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Cosmological Observations Conundrum

by wstrohm
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marcus
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Feb2-13, 11:18 AM
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Quote Quote by Tanelorn View Post
...
Over the past 2000 years we have had several instances where scientific theories have been rewritten...
...Here we have built an entire intricate cosmology pretty much on the value of the Hubble constant and the behavior of EM across cosmological distances.

... I feel a nagging doubt of a finite element of risk that our observations are somehow deceiving us.

I hope that Cosmologists will keep their minds open to the admittedly remote possibility of alternatives ...
Tan, a moment's reflection will remind you that cosmology is not based simply on redshift measurements. It is built as well on angle measurements, on counts of various types of objects, signal timing, and study of different types of radiation.

I follow the literature as a cosmology watcher (not myself an expert!) and I am constantly seeing papers that explore ALTERNATIVE theories of gravitation/geometry that offer alternative explanations for the data. But not, I think, in ways you would imagine.

I can't think of any field of mathematical science where the specialists are MORE OPEN to considering alternative theory and explanation.

So I kinda had to chuckle when I read your "hope that Cosmologists will keep their minds open to the admittedly remote possibility of alternatives..."

====================

There is a lot more at stake besides the distance-redshift relation. What cosmologists are, in effect, testing is our geometric law of gravity.

Our law of gravity is (as you know) a law of geometry and the passage of time, as well as gravitational force. It can be tested in many different ways and at many different scales (earth clocks, earth satellites, solar system scale, light-bending, compact objects, galactic scale, intergalactic, lensing by clusters, background radiation...)

The fact that there is a relation between distance and redshift is just ONE OF MANY things that our law of gravity/geometry predicts and explains.

You shouldn't get obsessed by the distance-redshift relation. That is not the basis, it is just one feature. Cosmology is not "built" on that. It is built on the GR equation as its theoretical basis and it is GR itself that cosmologists are so often considering alternatives to, and challenging and checking.
Tanelorn
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Feb2-13, 11:49 AM
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Thanks Marcus, your reply is reassuring.


Incidentally, regarding your statement, "Our law of gravity is (as you know) a law of geometry and the passage of time, as well as gravitational force."

I have asked several times now whether the observed passage of time i.e. the length of time taken for events near the BB from t=0 to say t=300K years are given in the time frame of reference then in the presence of very large gravitational fields, or the time frame as observed from here and now? Perhaps I have not worded the question properly or perhaps the question does not make sense. No one replies anyway so I was not sure which applies!

The kind of chronological events I am talking about are here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chronology_of_the_universe
wstrohm
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Feb2-13, 12:08 PM
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As I see it, your joke is about 10 years out of date. Back in 2003 various "dark energy" ideas were getting a lot of attention. People were talking about "quintessence" and "big rip". Some mysterious energy field was causing expansion to accelerate. That, I think would have been a witty time to mention "phlogiston". Now after that fad has begun to subside and one sees less and less speculation along those lines, it falls kind of flat.
Gee, sorry. My interest in cosmology is very recent. I'll try to keep more up-to-date. Should have said "cosmological fluid," I guess. BTW, I believe the value of 77.3 KM/sec/mega-parsec for the Hubble constant came from a recent issue of "Astronomy," to which my stepson subscribes. (But I could be wrong... could have been from an article in the L.A. Times, or maybe an online blog.)

I also read the first three pages of this article to try & understand Einstein's equation of General Relativity... I am totally lost. (I think I will go up on my roof and rake off the autumn leaves.)

I have another question about the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation, but that probably belongs in another forum, or at least another sub-forum... maybe you could direct me? Thanks!
Chalnoth
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Feb2-13, 12:54 PM
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Quote Quote by Tanelorn View Post
This is perpetually at the back of my mind also. Over the past 2000 years we have had several instances where scientific theories have been rewritten in the light of new evidence and understanding. Here we have built an entire intricate cosmology pretty much on the value of the Hubble constant and the behavior of EM across cosmological distances.
At this point we have too many independent, corroborating pieces of evidence for there to be much of a chance that our models are substantially incorrect.
ConformalGrpOp
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Feb2-13, 12:59 PM
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Quote Quote by marcus View Post
If you want to pursue the subject I would recommend the article you get by googling "rovelli prejudices". It's written for wide audience, is quite accessible and "down to earth". Worth a serious examination.


Dark matter and the cosmological constant are very different topics. I don't see the sense in lumping them together. Dark matter can be observed (by weak lensing) and regions of higher and lower density can be mapped---one has contour maps of DM concentration. This does NOT depend critically on precise determination of the Hubble expansion rate! (Contrary to what you suggest.)
Thank you for the rovelli prejudices search. I had previously come across the paper, but its always good to reacquaint oneself with this material.

As for dark matter, I reviewed the paper by Taylor et al investigating the gravitational lensing effects of Abell 1689 (arxiv:astro-ph/9801158v1), cited in the wikipedia discussion. One might have hoped that they had studied a better known cluster group. Though one can admire the effort, its hard to have a comfort level with the conclusions, which, though having some merit, seem to lie somewhere to the right of the mean on the speculative spectrum. See also Jorg, et als work on investigating an apparent DM filament between Abell 222 and 223 using shear distortion analysis (arXiv:1207.0809v1). As they note in their paper, "a reliable direct detection of the underlying Dark Matter skeleton, which should contain more than half of all matter, remained elusive, as earlier candidates for such detections were either falsified or suffered from low signal-to-noise ratios and unphysical misalignements of dark and luminous matter."

As for the relatedness of DM to the cosmological constant, one might suppose that, to the extent the Hubble relation informs the value of Lamda, it does not seem possible to disambiguate the results obtained by Dr. Rubin as well as van Albada (see, eg Sofue and Rubin 2001 Rotation Curves for Spiral Galaxies (arXiv:astro-ph/0010594v2) and van Albada and Sancisi (http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=008...3E2.0.CO%3B2-O), for edge on spiral galaxies from the strict interpretation of the Hubble relation as a doppler effect (as opposed to, e.g., a non Minkowskian propagation metric; See, Marmet 2013 On the Interpretation of Red-Shifts for a survey of various theories relating to redshift at http://www.marmet.org/cosmology/redshift/mechanisms.pdf)

Marmet also has an interesting paper up on arXiv "Rotation Dynamics of a Galaxy with a Double Mass Distribution", arXiv:1210.1998v1, which addresses whether the observed motions require a nonbaryonic dark matter for their explanation).

Not for nothing, but it is interesting that the discovery of the Hubble relation and the theory of dunkle Materie coincided, though of course, the non keplerian motion of the outer regions of various galactic complexes were noted earlier than Zwicky's paper on the subject.
Chalnoth
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Feb2-13, 01:35 PM
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Quote Quote by marcus View Post
As I see it, your joke is about 10 years out of date. Back in 2003 various "dark energy" ideas were getting a lot of attention. People were talking about "quintessence" and "big rip". Some mysterious energy field was causing expansion to accelerate. That, I think would have been a witty time to mention "phlogiston". Now after that fad has begun to subside and one sees less and less speculation along those lines, it falls kind of flat.
Well, nothing has really changed about our understanding of dark energy, except that we're now more confident than we were previously that the observed acceleration is real and that it's a bit less likely to be some form of modified gravity.

The main problem is that detailed experiments that allow us to nail down the nature of dark energy are very hard to do. So people generally just assume a cosmological constant because it's the easy thing to do, or a simplified, heuristic model of varying dark energy (using [itex]w[/itex] or [itex]w_0[/itex] and [itex]w_a[/itex]).

And I don't see any problem in equating the cosmological constant with an energy density. For all intents and purposes, that's exactly what it is.
ConformalGrpOp
#25
Feb2-13, 01:40 PM
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Quote Quote by Tanelorn View Post
This is perpetually at the back of my mind also. Over the past 2000 years we have had several instances where scientific theories have been rewritten in the light of new evidence and understanding. Here we have built an entire intricate cosmology pretty much on the value of the Hubble constant and the behavior of EM across cosmological distances.

I realise that it is rare or perhaps never that we can say anything with absolute certainty, but always at the back of my mind I feel a nagging doubt of a finite element of risk that our observations are somehow deceiving us.
Tan, I have had the same question. Marcus has a greater degree of confidence about some of these issues. To my understanding, (I am always ready to be further enlightened), all of the measurements, etc., he references are all the result of assumptions, which have never really been tested, about the behavior of EM radiation across cosmologically relevant distances. I have asked on this forum for any reference to any data from any experiment which undertook to test the behavior of EM waves across distances where the Hubble relation becomes observable. I haven't received any responses.

Essentially, from day one after the GR folks, starting with Eddington, got a hold of Hubble's data, at least as far as I can ascertain, no one has given any thought to conducting an experiment which would confirm that EM radiation propagates in metric that is Minkowskian at cosmological scales. You'd think that astronomers, astrophysicists and cosmologists would be vitally interested in such an experiment. Apparently, there has been little motivation for such an experiment because, as Geller and Peeble's observed, there has been a "lack of a reasonable alternative physical basis for the redshift". Geller and Peebles, Test of the Expanding Universe Postulate, AstroJ, 174:1-5, 1972.

Clearly, in the context of the time when Hubble's work was popularized, there were several GR models that indicated that we must be existing in an expanding universe. In the absence of any reasonable alternative explanation for the Hubble relation, the impossibility of conducting any experiments to verify the behavior of EM radiation propagating across great distances with the technology which existed at the time, and only lab experiment data on EM available, it is difficult to see how cosmologists could come to any conclusion other than the universe must be expanding in a manner suggested by the Hubble recession data. But why there has never been an impetus to send a space craft out to test the behavior of light with instruments up to the task continues to amaze me. It seems like such a basic thing to do given our near complete dependence on the interpretation of EM radiation for virtually all the information we obtain about the universe and its contents.

I guess I am naive to think that such an experiment would appeal to just about everyone interested in learning about our universe. But, I always come back to Richard Feynman and his quip about common sense thinking which he wrote in connection with his service on the commission charged with investigating the Challenger Disaster; "reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled." Despite this, it is incredible how many excellent minds are working in these fields and undertaking absolutely extraordinary research projects.
marcus
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Feb2-13, 02:23 PM
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Quote Quote by Tanelorn View Post
... your reply is reassuring.

I have asked several times now whether the observed passage of time i.e. the length of time taken for events near the BB from t=0 to say t=300K years are given in the time frame of reference then in the presence of very large gravitational fields, or the time frame as observed from here and now? Perhaps I have not worded the question properly or perhaps the question does not make sense. No one replies anyway so I was not sure which applies!...
I'm glad the response to your question was helpful! About the passage of time in a uniform high density universe, it's a good question and I'm not the ideal person to ask. I don't see how high density would have slowed events. Relative to what other clock? There is no "outside". I think of DEPTH in the gravitational field slowing clocks relative to clocks on a higher level. but if everything is essentially at the same level?

When I imagine being back in the early universe, nobody feels any gravity pull force.
Things falling together only came later due to very slight fluctuations in density, which grew with time.

Maybe you can think of expansion as exerting force, that in VERY early times would be pulling creatures our size apart. Since gravity=geometry I guess that pulling apart could be said to be a gravitational force.

But I can't picture any circumstance in the early universe that would slow clocks down (it's just uniform high density everywhere with no "outside" region so nobody is deep in a well)

Quote Quote by wstrohm View Post
...My interest in cosmology is very recent.
welcome! It's fascinating.
I also read the first three pages of this article to try & understand Einstein's equation of General Relativity... I am totally lost. (I think I will go up on my roof and rake off the autumn leaves.)
Baez is a talented explainer. It takes time to get used to GR. BTW you are surely not at fault. The specialists themselves can get trapped into using poor terminology. Usages that are awkward or even misleading arise by historical accident and persist. It's difficult or impossible to reform language, it has a mind of its own and we are largely at its mercy.
Language changes in its own good time and we can't hurry it up.
Some day I hope people come up with a phrase to replace "Big Bang" which sounds like an explosion from a point outwards into empty space and so is somewhat misleading. "Dark energy" is also misleading in a different way--my impression is that a slow shift has started in the direction of saying "cosmological constant" or "Lambda" instead. We just have to wait and see.
I have another question about the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation, but that probably belongs in another forum, or at least another sub-forum... maybe you could direct me? Thanks!
People at this forum (cosmo forum) love talking about the CMBR. I'm curious. What's your question?

Quote Quote by Chalnoth View Post
At this point we have too many independent, corroborating pieces of evidence for there to be much of a chance that our models are substantially incorrect.
I agree. IMHO the big change in progress now is in the direction of a QUANTUM version of gravity/geometry to replace Einstein GR (which dates from 1915 and is pre-quantum) That quantum "Son of GR" probably will not make substantially different predictions except for the early universe: pre-inflation and inflation era.

So there is a revolution in progress but it is unlikely to change the basic outlines except for very early times. I feel that it still COULD, but isn't likely to (for the reasons you referred to.)

Quote Quote by ConformalGrpOp View Post
Thank you for the rovelli prejudices search. I had previously come across the paper, but its always good to reacquaint oneself with this material.
I'm glad you are acquainted with the paper. And with so much else! You obviously have an extensive knowledge of the literature---a good deal more than mine (I would not doubt) in one or another area. Plus I forget stuff and lose track of links. I've seen a number of articles with contour maps showing DM density variation derived from weak gravitational lensing. It would be work to go and dig them up. Maybe you have some?

Not for nothing, but it is interesting that the discovery of the Hubble relation and the theory of dunkle Materie coincided, though of course, the non keplerian motion of the outer regions of various galactic complexes were noted earlier than Zwicky's paper on the subject.
The earliest DM work I knew of was Zwicky's. Can't claim to be much of a scholar on the subject.
ConformalGrpOp
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Feb2-13, 02:57 PM
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Quote Quote by marcus View Post
I'm glad you are acquainted with the paper. And with so much else! You obviously have an extensive knowledge of the literature---a good deal more than mine (I would not doubt) in one or another area. Plus I forget stuff and lose track of links. I've seen a number of articles with contour maps showing DM density variation derived from weak gravitational lensing. It would be work to go and dig them up. Maybe you have some?


The earliest DM work I knew of was Zwicky's. Can't claim to be much of a scholar on the subject.
I don't really have much on DM density; I got very interested in the lensing studies and the work done on studying the lyman alpha cloud data resulting from emissions from quasars because they might have some bearing on the questions I am interested in.

It really was Slipher who first observed the peculiar internal rotational velocities of galaxies which he reported in 1914. Slipher VM. 1914. Lowell Obs. Bull. 62. I think there is some discussion about other published observations of the same phenomena around that same time, but, I dont have that information directly at hand.

So much of the work that was done between 1900 and the 1950s has just faded from sight, and to go back and read what the researchers were reporting is truly fascinating, as much for how advanced the work was as for the fact that so much of it has been entirely overlooked. I think its a characteristic of modern cosmology that new theories and ideas perculate forth before others have been fully investigated. The result is that a rich field of work exists that has receded into the dusty alcoves of science waiting to be rediscovered. Its interesting.
Chalnoth
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Feb3-13, 12:09 PM
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Quote Quote by marcus View Post
I agree. IMHO the big change in progress now is in the direction of a QUANTUM version of gravity/geometry to replace Einstein GR (which dates from 1915 and is pre-quantum) That quantum "Son of GR" probably will not make substantially different predictions except for the early universe: pre-inflation and inflation era.

So there is a revolution in progress but it is unlikely to change the basic outlines except for very early times. I feel that it still COULD, but isn't likely to (for the reasons you referred to.)
Well, unfortunately it isn't clear yet whether or not we will ever be able to determine the correct theory of quantum gravity. I hope we can, but it is rather problematic given the extreme energy of the Planck scale.

That said, getting to the correct theory of quantum gravity won't really tell us what occurred in the very early universe. It will likely constrain the possibilities, but it won't provide a definitive picture. As a result, I'm a bit more hopeful with regard to CMB polarization experiments (such as EBEX), which should constrain the properties of inflation much more strongly. In the long term direct detection of the primordial gravitational wave background should give tremendous insight into the very early universe.
Tanelorn
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Feb4-13, 12:09 PM
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Thanks for replies everyone, very interesting comments.

Marcus I note what you say about no net gravitational field at the BB. This is quite diferent to what happens around a black hole now where there is a net gravitational field.

Conformal, I agree that it is good to take measurements. What would such a measurement involve and is it practical? The voyager spacecraft is the most distant object we have sent out to date and I thought there were aberations in its path. I forget the reason.
Mordred
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Feb4-13, 01:40 PM
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Quote Quote by Tanelorn View Post
Conformal, I agree that it is good to take measurements. What would such a measurement involve and is it practical? The voyager spacecraft is the most distant object we have sent out to date and I thought there were aberations in its path. I forget the reason.
If I recall they failed to compensate for spacetime expansion rates. This led to the aberations.

edit: forget what I just said. That doesn't make sense, I can't recall what the error was it was a while ago that I read the article on it
wstrohm
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Feb4-13, 04:30 PM
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Is this animation from a priori calculations, or actual data from the spacecraft?
marcus
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Feb4-13, 05:18 PM
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I read recently that the Pioneer anomalous acceleration had finally been explained in satisfactory manner as due to heat radiation from its power supply.

EDIT: The Wikipedia article on "Pioneer anomaly" agrees"
==quote==

Both Pioneer spacecraft are escaping the Solar System, but are slowing under the influence of the Sun's gravity. Upon very close examination of navigational data, the spacecraft were found to be slowing slightly more than expected. The effect is an extremely small acceleration towards the Sun, of 8.741.3310−10 m/s2. The two spacecraft were launched in 1972 and 1973 and the anomalous acceleration was first noticed as early as 1980, but not seriously investigated until 1994.[1] The last communication with either spacecraft was in 2003, but analysis of recorded data continues.
Various theories, both of spacecraft behavior and of gravitation itself, were proposed to explain the anomaly. Over the period 1998-2012, one particular explanation became accepted. The spacecraft, since it is in a vacuum, can only get rid of its heat by radiation. If due to the design of the spacecraft, more heat is emitted in the direction opposite the sun, then the spacecraft would slow down due to the radiation pressure of the emitted radiation. Since this force is due to the recoil of the thermal photons, it is also called the thermal recoil force.
By 2012 several papers by different groups, all reanalyzing the thermal radiation pressure forces inherent in the spacecraft, showed that a careful accounting of this could account for the entire anomaly, and thus the cause was mundane and did not point to any new phenomena or need for a different physical paradigm.[2][3] The most detailed analysis to date, by some of the original investigators, explicitly looks at two methods of estimating thermal forces, then states "We find no statistically significant difference between the two estimates and conclude that once the thermal recoil force is properly accounted for, no anomalous acceleration remains."[4]
==endquote==
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pioneer_anomaly
ConformalGrpOp
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Feb5-13, 03:34 AM
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I was thinking about my reference to Richard Feynman in this thread, and recalling the occasion when we were in Mexico City, sitting in a taxi cab and J.A. Wheeler got in. After some amount of conversation back and forth, my mother asked him, Dr. Wheeler, what do you believe your greatest contribution to science has been? He smiled, and with a slightly mischieveous smirk said, "Richard Feynman! and then he laughed.

Feynman is notable for several quotes. Another one is "I have great suspicion that [mathematicians] don't know that this stuff is wrong and that they're intimidating people." The thing I liked about him was that, he was both a genius and a skeptic. You just can tell that some where at some time when he was growing up, he took to heart the fairy tale by Hans Christian Anderson, about the perils of pride and intellectual vanity. He was the sort of guy that if you asked him, what do we really know about quantum gravity, he'd say....not very much, and be serious about it, and then give you a thumbnail sketch of the research that had been done in the field to date and explain why none of it amounted to a hill of beans.

But more to the point of this thread, the way this field has been proceeding, non baryonic matter and its corollary dark energy which together dominate the universe is enough of a stretch to require a rather searching approach to the fundamental science underlying the entire field.

I mean, lets see how this has worked. Non baryonic DM is required to explain several characteristic features of celestial dynamics which our observations say are taking place. Originally, the impetus for conjuring up such an idea was the discovery that the observed rotations of spiral galactic systems violated the virial theorem. There wasnt enough visible mass to account for the observed rotations, so Zwicky coined the term dunkle Materie to describe what he postulated might be able to account for the phenomenon he and others had observed. So, we embarked upon a search to find something with mass that we cant seem to observe to provide the necessary gravitational impetus to explain the peculiar motions.

Except, we come to discover that, well, there is a problem insofar that if this postulated "matter" is baryonic, we would be able to detect it by various means, but when we try to use those means, we cant detect it at all. Well, the stuff has got to be there because otherwise, we cannot explain the dynamic behavior of these galactic systems, and the only thing we can think of to fit the bill is non-baryonic dark matter.

Now, if non baryonic dark matter constitutes a substantial percentage of all the matter contained in the universe, it was thought that well, its high time we went about using the observable gravitational effects of this stuff to calculate where it actually is. And once we do that, we should be able to then confirm its existence there because it will result in the gravitational lensing of EM radiation from sources emitting light with a path through this material. In fact, we should be seeing such lensing just about everywhere we look in the sky. But, as it turns out, "its a very difficult thing to observe and our attempts have all but failed to successfully confirm the existence of non baryonic DM", except, most notably it seems, with respect to some "filaments" of DM between galactic complex that are postulated to evidence the "scaffolding" that connects the entire universe. And now, using this methodology, we are trying to build a 3D contour map of all the DM in the universe, which we are having such problems trying to detect despite the fact that it is the dominant for of matter in the universe.

No doubt this sort of thing is comforting to many, and reaffirms in the minds of others that we are discovering new facts about the universe which show that we are on the right track in the way we are approaching confirming our theories with observations.

However, in perusing the literature, it seems that the Slipher/Zwicky keplerian internal galactic rotation problem has not been adequately addressed by the proposed DM theory sufficiently to provide a general solution to the observed peculiar motions. That is to say, where there should be large concentrations of DM in these galactic systems, to explain the non keplerian motions, we are having a very difficult time detecting the lensing effects that should everywhere be observable from the presence of this nonbaryonic material in these systems.

It seems, then, that there are fundamental questions which are not receiving adequate attention. Too much effort is given over to polemical defenses of various models of the universe, and not enough energy focused on basic scientific inquiries into the fundamental assumptions that lie at the foundation of these theories.

For example, in perusing the literature, I do not find any reports which demonstrate that we can rely on the assumption that light travels across vast distances in a metric which is Minkowskian. If light is traveling across cosmological distances in a metric that is not Minkowskian, what does it mean for our interpretation of celestial events?

In fact, in the 21st Century, it is somewhat fantastic that this is an open subject of multiple rounds of debate and controversy, decade in and decade out. If I were on a board of scientific advisors directing research grant money, (which no doubt, I will never be--I do have other interests!), I would be urging NASA, JPL and other agencies in the international scientific community with capable scientists working in the field to focus on the problem of the behavior of light, and to produce some substantial scientific evidence that we know everything we can possibly within out means know about how light behaves out to distances where Hubble's relation becomes measurable. (If there is scientific data on this subject which I have failed to come across, I would like to be directed to it). At this time in the history of science, as near as I can determine, it has never been systematically tested.

Because of the essential role that EM radiation plays in our models, until such data is available, it would seem that the appropriate mindset is to be skeptical of the interpretation of any celestial events as confirming any particular model of the universe.
Bobbywhy
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Feb5-13, 09:11 PM
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ConformalGrpOp,

Non-baryonic dark matter does help explain some astrophysical observations. But it remains an enigma; it is unobservable. This is one reason why I agree with maintaining a skeptical attitude regarding “standard” cosmological models.

Would this paper fit your definition of “scientific data about how light behaves out to distances where Hubble's relation becomes measurable”? Does it cast any light (pun intended) on the subject?

“Cosmological Redshift in FRW Metrics with Constant Spacetime Curvature”
By: Fulvio Melia
ABSTRACT

Cosmological redshift z grows as the Universe expands and is conventionally viewed as a third form of redshift, beyond the more traditional Doppler and gravitational effects seen in other applications of general relativity. In this paper, we examine the origin of redshift in the Friedmann-Robertson-Walker metrics with constant spacetime curvature, and show that—at least for the static spacetimes—the interpretation of z as due to the “stretching” of space is coordinate dependent. Namely, we prove that redshift may also be calculated solely from the effects of kinematics and gravitational acceleration. This suggests that its dependence on the expansion factor is simply a manifestation of the high degree of symmetry in FRW, and ought not be viewed as evidence in support of the idea that space itself is expanding.

See: arXiv:1202.0775v1

Cheers,
Bobbywhy
Chronos
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Feb5-13, 11:19 PM
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Conformal, if you are suggesting variable c casts doubt on all current cosmological models, you are in the good company of notable crackpots - like Thomas Van Flandern. That is not newsworthy. If you presume c is invariant, like the vast majority of mainstream scientists, you get something that resembles the LCDM model. If you know of any generally accepted observational evidence that c is not invariant, please cite your sources instead of rambling on with this nonsense.
ConformalGrpOp
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Feb6-13, 06:51 AM
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Quote Quote by Chronos View Post
Conformal, if you are suggesting variable c casts doubt on all current cosmological models, you are in the good company of notable crackpots - like Thomas Van Flandern. That is not newsworthy. If you presume c is invariant, like the vast majority of mainstream scientists, you get something that resembles the LCDM model. If you know of any generally accepted observational evidence that c is not invariant, please cite your sources instead of rambling on with this nonsense.
Chronos, your post made me chuckle. If by c you refer to the velocity of light in an unobstructed field free space, Maxwell's equations clearly establish the invariance of c and define its velocity. (Ok, so I had to google Thomas Van Flandern. It does seem he was able to make a living being interested in things which would not hold my attention)

What Maxwell's equations do permit, however, is that EM radiation itself may propagate in a metric that is not Minkowskian. To all observers, the velocity of the propagated EM waves will remain invariant, but the wavelengths will not. This means that we cannot, a priori, assume that light propagates within a Minkowskian metric.

What is generally known is that for all observers, the metric of spacetime is locally Minkowskian.

If one looks at the assumptions incorporated into just about every scientifically credible model, if the Michelson-Morley experiment was hypothetically scaled up to say, 120 AU, it would still give a null result. That is, there would be no fringe shift due to wave interference of the recombined beams. (Even that "crack pot" colleague of Peebles, Prof. Hogg acknowledges that we really have never investigated what happens to light beyond the point where the Hubble relation is observable or words to that effect).

But, if, in fact, the light signals traveling across cosmologically relevant distances propagate in a metric that is not Minkowskian, say, for argument's sake, one with a metric that is equivalent (but not necessarily so) and isomorphic to Hubble's relation, the observer is going to interpret the received signals as a red shift. Such a metric would, not be Poincare invariant, but it would be conformal, in the sense that angles are preserved within the metric. If this were the case, then, taking the hypothetical example of the scaled up M-M experiment, the result would not be null and a wave shift would be observed by the interferometer.

Can we preform an analog of such an experiment? Of course we can. It can be done with just one space craft, but I would prefer it to be done with two. So, why don't we perform the experiment and find out about the behavior of light at such distances? Its one thing for Robertson, Eddington, et als. to say, well, we dont have a way to test this, and so, we have to go with what we know, and our lab results suggest that there isn't any observable ether and beyond that, they show that at least at small scales, light doesn't change its behavior as it propagates, ergo, we are left with the Hubble relation, and an expanding universe. But, such a position, in this day in age, is untenable when we clearly have the means to conduct the experiment to resolve the question.

Of course, if you know of some such experiment whereby the data confirms that light propagates across such distances in a metric that is Minkowskian (though it is presumed to be traveling across a universe governed by a metric which is expanding), I would be very grateful if you could direct me to those results, so I could move on to other topics of interest that have absolutely nothing to do with the structure and conformal geometry of the universe. But, I can'd find anything in the literature on the subject at all.


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