Length Contraction in Special Relativity

This chapter provides an introduction of length contraction in special relativity. Topics include a thought experiment showing length contraction; deriving length contraction formula; reciprocity of length contraction.

Length Contraction - Moving Object Is Shorter

Demonstration of Length Contraction

Length Contraction Formula and Lorentz Factor

Reciprocity of Length Contraction

Takeaways:

• Length contraction in special relativity refers to the phenomenon of difference of object lengths in the moving direction as measured by observers in different inertial frames that are moving relative to each other.
• Special relativity predicts that the length of a moving object is contracted (shorter) when measured in a stationary frame in the moving direction.
• Length contraction is reciprocal: moving object is shorter when measured by a stationary observer; and stationary object is shorter when measured by a moving observer.
• Length contraction factor is sqrt(1-(v/c)**2).