A recent study proves that Einstein was correct! About 12.3 billion years ago, time moved 5 times slower. Let’s break it down.
Einstein’s mind-bending theory of relativity shook up how we think about space, time, and gravity. One of its core ideas is that time is not an absolute constant; it can actually change based on the conditions you’re in. His theory suggests that time and space are connected. Let’s explain this.
1. Special Relativity:
Special relativity, the first part of Einstein’s theory, deals with situations where things are moving at very high speeds, close to the speed of light. As you approach this incredible speed, strange things start to happen. Time for you seems to slow down compared to someone who’s not moving that fast.
Scenario 1: Alice and Bob
Imagine two individuals, Alice and Bob. Alice stays on Earth, while Bob takes off in a super-speedy spaceship. Now, according to Einstein’s brilliant theory, when you’re moving super fast (like Bob in his spaceship), time itself starts to behave differently.
Time for Bob will appear to pass more slowly compared to Alice. From Bob’s perspective, his own clock will tick at a normal rate, but when he looks at Alice’s clock, it will seem to be running faster. This is time dilation due to relative motion.
If Bob spends some time in his spacecraft and then returns to Earth, he will find that less time has passed for him compared to Alice. For example, let’s say Bob travels at a high speed for one year (according to his clock). When he returns to Earth, he may find that several years have passed for Alice. For Bob, it’s like time-traveling to the future!
2. General Relativity:
The second part of Einstein’s theory, general relativity, focuses on gravity and massive objects like planets, stars, and black holes. It explains that these massive objects actually bend space and time around them. When gravity is stronger, time moves more slowly. This is due to the curvature of spacetime, which causes time to slow down in stronger gravitational fields.
Scenario 2: Mary and John
Meet Mary and John. Mary is on Earth, and John is near a huge black hole. This black hole’s gravity is so mighty that it actually stretches and slows down time around it. So, while John hangs out near the black hole for a bit and then heads back to Mary, he might notice something wild: time passed slower for him than it did for Mary on Earth.
Imagine John’s clock ticked off just one year for him while he was near the black hole. But for Mary, back on Earth, a longer time might have passed by. When John and Mary reunite, he might find that Mary has aged more than him during that time! John’s little time adventure near the black hole was like a journey into a slower time zone, making him kind of a time traveler into the future!
Connecting the Dots
So recently, when scientists looked at cosmic black holes and their extreme gravitational pull, they realized something mind-blowing. By observing how time behaves near these powerful cosmic objects, they calculated that about 12.3 billion years ago, time was moving super slowly. If we could somehow go back there for just a year and then return to the present, it’s as if 5 years would’ve passed in our regular time frame, as per this new research!
This means that in the past, the environment must have been extreme due to the effects of either high speed or strong gravity, and time moved slower then. Time runs differently depending on where you are and how fast you’re moving in space. This is what Einstein said. So time and space are connected! Einstein’s genius. Confirmed!
These scenarios with Alice, Bob, Mary, and John, combined with the mind-boggling study of cosmic black holes, all come together to support Einstein’s incredible theory of relativity. In fact, this is called time dilation.
While time dilation is happening, it does not let us time travel like in sci-fi movies. Time travel is still purely speculative and goes beyond our current scientific understanding. It is in theory and a big mystery!