The gravitational force has a significant effect on time in a condition that is referred to as Gravitational time dilation. Time tends to go faster further away from the earth’s surface compared to the time at the earth’s surface. According to Einstein, in his theory of relativity, time can become slow as a result of the gravitational force. He notes that motion is a change in position, and this motion can only be observed relative to a certain object. Einstein argued that there is no way an observer could tell if he or she is moving or is still in one position if there was no point that the observer could use to assess his or her situation. The purpose of the current research is to give more information about the effect of Gravity on time. It adds important information in the literature that can be built on by future researchers. It is also aimed at satisfying the curiosity that the scientists have with regards to the effect that the force of Gravity may have on time. The research is also aimed at explaining the concept of gravitational time dilation to the scholars who may not have an idea of what it is and finding additional information about the topic that has been added as a result of the recent studies conducted. A systematic literature review was used in the current research to find the effect of Gravity on time. The research protocol was formulated that contained the objectives of the research, the eligibility criteria, how the data will be extracted from the literature selected, and what analyses were performed in the study.
Table of contents
Table of Contents
The gravitational force has a significant effect on time in a condition that is referred to as Gravitational time dilation (Zych, 2017). Time tends to go faster further away from the earth’s surface compared to the time at the earth’s surface. Einstein came up with the theory of General Relativity that explains Gravitational time dilation. The theory has been verified by experiment multiple times. According to Einstein, gravitational time dilation occurs because the objects that have a large mass tend to create a strong gravitational field, which is a curving of space and time. There are more space-time curves when the gravitational pull is strong, which makes time to move at a slower pace. An observer located in the area that has a higher gravitational force will not see the difference in time because his or her time will be moving at a normal pace. A person located in the area that has a high gravitational pull will observe that his or her time is moving in a normal way may observe the clock in the area with the weaker gravitational pull as moving faster. It is important to note that the differences in time do not denote any problem with the clocks, rather the time is speeding up relatively depending on how mass warps space and time. Gravitational time dilation is triggered by the difference in Gravity, no matter how small the difference may be. This paper provides important information on how Gravity affects time, providing the necessary theories that will explain the phenomenon (Barukčića, 2011).
According to Einstein, in his theory of relativity, time can become slow as a result of the gravitational force. He notes that motion is a change in position, and this motion can only be observed relative to a certain object. Einstein argued that there is no way an observer could tell if he or she is moving or is still in one position if there was no point that the observer could use to assess his or her situation. Gravity is a force that pulls all the objects on the earth’s surface towards the center of the earth. According to Einstein, the force of Gravity affected time through the space-time curvature. The equivalence principle is the starting point for the general relativity and may be used by the observer to check if there are any changes in phenomena. In Newtonian physics, no object can accelerate if it is not driven by force. Two factors can, therefore, be dilated, namely, Gravity and the velocity of a moving body. According to Einstein’s theory of relativity, time will be slower in the areas that have a strong gravitational pull, and it will be faster in the areas that have a stronger gravitational pull.
Time moves faster as an individual climbs up a story building meaning that the time on the third floor will be faster compared to the time in the basement because of the difference in height. However, the difference may to too small to the point that a person may not discover meaning that one may have to use very sensitive devices to spot the difference. Einstein’s theory of relativity argues that the speed of time will depend on how fast a person or an object is moving in relation to the other person or body. He argued that a person at home would age faster compared to his twin at home. Einstein argued that time is the fourth dimension while describing space as a three-dimensional arena.
Picturing a four-dimensional fabric that is referred to as space-time one discovers that when anything sits on the fabric, then there will be bending or dimple of space and time. The bending space and time cause the objects to move on a curvature path that is referred to as Gravity. According to the argument above, time is an important factor in deciding the strength of the force of Gravity. GPS and satellite technology have proved both general and special relativity theories. Engineers have to make calibrations to account for the differences in time because the effects of Gravity and the speed at which the satellites are moving above the earth in relation to the observers on the ground make the clocks to gain 38 microseconds a day.
The purpose of the current research is to give more information about the effect of Gravity on time. It adds important information in the literature that can be built on by future researchers. It is also aimed at satisfying the curiosity that the scientists have with regards to the effect that the force of Gravity may have on time. The research is also aimed at explaining the concept of gravitational time dilation to the scholars who may not have an idea of what it is and finding additional information about the topic that has been added as a result of the recent studies conducted. It should be noted that research is continuous, and new evidence and information are collected, and it is important for the scholars to be privy to this information because it is important in advancing the areas of study.
How does Gravity affect time?
Is the effect that Gravity has on time have a significant influence on the people and animals that live in the world?
The question here is, does everything in the universe observe this relative motion the same way? The answer is yes, everything except Light. Light behaves differently. Imagine there is a light clock which has two mirrors in the opposite directions and a light beam bouncing between them. The lower mirror has sensor attached with it which measure reading when Light after reflecting from the upper mirror hits the lower mirror. The distance between the two mirrors is d and the time for Light to cover that distance is t, to simply, t=1sec. Now it is in rest position the Light bounces between the mirrors covering distance D in one second, which gives speed of Light s. As;
Now consider we place this light clock in a spaceship. When spaceship travels in a certain speed, the clock also travels with the same speed of spaceship in the same direction. Here Light has to travel an extra distance in the same one-second. Let’s consider this distance as D and the speed of Light as S. In this case:
Here S which has to be greatest than the s, but it is not because in the late 1800’s Michelson-morley proved that the Speed of Light is Constant. This cosmic speed limit is known as C. So in this scenario:
s = S = c
So for the speed of Light for both scenarios to remain constant something has to give way and that is time. It turns out that time slows down when you travel faster and faster during the speed of Light. So faster the spaceship travel slower the time passes.
If a person standing outside the spaceship sees the light clock, then he would see that the Light travels in a diagonal path. Which makes a right angle triangle, whose height is H which is equal to τc and its hypotenuse is the distance traveled by the Light. If Light takes t time to complete this distance and as speed of Light is constant called as c than its hypotenuse would be ct. Now for base, as the spaceship is also moving with some velocity with which light clock is also travelling in the same speed, then it will also take t time to complete this distance, hence, the base would be vt. It will become a right angle triangle as shown in Fig 3.
Fig 3 Measure Time Dilation Magnitude
According to Pythagoras Theorem:
(Hypotenuse) 2 = (Base) 2 + (Height) 2
(ct) 2 = (τc) 2 + (vt) 2
By simplifying and rearranging this equation;
c2 t2 – v2t2 = c2 t02
t2 (c2 – v2) = c2 t02
Hence from this given equation of time dilation, we can exactly find out how much time has passed for people sitting in the fast moving spacecraft and in this duration how much time will pass on earth. 
Systematic literature review was used in the current research to find the effect of Gravity on time. The research protocol was formulated that contained the objectives of the research, the eligibility criteria, how the data will be extracted from the literature selected and what analyses was performed in the study. The objectives of the study included understanding how Gravity affects time and whether the effect that Gravity has on time has a significant influence on the people and animals that live in the world. The inclusion criteria in the study included the papers that have a trustable authority and that they have the relevant information that is being sought in the current research. The literature selected therefore should have adequate information with regards to the effect of Gravity on time. The literature must also have a good and recognizable authority meaning that the person who wrote the paper must be a scholar in the study. A total of ten sources met the inclusion criteria and they were included in the current research. The relevant data was extracted from the literature according to the objectives of the research. The data was then analysed and explained in the form of a literature review to enable the readers understand the progress that has been made in the body of knowledge with regards to the effect of Gravity on time.
Kersting, Toellner, Blair & Burman (2019) conducted a study on Gravity and warped time. The major objective of the researchers was to clarify some confusions in the society about the concept of general relativity. According to the authors, the reason why we experience gravitational pull on the earth’s surface is due to the warped time. They argued that Gravity is a geometric phenomenon. According to newton, Gravity accelerates the bodies that are in free fall. According to Kersting, Toellner, Blair & Burman (2019), Einstein argued that there is no force of Gravity and that objects move through a curved space time following the straightest possible rote. According to the authors, the warped time model uses the concept of geodesic curves which is a representation of a straight line in space. One of the issues that the authors note is the fact that the concept becomes somewhat ambiguous when applied in the curved spaces. Kersting, Toellner, Blair & Burman (2019) argue that the earth does not have a great mass to curve space in a considerable manner. They argue that the familiar part of Gravity that makes the objects to orbit around the sun does not represent distortion of space rather it represents time. They also argue that the warped time model provides a first step in discussing the link that exists between Gravity and time. Kersting, Toellner, Blair & Burman (2019) note that the warped time model suggests that time moves faster on the ground when in real sense time will move slowly when the clock are placed in a lower place in a gravitational field. They give three instrumental pathways that can be used in understand the link that exists between gravity and time warps. The first pathway that the authors present is the straightest paths that are located in the curved spaces and the principle of maximal aging.
The second pathway is made up of the coordinates and the distortion of the time axis. The third pathway is the warped time and gravitational time dilation from the historic perspective. The authors therefore provided important information that showed how Gravity affects time.
According to Pikovski, Zych, Costa & Brukner (2015), time dilation leads to the induction of a universal coupling between the centre mass of the composite particle and the degrees of freedom. Correlations come up as a result which will then lead to decoherence of the position of the article even without the effect of any external environment. Pikovski, Zych, Costa & Brukner (2015) note that the weak dilation on the earth is sufficient and is able to affect the micrometre-scale metre. According to the authors, Gravity accounts for the emergence of classicality which can be used in solving future concerns with regards to the matter-wave experiments.
Einstein’s insight was that when something falls it no longer feels the pull of Gravity. Falling is akin to floating in empty space. If a body falls freely, the Gravity doesn’t act on it, its act on the space and time around it is known as Principle of Equivalence. Equivalence Principle formulations include; According to the weak equivalence principle, a point mass trajectory in a gravitational field is independent of its composition and depends only on its velocity and initial position. The strong equivalence principle includes both weak and Einstein equivalence principles. Einstein says forget the idea of Gravity as force acting mysteriously between two objects (Jetzer, 2017).
Newton saw space and time fixed, independent and immutable. The three dimensional space is the stage in which things happen but time is different it ticks at the same rate everywhere in the universe. According to Newton, an object would travel in a straight line through space unless a force like Gravity acts upon it which will cause it to deviate from that path. But Einstein said that space and time aren’t fixed and immutable; they are interconnected, meshed together in what is known as Space-Time Geometry.
Gravity is not the invisible string that pulls objects together, instead a body like earth warps the structure of space and time around it. An object in orbit follows a path which is as straight as possible through that space-time, this is a fundamental part of Einstein’s vision that space and time can’t be disentangled. Additionally, space cannot be mentioned separately from time. Hence, matter wraps time as well as space. It is known as Gravitational Time Dilation and is possibly the strangest of all of Einstein’s discoveries (Jetzer, 2017).
It is extraordinary conception of reality that Einstein describes:
‘Space being curved and time is being distorted’
‘When a blind beetle crawls over the surface of a curved branch it does not notice that the track it has covered is curved I was lucky enough to notice what the beetle did not notice.’
Einstein meant that, it is as though for the beetle the universe is missing the third dimension. Just as the beetles have no sense that the surface of the branch is curved, we completely fail to perceive the bizarre ways that Gravity shapes the reality we live. Einstein’s problem was proving that he was right that Gravity does curve space itself. Since then observation after observation confirmed that matter curves space and slows down time.
It has been proven experimentally as well. Scientists took two identical clocks, one is placed on earth and the other one sent to space through satellite. Because the clock lower down is closer to the center of the earth it feels a stronger gravitational pull than the clock higher up in the satellite. Einstein’s theory says that the clock on earth ticks at a slower rate than the clock in satellite. Basically, Gravity slows time down (Viola, L., & Onofrio, 1997).
Evidence suggests that Gravity affects time. It is clear that time affects all the organisms that live in the world because it dictates how they live their lives. For instance, time guides the people with regards to when to eat, when to sleep and when to wake up. Anything that affects time will definitely affect the plants and animals in the society. The concept of gravitational time dilation gives an explanation on the effect of Gravity on time.
Barukčića, I. (2011). The Equivalence of Time and Gravitational Field. Physics Procedia, 22, 56-62.
Jetzer, P. (2017). General relativity tests with space clocks in highly elliptic orbits. International Journal of Modern Physics D, 26(05), 1741014.
Kersting, M., Toellner, R., Blair, D., & Burman, R. (2019). Gravity and warped time—clarifying conceptual confusions in general relativity. Physics Education, 55(1), 015023.
Pikovski, I., Zych, M., Costa, F., & Brukner, Č. (2015). Universal decoherence due to gravitational time dilation. Nature Physics, 11(8), 668-672.
Pikovski, I., Zych, M., Costa, F., & Brukner, Č. (2016). Reply to’Questioning universal decoherence due to gravitational time dilation’. Nature Physics, 12(1), 2-3.
Viola, L., & Onofrio, R. (1997). Testing the equivalence principle through freely falling quantum objects. Physical Review D, 55(2), 455.
Zych, M. (2017). Quantum systems under gravitational time dilation. Springer.