Lesson Plan #32         http://www.phy6.org/stargaze/Lframes1.htm

# #22   Frames of Reference: The Basics

### #22b    The Theory of Relativity

Velocity and acceleration always need to be measured relative to some fixed benchmarks, which define a "frame of reference. " Do the laws of physics depend on which benchmarks we use? This section highlights the simple concept, that two frames of reference moving relative to each other with a constant velocity are completely equivalent, and the same laws of mechanics hold in both.

Each such frame is consistent, but their observations may differ.
Section 22a describes how the motion of the Earth modifies the apparent positions of stars and the arrival direction of the solar wind.
Section 22b contains a brief non-mathematical discussion of what the theory of relativity is about. Both these are optional sections.

Part of a high school course on astronomy, Newtonian mechanics and spaceflight
by David P. Stern

 This lesson plan supplements:   "Frames of Reference: The Basics," section #22: on disk Sframes1.htm, on the web   http://www.phy6.org/stargaze/Sframes1.htm    "The Aberration of Starlight," section #22a: on disk Saberr.htm, on the web        http://www.phy6.org/stargaze/Saberr.htm    "TheTheory of Relativity," section #22b: on disk Srelativ.htm, on the web http://www.phy6.org/stargaze/Srelativ.htm "From Stargazers to Starships" home page: ....stargaze/Sintro.htm Lesson plan home page and index:             ....stargaze/Lintro.htm

 [Comment: After relativity was introduced, Newtonian mechanics also became known as "classical mechanics" to distinguish it from "relativistic mechanics." Later still different modifications to Newton's mechanics were found to be appropriate for atomic dimensions, and these became known as "quantum mechanics." (And in case you wonder: yes, there also exist "relativistic quantum mechanics")]

Guides to teachers...       A newer one           An older one             Timeline         Glossary

Author and Curator:   Dr. David P. Stern
Mail to Dr.Stern:   stargaze("at" symbol)phy6.org .

Last updated: 10-24-2004