## 20110810

### Velocity of Light: Part 1

• Why the red shift? Isn't c a supposedly fixed constant regardless of the relative velocities of the producers of electromagnetic radiation and its observers? I like your explanation: c changes due to some interaction with a medium between distant galaxies and our telescopes.
• If c is some fixed constant, why should light have different velocities in different media, like water, air, hot air v. cold air, the vacuum of space, etc.?
Good questions Frank.

Before answering this, one must first state one’s assumptions about what light is.  In UD, of course, a phenomenon is either matter or motion.  Unlike Einstein, we consider light to be motion.  For that to be possible, light must have a universal medium, commonly referred to as the aether, as was finally admitted by Einstein in 1920.   Modern physicists nevertheless continue to use Einstein’s initial conception of light as matter—a particle that travels through completely empty space at a constant velocity, c.  This particle, the photon, has mysterious, unprecedented properties.

First of all, it must be massless.  This is because Einstein’s own equation for relativistic mass ( mrel) forbids it to have rest mass (mo):

mrel  = mo /(1-v2/c2)1/2

If the rest mass, mo, were anything at all, then mrel would be infinite.  This is because v in the equation always is assumed to be c.  Then, c2/c2 equals 1.  The square root of 1-1 is zero.  Then, mrel = mo/0 equals infinity.  How a thing can have no mass and still be a thing remains unexplained.

Second of all, the photon was next conceived as a “wave packet” imagined to contain the vibrations we call light.  This conception was not so bad for short wave lengths, but really fell apart when it was extrapolated to all electromagnetic radiation.  Some EM waves are over 10 km long.  That one must be some photon!

Even if, like modern physicists and cosmogonists, you were able to swallow the above without breaking a sweat, you would also have to believe that space was perfectly empty.  Then, your mysterious photon could travel at c with nothing at all to slow it down.  I can’t imagine at all how such a creature could arrive from a distant galaxy with the waves within its packet having been red-shifted as the result of having been ejected from a receding object.  The red shifts that I am familiar with are a result of the Doppler Effect, which in my view, can only occur in a medium.  The red shift could not occur in completely empty space, and it certainly could not be the property of a single photon.

The upshot of all this is that I do not trust the purveyors of this illogical, obsolete view of light to tell me anything useful about the galactic redshift.  The galactic redshifts are a fact.  They need to be explained, but the aether, not the photon, is absolutely required for them to make any sense.  If the aether is required, then the velocity of light is dependent on the characteristics of the aether.  Would the density of the aether be the same throughout the universe?  No.  Would the velocity of light be independent of the density of the aether?  No.  Would c ever be constant?  No.  Would wave motion through the aether be affected by the Doppler Effect? Yes.  Stay tuned for what the real cause of the galactic red shift could be.

Rich said...

Thanks for the tutorial on light and how we ought to get back on track with what is physically going on with the propagation of light.

Electricity is transmitted in wire but is considered to be a completely different phenomenon. In wires, such as twisted pair, the speed is pertty much a constant and, I think, a large fraction of c. Might not some of the same physical actions be at work? With coaxial cable for instance, the cable has a characteristic impedance distributed along its length. Is there anything already known about electrical disturbances traveling down a wire that we might be able to compare to how light is transmitted?
Just wondering,
Richard Jesch

Glenn Borchardt said...

Rich:

You are welcome, and also quite perceptive in realizing that light and electrical phenomena are really the same motion. Just think for a minute that a wire is a tube containing aether (most atoms are 99% "empty space" or "aether"). Wave motion through aether occurs at a velocity of c. Electricity, being a disturbance in the aether, thus travels at a velocity near c. The "near" part comes in because the presence of any matter other than aether has a tendency to interfere, slowing the motion down. That is why light travels at less than c in water, glass, quartz, the sun's corona, and many other areas of the universe diluted by other forms of matter.