# True Time and True c

1. Oct 22, 2008

### Idjot

It seems to me...

If we are moving relative to CBR at 390 km/sec, that should have a minute effect on our atomic clocks that we use to measure c.

In other words, we should be experiencing a small amount of Time Dilation relative to CBR.

Also, at certain times in our rotation, our orbit and even our Sun's orbit around the Milky Way, we could even be accelerating relative to CBR, which would further skew our measurements of c, but I won't get into that here, because I think the 390 km/sec is an average anyway.

Using only our inertial velocity I figured this out:

For every 1 minute that we experience in our 390 km/sec bubble: 1.0000008461714416367280534757218 minutes pass for the CBR.

In 10 billion years, CBR's time will have elapsed more than ours by 84 years, 225 days, 9 hours, 53 minutes, and 8.7 seconds

That doesn't seem like much, because it isn't :) But to me, of all things to consider True Time, this is it. All other times must bow before True Time!

Now let's see what that does to the speed of light:

Earth time measurement of c is 299.792.458 km/sec

According to my calculations...

True c is 299,792.204 km/sec.

That means that in 100 light years, light actually travels 801,563,040 km less than we thought it did, and also making our measurement of 100 light years to be about 44 light minutes and 33.7 light seconds off.

Last edited: Oct 23, 2008
2. Oct 23, 2008

### Staff: Mentor

Special relativity states the following:
1. The laws of physics are the same for all inertial frames of reference.
2. The speed of light is constant.

So what you are saying does not match how the universe works. Time dilation isn't something that your clock shows, it is something that only shows up when you compare your clock to other clocks. And these clocks may be moving at any speed, so you can't fix your speed at one particular value. Except, of course, that you are always stationary wrt yourself. You could, of course, attach a frame of reference to the CMB and measure a time dilation against it, but that frame and that time dilation don't hold any special meaning. They are not any more or less valid than the time dilation experienced between us and a GPS satellite, for example.

And that also explains why the speed of light is constant for you. The same reasoning applies.

3. Oct 23, 2008

### Idjot

1. The CBR is the least inertial frame in the universe. Why should we not try to use it to find the true rate of time elapse? A satellite is in our frame. The dilation of a satellite's clock wouldn't matter because the satellite is moving with us relative to CBR.

2. The speed of light being constant is why it's possible to see that our measurements must be wrong. The speed of light is constant is a law. That our measurement of it must be correct is not. Time may be relative but distance is distance, and we must be experiencing a faster time elapse rate in our frame than CBR is in it's frame due to our velocity relative to it, which is as close to absolute as you can get. The least we can do is try to figure it out.

Last edited: Oct 23, 2008
4. Oct 23, 2008

### Idjot

I'd like to add to this a little:

All of the 'True Time' numbers are taken as if we took an Earth clock and placed it in the CBR, where it would tick faster.

The CBR 'velocity of Earth' measurement was taken from a satellite and although the measurement would be a tiny bit different if taken from CBR, the difference should be minuscule.

By me saying that our measurements are "wrong" I mean that they are wrong compared to what we would measure from the CBR frame of reference, which is considered to be the most stationary reference point in the universe. It does not mean that our measurements are wrong relative to our own time. They are only wrong when using what I called "True Time". In other words, light travels at 299,792.458 km/ Earth sec.
But it travels 299,792.204 km/CBR sec. Realistically, it's still the same distance because our seconds are longer than those of the CBR, when using identical clocks.

I think that this idea is useful when one considers that time in the CBR frame is the fastest in the universe and that by CBR time all other time elapse rates can be measured and then compared to our own. With a few additional calculations to compensate for our time's small difference to CBR's, we can chart the "true" ages of celestial bodies by their own respective velocities relative to us and CBR. It seems to me that this could be useful considering the varyied velocities of objects in the universe. Put simply, objects' ages should be charted for their own frames' times as well as for ours.

Consider something that's moving much faster than us, where the time elapse rate is much slower than our own. To make an extreme example: we may think that a fast moving star lived 6 billion years when in it's own time it really only aged for 4 billion years.

I think it would be presumptuous and inaccurate of us to continue forever thinking that everything in the universe ages in Earth time.

5. Oct 23, 2008

Staff Emeritus
But it won't. It will tick slower.

SR does not say this.

6. Oct 23, 2008

### Staff: Mentor

What does that mean? That it is special and 'truly' at rest? No.
We can if we want, but we need to understand that that time dilation carries no special meaning.
It isn't in our frame and it matters quite a bit when calculating positions using GPS. That's kinda the whole point here: the correct reference frame to use for "rest" depends on what you are doing with the calculations.
No, that is not correct at all. If our measurements about things other than C were wrong, that would be a violation of the first postulate: that all laws of physics are the same regardless of inertial reference frame. If our measurements of C were wrong, that would be a violation of the second.
Also wrong, for the same reason. And note that distance being relative is not a new component in Relativity: it dates back to Galileo.

7. Oct 23, 2008

### Staff: Mentor

Out of curiosity, when you say that the time in the rest frame of the CMBR is "true" time, what do you mean by that? Is it "true" by definition or by experiment. If you are simply defining "true time" = "CMBR time" then it is only a semantic argument. Nobody disagrees with the idea that our clocks run differently than one at rest wrt the CMBR, we just disagree with the characterization of that as "true". If you are not simply defining it to be "true" then what experiment indicates that the CMBR time is more physically significant than any other time?

8. Oct 23, 2008

### Naty1

All inertial frames are relative...how do you this one is least?? special relativity says you can't know...there is no absolute....

In Newtonian physics there is a concept of uniform, universal time. Celestial bodies exert forces between each other at the same time. This permits determination of "true" parameters like distance, and of course, everybody agrees on time because its universal.

Not so in relativity where time and distance data depend on the observer, where ambiguities arise and cannot be resolved. There is no Lorentz frame that can be selected in order to define "true" parameters between astronomical bodies, for example to be used in computing gravitational interactions...frames of reference determine what we observe, not any absolute value of distance nor time.... there are no absolutes except the speed of light in appropriate frames of reference.

,

It comes at us uniformly from all directions....space is isotropic...it does not vary over time...

9. Oct 23, 2008

### Idjot

I never said I was quoting SR.

10. Oct 23, 2008

### Idjot

1. The CBR is the least inertial frame in the universe.

What does that mean? That it is special and 'truly' at rest? No.

What I mean is that it has been determined to be the one thing in the universe that is moving the slowest and is everywhere so it makes a great reference for measuring velocity of objects.

Why should we not try to use it to find the true rate of time elapse?

We can if we want, but we need to understand that that time dilation carries no special meaning.

Are you sayng that time dilation doesn't physically happen? Are you suggesting that you would not come home having aged less than your twin brother after your long flight at high velocity?

A satellite is in our frame. The dilation of a satellite's clock wouldn't matter because the satellite is moving with us relative to CBR.

It isn't in our frame and it matters quite a bit when calculating positions using GPS. That's kinda the whole point here: the correct reference frame to use for "rest" depends on what you are doing with the calculations.

Don't be so difficult. You know what I mean. We don't measure the speed Earth is moving through the universe relative to a satellite. The satellite is moving with us.

2. The speed of light being constant is why it's possible to see that our measurements must be wrong. The speed of light is constant is a law. That our measurement of it must be correct is not.

No, that is not correct at all. If our measurements about things other than C were wrong, that would be a violation of the first postulate: that all laws of physics are the same regardless of inertial reference frame. If our measurements of C were wrong, that would be a violation of the second.

I already addressed this earlier when I explained my meaning of "wrong"

Time may be relative but distance is distance...

Also wrong, for the same reason. And note that distance being relative is not a new component in Relativity: it dates back to Galileo.

I know what you mean about distance being relative but apparently you don't understand anything I say. What I meant by "distance is distance" is that 390 km is real. If we really are moving at 390km/sec then our time must be different from something that ISN'T crossing that distance in that amount of time.

I may not spout Einstein quotes and complex formulas in every other post, but I am still capable of objective reasoning and your tone suggests that you have no patience for someone less educated than yourself. If you suspend your desire to shoot me down for a moment and try to understand the concept behind my 'unruly' and 'unschooly' method of presentation, you might actually see something you could contribute to with your knowlege, rather than a scratching post.

11. Oct 23, 2008

### Idjot

What I meant is that we may occasionally be experiencing acceleration on our way toward "Leo"

12. Oct 23, 2008

### Idjot

Saying 'true time" is just me having fun with the idea of a reference frame that is universal.
It is only my OPINION that CBR should be used for that purpose. I think that measurements taken relative to CBR would be as close to absolute as we could ever get. Anyone that considers CBR to be no better than anything else for such an application will certainly not agree with anything else I've said here and that's OK with me, but don't tell me I'm breaking laws, because you know that I'm not.

What it boils down to is I'm trying to use Relativity to find an 'absolute' and it ruffles feathers.

Somebody help me defend this idea!
You can't all be naysayers!

13. Oct 23, 2008

### JesseM

What you don't seem to understand is that when physicists say there is no preferred frame in relativity, they mean that the laws of physics work the same in all inertial frames--if you want to say that you find the CBR frame the most "natural" one to use in some vague aesthetic sense, that's fine, but the laws of physics won't work differently in that frame than in any other. If I put two physicists in windowless spacecraft moving inertially, and one ship is at rest in the CBR frame while the other is moving at 0.99c relative to it, if they both perform the same experiment inside their respective ships, they will both get the same results, there is nothing in the laws of physics governing any experiment they perform that will allow them to tell which ship they're on.

14. Oct 23, 2008

### Staff: Mentor

That's what I figured you meant and it is a pretty straightforward contradiction of Special Relativity. It is quite clearly wrong.

Right now, I can say I'm stationary and the CMB is moving relative to me. That's the entire point of the principle of relativity (the first postulate of Special Relativity). And what the CMB is doing relative to me has no implications for (for example) what a GPS satellite is doing relative to me. A GPS receiver can calculate it's position just fine without knowing it's speed relative to the CMB.
That isn't what he said. Having "no special meaning" means just that. It doesn't provide us with any information useful in other calculations. In fact, if you try to include it, you just add complexity while providing no additional value.

A satellite is in our frame. The dilation of a satellite's clock wouldn't matter because the satellite is moving with us relative to CBR.
What you see as "being difficult" is me telling you the way it is. I know perfectly well what you mean and what you mean is straightforwardly wrong. In fact, that last sentence you wrote is an illustration of why! A velocity is the change in displacement between two objects, not three. There is no need to add a third reference to the calculation. It adds no value. The GPS system works just fine treating the earth as stationary because that's what the first postulate means.
Yeah, see that's just it - you don't understand it. That 390 km is 390 km to one observer but could be anything to another observer. Distance is observer dependent.
No. I am frustrated because you have no desire to learn. You didn't come here to learn about Relativity, you came to try out an idea that sounds good in your head and you are uninterested in hearing why it isn't correct. It is doubly-frustrating because this misunderstanding you have is very simple and you are simply unwilling to take the tiny effort to understand what those two simple postulates mean. You're trying to invent new physics when really all this is is a reading comprehension problem and you aren't willing to go back and reread what the theory says. You may be capable of objective reasoning, but you haven't demonstrated you are willing to use it.

15. Oct 23, 2008

### Staff: Mentor

Let me tackle this one a little more specifically:
If a device that on earth measures the speed of light to be 299.792.458 km/sec is placed in the reference frame of the CMB, it will still measure the speed of light to be 299,792.204 km/sec. That's what it means to be "constant in all inertial reference frames".

16. Oct 23, 2008

### Staff: Mentor

So then it is just semantics. There is nothing inherently wrong with that, but it is not particularly interesting either. The standard termniology works fine for me.

17. Oct 23, 2008

### Idjot

At it's core, this concept has been difficult for me to articulate. If I say that I'm trying to choose an absolute frame, I'll get another lesson in the basic idea behind Relativity. If I say that faster moving objects age more slowly than we do so we should measure their ages in their own times, I hear the same repetitive lessons in time dilation. Noone seems to understand this idea of mine. It's as if Relativity became a religion at some point and any hint at an absolute or 'true' measurement incites a lynch mob.

But I'll keep trying:

You see, I'm not really looking for the absolute. Just the next best thing to it. A surrogate, if you will...

In your "space craft" traveling inertially through space, everything in it is measured relative to it, right? Right.

Now visualize that space craft expanding to contain the entire solar system, the galaxy and finally the entire universe(don't bother with the expanding universe lesson here)

If the universe itself is the "space craft" then how do we measure everything in it? Just like before. BY IT. If you were given the task of finding out how to do this, what would you use? CMBR is what you would use, because it's everywhere. It IS the space craft, not just a tiny object in it.

I am also suggesting that we find a "universal" time by which to measure all other rates of time elapse (note that I did not say 'true' or 'absolute'), using the "space craft" as well.

Does anyone get this yet?

18. Oct 23, 2008

### Aether

In cosmology, using General Relativity, there are concepts of universal time which are prettly close to what you seem to be interested in here. If you look here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FLRW_metric) under the heading of "General Metric", you can see that two symbols are used there for time, $$\tau$$ for local (proper) time and $$t$$ for "universal time". Learning to use General Relativity will take a lot of work, but it is available for anyone who wants to learn it.

19. Oct 23, 2008

### JesseM

Actually, from a strictly philosophical perspective there is nothing stopping you from believing in an absolute frame whose measurements of time/distance/simultaneity represent the "real truth"--relativity only says that there is nothing in the laws of physics to distinguish that frame from any other, so there can be no empirical reasons for believing there is anything special about that frame.
Philosophically, you are free to believe that objects moving relative to some metaphysically preferred frame are "really" aging more slowly. But again, if relativity is correct there will be no physical experiment that will allow you to empirically discern which frame is the absolute frame.
Only if you wish to use the ship's rest frame. Nothing would stop an observer on the ship from measuring time and distance using a system of rulers and clocks that are in motion relative to the ship, it's purely a matter of convention that we define the "ship's frame" in terms of rulers and clocks at rest relative to the ship.
If you want to define "universal time" in terms of the frame of the CMBR just as a matter of convention, the way time zones on Earth are a convention which everyone agrees to, that's fine. But there is nothing in the laws of physics themselves that should cause you to prefer to use this frame as opposed to any other, that's just an aesthetic decision on your part.

20. Oct 24, 2008

### atyy

Here are some readings you may find useful.

Reference frames attached to the earth and the sun
Soffel et al, http://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0303376

Effect of solar system motion through the CMB
(Skip the part on inflation)
Wright, http://www.astro.ucla.edu/~wright/cosmo_04.htm
Wright, http://www.astro.ucla.edu/~wright/CMB-DT.html

Estimate of local group motion through the CMB

Cosmic time and expansion of space for observers at rest in the CMB
Francis et al, http://arxiv.org/abs/0707.0380

Other useful assignments of time and space in cosmology
Tsagas et al, http://arxiv.org/abs/0705.4397

"There clearly is a frame where the CMB is at rest, and so this is, in some sense, the rest frame of the Universe. But for doing any physics experiment, any other frame is as good as this one."
Scott, http://www.astro.ubc.ca/people/scott/faq_basic.html

Test of whether the CMB rest frame violates local Lorentz invariance (including assumptions about the locally measured speed of light). It mentions other tests, so you can look those up in here.
"the cosmic microwave background is chosen as the preferred reference frame."
Bell et al, http://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/9512100

21. Oct 24, 2008

### Idjot

Thank you all for your knowledge and insight on this. And thank you Aether and atyy for the links. I'll read them all. It's good to know that not everyone thinks this is completely harebrained.

22. Oct 24, 2008

### JesseM

Note that although there is one coordinate system most commonly used in cosmology because it is most convenient (this coordinate system is the one that makes the density of matter/energy throughout space as close to homogeneous as possible at any single coordinate time), there is nothing in the laws of physics that causes this coordinate system to be preferred over others which might use different definitions of simultaneity (and might have different definitions of which clocks were ticking fastest). In GR, when the laws of physics are stated in tensor form, they work the same way in all coordinate systems, because of a principle known as "diffeomorphism invariance"--see this article for a discussion (though it's also worth pointing out that any laws of physics can be made diffeomorphism invariant by putting them in tensor form, so this is sometimes seen as more a matter of mathematical formalism than an insight into physics--see my post #8 on this thread). Besides this, there's also the fact that in any small region of curved spacetime in GR, the laws of physics approach those of special relativity, with the coordinate system of a freely-falling observer in this region being equivalent to an inertial frame in SR, and just as in SR you have an infinite number of different locally inertial frames in this region where the laws of physics work the same even when stated in non-tensor form.

Last edited: Oct 24, 2008
23. Oct 25, 2008

### Aether

Okay.

As we zoom in on smaller and smaller regions of curved spacetime in GR, at what point exactly does the absolute simultaneity of coordinate systems that are convenient for use in cosmology become equivalent to the relative simultaneity of inertial frames? At the point where one stops using tensors?

24. Oct 25, 2008

### Staff: Mentor

There are two answers to this question.

The most direct answer is that you can ignore the curvature as long as the region you are interested in is small enough that the curvature is undetectable with whatever experiment you are considering.

The more important answer is that there is no absolute simultaneity in GR. In fact, time coordinates in GR are even less physically significant than in SR since in SR they are at least determined by the Einstein synchronization procedure and in GR they are not necessarily determined by any physical procedure. Also, there are an infinite number of ways to parameterize any spacetime, all of which are physically indistinguishable and could have a different choice for the time coordinate or even no timelike coordinate at all.

Last edited: Oct 25, 2008
25. Oct 25, 2008

### RandallB

Not sure using the CMBR as a spacecraft is the best analogy. I would rather use the SLS that generated the CBR as close enough to the single event of the Big Bang to be considered Simultaneous based on the SR Simultaneity rule that only local events can be truly Simultaneous.
It may lead to a similar result but for large scale measures I think it applies modern interpretations more directly.