Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The Genie Has Left the Bottle

Today's Cassini photo was taken from a distance of 1.58 million kilometres by the Visual Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIRMS). In the 2.3 microns (blue) reflected light from the Rings predominates. At 3.0 microns (green) Saturn herself reflects the most sunlight. At 5.1 microns we see that an immense amount of heat comes from deep within the planet. The wide range of latitudes for this radiation suggests a heat source in the planet's core, like an internal singularity.

Kea has an update on the controversy about VSL, or a Variable Speed of Light. Recently George Ellis offered a critique, and Motl echoed some of his statements. The latter referred to a "VSL Industry" growing up. Once completely out of consideration, this shows that a changing speed of light is now a subject of discussion. When an idea shows promise, others want on the bandwagon.

Someone also took time to dismiss some VSL theories as ad hoc. Though he has commented on GM=tc^3 before, this time he took particular pain to leave it out of the criticism. This fellow is not so bad, and most of his comments have been positive. It is not enough to say that c changes, for people have speculated about that since at least 1875. Just as gravity is needed to explain planetary orbits, some principle must predict a changing c.

Space and Time are equivalent. Scale R of the Universe is separation from a "Big Bang" singularity, age t multiplied by c. Gravitation then requires that GM=tc^3. When t was tiny, c was enormous and the Universe expanded like a Bang. As t increases that expansion slows due to gravitation. A child could figure this out, and the idea is slowly winning.

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Anonymous Darnell Clayton said...

Hey Louise,

I think I realize why there is a lot of resistance to your "variable light speed" theory.

Scientists today use the speed of light to determine two things:

- The distances between stars and (ultimately) galaxies

- The age of our Universe

If the speed of light is slowing down (or was faster in the past) then that means that scientists (and human beings in general) really have no idea on how old our Universe is, and how large it is as well.

After all, if light was much faster, could the distances that we assume between galaxies be much shorter?

Just some food for thought...

9:04 AM  
Blogger Kea said...

Ooooh, wonderful! That image is like a BIG christmas present all wrapped up in golden ribbons. Thanks for the link.

11:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kea is right in saying "Ooooh, wonderful!".

Thanks very much for showing us the Saturn image.
It is not only beautiful but also very informative,
and is a great example of how to use the web for science.,
and it makes my day happier.

Tony Smith

1:42 PM  
Blogger L. Riofrio said...

We can all thank nature and Saturn for being beautiful, and far more logical than the humans struggling to figure them out.

For Darnell, c changes so slowly that the distances to nearby galaxies are almost the same. You hit the nail on the head about how old and large the Universe is. Age and size are the same, R = ct.

3:41 PM  

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