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WRITER FUEL: What is time dilation?

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Welcome to the latest installment of “Writer Fuel – cool real-world stories that might inspire your little writer heart. Check out our Writer Fuel page on the LimFic blog for more inspiration. Today:

Time dilation refers to the seemingly odd fact that time passes at different rates for different observers, depending on their relative motion or positions in a gravitational field.

Here’s how that works. Time is relative. As counterintuitive as that sounds, it’s a consequence of Einstein’s theory of relativity. In everyday life, we’re used to speed being relative — so, for example, a car traveling at 60 mph (97 km/h) relative to a stationary observer would be seen as moving at 120 mph (193 km/h) by a driver going in the opposite direction at the same speed.

This same phenomenon also impacts time. Depending on an observer’s relative motion or their position within a gravitational field, that observer would experience time passing at a different rate than that of another observer. This effect, known as time dilation, becomes detectable only under certain conditions, although at a low level, we’re subject to it all the time. Let’s take a closer look at the theory of time dilation and some of its consequences, including GPS errors and the famous twin paradox.

Full Story From Live Science

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