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Is the velocity of light constant?

Posted: Wed Sep 28, 2011 7:51 pm
by jayarezed
Just over a hundred years ago, Albert Einstein published his theory of relativity; and from a few simple lines produced the most famous equation ever, E=mc2, and the secret of energy locked up in stars was founded.
There never has been a more established icon of science since Newton, for so remarkable was his achievement.
However, a most questionable issue has been the assumed 'constancy for the velocity of light' and it's independentcy of observers, no matter how, why, or where in the entire universe it prevails.
The velocity of light is given as approxiamately 300,000 k/sec in space, but no independent measurement in space and away from the Earth's gravitational field, has ever been undertaken.

The above value was established from time displaced observations within the confines of the solar system and other terrestrial experiments on our moving planet; but this say's nothing at all of what may happen over vast galactic distances!

Like so many,I'm sure, as a young science student, I was in awe of Relativity theory and it's implications, and eventually attempted to understand it's deeper significance more fully. I particularly recall experiencing great difficulty coming to terms with the so called 'Clock Paradox', that Jacob Bronowsky did so well to put across in his celebrated T.V series many years ago.
However, my concern here, is not with the space - time matters, but the assumed constancy of the velocity of light.
Unlike the old idea of an imaginary ether, in which the Earth and all astronomical bodies drifted through, or were dragged by gravity, which was finally abanded with the advent of the 'Michelson Moreley' experiment in 1887; I propose that gravitational fields influence, if not provide, the means of the propagation of light, and that a gravitational field acts as a vibrating medium for light. And so, within the Earth's gravitational field, which moves with the Earth, the velocity of light is actually what is measured, namely approximately 300,000 k/sec. Close to say, the sun, the velocity of light would be higher, and thus less as you move further out of the solar system. It will have maximum values close by such objects as Quasars, and where super density prevails, and a corresponding minimal value within the far stetches of intergalactic space.

If my proposal is correct, then a correction to stellar and galactic distances would be necessary, and the universe would be considerably more compact.
To conclude; can we safely assume that the velocity of light as determined by early pioneers and advocated in the Relativity Theory, is not influenced by gravitational variation throughout the universe. Until this can be ruled out, we cannot say with confidence and certainty that the velocity of light [and all that implies] is constant throughout the universe.

Re: Is the velocity of light constant?

Posted: Sun Oct 02, 2011 8:19 pm
by big_kev
jayarezed wrote:
I propose that gravitational fields influence, if not provide, the means of the propagation of light, and that a gravitational field acts as a vibrating medium for light.
So you are suggestting that both relativity and quantum physics are completely incorrect.
How would this then fit in with your theory.

Posted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 6:34 am
by big_kev
As a little afterthought.

Should it be "speed" of light rather than velocity.

Velocity may actually vary.

Posted: Fri Oct 28, 2011 9:13 pm
by M54
Since the earths orbit is not circular but elliptical the large, but therefore changing, solar gravitational field would effect the measured speed of light at the earth by your theory. We sit in the suns gravitational well.

Additionally there would be variations because of the moons orbit. A quite large gravitational body pretty close to us. Go look at a tide rise and fall.

So by daylight you can see one large body effecting the value of our gravity and by night another. No special instruments required.

By your theory the evidence should show a dual sinusoidal value change to the speed of light and not a constant one. One variant from our changing distance from the sun and another from the moons gravity.

This has never been measured, and we can measure the speed of light very, very accurately.

So we have 2 large gravitational bodies that are close to the earth and which have gravitational fields that alter the gravitational field on the earth. However no measureable effect on the speed of light.
If my proposal is correct, then a correction to stellar and galactic distances would be necessary, and the universe would be considerably more compact.
Why more compact?
The "change" may make the universe bigger. You have assumed that the speed of light further out will be slower without any proof or measurement, read your own post. What if it is faster? Could slow down in a gravitational well not speed up. So then is faster as you move into interstellar space. Then your idea is upside down.

Why in awe of the relaticity theory? It is 50-60 years old now and is taught at schools in the first instance at GCSE. Hardly something to be in awe of. Physics has moved on quite a bit since then.

Is the velocity of light constant?

Posted: Sun Oct 30, 2011 7:45 pm
by jayarezed
Thanks for your comments re 'Why more compact?' After re examining my post - the velocity of light should read, greater in the earlier stages of the universes expansion because of gravitys stronger influence.

Posted: Wed Nov 09, 2011 3:21 pm
by Ryandsimmons
Satellites have traveled a long way, far far outside of the earths gravitational field, yet their signals etc still follow relativity.

If you were correct then the voyager probes would be way out of synch by now and it would have been noticed and measured.

Re: Is the velocity of light constant?

Posted: Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:17 pm
by cigarshaped
Velocity has magnitude and direction, being a vector quantity. Whereas speed is a scalar quantity, only having magnitude.

The usual question is whether the speed of light is the same in any direction or location, so I would guess that means it's velocity is isotropic. The Michelson-Morley experiment was supposed to have settled that question - at least on Earth. However many believe this not to be true. The truth is that pre-conceived notions existed before the experiments and, much like radio carbon dating, influenced the diagnosis of results. Plus Einstein was put on an immutable pedestal, so could not be criticised, hence the crazy situation of current maths-driven astrophysics.

Bob Johnson Image delivered a learned speech Evidence for the Anisotropy of the Speed of Light in 2011 at the NPA Conference. Reginald Cahill also questioned the accepted view: Re-Analysis of the Marinov Light-Speed Anisotropy Experiment. In both cases the answer is that light does change in velocity, depending on its direction. The change is not so huge as predicted but it is consistent, in respect of our position relative to the Sun.

Being a form of electromagnetic radiation, light will be influenced by the media through which it passes. We must not forget that Earth is immersed in a varying stream of charged particles (for 'solar wind' read 'electric current) and numerous magnetic fields. So it is hardly suprising that light gets varied in speed. We are receiving radio signals from the Voyagers, and assume we know how long they take. But outside our comfy Solar System we have no firm idea what influences the Velocity of light.