The relativistic Doppler effect: when a zero-frequency shift or a red shift exists for sources approaching the observer



It is shown without making use of Lorentz transformation that there exists a phenomenon of relativistic zero-frequency shift in Doppler effect for a plane wave in free space, observed in two inertial frames of relative motion, and the zero shift takes place at a maximum aberration of light. When it is applied to analysis of a moving point light source, two unconventional physical implications result: (1) a light source, when it is approaching (moving closer to) the observer, may cause a red shift; (2) a zero-frequency-shift observation does not necessarily mean that the light source is not moving closer, and in contrast, the light source may be moving closer to the observer at a high speed. This fundamental result of special relativity may provide an alternative way to experimentally examine the principle of relativity, and might have a significant application in astrophysics.