Christmas In One Minute

Don’t you hate waiting for Christmas? Have you ever wished you could make it happen now?

With physics you can! Relativity says that the closer you get to the speed of light the slower your personal time moves compared to stationary objects. Move fast enough and years of Earth time can pass in the literal blink of an eye.

But how fast is fast enough? For example, how fast would you have to move if you wanted it to only be sixty seconds until Christmas? Well, this handly little Perl program can tell you the answer. Be aware that it does use the DateTime module to calculate how many seconds from now until Christmas morning so you may need to download that module before it runs.


#! /usr/bin/perl

# A silly little script for calculating how fast you need to move
# to make Christmas happen in one relativisitc minute

use DateTime;

my $c = 299792458; #speed of light in meters per second

# Calculate how fast you have to be moving to achieve a certain
# normal time to percieved time ratio. A.K.A. the Lorentz factor
sub speedFromTimeDilation{    
    my $timeDilation = $_[0];
    return sqrt($c * $c * (-1/($timeDilation * $timeDilation)+1));

#You may need to adjust this for your timezone
$now = DateTime->now;
$now->set_time_zone( 'America/Chicago' );
# In my family Christmas starts at 7 in the morning. Change this if you need
$christmasMorning = DateTime->new(year => $now->year, month => 12, day => 25, hour => 7);
$christmasMorning->set_time_zone( 'America/Chicago' );

#Make sure we are comparing now to next Christmas
if($now > $christmasMorning){

$secondsUntilChristmas = $christmasMorning->epoch - $now->epoch;

#We can't make Christmas come slower
if($secondsUntilChristmas < 60){
    print "It is less than a minute until Christmas morning. You can wait that long\n";

#Ratio between actual time to Christmas and our desired one minute wait
$desiredTimeDilation = $secondsUntilChristmas/60;

$neededVelocity = speedFromTimeDilation($desiredTimeDilation);

print "It is $secondsUntilChristmas seconds until Christmas morning\n";
print "To compress this into sixty seconds you would need to dilate time to:\n";
print 60/$secondsUntilChristmas*100, "% of normal\n";
print "Which would require a velocity of:\n";
print "$neededVelocity meters per second\n";
print "which is: \n";
print $neededVelocity/$c*100, "% of the speed of light\n";

Here is some sample output

It is 36423 seconds until Christmas morning
To compress this into sixty seconds you would need to dilate time to:
0.164731076517585% of normal
Which would require a velocity of:
299792051.236407 meters per second
which is:
99.9998643182701% of the speed of light

Ouch. It’s only ten hours until Christmas and we still have to go faster than 99% the speed of light. Not exactly a feasible goal. Oh well, looks like we’ll just have to get to Christmas the old fashioned way: by waiting.