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Consider a spherical light wavefront spreading out from a point source. As seen by an observer at the source, what is the difference in velocity of portions of the wave front traveling in opposite directions? What is the relative velocity of one of these portions of the wavefront with respect to the other?

5 years ago

Answers : (1)

Deepak Patra
askIITians Faculty
471 Points
							In accordance to Einstein’s first postulate of special theory of relativity, the fundamental laws of physics have the same form for all inertial reference frames. But according to second postulate, the speed of light in free space has the same value c in all inertial reference frames that signifies that the velocity of light in vacuum is independent of the relative motion of the source and the observer. A spherical wave front is spreading out from a point source and travelling in opposite directions. Since the speed of light in free space has the same value c in all inertial reference frames, thus the value of speed of light in different direction of the wave front will be same and that is c. Therefore the difference in velocity of portions of the wave front travelling in opposite directions will be zero (c-c = 0).
Again, since the velocity of light in vacuum is independent of the relative motion of the source and the observer, therefore the relative velocity of one of these portions of the wave front with respect to the other would be c.
5 years ago
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