Focus-Science and Technology - - Guide to the Cosmos -

Imag­ine a clock made from two par­al­lel mir­rors with a pho­ton ( par­ti­cle of light) bounc­ing be­tween them. If the mir­rors are placed the cor­rect dis­tance apart, the pho­ton will take one sec­ond to make a round trip be­tween them ( A). If the clock is mov­ing hor­i­zon­tally, how­ever, the pho­ton will trace out two sides of a tri­an­gle, trav­el­ling a greater dis­tance (B). Since the speed of light is con­stant, the pho­ton will take longer to bounce be­tween the mov­ing mir­rors, and – from our point of view – each sec­ond on the mov­ing clock will take longer than on the sta­tion­ary clock.

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