Thursday, October 11, 2007

"Space behaves more like a material than an empty vacuum"

Well this is no news to anyone who has read Reich's Cosmic Superimposition or my paper on "A Dynamic and Substantive Cosmological Ether".   Quick... burn the books!


Space discovery may challenge Einstein's theory

In August, an international team of scientists made a discovery that could radically change our view of the universe.

The team, which includes Professor Daniel Ferenc of UC Davis, operates and analyzes results from the MAGIC (Massively Atmospheric Gamma-ray Imaging Cherenkov) telescope located in the Canary Islands.
The MAGIC team discovered that high-energy photons emitted from a black hole more than 300 million years ago arrived four minutes later than the low energy photons. This discovery casts doubt on Einstein's theory of relativity, which has been the basis of modern physics for many years.
"This is somehow like a completely new phenomenon," Ferenc said in a telephone interview.
The new results suggest that our old view of space is incorrect and that space behaves more like a material than an empty vacuum.

The photons, tiny packets of energy that make up light, started their life more than 300 million light years away in Markarian 501, a galaxy with a black hole at its center. From time to time, Markarian 501 sends out bursts of gamma rays in the direction of Earth.
The scientists working with the MAGIC telescope analyzed two kinds of photons interacting with the Earth's atmosphere. Both kinds of photons were believed to have been emitted at the same time, yet high-energy photons arrived four minutes later than low-energy photons. These observed results contradict Einstein's general theory of relativity, which claims that all photons travel at the same speed.
"If photons are genuinely slowed down in vacuum, this effect would mean the breakdown of relativity," Ferenc said.
And what's even more amazing is the delay of four minutes precisely matched a theoretical prediction made before the observation by Professor John Ellis 10 years ago.

However, the MAGIC scientists are not celebrating yet. Before making any theoretical claims, the scientists will have to duplicate the results and eliminate alternate explanations.
"This is an important measurement that will become significant if another source is measured and the time delay is correlated with distance to the source," said UC Davis physics professor Mani Tripathi, who was involved with CACTUS, a UC Davis-run project very similar to MAGIC.

In other words, by observing other objects similar to Markarian 501, and observing a similar phenomenon, the MAGIC team will be able to test its original findings.
"It's only a question of time," Ferenc said about observing another such photon delay.

So, is the theory of relativity dead? Is our current understanding of the universe flawed?

"Relativity's pretty well trusted," said John Stilley, a graduate student of physics at UC Davis, who worked with the CACTUS telescope project. "I trust it."
It is more probable that the observed photon delay is due to our incomplete understanding of Markarian 501 than due to flaws in the theory of relativity, Stilley said.
"I think it's more likely it has to do with their understanding of Markarian and how it works than how to change relativity," Stilley said.
Stilley stated that he would remain skeptical until more data is gathered.
"But that's the goal of a scientist," he said.
Therefore, before we can rewrite the physics textbooks, much more theoretical work and many more observations have to be made.

"More measurements will shed light on this issue," Tripathi said.
However, the fact that the MAGIC telescope was able to observe this effect shows the amazing potential of the new technology that is now available to physicists.
"The telescope technology has evolved and this effect is now observable by the MAGIC telescope, something that an earlier effort by the Whipple telescope did not manage," Tripathi said.

This new technology is sure to give us new and amazing discoveries in the very near future.
"Whenever you open a new window on the universe, you find something very exciting, sometimes earthshaking," said Ferenc.
Whatever the conclusion, the MAGIC team's discovery proves that the universe is still capable of surprising us.
As Ferenc said about his discovery, "This is not the end, but a very exciting beginning."

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