The old adage, time waits for no man may be more of a myth than reality. Through gravitational time dilation, scientists have been able to prove that the speed of time is never the same in areas that have different gravitational forces. Gravitational time dilation refers to a situation where time runs much slower when it is exposed to higher gravitational potential. When comparing the time elapsing rate between a person on the earth surface with another individual in orbit, the one on the earth surface will experience a slower time elapsing rate. Simply put, the rate of time is high when the gravitational potential is slow.
In this topic, the term length contraction is often used where the length of an object appears foreshortened in any given direction . Einstein, a great scientist, went further to investigate the topic by coming up with an equation which has a lot of similarity with that of relative motion:
The t0 represents the time the event takes to be complete while tf stands for infinite distance from any mass. M is the mass of the object while G is the gravitational potential and C is the speed of the light. Lastly, r is the distance from the given object.
The equation however, can be substituted with a more efficient one that of Schwarzschild’s:
How Gravity Changes Time: The Effect Known as Gravitational Time Dilation
A number of satellites are positioned at a distance of 12,550 miles from the earth surface. They usually have a clock that ticks, which has been observed to tick faster than those on the earth’s surface. Basically, the time difference has been shown using the equation:
Since light travels with a speed of 180,000miles per second. Having a sample of two beams one with weak gravitational forces and the others with a strong gravitational force between point a and b. Similarly, we may have point c and d which is in curve shape. The beam of light will pass using the shortest distance a-b, which has been shown to result in this effect.
It is a process where photons loose energy due to a change in frequency and not speed. This occurs because the electromagnetic radiation lengthen when photons are running out of a gravitational field.
However, this phenomenon is criticised by some scholars where they claim that the offsetting of the atomic clocks may be caused by micro-meteor impacts. The daily bombardments of even the micrometeorites also causes minimal offsetting of the clocks. Radiation is another possible reason for the differences in rate of change of time. Essentially, it occurs because satellites cannot be fully protected against the radiation waves. Lead, which is the most contemporary radiation-shield is both heavy and ineffective in protecting against all types of radiations. Since the earth and the moon are always in motion, the variation in the gravitational force makes the atomic clock to off-set.
In summation, by studying gravitational time dilation, we are able to understand the off-setting of satellite clocks and the number of reasons behind it. Primarily, this information is used in modern day technology when undertaking evaluation to promote effectiveness. In light of this, scientists have a task of doing more research on ways in which off-setting of the clock can be used in various research fields.
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Herrmann, Robert A. “Gravitational Time-Dilation.”
KUMAR, SHIVAM. “Theory of Ultimate Reality.” Indian Journal of Applied Research 6, no. 7 (2016).
Procyk, Roman, and Bill Truong. “GRAVITATIONAL REDSHIFT.”