What causes gravity?
The current mainstream view is
Although not easy to understand, this last statement indirectly has a degree of truth but doesn't go anywhere near answering the all important question, "How?" and this website will try to offer an explanation.
Unfortunately, my next statement may confuse rather than enlighten as the concept of dark energy has not yet been clearly defined and I may be guilty of hijacking the term.
For me and for want of a better term, 'dark energy' best describes the intrinsic component responsible for the gravity effect. To start it may help if you have an insight into how matter is created and have at least some idea of what we believe dark energy actually is.
In February 2016 physicists from the Ligo experiment annnounced the detection of gravitational waves which are described as ripples in spacetime. To make a ripple in spacetime is not at all difficult, just wave a lead weight about and you will modify spacetime enough to be able to detect it.
Extremely low frequency waves with very, very long wavelengths are the same as gravitational waves, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extremely_low_frequency.
They have the same ability to penetrate relatively easily through matter, sea water for instance, and are used to communicate with submarines. All EMF waves are ripples in spacetime. Gravitational waves do not cause gravity and the big clue here is that it is the "current" or flow that causes gravity not the "wave" and I'll try to explain this in the following pages.
What is Dark Energy?
Dark energy has been calculated to make up approximately 68% of the mass-energy equivalence in the universe, dark matter 27% and matter 5%. The calculations for the amount of dark energy appears to be based on the energy requirements to produce the observed accelerating expansion of the universe.
One thing to bear in mind is that 'Dark Energy' is not energy in itself, but it can have energy, which is a subtle but important difference. Energy is a property of dark energy, expressed in joules, calories, BTU's etc.. Similarly, matter is not mass. Again, mass is a measurable value, a property of matter.
Specifically, one property that Dark Energy does not have in its 'at rest' or inertial, non accelerating state is 'mass'. However, in any type of acceleration mode it does have mass and, as a consequence, will exhibit matter like attributes. If this seems difficult to envisage, the photon, or any electromagnetic wave, is another example of something which if it were ever 'at rest' would appear to have no mass yet when it moves it has momentum.
Dark Energy is essentially another word for what is commonly referred to as 'field' so if you can answer the question 'what is field?' then you have answered the question 'what is dark energy?'.
Dark Energy or 'field' if you prefer, exists in three states or configurations which I will attempt to explain below. The statement *Gravity makes an apple fall to the ground* is obviously true but it is similar to saying *Fire makes us warm*. In the case of fire, it is electromagnetic radiation that makes us warm, an energised form of dark energy. Matter, the mass of which is subject to the famous equation e=mc2, is another manifestation of dark energy and, you will need to take this on trust for a moment, but gravity is caused by a third form, as detailed in the green table below.
What is Energy?
'Energy is dark energy in any form of accelerating motion'.
Again, that definition may be difficult to grasp if you are still unsure of what dark energy is. In this case, you could think of the energy potential of a system as the degree of imbalance in entropy between one location and another and dark energy is the transporting medium.
If you look up the meaning of the word 'energy' in a dictionary it will more than likely say energy is the ability to do work of some kind, ie. heat something up or move something. Then it will list the common sources of energy - chemical, nuclear, thermal, magnetic, kinetic, potential etc.
That's ok but we need to go deeper because these listed common types can each be categorised into one of three primary dynamic configurations. These are summarised below and, at this stage, if you would like to substitute the word 'field' for 'dark energy' then feel free to do so, and if you are looking for a unified field theory then this would be a good place to start.
To clarify, dark energy exists in three basic primary states, two of which we can probably visualise reasonably easily and these are matter which has rotational components (spin) and electromagnetic radiation which has vibrational components. The third state is a bit more difficult to get a feel for but it is this third state, dark energy in motion, or more specifically linear accelerating motion, that causes the effect of gravity.
Dark energy in linear accelerating motion
Newton's first law of motion says that, with no external influence, matter will remain at rest or uniform, non accelerating motion relative to the local area of space in which it finds itself, ie. relative to its local reference frame. Now by an 'external influence', he is referring to a force that will be actually 'felt' by the object as an acceleration ie. if you were sitting on the object you would feel pressure, just as you do when a car accelerates.
However, the gravity effect can cause the local reference frame to move and what's more accelerate. Caught in a gravitational field, our free falling 'at rest' object feels no acceleration so there is no force being applied to it. What is happening here is that space itself is moving and the object is just moving along with it just like a swimmer, swimming down river, does not feel the motion of an ebbing tide.
The natural 'at rest' direction of motion, or geodesic path, is in fact dictated by the movement of dark energy and one important thing to keep in mind is that dark energy has no impact on our physical universe unless there exists relative acceleration(1).
I will now try to explain why the gravity effect is particularly predominant in the vicinity of matter.
Gravity and the structure of matter.
All matter, to a greater or lesser extent, is unstable and in a state of reversion.
The dynamic geometric mechanism that defines base matter is more or less the same. A helpful analogy is a tornado where high energy air spirals around the low pressure air in the centre. Fundamental matter is like a dark energy version of a tornado, or more accurately, a dark energy version of a smoke ring.
Matter reversion, stated above and not to be confused with radioactive decay, is caused by an ingress of "dark energy" very slowly neutralising matter's 'low energy' core, which for some may be counter intuitive. Radioactive decay is a consequence of matter reversion. Interestingly, this ingress causes the structural dynamics of matter to deteriorate over time causing a gradual transmutation to heavier elements. If you ever wondered where our complete spectrum of elements on Earth originated(2) then this is it. Ultimately, matter will finally 'dissolve' or return into its base state or, if it is easier to visualise, the state it was in before the 'Big Bang', which happens to be dark energy.
Gravity is the cumulative effect of the flow of dark energy. The larger the mass of an object the more reverting subatomic particles there are to contribute to the strength of the gravitational force. It is the movement of this flow which drags us with it. Forgive the analogy - it's as if we are standing underneath a waterfall made of dark energy. The "push of gravity" is a more appropriate phrase than "the pull of gravity".
Perhaps, another way of looking at it is if I said that a 'black hole' does not suck in matter but sucks in this linear motional form of dark energy. Matter just happens to flow along with it.
... of Gravity, Time and Space
Einstein's and now main stream's current gravity theory is based on the belief that if you were accelerating in a space craft you wouldn't be able to distinguish between this experience and that of gravity. This is not entirely true because standing on earth there is a gravity differential between your head and your feet. Whereas, in an accelerating spacecraft you would detect no such difference. Apart from this small oversight, it was then decided that inertial mass and gravitional mass were the same, the Equivalence principle.
The next challenge was to explain how we could be accelerating upwards with 1g without apparently moving and even more of a challenge to explain why two masses tend to move together.
For acceleration, you need a spatial component and a time component hence the evolution of the idea of 'spacetime', a bundling of these two dependent dimensions together. Gravity is explained as a natural property of matter which has the ability to warp or distort this 'spacetime'. The passage of time varies the closer you get to a gravity source and the geometry of the spatial component changes whereby our idea of a straight line becomes more and more curved.
The maths work, the model accurately describes observed physical reality but it doesn't explain the "why and how?". Why does matter warp space and time? Could observed phenomena be explained in any other way?
To understand gravity you have to fully understand matter and all its intricacies and to achieve this you need to create basic matter from the ingredients existing in a massless universe.
It is difficult for us, as humans and a product of the physical universe, to comprehend a universe where all matter has been converted to energy. Are you able to imagine the nature of what is going on in that environment? There would be radiation in abundance, maybe magnetic fields, dark energy, and, who knows what else, perhaps even intelligence but strictly no particles of any description, real or hypothetical - Higgs bosons, gravitons, neutrinos, fermions etc.
You might consider the photon effect an exception, seeing as I have just mentioned the fact that radiation would still exist. Photons are an oddity in that they are like the troughs and peaks of waves, oscillating positive then negative with resultant overall mass of zero, until they break on the metaphorical beach. Whenever you have base energy in any mode of acceleration or deceleration you have a mass effect, for instance, one example wave particle duality
Is faster than light travel possible?
What has gravity got to do with this? Not a lot but it helps to get a clearer understanding for what dark energy is.
The answer is Yes and No.
There are some stipulations that have to be agreed upon and these will decide whether you get a yes or a no answer.
If you are talking about a physical object travelling in 'our' space then the answer is probably no. The reason for this is that physical earthly objects are made of matter - protons, neutrons, electrons etc.. The faster you push them through space two things happen. The first is that matter starts to become unstable and transmutes back into another form of energised field (e=mc2). Secondly when high speeds are reached a 'wake' is created, similar to the wake behind a speed boat if you can visualise what I mean.
This wake is turbulent field. What you are seeing is matter being created, albeit momentarily, before it dissipates. This creation of matter requires energy and has to come from whatever propulsion method you may choose. Travelling faster than light with these set of criteria is not looking good.
The 'yes' answer requires either that you travel in an area of space where space itself is helping you along, similar to travelling down stream in a river, or that you isolate physical matter from the so called 'vacuum' of space. Space isn't a vacuum. It is permeated by any of the three states of energy as mentioned above.
Now, to make things more complicated, if you go one way and I go in the opposite direction at speeds approaching that of light we will have a real speed of separation 'relative' to each other of nearly twice the speed of light. However, if I look at you and you look at me, we will appear not to be going any faster away from each other than 'c'. The illusion is created by a limitation of the properties of the data carrier by which we measure speed, namely light.
To illustrate this limitation with a slowed down example, imagine a rowing boat with the oarsman rythmically rowing the boat across a lake. You are at the side of the lake, now blindfold yourself and put a hand in the water. For the sake of the experiment, you can feel a dominant ripple created by the splash of the oars as it reaches the shore. Here is the relevant bit, irrespective of how fast the boat is being rowed the ripples from the oars will travel across the water with the same speed. How can you tell how fast the boat is moving? You might have to get the blindfold off at this stage, but it will be proportional to the interval between the dominant ripples multiplied by the distance between one peak and the next.
The faster the boat goes the slower the interval of successive ripples hitting your hand and the greater will be the wavelength. I hope you can see the similarity between this scenario and that of light. Basically, the speed of light, but not the wavelength or frequency, is independent of the relative speed of the object that is transmitting it.
For interested readers, there is an excellent online book written by Bernard Burchell which challenges many taken-for-granted physical concepts upon which some current theories rely.
The book can be found at www.alternativephysics.org and there is a chapter on Faster than Light Travel and another on Time Dilation.
What is Dark Matter?
Before I start I should mention that this is just my opinion and may conflict with current, perhaps more informed, ideas on the subject.
Dark Matter has been calculated to make up about 25% of the matter in the universe and this calculation has been based on gravitational anomalies of a section of the universe then extrapolated to get an overall figure. Not being able to directly measure dark matter then the next best thing is to observe the trajectories of distant objects and if they aren't following a route predicted by the gravitation attributed to the local visible matter then the discrepancy must be attributed to invisible matter, namely dark matter.
This is where I believe the thinking is slightly flawed. I believe gravity can be present when no matter exists to produce it. In fact, matter is particularly feeble at producing gravity. I am fairly certain that Dark Matter has nothing to do with matter in the physical sense.
So what is causing these anomalies? The short answer is that dark matter exists or is the result of areas which have very low field densities. It is the flux pressure gradient that produces a gravitational effect.
It would help your understanding if you have read and taken on board, what gravity is, which I have outlined above and is the purpose of this website.
So, continuing, Dark Matter and Dark Energy have a symbiotic mutual relationship and it is the accelerating motion of dark energy from the high density area to the low 'dark matter' area that gives rise to the observed additional gravity effect.
Dark Energy and the expansion of the universe
All the galaxies in the viewable universe appear to be accelerating away from each other at an increasing rate. This would be counter to what would be intuitively expected. Proponents of a Big Bang theory, I'm sure, would prefer it if the acceleration was slowing down and eventually reverse so fitting in to a more cyclical concept of the universe.
Now we measure our physical universe with the data carrier, light or similar. In a physics where light is not a constant but dependent on the local accelerating rate of dark energy, or universal gravitational field if you like, then there is an argument that might suggest that the observed acceleration of distant galaxies is in some part an illusion caused by a net accelerating movement of dark energy. Basically, just as speed is relative so is acceleration. There is a scenario where two items could be held static relative to each other but observed from each other could appear visually to be accelerating away or towards.
Please bear in mind this is supposition and should only be considered as a possibility.
The Michelson-Morley experiment.
In the latter half of the 18th century there existed the belief in the presence of a weightless invisible fluid pervading space. This was known as the aether and hundreds of experiments were done to try and determine its existence with increasingly accurate equipment. For information on the Michelson-Morley experiment see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michelson-Morley_experiment and a good historical background can be found at http://renshaw.teleinc.com/papers/fizeau/fizeau.stm
Extensive research was done by Dayton Miller from 1902 to 1933, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dayton_Miller where he found slight seasonal and altitude variations after conducting more than 200,000 separate readings.
The aether drift experiments were based on the premise that the earth was travelling through it. The general idea for Michelson Morley type experiments is that it is faster to swim a return journey across a flowing river than it takes to swim an equivalent distance upstream and back. If you do the maths it is quite easy to verify this. We have to substitute the swimmer for light and the river for the aether, and then build our testing apparatus accordingly. The balance of evidence is overwhelming, or nearly so, in support of the mainstream conclusion that the aether of the 19th century doesn't exist.
More effective results would have been achieved by comparing the interval of travel of a beam orientated vertically to that of one horizontal - see Martin Grusenick - Extended MM experiment. We are not travelling through the so-called aether, if anything we are travelling with it. However, close to the earth, the new aether or dark energy is travelling predominantly downwards towards the centre of the earth.
Incidentally, there are a host of terms which are probably describing the same thing and in mainstream academic circles you can refer to them with impunity -
For some reason it is unacceptable to insinuate that there is any resemblance of these terms to the 'aether' of old.
The text on this website is only my opinion on the mechanics of gravitational attraction. It is hypothesis.
30th Oct 2005