Does light itself experience time dilation?


In special relativity, time dilation is determined by the Lorentz factor $$\gamma=\frac{1}{\sqrt{1-v^2/c^2}}$$ Say the photon travels some time $T$ in our frame of reference. It is obviously travelling at the speed of light. We see that the Lorentz factor diverges as we go to the speed of light. Thus, in order for the photon's time in our frame to remain finite, its proper time must tend to zero. This is the colloquial "time stops at the speed of light."


Related videos on Youtube

Chin Huan
Author by

Chin Huan

Updated on August 01, 2022


  • Chin Huan
    Chin Huan 10 months

    This seems weird for me. Every time I see light, I will think, "Hey, that light travels from the past far away from us!"

    Correct me if there is misconception.

    • Ryan Unger
      Ryan Unger over 8 years
      Please explain exactly what you think light experiencing time dilation entails.
    • Chin Huan
      Chin Huan over 8 years
      Based on the special relativity, time is not constant. The faster we go the more time slows down. The photon travels at the speed of c. So, is the time of the photon slowed down or stopped?
    • Hritik Narayan
      Hritik Narayan over 8 years
      I don't think light can "experience" time at all.
    • Paul
      Paul over 8 years
      If you could attach a clock to a photon ,''somehow'',then the clock will show no reading,thats what mean by ''time stops at the speed of light''.