Relativistic Distortion

When objects move at relativistic speeds, some strange things happen. This is an attempt to explain some of the geometric distortions that occur.

A complete description of relativistic effects includes the following:
(These links are included for convenience. For the complete tour, click on the explanation link below.)

  1. Length dilation (due to Lorentz contraction)
  2. Terrell rotation
  3. Lines perpendicular to motion are curved and the aberration of solid angle
  4. Doppler shift
  5. Time dilation
Here, I will concentrate on the geometrical effects. I will not discuss time dilation as it causes changes in the intensity of the observed light, nor will I discuss the Doppler shift, as it as it changes only the frequency of the light.

Start the explanation here.
Brief History of the discovery of relativistic effects.

I have tried to make these pages viewable in text based browsers; the text acting to explain the pictures throughly. However, I believe that in most cases, the pictures are still necessary.


Helen Cook