Saturday, February 28, 2009

Length Contraction

Another incredible phenomenon that can be experienced while traveling close to the speed of light is length contraction. It so happens that the closer you move to the speed of light, the shorter your length seems to be when viewed from a direction parallel to your motion. This amazing effect is called length contraction.

There is a simple formula to calculate length contraction. It is somewhat like this:

L' = L/γ(v)

That is

L' = L√1-v²/c²


L is the actual length of the object.

L' is the length as observed by an observer who is in relative motion with respect to the object

v is the relative velocity between the observer and the moving object.

c is the speed of light.

Pretty simple.