Relativity visualized

Space Time Travel

Supplement

Ute Kraus, April 14, 2008

Ad Figure 5:

Flight past the sun
Flight past the sun

The sun seen from a relativistic spaceship moving at 30% of the speed of light. When the spaceship approaches, the sun appears very bright; at the beginning of the movie it is about three times as bright as for an observer at rest. The spaceship passes the sun at a distance of five solar radii from its center. During the fly by, the astronaut first looks towards the front and then turns so that she always keeps the sun in view. At the instant, when the vertical bar passes the center of the image, she looks exactly to the side (i.e. at right angles to the direction of motion).

MPEG1 320×240 (548 kB), MPEG4 320×240 (474 kB), MPEG1 640×480 (1.1 MB), MPEG4 640×480 (990 kB)
Flight past the sun
Flight past the sun

The same fly by as above, but the images have been edited to suppress the change in brightness in favour of the colour change: Each foreground pixel has been scaled to the same predefined level of brightness.

MPEG1 320×240 (1.1 MB), MPEG4 320×240 (686 kB), MPEG1 640×480 (2.2 MB), MPEG4 640×480 (2.0 MB)
Flight past the sun
Flight past the sun

The sun seen from a relativistic spaceship moving at 90% of the speed of light. The images are adapted in brightness as in the preceding movie. Here, the variation in brightness is too large to be displayed on a monitor: In the first image the sun would have to be 30 million times as bright as in the last.

MPEG1 320×240 (1.0 MB), MPEG4 320×240 (678 kB), MPEG1 640×480 (2.3 MB), MPEG4 640×480 (2.0 MB)
 
Sun

Snapshot of the sun seen from a spaceship moving at 99,9% of the speed of light and close to the sun: the sun appears multicolored. The image was adapted in brightness as in movies 2 and 3. Here, the path of the spaceship approaches the sun up to a distance of three solar radii from its center. The sun is close by and subtends a large solid angle, therefore the Doppler shift varies appreciably across the image. The snapshot was taken at just the right moment to make the colours range from blue to orange. To suppress the brightness variation and clearly show the colour change, each foreground pixel has been scaled to the same predefined level of brightness.

 

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Authors: Ute Kraus, Date: April 14, 2008
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