Q&A: General Astronomy and Space Science
Why is time influenced by gravity?
Einstein's theory of relativity showed that space and time
are not independent. One consequence of this is that time can
appear to pass more rapidly or slowly for two different
observers depending on their relative velocities and
acceleration. According to the theory of relativity,
acceleration and gravity are equivalent, so gravity can
affect the flow of time.
One way to look at this is to view gravity as due to a warp
in space. Light loses energy as it climbs out of a warped
region of space. This shows up as a lowering of frequency of
the light waves, which means that, to an observer far from
the warp, atoms appear to vibrate more slowly, clocks run
more slowly, etc. in a strong gravitational field. To an
observer near the warp, all things out in space appear to
happen more rapidly.
For more about Einstein's theory of relativity see: