Speed of Gravity and Speed of Light Notes

from Barry Setterfield, (edited)

Local Variations in c

Usually abnormally high z values (the Hubble constant) relate to distance. But it is feasible that some high z values may be caused by processes related to those envisaged by astronomer Halton Arp. (Quasars, Redshifts and Controversies, Interstellar Media, 1987. p118-119, 181) While the value of c is normally thought to be isotropic throughout the cosmos, this does not preclude local variations in c. It is possible that rapidly changing, energetic processes may alter the physical properties of the vacuum in a given small region. This would produce a local variation in c and anomalously high value of z.

Initial value of c

In the Setterfield model, high redshift values implies a very high c value. The most distant quasar comes in around (z = 5) which means a value of c = 3.29 x 10^8 times the current value. Note there is one very important effect that would occur with such a high initial values of c. It was suggested originally by Troitskii who pointed out that if c were around 10 orders of magnitude greater than the present value, this would allow rapid homogenization of radiation early in the history of the universe thus helping to explain the general uniformity of the microwave background.

Speed of Gravity

Another quantity is associated with the high initial value of c. On the basis of relativity it is usually assumed that gravity waves propagate at the speed of light. Therefore, the speed of gravity Vg would have been equal to the initial speed of light, c(0), at the origin of the cosmos. This could have some implications for the structuring of the early universe. Since the creation event the value of c has dropped in response to changing vacuum permittivity and permeability. Yet it appears that gravity influences still travel at c(0) today.

Velocity of Waves in any Medium

The velocity of a wave motion in any medium is proportional to the square root of the ratio of the elasticity, eta, (or energy per cubic cm), to the inertia (or density), delta, of the medium in which it is traveling. Let us unequivocally accept that relativity theory is correct for conditions at the origin of the cosmos. We can therefore write

c(0)^2 = eta/delta = Vg^2

Let us take a modern model for for space which assumes a granular structure at the Planck length which is 1.616 x 10^-33 cm. In this model it is assumed that the vacuum is made up of Planck particles which manifest themselves over Planck time from the background sea of zero point energy. These Planck particles are required to have an invariant mass to ensure that the properties of space vary smoothly. As these particles absorb and re-emit photons of light in transit through space, they play a key rote in determining the speed of light. We deduce from this that the greater the number of particles per unit volume, the slower light will travel.

Evidently, the physical vacuum acquired a potential energy in the form of an elasticity, tension, or stress, as a result of the expansion of the cosmos out to its maximum size and the second day of creation week. This elasticity is the basic definition of eta and is the relevant quantity in the light speed case since the permittivity of free space, epsilon, is not only proportional to 1/c but also to 1/eta. Consequently eta ~ c ~ 1/c.

As this potential energy is proportional to c, it has thereby declined exponentially with time. Furthermore, this potential energy was evidently converted into vacuum electromagnetic fields of increasing energy density U proportional to 1/c. Yet increasing energy density means proportionally more Planck particles per unit volume. The vacuum inertia or density due to the number of Planck particles per unit volume is given by delta ~ 1/c ~ mu, since the Planck particle mass is invariant. Here is the reason for c behavior; for increasing vacuum energy density; and for increasing Planck particle numbers: namely the exponential decline with time of the elastic tension that made up the vacuum potential energy that originated in the initial expansion event.

For the case of Vg the work of Haisch, Rueda and Puthoff on the importance of the zero point fields is clear. They comment that the ZPF may play an even more significant role as the source of inertia and gravitation of matter. A similar point was made by Zeldovich. Gravitational phenomena therefore depend on the zero point energy. Consequently, in the case of Vg, the term must represent the ZPE inherent in the vacuum, which is proportional to 1/c. Since delta is also proportional to 1/c, then Vg is invariant.

Thus light-speed behavior is dependent upon the ratio of potential energy to the number of Planck particles. By contrast, the speed of gravity waves, Vg depends upon the ratio of the zero-point energy to the number of Planck particles, which is invariant, At the moment when all energy was potential energy, Vg and c(0 )coincided. Recent work suggests that the value of Vg can be obtained, and hence c(0) can be checked.

From some straightforward and apparently sound methodology, Van Flandern has produced several equations based on orbital characteristics of astronomical bodies that allow observational evidence to disclose the value of Vg. He concludes that from spacecraft data and radar ranging, the effects on the earth's orbit indicate that Vg > 10^9 c(now). On the basis of more accurate data from binary pulsar PSR 1534 + 12 the result becomes Vg > 2 x 10^10 c(now). This result is in close accord with c(0) = 2.54 x 10^10 c(now) obtained from the redshift and other data. With the experimental determination of the minimum value of Vg, c(0), we have now defined the c decay curve from the origin observationally, and eliminated the need for any extrapolation of recent data backwards in time.

This model suggests an initial small, hot, dense, highly energetic universe that underwent rapid expansion to a maximum size, followed by a static cosmos thereafter. A high initial value for light-speed allowed rapid homogenization of the radiation resulting in a smooth microwave background. The vacuum potential energy in the form of an elasticity, tension or stress, acquired from the initial expansion, became converted exponentially into the energy density of the vacuum electromagnetic fields. This had two results. Firstly, light-speed decayed exponentially. Secondly and concurrently, atomic particle and orbit energies underwent quantum changes isotropically. With increasing time, atoms emitted light that shifted in jumps towards the blue end of the spectrum. This resulted in a decreasing redshift, which changed in cz quanta of 2.732 km/s in accord with Tifft's observations. (see W. G. Tifft, "Discrete states of redshift," Astrophysics J. 211, 31-46 , 1977).

February 5, 1998