Saturday, February 03, 2007

Upgrading Space, Time, and Matter Relationships at the Edge of a Black Hole

Evolution is a little like growing up. With Understanding, the fears of the dark and the unknown (black holes, dark energy, big bangs), dissolve like the flat earth belief. Imagine the crippling effect on humanity if a flat earth belief still existed today. So too, today, the clear and present danger of global warming and nuclear resource wars resulting from the Trouble with Physics and the child like concepts of space, time, mass/matter, energy and gravity cannot be overstated.
"....We must realize that the rules of limitation found in our mathematical approach to nature, are limitations only of our own perception and consciousness; and have no absolute significance insofar as nature itself is concerned." StarSteps3 "....Through the concept of the curvature of physical law, however, we see that the addition of mass to an existing body does not, necessarily, increase the force of attraction between its parts, but may, under certain conditions, cause the field to become negative, and the attraction to become a repulsion. We can explain the observed actions of the present universe by postulating that an attraction exists between the individual bodies within a galaxy, because their total mass and distance is such that they are within the positive portion of the gravitation curve with respect to each other. In the vast spaces between the galaxies however, the curve dips below the zero line with the result that repulsion exists between the galaxies themselves. This also explains why matter, although rather evenly distributed throughout the known universe, is not distributed uniformly, but found in quite similar concentrations at comparatively regular distances." StarSteps2

Beyond Einstein: What is the Mysterious Dark Energy Pulling the Universe Apart? The greatest mystery in astronomy today is the nature of this force that opposes gravity, which we call "dark energy." What Happens to Space, Time, and Matter at the Edge of a Black Hole?

The landmark discovery of the 1990s was that the expansion of the Universe is accelerating. The greatest mystery in astronomy today is the nature of this force that opposes gravity, which we call "dark energy." Because Einstein originally thought the Universe was static, he conjectured that even the emptiest possible space, devoid of matter and radiation, might still have an energy countering gravity, which he called a "Cosmological Constant." When Edwin Hubble discovered the expansion of the Universe, Einstein rejected his own idea, calling it his greatest blunder.
But the Universe isn't just expanding; the expansion rate, which appears to have slowed several billion years ago, is revving up. We live in a runaway Universe, in which the most distant galaxies visible today will soon fly off forever beyond the horizon. This acceleration could be due to the concept that "empty space" isn't empty. Richard Feynman and others who developed the quantum theory of matter realized that empty space is filled with "virtual" particles continually forming and destroying themselves. These particles create a negative pressure that pulls space outward. No one, however, could predict this energy's magnitude.
Independent measurements reveal that dark energy comprises about 70% of the total mass-energy budget of the Universe. We still do not know whether or how the highly accelerated expansion in the early Universe, called inflation, and the current accelerated expansion, due to dark energy, are related. A Beyond Einstein mission will measure the expansion accurately enough to learn whether this energy is a constant property of empty space, as Einstein conjectured, or whether its strength varies over time, a property predicted by modern theories of the forces of nature. The greatest extremes of gravity in the Universe are the black holes formed at the centers of galaxies and by the collapse of stars. Gravity is so overpowering here that nothing, not even light, can escape its grasp. By definition black holes are invisible. Yet these invisible bodies disturb space considerably, offering us two ways to study them: by observing matter swirling into them, and by listening to the waves of distortion they make in spacetime.
One key mission will create movies from the X-ray light emitted from multimillion-degree gas as it approaches a black hole's border, called the event horizon. Another mission will listen for gravitational waves, which are ripples in spacetime predicted by Einstein. These waves are created by black hole mergers; they move undisturbed across the "sea" of space at light speed, and offer an unobstructed view of these powerful collisions.
Einstein himself never dreamed that it would be possible to detect gravitational waves, which only distort the distance between objects as far apart as the Earth and Moon by less than the width of an atom. Yet the technology now exists to do so.
Data from X-ray satellites, such as NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and ESA's XMM-Newton, show signs of gas whizzing about black holes at close to the speed of light and hint that time is slowing as the gas plunges into the zone from which escape is impossible. Beyond Einstein missions will take a census of black holes in the Universe and give detailed pictures of what happens to space and time at the edges of these gravitational chasms.

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