Special Relativistic Optics

Special relativistic optics is the study of the physics of relativistic images. Where special relativity theory deals with the changing physical attributes of relativistically moving objects, relativistic optics deals with their visual appearance. Often this difference can be quite dramatic.

As Einstein's theory of special relativity became accepted by physicists around the world, most simply assumed that what was observed in special relativity would also be seen. But pioneering work by physicists in the 1960s and the development of sophisticated computer technologies (most particularly raytracing) have shown this to be incorrect.

In fact, at relativistic speeds a rich visual environment is produced by the combined effects of the finite speed of light, aberration effects, doppler shifting, time dilation and length contraction.