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ASTR 3740 Relativity & Cosmology Spring 1999. Problem Set 1. Due Th 28 Jan

Relativistic Flight Simulation

Possibly the best starting point for non-crank websites on relativity is Chris Hillman's Relativity on the World Wide Web. Another site relevant to this problem is David Porthouse's Relativistic Flight Simulation Links.

From the information you can glean from the sources linked through these sites, or elsewhere, describe what a scene looks like when you pass through it at near to the speed of light. In what way is the scene distorted? Are the colors changed, and if so in what way?

[Comments: This problem is a test of your powers of observation, and your ability to synthesize facts from a variety of sources. You should reference the sites you use to draw your conclusions. If you think different sources give different answers, you are welcome to point that out, but you should nevertheless try to reconcile what you see into a coherent picture of what happens. Do not attempt to explain what you see mathematically - we will be discussing the problem mathematically in class in a couple of week's time.]

Andrew Hamilton
21 Jan 1999