41

This would be noticed rapidly by observations of stars with high proper motions. These are stars that through a combination of being close to us, and moving at high velocity relative to us, move noticeably against the background of more distant stars over the course of a few months. It so happens that there are no stars with high proper motion that are ...


15

Your astronomer has a number of options. Binary stars. Many binary star offer orbital periods in excess of 50 years. For example, Alpha Centauri A-B pair has orbital period of about 80 years, and Proxima Centauri - about 547,000 years. By observing this system and comparing it to "present", an astronomer may find the amount of time passed with ...


12

There are a ton of things we have telescopes pointing at that would definitely notice a 50-year jump. John and Alexander's responses are excellent examples. Here are some more: Exoplanets: There are dozens of active projects searching for planets orbiting around other stars. All telescopes involved in this kind of research would notice that the incredibly ...


9

It depends more on the person than their origin time. The standards you've set for "functionality" - food, shelter, rest, first aid - are not high, but they're also tasks that humans were much more familiar with historically than they are now. An urban human from any of the past two thousand years would be aware that a house would have a place ...


8

I think there's two questions here: when time traveling, what are the limits of what the English language can express, and how will people avoid ambiguity. The latter has an infinite number of answers. English has two proper tenses and some auxiliary verbs, Chinese has zero, and other languages may have many more. Perhaps frequent users of the 747 will ...


6

I think 1880 to 1920 is a good bet. Electricity is just invented, making it a wonder with all new possibilities. Together with other inventions in that aera (1903 flight) it might seem that anything is possible. Someone in that mindset might have a basic understanding that electricity can power a huge range of appliances and accept these changes. They can ...


6

(This answer refers to the question in the title: who will find the technology overwhelming. The body of the question asks for something entirely different, namely for the time traveller to be able to function on their own; which is a lot trickier, and depends fundamentally on the availability of money, and on pre-existing knowledge of what money even is.) ...


4

You would be surprised at what they found surprising; mass production and standardisation may be more amazing than new technology Many things which you would think seem magical might not seem so incredible to people from previous times. Television seems like it should be incredible, but there have been stories since Ancient times of people looking in to ...


4

There are already a number of very reliable methods in the other answers (and frankly, I'd only posted a comment if I could). I want to offer an answer more directed towards a plot or story element if that is where you want to go with the question: Comets Depending on how you define "solar system", there are objects that occasionally visit our ...


3

Depending on what you mean by the solar system, an early probe like voyager might be 50 years along further than you'd expect and that much harder to detect. Might make for an interesting first scientific hint.


2

Just Demonstrate It Take them in your time machine to the previous day, then let them watch themselves from a distance doing the exact things that they did that day. I'd be pretty convinced, wouldn't you? Other kinds of tricks can include the contents of a time capsule that you could get the information or contents of, either by having them before you left, ...


2

Most probably no, but you can use semi-plausible alternatives From what science knows today, the only form of time-travel is forward, through use of relativistic speeds that can slow down the passage of time for the user. What I think you should do is only semi-unrealistic (it has backings in science, but it most likely impossible). Let’s say the characters ...


2

I don’t think there is a singular cut off but there are a number of areas where the rate of change has been particularly steep. Language would be critically important, but as it is out of scope I will say no more on that. But equally important would be social standing and education on some ones view of the world, because basically educated and normal will ...


2

Just buy guns For that money you could buy plenty of weapons. Just prove to the captain you have the funds, have him contact whatever gun dealers are available and ship out the guns. Guns cost a few bucks, so just distribute 20k guns to local resistance forces. Then, you can fight an insurgency since you now own 1/4 of the French Resistance.


1

The only semi plausibe way to achieve time travel is through a process called "Frame Dragging", which involves supermassive objects moving at relatavistic velocities (technically, frame dragging can occur anywhere, but the frame dragging of the entire Earth is so small it takes specialized instruments to measure it). The "T" Machine is ...


1

I don't think a stone age person would have any difficulty after they had seen how to operate them. They might not have any clue HOW these things worked, but then neither do 99% of moderns. And they might be a lot more questioning about 'do we really need this?' Turn on tap and get water, easy. And this one is hot water? Nice but pointless? Turn this and it ...


1

Here's a Timeline of Innovations and Achievements to Help You Decide 1994 Desktop Computers 1950 Television becomes popular 1927 First commercial airline 1920 Ideas of black holes, space-time, and nuclear energy proposed 1908 Automobile becomes popular 1901 Radio begins to replace telegraph as long-distance communication of choice 1883 Sterile techiques ...


1

No era would find it overwhelming. Some places, like big cities, are pretty overwhelming to most people. The flash of light and sound is pretty overwhelming. But very low technology people often come into contact with high technology societies, and immigrate fine and adapt. I've worked with immigrants who have come from villages without much electricity. ...


1

20th and early 21st centuries Indigenous peoples in many countries face relocation of their communities for projects that are supposed to bring economic advancement. Cambodia is one such example. In order to build a dam for energy-poor and dependent Cambodia, the government and the Cambodian-Chinese consortium wanted to relocate an indigenous group from ...


1

The Hulse-Taylor binary The Hulse-Taylor binary consists of a neutron star and a pulsar in a tight orbit. These two objects emit gravitational waves at a known rate, which causes the period of their orbit to slowly decrease with time. This change in orbital period was the first indirect evidence for the existence of gravitational waves, and netted Hulse &...


1

Show them something that they can understand and use If you show modern electronics, where are they going to get batteries? Will they accuse you of using black magic? These things are too far ahead for them to comprehend as technology. They will think they are magic. Instead take: A good stock of Medications like aspirin and paracetamol, hemorrhoid cream, ...


1

A MkI Gatling Gun If it'll fit inside your time machine, a Gatling Gun and as much ammo as you can fit. The crank version invented in 1861, you may remember its effect against pre-gunpowder armies from "The Last Samura." Provided your Hero knows what fulminate of mercury is. Now I know what you're all thinking, "That's almost impossible for ...


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