A type of relativity which seems to have gone unnoticed

Subhash Chandra Sawhney
3 min readJul 8, 2023

Einstein told the world about two types of relativity — “General Relativity” and “Special Relativity” but it has occurred to me that not two — we have one more type of relativity, which also contributes to the dilation of time.

Let us begin our talk with the “Time Dilation Equation”. [1]

We calculate the “Dilation of Time” employing the following equation.

(Image Credit: Shutterstock)

In this equation, if the speed of a satellite may be “v”, “ is the value of dilated time interval as compared to the normal time interval t”.

Of course, “c” stands for the “Speed of Light”.

Since in the case of the GPS satellites used for navigation, timing errors of just a few nanoseconds (billionths of a second) can lead to a positioning error of hundreds of meters, if you’re trying to pinpoint a specific address, the GPS has to be updated by calculating the dilation of time using this equation.

Though the time intervals of GPS have to be adjusted to the extent of 38 microseconds (millionths of a second) per day to achieve the desired accuracy — in the case of Voyager, both special and general relativity contribute to this figure, with 45 microseconds coming from gravitational time dilation and minus 7 microseconds from the speed-related effect.

Agreed — since only physical things may dilate, it is quite imbecilic to assume that it should be possible for time to dilate since it is not a physical thing.

But the fact is — time does not get dilated.

What gets dilated may be best understood in the following manner.

If we move at relativistic speeds, the interval between events gets elongated.

Let us understand it — this way.

If you travel in a spacecraft moving at 98.97% of the speed of light, if the clock on the spacecraft may run for one hour, the clocks on the Earth would have run for seven hours during the same interval of time, since “Time Dilation Equation” gives a value of “v” as “0.9897c ” for “t´ = 7t”.

What gets dilated is the “interval of time” — not “time” but instead of calling it “Dilation of the Interval of Time”, we briefly call it “Dilation of Time”.

But let us revert to the fact that in the case of Voyager, while the figure of “45 microseconds” comes from gravitational time dilation, the figure of “minus 7 microseconds” comes from the speed-related effect.

But howsoever minimal effect it may have, we can’t deny that since the satellites do not travel along a straight line, they travel along a curved path as shown in the following diagram — they cover a longer distance than the distance, they would have covered had they been traveling along a straight line.

So don’t you think — they take a little longer time also because it takes them more time to cover a longer distance since they do not travel along a straight line?

Does it not imply that this aspect should be also taken into account when we make adjustments for the Voyager due to general relativity and special relativity?

Once we agree that this aspect should be also taken into account, we may as well call such adjustment in time an adjustment due to “Geometrical Relativity”.

May I request you to send me your comments — positive or negative, by email at subhashchandrasawhney@gmail.com so that based on your comments, I may either delete it or, edit it.

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[1] https://www.livescience.com/what-is-time-dilation

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Subhash Chandra Sawhney

A mechanical engineer,born in year 1939, lives in Lucknow, India. Has authored six books. Website https://sawhneysite.wordpress.com;facebook.com/sawhney.lko