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StarTalk Radio

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Added on 27 Aug 2009, 10:18 UTC, last updated on 25 Jan 2015, 05:10 UTC


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Awesome show!! I'm a listener from the UK and have just found you as a podcast, great work, I really like it, thanks.

I have a physics question: If time travels at different rates depending on gravity, why don't satellites in orbit disappear forwards in time as time is different for them relative to us on the planet's surface? If something travels at a different rate of time it cannot be in multiple timeframes can it?


It would seem so wouldn't it? But first, you must understand that our perception of time is not THE perception of time. Time passes at different rates around the universe because of the difference in gravitational forces.

The satellites do timetravel forwards, but this timetravel is bound to the satellite itself. Were you to be inside the ISS time would pass at a different rate for you and you alone (unless of course you had some other people with you). And they will not just 'pop' out of existence because this timetravel is "relative timetravel" for you time would pass normally, but relative to us (earthlings) your time would go slower.

And it isn't in multiple timeframes for there is no overall TIMEFRAME that goes for the entire universe. It is merely perceived to do strange things.

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