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written by Ute Kraus and Corvin Zahn
Available Languages: English, German
What would it be like to travel at the speed of light and directly experience the effects of relativistic speed? This website, developed by a theoretical astrophysicist, features a collection of computer models designed to help learners visualize special and general relativity. The resources are presented in cross-linked modules that provide background information and links to related reference material. Topics include "Motion near the cosmic speed limit", "Through the city at nearly the speed of light", "Step by step into a Black Hole", "Flight through a wormhole", "Light deflection near neutron stars", and more.

Of particular note is that the modules address a concept from differing points of view. For example, one module invokes a virtual world where an observer experiences relativistic phenomena, while a related module shows astronomical observations of the same phenomena in reality. This resource is appropriate for high school, undergraduate education, and general public uses. It does not address the theory behind the models; rather, is intended to supplement instruction.

Please note that this resource requires Quicktime.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
- Fundamentals
= Relativity
- General Relativity
- Special Relativity
- High School
- Upper Undergraduate
- Lower Undergraduate
- Informal Education
- Collection
- Instructional Material
= Model
- Audio/Visual
= Movie/Animation
Appropriate Courses Categories Ratings
- Conceptual Physics
- Algebra-based Physics
- AP Physics
- Activity
- New teachers
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Intended Users:
General Public
Access Rights:
Free access
This material is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 license. Use is restricted to science education in the classroom or academic lectures and seminars.
Rights Holder:
Ute Kraus and Corvin Zahn
black hole, curved spacetime, length contraction, light speed simulation, modeling relativity, relativistic effects, relativity models, relativity simulation, speed of light, time dilation
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created April 29, 2007 by Amin Parnian
Record Updated:
April 21, 2015 by Bruce Mason
Last Update
when Cataloged:
March 31, 2015
Other Collections:

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

4. The Physical Setting

4A. The Universe
  • 9-12: 4A/H4. Mathematical models and computer simulations are used in studying evidence from many sources in order to form a scientific account of the universe.
4F. Motion
  • 9-12: 4F/H2. All motion is relative to whatever frame of reference is chosen, for there is no motionless frame from which to judge all motion.

10. Historical Perspectives

10C. Relating Matter & Energy and Time & Space
  • 9-12: 10C/H3. The special theory of relativity is best known for stating that any form of energy has mass, and that matter itself is a form of energy. Even a tiny amount of matter holds an enormous amount of energy. This relationship is described in the famous relativity equation E = mc2, in which the c in the equation stands for the immense speed of light.
  • 9-12: 10C/H4. A decade after Einstein developed the special theory of relativity, he proposed the general theory of relativity, which pictures Newton's gravitational force as a distortion of space and time.
  • 9-12: 10C/H6. Under everyday situations, most of the predictions of special relativity are nearly identical to those of classical mechanics. The more counterintuitive predictions of special relativity occur in situations that humans do not typically experience.

11. Common Themes

11B. Models
  • 9-12: 11B/H1a. A mathematical model uses rules and relationships to describe and predict objects and events in the real world.
  • 9-12: 11B/H1b. A mathematical model may give insight about how something really works or may fit observations very well without any intuitive meaning.
  • 9-12: 11B/H2. Computers have greatly improved the power and use of mathematical models by performing computations that are very long, very complicated, or repetitive. Therefore, computers can reveal the consequences of applying complex rules or of changing the rules. The graphic capabilities of computers make them useful in the design and simulated testing of devices and structures and in the simulation of complicated processes.
11D. Scale
  • 6-8: 11D/M3. Natural phenomena often involve sizes, durations, and speeds that are extremely small or extremely large. These phenomena may be difficult to appreciate because they involve magnitudes far outside human experience.
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Record Link
AIP Format
U. Kraus and C. Zahn, (2001), WWW Document, (https://www.spacetimetravel.org/).
U. Kraus and C. Zahn, Space Time Travel - Relativity Visualized (2001), <https://www.spacetimetravel.org/>.
APA Format
Kraus, U., & Zahn, C. (2015, March 31). Space Time Travel - Relativity Visualized. Retrieved July 20, 2024, from https://www.spacetimetravel.org/
Chicago Format
Kraus, Ute, and Corvin Zahn. Space Time Travel - Relativity Visualized. March 31, 2015. https://www.spacetimetravel.org/ (accessed 20 July 2024).
MLA Format
Kraus, Ute, and Corvin Zahn. Space Time Travel - Relativity Visualized. 2001. 31 Mar. 2015. 20 July 2024 <https://www.spacetimetravel.org/>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Author = "Ute Kraus and Corvin Zahn", Title = {Space Time Travel - Relativity Visualized}, Volume = {2024}, Number = {20 July 2024}, Month = {March 31, 2015}, Year = {2001} }
Refer Export Format

%A Ute Kraus %A Corvin Zahn %T Space Time Travel - Relativity Visualized %D March 31, 2015 %U https://www.spacetimetravel.org/ %O video/quicktime

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source %A Kraus, Ute %A Zahn, Corvin %D March 31, 2015 %T Space Time Travel - Relativity Visualized %V 2024 %N 20 July 2024 %8 March 31, 2015 %9 video/quicktime %U https://www.spacetimetravel.org/

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