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Relativistic bullet (Posted on 2003-11-28) Difficulty: 5 of 5
We all know about the ultimate speed limit... the speed of light.

If person A stands on Earth and shoots his pistol, he observes the bullet to fly directly away at 1000 mph. Person B is standing right next to him (not in front) and watches this event, and agrees that the bullet flies directly away at 1000 mph.

Let's change the situation and say that B is in a spaceship, and A is in a different (and very long) spaceship with lots of windows. B's ship is hovering in space (no thrusters/acceleration). A's ship is approaching from a distance and is going to pass B's ship (very close) but at incredible speed. Make careful note that A's ship is NOT thrusting or accelerating at all, it is "coasting". In fact, A's ship is moving, relative to B's ship at 10 mph less than the speed of light. WOW!

A stands in the middle of his ship and points his gun directly forward (in the direction of travel), and fires the same pistol at the exact moment that he is passing B.

The questions are: How fast does he observe the bullet leave the gun? How fast does B observe the bullet leave the gun?

How do your answers change (if at all) if A aims backwards when he fires?

See The Solution Submitted by SilverKnight    
Rating: 3.5000 (8 votes)

Comments: ( You must be logged in to post comments.)
  Subject Author Date
??ofnoconcern2004-11-28 15:45:53
solutionvije2004-07-03 04:59:54
re(3): We actually tried this experimentPenny2004-02-26 23:02:44
re(2): We actually tried this experimentCory Taylor2004-02-25 14:07:54
re: We actually tried this experimentRyan2004-02-24 14:59:42
re(2): Solution - Yes. I have erred.Edward2003-12-07 06:18:51
re: SolutionSilverKnight2003-12-04 09:05:55
SolutionSolutionEdward2003-12-04 08:17:24
re(3): My stilborn dreamSilverKnight2003-12-01 09:33:45
relativityTristan2003-11-29 14:55:36
re(2): My stilborn dreamTomM2003-11-29 10:16:16
re: My stilborn dreamSilverKnight2003-11-29 03:29:57
My stilborn dreamTomM2003-11-29 03:24:58
re(2): What a doppler effect!Eric2003-11-28 22:46:36
We actually tried this experimentPenny2003-11-28 22:28:59
re: What a doppler effect!Eric2003-11-28 21:59:53
SolutionsolutionCharlie2003-11-28 19:37:18
re: What a doppler effect!rerun1412003-11-28 19:18:06
Some ThoughtsWhat a doppler effect!Eric2003-11-28 19:06:26
A's observationsrerun1412003-11-28 18:23:53
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