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Old 06-22-2011, 07:32 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Thinking Out Loud About Time And Relativity

I am just thinking out loud here. Feel free to ignore or contribute as much as you would like.

As of next month, I will be 24 years old. What does that mean? Well, it means that I have been alive long enough for the Earth to revolve around the sun 24 times while travelling at a specific average speed.

On average, the Earth is about 93,000,000 miles (or 150,000,000 km) away from the sun. Using the formula for the circumference of a circle (c=2*pi*r), that would make one rotation around the earth equal to roughly 584,336,234 miles (or 942,477,796 km). After 24 years, that means that I have travelled roughly 1,402,409,616 miles (or 22,619,467,104 km).

Using the formula for speed (s=d/t), that means that the Earth is travelling around the sun at an average speed of roughly 67,000 mph (or 111,000 km/h).

Per Einstein's Theory of General Relativity, time appears to slow down the faster that you get towards the speed of light (known as "Time Dilation"). Therefore, as speed increases, time decreases.

If the Earth was travelling faster around the sun (it's speed increased), the time that it takes to orbit the sun (the length of a year) would decrease. So if the Earth was moving faster, we would all be younger (as it would take fewer years to travel the same distance). And if the Earth was moving slower, we would all be older (as it would take more years to travel the same distance).

So what does relative time (and thus speed) have to do with anything? Well, maybe travelling faster than the speed of light is possible. Imagine that you're driving a car at 60 mph. If you're sitting inside of the car, you appear stationary, but the plane outiside of the car appears to be moving at 60 mph in the opposite direction.

Imagine that the Earth is the inside of the car, and space (our galaxy) is the outside plane. The Earth is travelling around the sun at 67,000 mph, but we feel like we are stationary. Keep in mind that our solar system is travelling roughly 550,000 mph around our galaxy. That puts our speed up to roughly 617,000 mph (67,000 + 550,000). Our galaxy is moving roughly 900,000 mph relative to the cosmological microwave background radiation, now putting our speed up to 1,517,000 mph (617,000 + 900,000). With each addition frame of reference, we get closer towards the speed of light (roughly 667,000,000 mph). With enough additional frames of reference, we could surpass the speed of light. For all we know, relative to other frames of reference (other locations in the universe), we could be travelling faster than the speed of light right now.

Now, picture a bullet being fired from a rifle. The bullet travels faster than the speed of sound. You would see the muzzleflash before you hear the shot, as the bullet is travelling faster than the speed of sound, but slower than the speed of light. Now, imagine if the bullet was travelling faster than the speed of light.

If the bullet is travelling faster than the speed of light, it could hit us or pass through us before we could even hear or see it. That means that depending on how much faster than the speed of light the bullet is travelling, it could pass through us and be hundreds of yards behind us before we even see or feel a wound. Imagine you are looking at your chest, exactly where the bullet will hit you. It hits you and passes through you, yet when you look down, you you haven't even seen the bullet hit you yet, and your chest is free of any holes or wounds.

What does this mean? It means that an action can occur before it is even perceived. If this is possible, what else has occured, but we have yet to perceive it? Is everything predestined? Has our life (or even the entire life of the universe) already happened, but we just haven't perceived it yet? This opens up a whole new can of worms.

What are your thoughts?

Last edited by [MERIT]; 06-22-2011 at 07:42 PM.
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Old 06-22-2011, 08:52 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Dude, pass the bong...

Just kidding. I do actually find this interesting as it can bring out answers from both science as well as religion (predestiny). Many years ago I used to get caught up in the thought "What if, right now, I'm actually in a coma, in a hospital somewhere, dreaming of what I am doing right now? That my current reality is nothing more than the thoughts of myself while in a coma/dream." I know, strange stuff... But, think about it. How would we know?
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Old 06-23-2011, 02:39 AM   #3 (permalink)
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i get strange surreal existentialist ideas about why everything has to be from my vantage point and persepctive and that i can't be someone else
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Old 06-23-2011, 05:38 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Your thoughts are based on a lot of assumptions which you should look further into. For example, you mention Einstein's theory of relativity, yet you seem to accept that there is a special frame by which you can measure movement. I don't think Einstein would agree with you on that. His theory of relativity got rid of such a frame, previously thought of as the aether. You also presume that one can go faster than the speed of light ..

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Originally Posted by Wikipedia
Special relativity incorporates the principle that the speed of light is the same for all inertial observers regardless of the state of motion of the source.

Special relativity reveals that c is not just the velocity of a certain phenomenon—namely the propagation of electromagnetic radiation (light)—but rather a fundamental feature of the way space and time are unified as spacetime. One of the consequences of the theory is that it is impossible for any particle that has rest mass to be accelerated to the speed of light.
Read : Special relativity - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

You're free to believe in any assumption you want of course. I just don't think you should namedrop poor old Albert in a post that contradicts his work. Other assumptions are that age is a function of distance travelled and you treat speed as if it's cumulative, regardless of direction.
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Old 06-23-2011, 01:20 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tore View Post
you seem to accept that there is a special frame by which you can measure movement
Movement is measured in relation to something else. The Earth moving in relation to the sun, our solar system moving in relation to our galaxy, our galaxy moving in relation to nearby galaxies in the universe, etc.

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Originally Posted by tore
You also presume that one can go faster than the speed of light ..
I'm aware of this, I was just postulating that maybe it IS possible. I'm obviously not a physicist, but I was just thinking out loud. Like I said, in relation to another frame of reference, we could very well be moving faster than the speed of light (or atleast APPEAR to be from another frame of reference), while appearing to be stationary inside of our frame of reference. I tried to come up with a good enough example to demonstrate this in my original post.

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Originally Posted by tore
Other assumptions are that age is a function of distance travelled and you treat speed as if it's cumulative, regardless of direction.
We measure a year as the time that it takes the Earth to fully revolve around the sun, do we not? And if that length of time changes, does our age not change? I guess I'm trying to say that our total time being alive would not change, just the way we measure it.
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Old 06-23-2011, 01:22 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richie1 View Post
Dude, pass the bong...

Just kidding. I do actually find this interesting as it can bring out answers from both science as well as religion (predestiny). Many years ago I used to get caught up in the thought "What if, right now, I'm actually in a coma, in a hospital somewhere, dreaming of what I am doing right now? That my current reality is nothing more than the thoughts of myself while in a coma/dream." I know, strange stuff... But, think about it. How would we know?
Jump off a building? I'm sure the answer would come fast.
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Old 06-23-2011, 04:25 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FRED HALE SR. View Post
Jump off a building? I'm sure the answer would come fast.
Yes, I guess that would work! I'll have to try it. I guess I did leave myself open ending with "how would we know"?
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Old 06-26-2011, 02:11 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Old 06-26-2011, 04:05 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Movement is measured in relation to something else. The Earth moving in relation to the sun, our solar system moving in relation to our galaxy, our galaxy moving in relation to nearby galaxies in the universe, etc.
Of course, my point is really that your thoughts contradict some important points of Einstein. According to him, the speed of light does not behave the way you explain - observed by a slower observer, it is always at the speed of light, regardless of direction. So the light coming out of the headlights of a car moving at 50 miles an hour does not move at light speed + 50 miles an hour .. just light speed! (But don't ask me why, I have a hard time understanding it)

As for a special frame for slower speeds, I think the special frame generally used is the cosmic background radiation and according to that, the earth is moving at 627 kilometres per second which is pretty damn fast. But it's still just a tiny bit more than 2 thousandth of light speed, so we're far away from doing any time travel based on that reference.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oojay
We measure a year as the time that it takes the Earth to fully revolve around the sun, do we not? And if that length of time changes, does our age not change? I guess I'm trying to say that our total time being alive would not change, just the way we measure it.
Yes, I agree with you. You wrote this :

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oojay
So if the Earth was moving faster, we would all be younger (as it would take fewer years to travel the same distance). And if the Earth was moving slower, we would all be older (as it would take more years to travel the same distance).
And that looks like you've got it backwards. Accepting that we'd all passed roughly the same amount of time during our lives in either of these scenarios and that we measure age by years which is the time it takes our planet to go round the sun, we should be older if the earth moved faster because the years are shorter. So, instead of being 24 years old after X amount of time has passed, you might be 30. If the earth revolved slower, fewer years would have passed during our lifetime and you might just be 20.
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