Expanding Space and Starlight (1 Viewer)

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 1)

I have 2 questions:

1. Since space is expanding, shouldn't the distance between the earth and the sun be getting greater? And shouldn't that affect the orbit of the earth (greater distance between the earth and sun ->> less gravitational attraction)?

2. Is it possible that the speed of light could have been faster at one point. For example I was looking at the following:

t = t0(1-(v^2/c^2))^(1/2) (I think this is correct)

I understand why this formula (and the others like it for mass and distance) would imply that no object could travel faster than the speed of light (can't take square root of a negative)...but that doesn't seem to limit what c can be. If c were greater that doesn't cause any problems in the formula. Are there other reasons for saying that the speed of light has always been a constant speed?

Thanks.
 
1,525
10
Gravitationally bound masses do not separate because of cosmological expansion. It is only on the scale of the distances between galatic clusters that the separation distances increase
 
Is that because the expansion is so small it is unnoticable? Or does the gravitational attraction (continuously) pull the earth back to the correct distance from the sun?
 
1,525
10
To get a physical picture - imagine a balloon that is expanding - on the surface we place some objects that indent the expanding balloon because they have inertia (mass) ... two nearby objects would tend to fall together because each rolls toward the indentation produced by the other - these objects are the galaxies and the indentations are the local effect (curvature) of matter on space - if the objects are far enough apart they will separate faster than they roll toward one another - this occurs on the scale of galatic cluster - but if they are closer the effect of the indentation causing them to move toward one another will be greater than the expansion of the balloon as a whole - so we see local galaxies like M31 blue shifted (moving toward the Milky Way).
 

Ich

Science Advisor
1,931
1
AcidRainLiTE said:
Is that because the expansion is so small it is unnoticable? Or does the gravitational attraction (continuously) pull the earth back to the correct distance from the sun?
Both. Gravitational attraction pulls the earth back to the sun, but not exactly to the "correct" distance. And the difference is so small that it remains unnoticeable.
 

The Physics Forums Way

We Value Quality
• Topics based on mainstream science
• Proper English grammar and spelling
We Value Civility
• Positive and compassionate attitudes
• Patience while debating
We Value Productivity
• Disciplined to remain on-topic
• Recognition of own weaknesses
• Solo and co-op problem solving
Top