Originally posted on Azimuth:
You probably that planets go around the sun in elliptical orbits. But do you know why?
In fact, they’re moving in circles in 4 dimensions. But when these circles are projected down to 3-dimensional space, they become ellipses!
This animation by Greg Egan shows the idea:
The plane here represents 2 of the 3 space dimensions we live in. The vertical direction is the mysterious fourth dimension. The planet goes around in a circle in 4-dimensional space. But down here in 3 dimensions, its ‘shadow’ moves in an ellipse!
What’s this fourth dimension I’m talking about here? It’s a lot like time. But it’s not exactly time. It’s the difference between ordinary time and another sort of time, which flows at a rate inversely proportional to the distance between the planet and the sun.
The movie uses this other sort of time. Relative to this other time, the planet…
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