19th April 2015Accessibility helpText only
 Guide ID: A273854 (Edited)Edited Guide Entry

 SEARCH h2g2 Edited Entries only Advanced Search

or register to join or start a new conversation.

 BBC Homepage
 The Guide to Life, The Universe and Everything.

 2. The Universe / Space, Stars and Galaxies2. The Universe / Travel & Transport / Travel3. Everything / Maths, Science & Technology / Physics Created: 14th March 2000 Time Dilation
 Time dilation is a temporal effect on matter moving at speeds near lightspeed. When matter reaches this 'relativistic speed', time dilation becomes apparent. Albert Einstein first postulated time dilation as a side-effect of an absolute lightspeed. In order for the speed of light to remain constant no matter how fast the observer is travelling, time must slow down proportionately for said observer. Thus, the effect produced is a perceived slowing of time for any matter moving at relativistic speeds, from the perspective of a stationary observer, and a perceived speeding up of time for any stationary matter, from the perspective of a relativistic observer. EffectsTime dilation is an exponential effect, which means that it remains small for most of sublight speed, but becomes powerful very quickly when close to lightspeed. If one were ever to reach lightspeed, time would come to a standstill for them (to us), while everyone else would freeze (to them). Time dilation has been experimentally proven several times. By synchronizing two atomic clocks, then flying one for extended amounts of time in an airplane and comparing its time reading with the stationary clock, scientists have discovered a dilation of a few millionths of a second for the airborne clock. Don't think that you'll age any slower by flying, though: if one spent his or her entire life on a non-stop airplane flight, they would only be one-ten thousandth of one second younger than anyone grounded for the same amount of time.
 ENTRY DATA Written and Researched by:Agent C Edited by:Smiley Ben

 CONVERSATION TOPICS FOR THIS ENTRY:
 Start a new conversation People have been talking about this Guide Entry. Here are the most recent Conversations: TITLE LATEST POST Travel Faster than the Speed of Light May 18, 2011 time dilation Feb 26, 2010 time dilation Feb 26, 2010 It might not be so Sep 10, 2008 any form of motion?? Jul 7, 2008 Light or Time? Jul 1, 2008 Places Where Time Dilates Aug 14, 2007 gravity Oct 28, 2006 Gravity Oct 28, 2006 i want to say something about time dilation Oct 8, 2005 More Conversations

Disclaimer

Most of the content on h2g2 is created by h2g2's Researchers, who are members of the public. The views expressed are theirs and unless specifically stated are not those of the BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of any external sites referenced. In the event that you consider anything on this page to be in breach of the site's House Rules, please click here. For any other comments, please start a Conversation above.