Lorentz Contraction

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A rod of rest length  0 (aligned along the direction of motion) moves with velocity v with respect to an observer who measures
its length as  
  at time t, as shown in the spacetime map.

X₀ X₃ X₂ X₁ l₀ l Histories of the ends of the rod ct = = β β 20 32 30 32 20 10 +

Exercise: Reasoning from similar triangles in the map, derive the Lorentz contraction formula

                         0 = γ 

               and discuss its physical meaning.

Click here for a solution to this exercise.)

Previous sectionTime Dilation and Desynchronization.

Next section: Doppler Shift.

© David Hestenes 2005, 2014