|Since light is very efficient at "twisting" space
and time if a suitable spacecraft were to travel
into a very concentrated light beam would it
experience any time dilation effects?
|Question Date: 2007-06-19|
If the light beam contained within it enough
energy that the beam itself exerted a powerful
gravitational field, yes. However, getting
yourself out of that gravitational field would be
very, very, difficult,unless the light's dispersal
would do it for you, in which case you just
annihilated a planet-sized mass or larger to make
your journey. Still, you wouldn't be dilated
within the field relative to anything else not in
the field, so...
A beam of light which was concentrated enough
to cause this much twisting would be so intense
that it would vaporize the spaceship
instantly--and probably put a big hole in the
planet, too.It would be much safer and more
effective to put that energy into an accelerating
rocket, which would also dilate time for people
aboard. It wouldn't help you go backward in time,
though, which would be the most interesting
Great questions! If you're
interested in Physics, take as much Math as you
can. There are a lot of people (with web sites,
of course) who claim to have "discovered" radical
new Physics. The best way to find out if they're
right or wrong is to solve the equations
yourself--or at least to know enough to find out
which side of a debate has the stronger
foundation, with fewer assumptions. Maybe you'll
be the one to find a hole in "established"
If a spacecraft were to have a sphere of light
orbiting around it -- it would already be in its
own space-time, such closed light-paths usually
form around black holes. In general, though, the
microscopic interaction of light and gravitation
is not understood in any way other than the
semi-classical limit (i.e. There is not a tested
theory of quantum gravity-- indeed there seem to
be very big problems in making any test of such a
theory). However, as in all science, this can and
probably will change with time.
thing about this generation is that it is possible
for anyone owning a computer can simulate special
relativity events. It is relatively easy to
simulate special relativity -- for example what
you'd see driving down a street at 0.85c ... One
way to get an intuition is to build the Lorentz
transforms and then model events with a much lower
speed of light -- and observe the issues of time
and space dilation first hand.
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