Skip to comments.Speed of light may not be constant, physicists say (Whoops)
Posted on 04/29/2013 6:40:36 PM PDT by equalator
The speed of light is constant, or so textbooks say. But some scientists are exploring the possibility that this cosmic speed limit changes, a consequence of the nature of the vacuum of space.
The definition of the speed of light has some broader implications for fields such as cosmology and astronomy, which assume a stable velocity for light over time. For instance, the speed of light comes up when measuring the fine structure constant (alpha), which defines the strength of the electromagnetic force. And a varying light speed would change the strengths of molecular bonds and the density of nuclear
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They’ve been able to slow light down in lab tests for a few years now.
it is so slow in ‘rats they can’t even see it
Hussein’s halo is going dark.
It slows down considerably when it hits 0bama’s skull.
Thanks for the article now I get to go read on Mach’s Principle and compare it with this.
ill probably get yelled at again for this but according to afrophysics obama isnt really black he is just so dense light bends around him
Shocker (not). I’m also figuring it’s a matter of time (possibly soon, considering this post) before they figure out that light isn’t actually the speed limit, light has “mass”, and that dark matter/energy doesn’t exist because it isn’t needed to satisfy their observations.
Addressing the universe mathematically will teach you an awful lot, but it doesn’t solve everything. I believe it’s a “forest for the trees” problem.
Of course, to a mathematician I’m an unqualified boob - but it’s not the first time I’ve sat back and said “well duh” at one of these “discoveries”.
Refraction, like in a prism, is due to light slowing down in speed as it enters the prism medium.
He’ll never see the light.
I distinctly remember being taught the speed of light varied with the density of the material it was going through.
Light is photons right?
If you can stop it then it seems to me that the speed of those photons changed.
I’ve been saying this for years, almost always to the great derision of the scientific types. If it was that important to me I could probably go back and find the FR threads.
Pinging my favorite cosmologists. In the past, we have had some discussions where I posited that the speed of light is not really a constant.
"Screw you guys. I'm not giving back my Nobel Prize.
So slowly that you risk ramming it from behind.
Who is this fellow?
Speed Limit: 186,000 miles per second
It’s not just a good idea, it’s the law.
Yes but in matter, light propagates as a "dressed" particle. That is, it is repeatedly absorbed and re-emitted by interactions with the electrons in the medium, and it is the propagagation of this complex interaction that has the lower speed.
This is analogous to the theory of the Higgs boson imparting mass to the various elementary particles by "dressing" them with its interactions, AFAIUI.
Which begs the question. Is the universe really as d as we have been told?
Which begs the question. Is the universe really as old as we have been told?
If my memory is accurate, it is older than I am. More I cannot say. ;-)
Yes. And the “speed of light” is defined as “the speed of light in a vacuum”.
And now this paper is saying that there are different kinds of vacuum.
Slowing photons down is easy, all you have to do is send them through a medium. Are they slowing them down in a vacuum?
I don’t think that they will find that light has mass. It makes intuitive sense that they can’t both have mass and travel at the speed of light. At that speed, length contraction will cause them to become 2 dimensional, and I can’t conceive that a 2 dimensional object can have mass which would effect 3 dimensional objects. So, just a hunch, I doubt they have any mass, and if they did, they’d become something other than a photon, and travel slower than c.
Well, these guys aren’t theorizing that the universal light speed can change or decay, they’re just talking about the local light speed. Essentially, they’re saying the vacuum isn’t just a vacuum, because it’s full of virtual particles, so there is a local light speed in every region of space.
Though, if they are correct, and if something caused the density of the vacuum particles to vary over time, then that could have implications essentially the same as if the universal speed of light varied.
Well, are they then the ‘missing mass’ being looked for.
LCDR Albert Michelson, in 1918
Makes a lot of sense, solves a lot of problems.
And now seems we don’t know much about nothing...er...vacuums.
I’ve always thought that gravity has a x*3 term which is repulsive. In most normal scales, it has no function. On the galactic and intergalactic scales it can come to dominate the x*2 term which we are more familiar.
So when I tell my boys
186,000 miles per second
I’m a liar!
Man those Max Planck folks are into everything....how many fields of science are they in to?
I looked it up....80....and old Max while not a Christian at least believed in God
Unlike most smart big forehead sorts today
“CAUTION: Light Brakes for Ephemeral Virtual Unstable Elementary Particles”
Albert Michelson, the guy who determined the speed of light. He won the Nobel prize and was a graduate of Annapolis.
Chuck Missler study in genesis goes into the whole light speed thing , mostly in the 2nd session . Quite interesting
Bookmark for later read..
“length contraction will cause them to become 2 dimensional”
And I can’t conceive that ever making any sense.
Couple this with gravitational time dilation [per one Albert Einstein] and then the long ages for the Earth and Universe become much more ‘apparent’...
101 Evidences for a Young Age of the Earth...And the Universe
Starlight and Time by Russell Humpheys
The key to the starlight and age of the universe is ‘gravitational time dilation’.
Well the object itself doesn’t really become 2-d, it just appears that way to outside observers.
No, the “missing mass” is most likely not missing at all, it’s just a plug they have used to make their faulty equations match up better with observed reality.
Basically, if reality behaved according to the way the math predicts, then the spiral arms of galaxies would rotate slower than the center of the galaxy. Instead, we see the arms rotating at the same speed. The physicists try to wallpaper over this problem by saying their could be a bunch of mass conveniently hidden just where they need it, in order to accelerate the spiral arms to just the right speed. The entire idea, though, is patently ludicrous.
Makes a lot of sense, solves a lot of problems.
And now seems we dont know much about nothing...er...vacuums.
I can tell you that they suck. Does that warrant a grant of millions?
Hi Kevmo! Ultimately, isn't the speed of light a function of time? Our "human view" of time is that it is serial and linear, moving inexorably from past, to present, to future. Our concept of time is pretty "flat." Now we have these virtual particles that wink in and out of existence. These particles do not appear (to me) to be the sort of things that conform to our standard model of serial, linear time which is essentially based on observation and convention. The idea of a universal vacuum field also does not comport with this model for this vacuum is universal. Rather it seems the behavior of virtual particles points to anther temporal dimension that is not directly observable by humans, and is definitely not "flat."
I dunno. I'm reasoning as a philosopher, not a scientist. What I do know is that certain high-energy physicists/cosmologists for example the distinguished Israeli physicist Avshalom Elitzur have suggested that our current notions of time are very likely inadequate and are acting as a constraint on new breakthroughs in the physical understanding of our universe.
Just some thoughts, FWTW.
Thanks for the ping!
Ultimately, isn’t the speed of light a function of time?
***It could be a function of (dependent upon) something else as well. In Physics we see C all over the map in equations, and if it’s a function rather than a constant, then our universe is far more complicated.
Or perchance far more simple than we think???
It's a marvelous thing to wonder about.
Thank you so much for writing dear Kevmo!
What if the speed of light is not a constant?
***Then many of these items have a better than average chance of being true.
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24 posted on 04/12/2010 11:05:33 PM PDT by Kevmo (So America gets what America deserves - the destruction of its Constitution. ~Leo Donofrio, 6/1/09)
Speed of light is constant... In a vacuum.
Why do people keep leaving that last part off?
Right, which is one of my fundamental disconnects (read: problems) with how objects at speed are discussed.
How it appears to an outside observer is completely inconsequential. The object itself is still the same size/shape it was at rest because the entirety of the object is moving at the given speed.
Which leads to another part of the discussion - the question over whether turning on a flash light at light speed would project light forward onto something likewise moving at the speed of light. Again without being one of the aforementioned mathematicians I say “yes, it does” because I can’t see why the flash light/filament/photons care that they’re already moving at the speed of light. The source and target are comparatively stationary.
If the target were moving away from the source at the “speed of light”, sure, the light never makes it to the target because “that’s how fast light goes”.
The real question should be - “why is the speed of light...the speed of light?” There is so much we don’t know about this universe, and likely never will.
“How it appears to an outside observer is completely inconsequential.”
Well, no, it is consequential, because it effects simultaneity. So, because of the apparent length contraction, events can’t happen at the same time for the observer and the observed. Going back to the photon as an example, when one is emitted, we see that it takes a certain amount of time to traverse space. However, for the photon, it appears to take zero time to travel any distance. You can’t say that we are right and the photon is wrong, because in either frame of reference everything behaves as if your observations are correct. So, both of those things are true, even though it seems to be a contradiction.
“Which leads to another part of the discussion - the question over whether turning on a flash light at light speed would project light forward onto something likewise moving at the speed of light”
Well, theoretically, you should see the light project forward. However, that’s completely theoretical, because no physical object with mass that could emit photons will ever be able to reach c. The trickier question is whether an outside observer would see the light beam project forward or not.
“The real question should be - why is the speed of light...the speed of light?”
Yes that is the real question, and I don’t have much clue as to the answer to that.