Observer looking out through the window of a train


I'm not convinced brightmagus' answer is completely accurate. The real reason is not "perspective", which simply aligns things in your image, but "field of view" (FOV). You see everything in a particular angle (your eye is at the vertex of the angle), and from basic trigonometry the absolute length of the scene you can take in is a function of the FOV and the distance from your eye. Since you are travelling at a fixed rate of speed, you move past a full scene-width close to the train in far less time than a full scene-width far from the train.
To use his numbers: if you're moving at 10 m/s, then for a FOV which covers 10 m at a distance of, say 100 m away (this is rather narrow), you'll see a whole new scene every second. But looking 1 km out, it'll take approximately 10 seconds to move to a whole new scene.


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Updated on June 27, 2020


  • Qmechanic
    Qmechanic over 3 years

    When travelling by a train, it seems that the nearby objects move in the opposite direction(which I can explain) but the distant objects appear stationary. I can't explain this. By the concept of relative velocity shouldn't all objects appear to move in opposite direction?