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Finding: A Constant of Nature May Vary in Different Parts of the Universe

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posted on May, 12 2011 @ 09:02 PM
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this is the question asked in a paper going through the peer reveiw process

it is an interesting idea that cause a lot of head scratching..............


Data from the Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile to analyze the light from distant quasars, which shows that one of the constants of nature appears to be different in different parts of the cosmos, supports the theory that our solar system is an area of the Universe that is "just right" for life; which negates Einstein's equivalence principle, which states that the laws of physics are the same everywhere.

"This finding was a real surprise to everyone," says John Webb of the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. The change in the constant appears to have an orientation, creating a "preferred direction", or axis, across the cosmos, an idea that was dismissed more than 100 years ago with the creation of Einstein's special theory of relativity.


The report describes how the "magic number" known as the fine-structure constant –- dubbed alpha for short –- appears to vary throughout the Universe, says the team from the University of New South Wales, Swinburne University of Technology and the University of Cambridge. The work is currently under peer review.

“After measuring alpha in around 300 distant galaxies, a consistency emerged: this magic number, which tells us the strength of electromagnetism, is not the same everywhere as it is here on Earth, and seems to vary continuously along a preferred axis through the Universe,” said Webb.


link to source

so what does all this mean?

The core finding of the new study is the fine structure constant, also known as alpha. This number determines the strength of interactions between light and matter. A decade ago, Webb used observations from the Keck telescope in Hawaii to analyze the light from distant galaxies called quasars. The data suggested that when the quasar light was emitted 12 billion years ago, the value of alpha was very slightly smaller than it appears in laboratories on Earth today.



Co-author Dr. Michael Murphy, of Swinburne University of Technology, says the discovery will force scientists to rethink their understanding of Nature's laws.

"The fine structure constant, and other fundamental constants, are absolutely central to our current theory of physics. If they really do vary, we'll need a better, deeper theory," Dr. Murphy says.


one of the interesting things if this were to be validated would be different atoms would have different properties in different locations, the relationship between light and matter may not be constant accross the universe.

this can effect gravatational lensing potential and time/distence calculations and aproximations.

this is an interesting paper to watch for if it passes reveiw

xploder
edit on 12-5-2011 by XPLodER because: remove extra clutter




posted on May, 12 2011 @ 09:46 PM
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Originally posted by XPLodER
this is the question asked in a paper going through the peer reveiw process


Its not a new idea though. I remember reading some years ago that this variation of fine structure constant was detected, but more testing was needed before they could say for sure whether or not it was just a silly side effect mismeasurement of something they hadnt thought of.
Nice to know that the numbers are now coming in and the universe is still wierder than we first imagined.


Edit - according to wikipedia...
In 1999, a team led by John K. Webb of the University
of New South Wales claimed the first detection of a variation in α


Now this is the same guy referenced in your article, so it may just be that he's still pushing his same (possibly incorrect) idea all these years later. I'd feel more comfortable if it was replicated by other people.


edit on 12-5-2011 by alfa1 because: more content



posted on May, 12 2011 @ 10:27 PM
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reply to post by alfa1
 


ok i might have to curb my excietment a bit
but how interesting would it be if correct?
different gravatational effects on light
different material effects in atoms
slower time passage

a ripple in the fabric of the universe
a dark flow.........

xp



posted on May, 13 2011 @ 02:32 AM
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This is not a unique theory by any means, but it is the first time I can remember seeing someone presenting evidence to back it up. If true, it would revolutionize physics, especially astronomy.

I've wondered personally whether the Pioneer Anomaly had as its root cause something like the authors of that paper suggest, i.e. that physical constants or laws that we believe are universal in fact only apply under near-Earth conditions. (analogous to the way that Newton was correct under normal situations, but his laws are wrong when applied to near light speed velocities, and require relativity instead there) I didn't come up with this theory, but I find it an intriguing one, and it would be fascinating to see whether there was a correlation.



posted on May, 13 2011 @ 07:48 AM
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reply to post by XPLodER
 

Not news, I’m sorry to say, and already discussed more than once on ATS.

Quasars Hint That the Laws of Nature Change Over Time

Universal "constant" actually varies with time and space

Evidence shows differences in the "fine-structure constant"

Essentially, the amount of variation is so tiny that a big chunk of the observable universe falls into the ‘Goldilocks zone’, so this certainly does not imply we are alone in space, or indeed have any real and present consequences at all.

The threat to equivalence principle may be real. It is too soon to tell. But frankly, I’m putting my money on Einstein. In test after test after test, his most bizarre predictions keep being experimentally verified.


edit on 13/5/11 by Astyanax because: it seems I do not know how to spell 'chunk'.



posted on May, 13 2011 @ 08:35 AM
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As a former professional theoretical physicist, I can tell you that most of my colleagues don't believe this result for one moment because they point out that it is based upon measurements by two different telescopes, not one, and so may be subject to systematic errors that have not been taken into account. The new work by Webb and his colleagues includes more than double their previous amount of data and combines observations from Keck Observatory atop Hawaii’s Mauna in the northern hemisphere with the Very Large Telescope atop Cerro Paranal in Chile in the southern hemisphere.

Until the result is confirmed by measurements using just one instrument, so that all possible sources of error can be accounted for, this conclusion will remain controversial and dismissed as possibly due to experimental errors that have been compounded by using two different instruments, for it is well-known that different laboratories sometimes measure values of fundamental constants that are outside their mutual experimental uncertainties.



posted on May, 13 2011 @ 05:52 PM
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reply to post by micpsi
 


thank you for your responce,
as to the statistical errors of using two independant systems to measure one variable you are correct there are a number of reasons to question the data, no matter the amount of data as a flawed observation would give flawed results.
i wounder out loud if the amount of data and the period of time for the observations adds credence to a flawed test or adds credability to an acual observation.
i do think the two seperate sources are a real problem,

however i do not require the data sets and methology and orintation information to make a conclusion,
obsevations of this type are in line with my personal pet theories,
and i am biased to the discovery as they suit my model better than the "einstienen" even fine alpha constant.

alot of what we know relys on the fine structure alpha being a constant, and infact if there was a difference in this constant alot of what we know would require re examination of most of physics and some cosmology.
this means that the news would not be liked by some as there preconceived ideas would now be challenged.

this makes most people uncomfortable because if true we would again be at the starting of discovery instead of nearly finsihed.

i am not saying that it is ok to dis regaurd the strict conditions observed by scientists to ensure observations are valid, i am saying that this particular finding would make so many people uncomfortable and feel the need to preserve their understanding of the universe untill a new understanding was avaliable.
a new model that was able to explain the why and how of alpha being different.

this is similar in mind to saying the sun is a plasma ball
instead of burning gas

while both are true only the plasma ball recognises the electrical contribution to the process

i personally think this type of observation will out live the current astrophyisists and eventually be accepted as observable fact.

this is only my opinion from what my physiscs teacher taught me
it takes a new generation with different ideas to "replace" their teachers and teach new ideas.

i mean no disrespect to teachers mearly
if something takes a lifetime to learn it usally takes a lifetime to unlearn.

i am personally going out on a limb here
to disagree with einstein does not mean i discount his brillence or his achievments
as he was obviously a very important man
but to be scared of "thought experiments" that break his laws are redundant as einstein himself
used to fly in the face of accepted though through his thought experiments.

i understand the validity of the data is paramount to science

but to theretical physics the bounds of one mans ideas should not limit one to anothers boundries.
and maths can explain a constant fine structure alpha

but so to could maths explain why the universe orbits the earth and did for a while.

so if observations do not fit with current ideas i tent to try and "thought experiment" the problem.
as einstein would do and approve of if others tryed,

so i the spirit of one the greatest scientists (along with Newton)
i will be using this knowledge in modelled experiments to see if it could explain some of the universe that is still theretical like the 75% dark matter we account for

and if the observations are found to be acurite i will have a good head start on the rest of ya lol

so i dont think the data will go away and eventually there will be observations from a single platform that could despell the fears of data integraty

and if proven wrong in the next few years i will have still preformed the thought experiment in a way that einstein himself would have approved of.

sometimes a pioneer acidentally trips over something new even by acident that becomes useful for others

but without trying models and just sticking to the path well trod
we will make pot holes on the same path to the same answers that trip us up

again thanks for your imput and scepticism and i will be careful not to state this info as a fact,
but i will start my models with this new info and see if dark matter is acually caused by light interactions with matter.

xploder



posted on May, 13 2011 @ 06:30 PM
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reply to post by micpsi
 


I hadn't noticed that two different telescopes were used. That could conceivably affect things, but you'd think that a good physicist would realize the potential issue there and see if the theory still holds when they consider only data from telescope 1 in isolation, and then data from telescope 2 in isolation. Maybe they did this; I have no idea, but it seems like it would improve the validity of their claims to do so.



posted on May, 13 2011 @ 06:59 PM
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Originally posted by XPLodER
reply to post by micpsi
 

however i do not require the data sets and methology and orintation information to make a conclusion,
obsevations of this type are in line with my personal pet theories,
and i am biased to the discovery as they suit my model better than the "einstienen" even fine alpha constant.

And this, kids, is exactly how you shouldn't conduct reviews of scientific literature or your own research. Ignoring methodology and data because you like the answer is a supremely bad idea.



posted on May, 13 2011 @ 07:36 PM
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Originally posted by iterationzero

Originally posted by XPLodER
reply to post by micpsi
 

however i do not require the data sets and methology and orintation information to make a conclusion,
obsevations of this type are in line with my personal pet theories,
and i am biased to the discovery as they suit my model better than the "einstienen" even fine alpha constant.

And this, kids, is exactly how you shouldn't conduct reviews of scientific literature or your own research. Ignoring methodology and data because you like the answer is a supremely bad idea.


the reason for the bias and me pointing it out was to state my position on the suject
the fact that the data has some ways to go to be entered into the scientific litrature and has been reported as part of an earlyer attempt at a similar paper that failed to gain acceptence.

i only seek to veiw the universe with this information in an absract
what would the universe "be like" in a universe where the fine structure constant alpha was not a fixed constant but was inflenced by another unseen mecanism that could be Calculated and studied,
a thought experiment about what atoms would express what charactoristics?
would light travel faster or slower with a change in alpha?
what implications are there on gravity?
what does plasma do?

stuff like that

not because the science is settled
because it is interesting to see the difference that a VERY small difference in alpha "thought experment"
could show why somethings form as they do,
or have properties that are measured as they do

think outside the box with me here
if the ilsand of stability were different in a different galaxy what would that do to the matter of that galaxy?
that kinda thing

i would like to learn more about the experiments at each telescope and why the findings are of question,
not that i doubt either the reason nor the person ............ just sounds contentious ?

xploder



posted on May, 13 2011 @ 07:52 PM
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i imagine that a very small change in the fine structure constant could have implications for the gravatational lenses we use for looking back far into the universe, if the light matter equations are different from our models here then what we see through them is in a different place.

if the matter light equation were to be questioned and a lens at a distence of 10 billion years away
that light is traveling through the lens has a different refractivity than we expect we could be looking further away than we think

this is ONE the "implications" of a VERY small change in alpha would represent to our universe
in the op the link to source

extra ordinary claims require extra ordinary proof

but thought experiments even failures can trip over success

xploder



posted on May, 13 2011 @ 09:10 PM
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Originally posted by iterationzero

Originally posted by XPLodER
reply to post by micpsi
 

however i do not require the data sets and methology and orintation information to make a conclusion,
obsevations of this type are in line with my personal pet theories,
and i am biased to the discovery as they suit my model better than the "einstienen" even fine alpha constant.

And this, kids, is exactly how you shouldn't conduct reviews of scientific literature or your own research. Ignoring methodology and data because you like the answer is a supremely bad idea.


at this point in time this issue is being raised and i have clearly stated my bias in this matter
what is your bias?

i draw no conclusion as to weather or not the data is flawed because it is erelevent to the thought experiment

i draw no conclusion as to weather the fine constant alpha is or is not acually a constant.

i ask people to "think" about the subject and i state my bias and my interpretation and ask for others ideas and thoughts

others are free to imput correct and explain their veiwpoint

as are you


xploder



posted on May, 13 2011 @ 09:26 PM
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I believe that the cause of this is the degradation of matter!

This may be that there is a cause of accelerated degradation, perhaps electrons are being influenced by black holes, and that factor is causing matter to degrade faster then the matter in our region.



posted on May, 13 2011 @ 09:40 PM
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Originally posted by You2Two2AreSpecial
I believe that the cause of this is the degradation of matter!

This may be that there is a cause of accelerated degradation, perhaps electrons are being influenced by black holes, and that factor is causing matter to degrade faster then the matter in our region.


star
this is exactly the type of thinking i like
if black hole matter interaction was variable would that effect the speed to entrophy?

nice

xploder



posted on May, 13 2011 @ 09:54 PM
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Originally posted by XPLodER

Originally posted by You2Two2AreSpecial
I believe that the cause of this is the degradation of matter!

This may be that there is a cause of accelerated degradation, perhaps electrons are being influenced by black holes, and that factor is causing matter to degrade faster then the matter in our region.


star
this is exactly the type of thinking i like
if black hole matter interaction was variable would that effect the speed to entrophy?

nice

xploder


My automatic thoughts would be the number of black holes in a region..? But I might also go with the relative distance of the said number of black holes. (These being testable possibilities)

I would then go on to say the obvious: possibly the time the black hole has been present..?



posted on May, 13 2011 @ 10:14 PM
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reply to post by You2Two2AreSpecial
 


relitive to age of the black hole
interesting indeed
i like the idea that the most massive powerful thing in the galaxy has an influence on "matter" in that galaxy

xploder



posted on May, 15 2011 @ 05:50 PM
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Originally posted by XPLodER
reply to post by You2Two2AreSpecial
 


relitive to age of the black hole
interesting indeed
i like the idea that the most massive powerful thing in the galaxy has an influence on "matter" in that galaxy

xploder


Would make the electrical universe theory very interesting, wouldn't you think.

I would say more likely is the relative distance of matter to black hole... Very testable.



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