38 votes
Accepted

It takes light roughly 8 minutes to travel to Earth from the Sun, but based on which perspective?

If I interpreted this article correctly, then the answer to my question should be: 8 minutes is what we perceive, whereas for the photon the journey is instantaneous, due to the fact that it travels ...
Rob Dirnens's user avatar
26 votes
Accepted

Why are there not yet any instruments dedicated to registering time dilation caused by passing gravitational waves?

General relativity predicts that there are only two possible polarizations of gravitational waves, the so-called "tensor" polarizations $+$ and $\times$. It turns out you can show that the ...
HDE 226868's user avatar
  • 36.6k
23 votes

It takes light roughly 8 minutes to travel to Earth from the Sun, but based on which perspective?

When people talk about the time taken for light to go from the Sun to the Earth, they're generally just considering classical Newtonian mechanics, not relativity. So we simply divide the distance by ...
Barmar's user avatar
  • 975
23 votes

From an outsider's perspective, how can a black hole grow if nothing ever crosses the event horizon?

First off, there's no real time dilation effect. In coordinate systems that cover the event horizon (Kruskal-Szekeres, Eddington-Finkelstein, Gullstrand-Painlevé, Kerr-Schild), objects fall through it ...
benrg's user avatar
  • 3,852
22 votes
Accepted

How do two black holes merge?

The "event horizon" is defined as the point (or surface) from within which light rays can never (ever) reach a distant observer. To find the location of the event horizon implies that you ...
ProfRob's user avatar
  • 152k
14 votes
Accepted

Depth of gravitational well within our local Virgo supercluster?

The size of the relative gravitational time dilation effect (when it is small), compared to a clock at infinity, is $\sim \Delta \phi/c^2$, where $\Delta \phi$ is the change in potential You can then ...
ProfRob's user avatar
  • 152k
12 votes
Accepted

How do I estimate the difference in the speed of time flow between Earth and a distant star?

Nearby stars For such a small distance of $\sim 100$ light years, you can approximate that the Galaxy's gravitational field $g$ is uniform. On average, stars near the Sun orbit at speeds $v\simeq 220\...
Sten's user avatar
  • 4,644
12 votes

From an outsider's perspective, how can a black hole grow if nothing ever crosses the event horizon?

Due to time dilation, an outside observer never sees a falling object actually cross the event horizon. This is correct, but perhaps not quite in the way that you visualize it. It's trivially true, ...
Ilmari Karonen's user avatar
9 votes

How do two black holes merge?

If you have two black holes, then the event horizons are distorted. As event horizons are regions of spacetime (not just spheres in space) there is no issue with "time stopping". That is ...
James K's user avatar
  • 121k
8 votes

What is the oldest thing?

Pretty much every hydrogen atom that's in a glass of water has a proton that dates from 1 / 1000000 seconds after the big bang. That's older than the cosmic microwave background, which dates from ...
antlersoft's user avatar
  • 3,455
8 votes
Accepted

How long would it take to reach the edge of the reachable universe?

Jonathan's answer is essentially correct, but as Rob Jeffries comments, he doesn't take into account that the Universe is expanding during the journey. The edge of the observable Universe is 47 ...
pela's user avatar
  • 38.2k
8 votes

Can anyone one show how speeds greater than c cause a paradox on a space time diagram?

Suppose there was a magic gun that fired a bullet at ten times the speed of light relative to the firer. If I have the only such gun, and I don't move then there is no paradox. But now suppose ...
Steve Linton's user avatar
  • 10.3k
8 votes
Accepted

How much time passes in the outside universe when falling into a black hole?

You are essentially asking the following: if someone falls from the Earth from some way beyond the event horizon of a black hole, how long after they have left can an observer on Earth still signal to ...
ProfRob's user avatar
  • 152k
7 votes

Could a star closely orbit a black hole long enough for the star to have lost 0.5B+ years to time dilation?

Yes, but not very likely. The closest orbit that does not require constant expenditure of energy to maintain it is the prograde equatorial ISCO. For a Kerr black hole the time dilation factor on this ...
Anders Sandberg's user avatar
7 votes

How does gravity affect a physical clock?

If it has to do something with gravity affecting the inner working of wind up and pendulum clock will this also affect digital clock ? As astrosnapper noted in his comment, gravitational time ...
David Hammen's user avatar
7 votes
Accepted

How does gravity affect a physical clock?

I'm going to give a longer, slightly less accurate answer because this is a fun question. I'll start with special relativity because it's easier to understand. Using a thought experiment the ...
userLTK's user avatar
  • 24k
7 votes

Why are there not yet any instruments dedicated to registering time dilation caused by passing gravitational waves?

The answer by @HDE 226868 addresses the current attempts by LIGO/Virgo and PTAs to detect alternate gravitational wave (GW) polarization states, which have not been detected. In that answer, this SE ...
Daddy Kropotkin's user avatar
6 votes

Cosmological redshift - How do we know it's not caused by the observer's time dilation?

The reason we think that the cosmological redshift is caused by the metric expansion of space is 1) that there is a well-known, physical mechanism that can cause this effect, and 2) that this ...
pela's user avatar
  • 38.2k
6 votes
Accepted

Could a star closely orbit a black hole long enough for the star to have lost 0.5B+ years to time dilation?

In the comments of the other answer, the question came up whether decay of the orbit would limit the time amount of time dilation. The answer is of course yes. But by how much? This question can be ...
TimRias's user avatar
  • 2,530
6 votes
Accepted

If you are in a deep gravity well, where time goes by more slowly, do you see the unfolding of a cosmic event at a different rate?

Time dilation is related to differences in gravitational potential in General Relativity. Observing a clock situated deep in a potential well, a distant observer would see it running slow. Vice-versa, ...
ProfRob's user avatar
  • 152k
5 votes

If you looked at Earth while travelling at relativistic speeds, will you see sped-up activities?

It doesn't have to be a visible telescope, any electromagnetic radiation will act in the same way. I'll give you the answer, but if you want the details you need to look at a description of the ...
ProfRob's user avatar
  • 152k
5 votes
Accepted

How far into the future can we go by traveling close to a black hole?

The way that you have specified the question, the answer is as far as you like. You simply put your spaceship into any orbit around the black hole and wait. A more sensible question is what is the ...
ProfRob's user avatar
  • 152k
5 votes

How does gravity affect a physical clock?

A physics professor once described the following exchange, and I found it immensely helpful. It's not an exact answer, but the formatting requires an answer post. Question: What is time? Answer: (...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 31.1k
5 votes
Accepted

Time in 0 gravity points

makes time pass more slowly for us This is a fundamental misunderstanding of time dilation, which only says anything about the relative rates that clocks run compared to a clock that is in your own ...
ProfRob's user avatar
  • 152k
5 votes

Planck epoch and time dilation

We don't really know at what energy scale general relativity actually breaks, but according to simple dimensional analysis arguments, the Planck scale is actually a plausible candidate. Quantities at ...
Prallax's user avatar
  • 4,431
5 votes

Do black holes "store" ancient light?

Infalling objects pass right through the event horizon. They don't freeze there. The vicinity of the event horizon is locally just like any other part of spacetime. If a light-emitting or light-...
benrg's user avatar
  • 3,852
5 votes

Measurement of Planetary Aberration (similar to stellar aberration)

I. The statement about planetary aberration quoted in the question, and for which the quesioner seeks some authority, wasn't actually called a 'definition' by the questioner : it's probably best ...
terry-s's user avatar
  • 1,329
5 votes

How do I estimate the difference in the speed of time flow between Earth and a distant star?

There's no significant difference over a distance of a hundred light years or so. The gravitational time dilation can (ignoring rotational terms) be calculated as the velocity time dilation of the ...
James K's user avatar
  • 121k
5 votes

How do I estimate the difference in the speed of time flow between Earth and a distant star?

As others point out, the differential effects of the different positions in the Galactic potential are of order 1 part in a billion. A bigger effect is the gravitational potential of the star. If the ...
ProfRob's user avatar
  • 152k
4 votes

What is the oldest thing?

If we could detect the cosmic neutrino background, then I would class those neutrinos as "things" and there should be lots of them! I guess whether they are detected or not, they are extremely likely ...
ProfRob's user avatar
  • 152k

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