are just like me when I started (relatively late in life) getting into all this.


    Quote Originally Posted by grmpysmrf View Post
    Alright, from your link I went to the ladder paradox. It seems to me that special relativity is perception expressed as math. So, but perception isn't always reality. So, wouldn't tweaking those numbers so that C or A happen first (I'm looking at the Gif on the link you provided) be altering to a perception that may be false? the fact that B always ends up second (at least in the examples that were provided) when V is changed to anything but 0 makes me think that there is a "correct" way to perceive it.
    No. This where you have to trust in the counter-intuitivity of it all. It is actually real in the sense that special relativity and its assumptions have been experimentally verified time and time again with clocks in fast moving planes, with radioactive particles such as muons and the mechanics observed measured by decay rates and a number of other experimental tests. You are going to have to spend some time coming to grips with special relativity.

    There was a paradigm shift in thought between Newton's Mechanics and Einstein's Mechanics expressed by Special Relativity and then General Relativity. You will need to invest a bit of time coming to grips with the basics. Many good lay persons books about it. Also use Google and also any primers this forum offers in trying to get a handle on it.

    Special Relativity is not 'perception' expressed as maths, it is a 'reality' for inertial objects moving in euclidean space expressed as maths. The 'special' term relates to this theory being relevent to only one class of motion (namely motion between inertial reference frames). General relativity is an even better tool as this is a 'reality' for all forms of movement in a gravitational field (and includes inertial and also accelerated reference frames). Our own intuition is the perception that is wrong. We have become very comfortable in our earthly realm where things move relatively slowly and gravity is fairly weak. Netwons Laws works well in this realm but they are just approximate Laws. In extended domains where things move close to the velocity of light and gravitation is strong, then both special relativity and general relativity are the tools to understand mechanics. :-))
    Last edited by Implicate Order; January 14th, 2014 at 04:52 AM.
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    No. This where you have to trust the counterintuitivity of it all. It is actually real in the sense that special relativity and its assumptions have been experimentally verified time and time again with clocks in fast moving planes, with radioactive particles such as muons and the mechanics observed and measured by decay rates observed. You are going to have to spend some time coming to grips with special relativity.
    I'm sure this is the problem with what I know (or rather think I know) The science channel spends all of their time air lifting people like me to the top of the mountain I understand what the theory means but I have none of the foundation or the skills to actually get to the top of the mountain on my own.

    There was a paradigm shift in relativity between Newton's Mechanics and Special Relativity. You will need to invest a bit of time coming to grips with the basics. Many good lay persons books about it. Also use Google and also any primers this forum offers in trying to get a handle on it.
    Can you suggest and particular authors? If they're going to go into any type of math it's going to have to be explained in the "Kelly Bundy" terms.

    Special Relativity is not 'perception' expressed as maths, it is a 'reality' for inertial objects moving in Euclidean Space expressed as maths. General relativity is an even better tool as this is a 'reality' for all forms of movement in a gravitational field. Our own intuition is the perception that is wrong. We have become very comfortable in our earthly realm where things move relatively slowly and gravity is fairly weak. Netwons Laws works well in this realm but they are just approximate Laws. In extended domains where things move close to the velocity of light and gravitation is strong, then both special relativity and general relativity are the tools to understand mechanics. :-))
    Is this touching on where time comes in? meaning, the way we understand time on Earth is kind of bastardized with the way time actually works at light speed?
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    Forum Masters Degree Implicate Order's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grmpysmrf View Post
    Can you suggest and particular authors? If they're going to go into any type of math it's going to have to be explained in the "Kelly Bundy" terms.
    I feel a bit embarrassed with some of the typo mistakes in my prior post which I have been busily fixing up. Sorry about that. May be necessary to have a re-read.

    ....anyway, good books. I cut my teeth on Brian Greene's books which were excellent primers giving great non-mathematical intro's to Newton's Mechanics, Einstein's Special and General Theories of Relativity and then more speculative theories such as String Theory etc. The Fabric of the Cosmos was my preferred book but the Elegant Universe was another great read.

    I also really enjoyed Harold Fritzsch's approach in 'An Equation that Changed the World" and 'The Curvature of Spacetime'. The reason I liked these books is that they were hypothetical dialogues between Newton, Einstein and a Modern Physicist on various matters of mechanics. Each perspective gave you a great context and a way to understand how mechanics has evolved since Newton ....but there are many others. The key is to keep reading as many of these sources provide different perspectives to appreciate the power of these theories.

    Quote Originally Posted by grmpysmrf View Post
    Is this touching on where time comes in? meaning, the way we understand time on Earth is kind of bastardized with the way time actually works at light speed?
    Yep. The measurement of distance and time between frames of reference can differ dependent on their relative velocities. This results in weird things happening from the point of view of the one frame when taking the measurement of another frame. When you compare two frames of reference that are moving with respect to each other you can take the stance that one of these frames is stationery with respect to the other. That way a stationery frame can take measurements on the other frame and compare and contrast results with their own notion of measurement in their frame. An observer in the stationery frame will see clocks slow down and distance contract in the direction of motion for the other moving frame of reference. However for the moving frame of reference, their notions of distance and time appear normal to them. Also the previous moving reference frame can take the stance that they are stationery and the other frame is moving. They will therefore also measure the effect of time dilation and length contraction for the moving frame of reference. What all frames of reference agree on however is the speed of an object where the concepts of space and term are merged as one into spacetime. Treated seperately (space and time) and things get whacky when speeds start approaching c. :-))
    Last edited by Implicate Order; January 14th, 2014 at 04:55 AM.
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    Sometimes it is better not knowing than having an answer that may be wrong.
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    Thanks Chrispen. I couldn't help myself. It is on it's way from the Amazon bookforest :-))
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chrispen Evan View Post
    Thank you. just ordered.
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    Why order something that you can get for free.


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