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Subject: Please answer a question that has always puzzled me. rss

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Chris Intres
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The first one would seem to mean that you would see the light only from the source, in theis case the headlights, there would be no illumination.

In the second instance you would see the light as normal because you are still traveling slower than the light is getting there.
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Chris Intres
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Drew1365 wrote:
One last question. This time you're traveling down I-94, but in a 1976 AMC Pacer.

Like this:



And this time, you're going 1,079,252,849 kph. That is, slightly over the speed of light.

And you turn on your headlights.

What happens?

The light is behind you so you are still in darkness.





EDIT: 1976 Pacer, not 1979. Vive la difference!

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Josh
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In a similar vein: What happens if you are on a planet where the temperature is at absolute zero, and there's a wind chill?
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Diane Close
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Well, only the yellow car can actually achieve that speed...



As for what happens? First this...



Then this...



Then maybe this...







Edit: Oh!!! One more!!!

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Ed Holzman
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I hypothesize that the entire universe would collapse into a quantum singularity and then disappear in a puff of logic.

Then I would drive off in my 1963 Studebaker Avanti.





EDIT: Because only one photo of an Avanti is not cool enough.
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Key Locks
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I am thinking way back to when I took physics in college here, so correct me if I'm wrong. It could be argued that the first situation would be impossible, because only objects with zero mass, such as photons, can actually travel at the speed of light. So let's say you were going really close to the speed of light. The funny thing about light is that all observers always see light as traveling at the same speed no matter what they are doing, so you would still see the light doing what it normally does. If there were a car right in front of you going at the same speed you are, you would see the light bounce off of it and come back to your eye, just as if you were both doing 65 on the interstate.
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JoshBot wrote:
In a similar vein: What happens if you are on a planet where the temperature is at absolute zero, and there's a wind chill?


Your limbs are at the same temperature with or without a wind chill but turn black and fall off quicker with a wind chill.
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Thanks to red shift, you wouldn't know when you were on the wrong side of the road, about to have a head on collision. And that's why physics is rad.
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Peter Ferguson
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Without reading any other answers...


two things happen.

One As you start down I-90, you're instantly going across the atlantic ocean in the blink of an eye.

Next you turn the lights on, and nothing happens. the lights are on, but since you are travelling AT light speed, the light is going with you, so they would be on, but not illuminating anything. Also, since you see things via light reflecting in your eye. By the time you saw something, you would have passed it. So you're driving down and you see a Deer in the road, you say "Oh a Deer!" but by the time you say "O.." actually by the time your mind thinks "O..." there is a dear head smashed through your front window, and it's bloody carcas is staring at you, and you're next question will be "what does a Deer's ass look like sticking out of a '71 Fiat going lightspeed?"

Fat is the answer...

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Peter Ferguson
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JoshBot wrote:
In a similar vein: What happens if you are on a planet where the temperature is at absolute zero, and there's a wind chill?


I don't think there could be any wind. Wind is made up of various gaseous particles. Oxygen, Carbon dioxide, Nitrogen etc. etc. At absolute 0, all those gases would freeze.
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Paolo Robino
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I'm no physic, but if I recall correctly, speed of light is a constant. This means that in any system, c has always the same value. If you're sitting in a car travelling at relativistic speed, the beams projected from the lamplights still travel at c.

Don't ask me to explain it further. E=mc2 seems all nice and clear, unless you try to consider that c is a constant, no matter what the reference system.

Kudos for the smurf-colored Fiat 850. thumbsup

Edits: grammar. Too early in the morning to talk physics in a foreign language...
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Jonathan Tang
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Is that the same as the question: what happens when you fire a machine gun in a plane whose speed is faster than the bullet? (this is possible)

I think the bullets will fly backwards into the gun and cause a massive explosion and people and ducks who happen to be in the air will die.
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Dave Wilson
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jttm wrote:
Is that the same as the question: what happens when you fire a machine gun in a plane whose speed is faster than the bullet? (this is possible)

I think the bullets will fly backwards into the gun and cause a massive explosion and people and ducks who happen to be in the air will die.


The bullets are already going as fast as the plane. When you fire them, they travel at speed equal to speed of plane + muzzle velocity. So no backward flying bullets.

If I understand the question, that is.

Edit: Gah! Crossposted.
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M M
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a) Speed of light is constant in all possible reference frames.

b) Things shrink as they approach the speed of light.

c) Time passes "more slowly" from the reference frame of the thing moving near the speed of light.

All three of these are really ways of saying the same thing.

From moving reference frame, a stationary meterstick will measure more than one meter in length. From a moving reference frame, one second of time counted on a stationary clock will appear to be less than one second in duration. The net result of this is that the apparent speed of light for the moving and stationary observers is always the same, but it is impossible for moving and stationary observers to agree on the length of a meter or the duration of a second.

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M M
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Clarification:

By "shrink" of course I mean in the dimension corresponding to the direction of motion. That's the direction that matters.
 
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Matthew M
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Drew1365 wrote:

However, I would presume that if the speed of the plane is X and the speed of the bullet is Y, a bullet fired from a gun in that plane precisely in the direction that the plane is traveling would exit the gun at a speed of X + Y. Is this not so?


That is so. The unfired bullet is already moving at speed X, along with the gun, the gunman, and everything else in the plane. The explosion caused by firing the gun adds Y to the equation so the bullet moves at a speed of X+Y relative to a stationary object on Earth.

-MMM
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Jon M
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Octavian wrote:
Drew1365 wrote:

However, I would presume that if the speed of the plane is X and the speed of the bullet is Y, a bullet fired from a gun in that plane precisely in the direction that the plane is traveling would exit the gun at a speed of X + Y. Is this not so?


That is so. The unfired bullet is already moving at speed X, along with the gun, the gunman, and everything else in the plane. The explosion caused by firing the gun adds Y to the equation so the bullet moves at a speed of X+Y relative to a stationary object on Earth.

-MMM


Which is absolutely not what happens in the first three questions and the reason relativity has taken over from Newtonian physics.

Also to nitpick. The plane would decelerate slightly as the bullet is fired since every action has an opposite and equal reaction.
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Ed Holzman
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Jon_1066 wrote:
Also to nitpick. The plane would decelerate slightly as the bullet is fired since every action has an opposite and equal reaction.

To nitpick a bit more, unless the machine gun was mounted to the plane, the body of the person firing the machine gun would react by absorbing the recoil energy and there would be no deceleration.
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Well,

in WWII, some nations, such as Japan, designed some torpedoes that did not go as fast as the ships they were in. They were side launched and theoretically should not have been a problem, but they could actually fire a torpedo and hit themselves with a torpedo if they weren't careful.
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Aaron Tubb
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mileser wrote:
Well,

in WWII, some nations, such as Japan, designed some torpedoes that did not go as fast as the ships they were in. They were side launched and theoretically should not have been a problem, but they could actually fire a torpedo and hit themselves with a torpedo if they weren't careful.
This is because, unlike bullets, torpedoes are self-propelled and can only travel as fast as their own propulsion will let them.
 
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You all know full well that it is quite possible to travel faster than light.

Wikipedia: Only zero-rest mass particles can travel at the speed of light. It is generally considered that it is impossible for any information or matter to travel faster than c, because it would travel backwards in time relative to some observers. However, there are many physical situations in which speeds greater than c are encountered.
 
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Hopefully becoming a restaurant owner soon! Peter Melanson
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It wouldn't matter considering the G forces would turn you into a pile of gelatenous goo and water.

Inertia is a bitch too when stopping, you'd need wipers on the inside of the car. Ironically enough I think the Pinto had that feature.
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Paul DeStefano
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Ready for this one?

You turn on the lights.

Nothing can exceed the speed of light. relative to universal zero.

And yet, the light must rush AWAY from you in the car at the speed of light.

The concept of no light coming out is old skool. That's a schoolyard rumor.

Were you able to get mass to accelerate to that point without turning it into energy, you in the car see the light as usual. But, to an observer, they cannot see that faster than light projection occur. Which means your car must be going slower.

As soon as the light is turned on, your car appears to compress at the speed of light.

Well, that's just stupid.

You see, it doesn't really matter if the lights are on or not. Your car is constantly reflecting light. Once it exceeds light speed, it becomes invisible.

So, the universe starts to pull a few tricks.

The light must escape your headlights at the speed of light. Your car cannot compress.

To prevent these impossibilities from happening, time changes. The faster you go, the slower time passes for you. This allows the speed of light to not be exceeded, as you create a time compression bubble around you.

This has been proven as a clock taken into space, having hurled at absurd speeds, comes back with slightly less time passed than a sister clock on earth.

But it all happens very smoothly. There is a light feathering effect about every object which is its "time well" and they all mesh together. When anything is about to break the speed limit, it does not slow down. Time does. Light passing through time wells of various speeds then get the compressions and shifts of red/blue doppler that everyone loves.

But again, light is constantly bouncing off of the car to be visible. To state that the lights do nothing would be to state that you have already achieved the speed of invisibility. Emitting and reflecting happen at the same speed.

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If I am going to go the speed of light in a car, I'll be driving a Disco Volante.



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EYE of NiGHT wrote:
You all know full well that it is quite possible to travel faster than light.

Wikipedia: Only zero-rest mass particles can travel at the speed of light. It is generally considered that it is impossible for any information or matter to travel faster than c, because it would travel backwards in time relative to some observers. However, there are many physical situations in which speeds greater than c are encountered.

Continuing the quote:

Some of these situations involve entities that actually travel faster than c in a particular reference frame but none involves either matter, energy, or information traveling faster than the speed of light in vacuum.
 
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