Question

One event occurs at the origin at t equal to zero, and a second events occurs at the point x=5m along the x-axis at time with ct=4m. Is the seperation between the two events lightlike, timelike, or spacelike? Could the first event cause the second event? Explain.

Answer #1

The spacetime interval of the corresponding events is

If we label

The spacetime interval for these events is

Since the spatial interval dominates the time interval, it is a spacelike event. It means that some event travels faster than light. Since no object can reach the speed of light, there is no any causal relationship between the first event and the second event. Hence the first event cannot cause the second event.

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