Old 02-21-2009, 02:45 AM #1
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Default "C" is Maybe NOT So Predictable

http://www.skyandtelescope.com/news/39867717.html

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Old 02-21-2009, 03:29 AM #2
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Default Re: "C" is Maybe NOT So Predictable

So these gamma rays, after traveling for 12.2 billion years were delayed by 16.5 seconds... or a difference of 0.0000000000000000023%... I've gotta think there's got to be some sort of margin of error in the speed of light which would account for this. :P
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Old 02-21-2009, 06:06 PM #3
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Default Re: "C" is Maybe NOT So Predictable

I'm guessing that they ran into some matter, which would slow the light as it was passing through. (Hydrogen, helium, something like that. Just a small concentration.)

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Old 02-21-2009, 06:55 PM #4
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Default Re: "C" is Maybe NOT So Predictable

Don't confuse me for an astrophysicist (Ok, so that wouldn't really happen anyway), but what they're interested in is the fact that the high-energy gamma emissions are seemingly traveling slower than the lower energy emissions (such as visible spectrum?), because they detected the low energy emissions 16.5 seconds before the high energy.

So, in that case, both should be taking near the same path of travel, which rules out the idea that trasmission medium is slowing it down (like gas) if you assume it slows down all light equally. Also, their idea also assumes (as they mentioned) that both were emitted from the source concurrently (same time), yet arrived separately. It could be that one is emitted before the other, which would account for the difference, so they are now going to measure many more instances and see if there is any difference in time due to distance, which would be evidence for their original theory.
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Old 02-21-2009, 08:52 PM #5
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Default Re: "C" is Maybe NOT So Predictable

The main question here is, "Is the speed of light truly "constant" or are these two types of "light" emitted at different times (a lag of 16 seconds during an explosion is a pretty long lag).

We either don't understand light like we thought or we don't understand the sources of Gama rays as well as we thought.

The more interesting question of the two is, "What if the speed of light isn't constant like we believe?" The entire field of physics is based on that belief

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Old 02-21-2009, 09:04 PM #6
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Default Re: "C" is Maybe NOT So Predictable

We learn something new everyday huh? Well, at least that was what i was was taught. There are only 2 constants in life, death and change, choose one! Quote from my J.R.O.T.C. instructer.
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Old 02-21-2009, 09:40 PM #7
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Default Re: "C" is Maybe NOT So Predictable

Quote:
"What if the speed of light isn't constant like we believe?"
We'd divide by zero and explode.



But now, seriously, this would be awesome (in a geeky way), discovering that everything we believed has a twist now
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Old 02-21-2009, 09:43 PM #8
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Default Re: "C" is Maybe NOT So Predictable

Quote:
Originally Posted by Niko
Quote:
"What if the speed of light isn't constant like we believe?"
But now, seriously, this would be awesome (in a geeky way), discovering that everything we believed has a twist now
Can you spell paradigm shift?

Peace,
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