Relativistic Headlight Effect

Initializing live version
Download to Desktop

Requires a Wolfram Notebook System

Interact on desktop, mobile and cloud with the free Wolfram Player or other Wolfram Language products.

The observed luminosity of an object depends on the relative velocity of the observer and the source. When the observer moves toward the source at nearly the speed of light, the luminosity of the source appears to increase; moving away from the source, the luminosity appears to decrease. This Demonstration illustrates rays of light emitted by a source, with the rays becoming more or less concentrated along the line of relative motion as the velocity is increased. The red arrow inside the source indicates the relative velocity.

Contributed by: Kenny F. Stephens II (March 2011)
Open content licensed under CC BY-NC-SA



For more information, see the Relativistic beaming entry on Wikipedia.

Feedback (field required)
Email (field required) Name
Occupation Organization
Note: Your message & contact information may be shared with the author of any specific Demonstration for which you give feedback.