Friday, April 15, 2011

Fiction Friday - Interlude: Time Dilation

The Effects of Sub-Space Distortions on Local Space-Time Continuum
By Professor R. Bradlei, Dept of Astrophysics, University of New Caldari

Chapter 13 - Time Dilation

The effects of relativistic speeds on local frames of reference is well documented and something every first year physics student learn: a spaceship traveling close to the speed of light has time move slower for those on board than it does for observers such that a crew that travels in a circle for a year will arrive back to find many years have passed at their originating point. This is referred to as Time Dilation.

However, with the advent of instant communication across the vast distances of space via the Fluid Router, observations of time discrepancies began to occur. At first it was attributed to poor measurements or perhaps unexpected side effects of the quantum entanglement wave form collapse decoding algorithms but subsequent diagnostics and theory testing proved them to be sound. Indeed, the scientists agreed, time was running faster or slower in different solar systems for no apparent reason, even after correcting for gravitation and planetary/solar orbital velocities.

It took many decades, failed hypotheses, and experiments before a young analyst of the Imperial Navy named Karl Ionaler correlated the observed occurrences of time dilation with naval action reports and noticed an unexpected trend: the larger and more active the Imperial Naval force was, the more pronounced the effect of the time dilation. The Imperial Navy get this insight top secret information for several years while their scientists and experts confirmed and reconfirmed the finding and sought methods to use the information to their strategic advantage. The secret finally came out when Ionaler passed on copies of the research to the Minmatar underground. He was subsquently arrested, tried, and executed for treason but his contribution to science will forever be remembered.

With the greater scientific community alerted to the research results, progress began in earnest to discover the cause of the observations.


Originally Time Dilation was thought only to occur in moving frames of reference and in the presence of gravity. As it turns out there is a third factor to consider and it is the sub-space frame of reference, or more accurately the flux of the sub-space frame of reference. Further research showed that gravitational effects of time dilation are a special case of the sub-space flux and the most significant in nature, but in most nomenclature they are referred to as separate factors.

The Ionaler research indicated that man-made starships and acceleration gates also contributed to time dilation and the reason that subsequent researchers sussed out was due to the jump drives used in those devices. The process of creating the depleted vacuum bubble for faster than light travel contributes significantly to the sub-space flux and thus contributing fractionally to the time dilation. The effect is so slight for a single warp core drive that it is almost unmeasurable (although a team from University of Caille and Center of Advanced Studies devised an experiment last year that has made progress; reference paper R129433-T) and even several thousand drives operating at the same time would cause less than approximately one sec lost per month time dilation. However, when the distances between operating jump drives closes the effects of the drives on the sub-space flux increases at an exponential rate of 0.01344 (which is referred to as the Ionaler constant). Thus when you have approximately a hundred jump drives in operation within one hundred kilometers of each other, the time dilation factor can increase to one second lost every 20 seconds; one thousand jump drives leads to one second lost for every second.

The number of variables in accurately measuring sub-space flux makes accurately determining current time dilation nearly impossible; it is much easier to use FTL communications to a non-affected frame of reference  to measure the dilation. Also contributing to the complexity of the calculations are the effects of high energy weaponry, sub-space anchoring structures, and cynosaural fields which all increase sub-space flux and interact with each other for peaks and valleys in the waveforms of the flux.


  1. /emote goes to find something less technical :p

  2. I could be mean and suggest that Star Trek TNG wants their technobabble consultant back, but I like the tone and the attempt. It fits in well with the other EVE technical blurbs on the 3 FTL technologies we use

  3. Very good :) more of this please! There is way too little background "details" on things like this in eve.