Reflective Special Relativity Paradox.
A well known consequence of Einstein's Special Relativity theory is that
objects contract in the direction of their motion by a factor of:
(1 - V2/
Where V is the object's velocity and C is the speed of light.
Assume that an object is whizzing by us at the gigantic velocity of
934,660,377,934 KPH = 259,627,882.759 KPS = 0.866 C. Everything about this
object looks weird to observers watching the object zoom by. Clocks on the
object are running at half speed, the object seems twice as heavy as when it
was at rest, and it is foreshortened by a factor of two in it's direction of
motion. These oddities are well established experimentally.
From the point of view of an observer on the object, however, everything on
the object appears and acts normal, but the time and space of the rest of the
universe appears heavier, slower and foreshortened by a factor of 2.
If this is your first exposure to special relativity, you're probably in a
state of disbelief. You'll have to go read the
relativity FAQ cited below.
See 'ya when you get back.
If you're already familiar with special relativity, you're thinking, so what?
This has been established for years. I understand it.
Then you'll have no trouble explaining the following:
Assume that the object mentioned above is a reflecting telescope,
and that the object is headed at Sirius, the brightest star in the sky.
Before the telescope starts its journey, the observer traveling with the
telescope carefully focuses it on Sirius. She and her telescope then
accelerate to 87% of the speed of light, and all of the above relativistic
effects occur. The telescope is foreshortened, so the tube is only half
or it's original length. The mirror is also foreshortened, so it's focal
length is twice its original length. An observer on the ground claim that
the telescope can no longer be focused on Sirius. Our intrepid observer
with the telescope claims that Sirius is still in focus.
Who is right? Why?
(This should make for one complicated Lorentz diagram.)
There is an explanation. Once you've truly given up on
this, or simply want to check your answer,
Click here for a hint
1) For more about special relativity, and relativity in general,
have a look at the
UseNet Relativity faq