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Using Relativity
Having been shown the odd equations that must be
employed when relativistic speeds are involved, it
is now time for you to see how to use them. One
useful device for glimpsing the peculiarities of
relativity is a modified form of a
spacetime
diagram
. In the figure at right, time is measured
along the vertical axis (marked off by the pink
lines) while distance is shown on the horizontal
(graduated in turquoise). Atop this normal graph is
second one with hyperbolic lines in red and blue.
Finally, there is a purple line lying at 45° to
indicate the speed of light.
The green line is shown to indicate the
spacetime path
of an object moving at three
fifths of light speed. (Any speed less than
c
will work on this graph as long as it is
constant and starts in the lower left corner.) Notice that this line proceeds three squares to
the right for every five squares it goes up. At a high speed such as 60% of
c
, the effects of
relativity are pronounced. The hyperbolic lines give the space and time as perceived by
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 Spring '11
 Tibbets

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