World Science Scholars
26.5 Spatial Slices in the Moving Frame

Spacetime diagrams are powerful, but they can also be confusing. In this and the next five demonstrations, we isolate various features of spacetime diagrams to help build your understanding step-by-step. This demonstration illustrates the spatial slices of a moving frame. Use the slider to choose the velocity of the moving frame. Then observe how the $x^\prime$-axis (labelled $t^\prime=0$ in the diagram because it represents all points in space at the moment $t^\prime=0$) rotates. Notice that the angle of rotation is always less than 45º, reflecting that $v$ is always less than $c$. Next, click the button to show spatial slices at other moments of time (i.e., for other values of $t^\prime$) in the moving frame. Finally, use the slider to change the speed of the moving frame and notice how the spatial slices rotate. (Convince yourself of the following: The fact that the spatial slices in the moving frame are not horizontal is the graphical version of the relativity of simultaneity.)



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