when you fly on a planebeyond the noise and hustle and bustle of everyday life, lies a fascinating mystery: time flows differently.
Albert Einstein, with his keen perception of the universe, had already hinted at this peculiarity. Now, modern science offers us a clearer look at this phenomenon, especially with regard to the airplane travel.
When we travel on a planewe not only move from one place to another, but we also enter a domain where the rules of time, according to Einstein, change slightly.
This effect is due to two main factors: speed and gravity. Einstein’s theory of special relativity tells us that a moving clock tends to keep time more slowly compared to a stationary one.
Imagine an intergalactic traveler embarking on a journey at near-light speeds; Upon his return, he would discover that he has aged less than his twin who stayed on Earth.
This phenomenon, known as time dilationis a cornerstone of modern physics, although in the context of commercial flights, the difference is minuscule.
It takes millions of kilometers in the air to not age in seconds
However, there is another player in this dynamic: the gravity. Einstein’s general relativity It teaches us that a clock in a stronger gravitational field (such as on the Earth’s surface) ticks more slowly than one in a weaker field (such as several kilometers in the atmosphere). Therefore, at higher altitudes, the clock should speed up.
In the case of airplanes, these two effects overlap. Aircraft fly at high enough altitudes where the weak gravitational field speeds up the clock more than the high speed slows it down.
Thus, airplane passengers, with today’s speed, age a little faster, although the difference is so small that even the most frequent travelers would not notice significant changes in their aging.
To illustrate this with a concrete example, 16 million kilometers flown is equivalent to 59 microseconds more aging. Nothing to worry about.
This phenomenon, although subtle and barely perceptible in our daily lives, reminds us that the universe is a place of unfathomable wonders, where even An ordinary flight can touch the limits of what Einstein once imagined.