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written by Michael Fowler and Jacquie Hui Wan Ching
This simple animation illustrates the principle of time dilation, the phenomenon in which a clock that is moving relative to an observer is measured to run more slowly by that observer compared to a clock at rest. The concept of time dilation is central to a study of special relativity, and has been experimentally confirmed many times. This  simulation consists of two light clocks, one at rest and the other moving at a fraction of the speed of light. The user can change the speed of the moving clock to see that the time dilation effect is reciprocal.

SEE RELATED ITEMS for a link to: Through Einstein's Eyes Online, an interactive tutorial on special relativity appropriate for high school students.

Please note that this resource requires Flash.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Classical Mechanics
- Relative Motion
= Moving Reference Frames
General Physics
- Measurement/Units
- Reference Frames
- Special Relativity
= Simultaneity
= Time Dilation
- High School
- Lower Undergraduate
- Upper Undergraduate
- Instructional Material
= Curriculum support
= Interactive Simulation
- Audio/Visual
= Movie/Animation
Appropriate Courses Categories Ratings
- Conceptual Physics
- Algebra-based Physics
- AP Physics
- Activity
- New teachers
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© 2003 Michael Fowler
Simultaneity , Special Relativity, Speed of Light, Time Dilation, frames of reference, reference frames
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created July 25, 2007 by Enrique Suarez
Record Updated:
June 26, 2012 by Caroline Hall
Last Update
when Cataloged:
July 24, 2007
Other Collections:

ComPADRE is beta testing Citation Styles!

Record Link
AIP Format
M. Fowler and J. Hui Wan Ching, (2003), WWW Document, (http://galileoandeinstein.physics.virginia.edu/more_stuff/flashlets/lightclock.swf).
M. Fowler and J. Hui Wan Ching, Light Clock (2003), <http://galileoandeinstein.physics.virginia.edu/more_stuff/flashlets/lightclock.swf>.
APA Format
Fowler, M., & Hui Wan Ching, J. (2007, July 24). Light Clock. Retrieved June 20, 2024, from http://galileoandeinstein.physics.virginia.edu/more_stuff/flashlets/lightclock.swf
Chicago Format
Fowler, Michael, and Jacquie Hui Wan Ching. Light Clock. July 24, 2007. http://galileoandeinstein.physics.virginia.edu/more_stuff/flashlets/lightclock.swf (accessed 20 June 2024).
MLA Format
Fowler, Michael, and Jacquie Hui Wan Ching. Light Clock. 2003. 24 July 2007. 20 June 2024 <http://galileoandeinstein.physics.virginia.edu/more_stuff/flashlets/lightclock.swf>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Author = "Michael Fowler and Jacquie Hui Wan Ching", Title = {Light Clock}, Volume = {2024}, Number = {20 June 2024}, Month = {July 24, 2007}, Year = {2003} }
Refer Export Format

%A Michael Fowler %A Jacquie Hui Wan Ching %T Light Clock %D July 24, 2007 %U http://galileoandeinstein.physics.virginia.edu/more_stuff/flashlets/lightclock.swf %O application/flash

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source %A Fowler, Michael %A Hui Wan Ching, Jacquie %D July 24, 2007 %T Light Clock %V 2024 %N 20 June 2024 %8 July 24, 2007 %9 application/flash %U http://galileoandeinstein.physics.virginia.edu/more_stuff/flashlets/lightclock.swf

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Citation Source Information

The AIP Style presented is based on information from the AIP Style Manual.

The APA Style presented is based on information from APA Style.org: Electronic References.

The Chicago Style presented is based on information from Examples of Chicago-Style Documentation.

The MLA Style presented is based on information from the MLA FAQ.

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Light Clock:

Is Part Of Galileo and Einstein: Physics Flashlets

A link to the full collection of Galileo and Einstein Physics Flashlets, by the same authors.

relation by Caroline Hall
Same topic as Through Einstein's Eyes Online - Visualizing Special Relativity

A set of multimedia resources targeting high school and lower-level undergraduate students. It presents the physics of special relativity plus simulations to visualize how things look at relativistic speeds.

relation by Caroline Hall
Same topic as Einstein Light: Time Dilation and Length Contraction in Special Relativity

An animated tutorial created for novice learners that explores topics raised as consequences of the constant speed of light.

relation by Caroline Hall

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