### WHAT IS GRAVITY?

#### (Condensed Version of Gravity Theory)

##### Added to this website on 2/28/03. Revised 8/30/03.   Back - Main Menu Appendix Menu - Is There a Dynamic Ether?

This section has been added to better address the reasoning behind gravity. The reasoning here is very logical and conforms to the logic for light, electromagnetism, the nature of matter, and other subjects addressed here and in the series of little books titled Behind Light's Illusion.

Warning

Although this is not an "accepted" theory for gravity, it is the correct explanation for gravity and is more than a theory. Its straightforward simplicity and irrefutable logic, both visually and mathematically, have made it a thorn in the side of many physicists of high repute. Consequently, it is not something that should be used to pass a course in physics at any high school, college, or university.

The math and physics on this website, for the most part and including this section, should be viewed only if the reader prefers truth to fantasy.

Method of Proof of Gravity Theory

I. Assume that gravity is caused by nether (dynamic ether) flowing into a celestial body. Show why such an assumption is reasonable.

II. Show the necessary relationships to the radius, r, from the center of the celestial body.

III. Show that the math required for these relationships conforms to the Law of Nether Mass Equivalence and the Inverse Square Law.

I. Assumption of Gravity as Incoming Nether

I.A. The Electron

The electron is a vortex. This was conclusively proved to my satisfaction and to that of many others by the behavior of the electron in creating electricity, magnetism, light, inductance, etc.

I.B. Nether, Pressure, and Turning

To exist, a vortex requires a medium as does electromagnetic radiation (light). This medium is ether in a dynamic form, which is called "nether" for convenience to distinguish it from the old concept of a static ether. For a vortex to form from nether, there must be a pressure difference between the vortex center and the surrounding nether. The nether must flow into this center.

There is one other requirement for a vortex to form. The medium of which it is composed must turn, usually at ninety degrees to its original direction of motion.

The usual question is, "Where does the inflowing nether go?" This has been answered in other parts of this website and in the series of books called Behind Light's Illusion.

I.C. Vortex Dynamics

A vortex, as stated above, must have a medium of which it is composed. In the case of a whirlwind, tornado, hurricane, or the foot of a flute, the medium is air. In the case of a whirlpool, the medium is water. In the case of the electron, the medium is dynamic ether.

There must be a pressure difference between the center of the vortex and its surrounding medium. This causes the medium to flow inward toward the vortex center.

There must be a turning of the medium, usually at ninety degrees to its original direction of motion.

The medium must have the quality of inertia which is the tendency for it to remain moving in its original direction of motion and at its velocity before the turn.

Inertia causes two second-level laws of physics to operate. These laws are both consequences of Isaac Newton's third law which has to do with inertia. One of these second-level laws is the law of conservation of momentum. The other is the law of conservation of energy. These two laws affect the turning of the medium of which a vortex is composed. To conform to these laws, the medium cannot turn abruptly. Instead, it must take a curved path. When the medium is rushing in from all "sides", it cannot curve in a manner that is straightforward without hitting itself. Nor can it make the turn within the limit of the diameter of the vacuum into which it is turning. Consequently, it must adopt the curved path which we call a vortex. For some reasons that are too complex to explain easily here, the path inward at any point always averages 45 degrees from the radial at that point. Next time you are in a bathtub watching the water drain, you can confirm this.

Until the basic laws of physics are repealed, any medium with inertia, moving into a relative vacuum at ninety degrees (more or less), will form a vortex. There is no alternative.

I.D. Implications

Since the electron is a vortex, then it may be that all subatomic so-called particles are actually vortices of some type - or combinations thereof. This, in turn, implies that everything in the universe is made of nether (dynamic ether). Further research indicates that this is the case (see Book Six or Behind Light's Illusion).

Although this is not the place to go into why the above is so (it is too great a tangent to our present direction of logic), we can move on as if it had been explained and see what gravity is.

I.E. Inward Flow

If all matter is composed of nether vortices, the nether must flow rapidly into large masses such as planets or stars. This inward flow would be an accelerating flow as found within an ordinary kitchen funnel. The top of the funnel has a larger cross-section than the bottom. Therefore, if the funneled is filled, the same amount of fluid must flow through it at all levels.

This means that the fluid velocity at a larger cross-section will be less than the fluid velocity at a smaller cross-section. Or, the fluid velocity at the top of the funnel will be less than the fluid velocity at the bottom of the funnel. Between the top and the bottom of the funnel, the velocity will be increasing (the fluid will be accelerating).

A kitchen funnel has cross-sections that are flat planes. A gravity funnel has spherical cross-sections whose centers are the same as the center of the attracting mass. At an infinite distance, the nether velocity toward the attracting mass is zero. The nether velocity is greatest near the surface of the attracting mass. In between, the nether is accelerating toward the center of the attracting mass.

II. Showing the Relationships

II.A. Mass vs mass

Matter as currently defined in physics has "mass" and is "mass" which is shown as a lower case "m" in equations. I define nether Mass with a large M. I show Mass relating to mass according to the equation:
m = M/t where "t" is a unit of time, preferably one second.

If a single so-called subatomic particle is composed of mass, which is M/t in terms of nether Mass, then a body such as a planet has multiple masses, each of which is M/t. The planet's total M/t, is the planet's mass.

In the gravity funnel created by the planet, exactly the same Mass must pass through every funnel cross-section in any period of time (such as one second).

II.B. The Mass Equivalence Law (MEL)

Each spherical cross-sectional area of a gravity funnel is found by the equation for the area of a sphere,
A = 4(pi)r2, where A is area and r is the radius of the sphere. The Mass of nether passing through each spherical cross-section is measured by the product of its velocity, its density, and the area of that particular cross-section. Mathematically
this can be expressed as M = DvA
where "M" is nether Mass, "D" is nether density, "v" is nether velocity, and "A" is the area of the cross-section. Because a gravity funnel such as a planet has no sides as does a kitchen funnel, nether can neither escape nor enter from a side. Therefore, the DvA at each cross-section must be the same. I call this the law of nether mass equivalence or the Mass Equivalence Law (MEL).

II.C. Inward Velocity

The incoming nether at each cross-section of a gravity funnel is a level of kinetic energy. The nether at the farthest cross-section will have almost zero velocity toward the center of the attracting mass and the nether at the closest cross-section will have the greatest nether velocity toward the center of the attracting mass. According to contemporary physics,
Ek = (1/2)mv2 where Ek is kinetic energy, m is mass, and v is velocity. The energy level of the nether at each cross-section is proportional to the squared velocity of the nether at that particular cross-section. The mass or Mass of nether passing through each level is the same as that for any other level, so kinetic energy at any level differs from that at any other level only due to the difference between the squares of the two nether velocities.

The energy level of the nether at a cross-section is also determined as a direct consequence of the radius of the cross-section. This means that the radius of each cross-section and the nether velocity squared at each cross-section are related
reciprocally. In mathematical terms v2 ~ 1/r.
If we take the square root of both sides, v ~ 1/(r1/2) or v ~ r-1/2.
So the velocity of incoming nether is proportional to one divided by the square root of the radius at that point.

This can be confirmed by the inverse square law as will be shown below.

II.D. The Inverse Square Law (ISL)

This is a known law for gravity which states that the acceleration that we call gravity varies inversely with the square of the distance from the center of the mass that creates that acceleration. In other words, if we are at an altitude which is twice as far from the center of the earth as the earth's surface, the acceleration due to gravity with be one-fourth as great as it is on the earth's surface. So if the gravity at the earth's surface is 32 feet per second squared and the radius of the earth is 4,000 miles, the gravity at an altitude of 4,000 miles (which is 8,000 miles from the earth's center) will be approximately 8 feet per second squared.

In mathematical language, the ISL is ga/ge = re2/ra2 where ga is the gravity at a higher location, ge is the gravity at a lower location, ra is the radius at the same higher location, and re is the radius at the same lower location.

On page 14 of Book Two of the series Behind Light's Illusion
is the equation g = v2/2r, where "g" is gravity.
We may use this eqation because it is derived for nether purposes, is derived correctly, and is the same one known for escape velocity. Therefore, we may substitute va2/2ra for ga in the ISL equation and ve2/2re for ge, and simplify.
The result, va/ve = re1/2/ra1/2, shows that v is indeed proportional to r-1/2. Therefore, the fact that each level of incoming nether is an energy level is, very likely, the reason for the ISL.

The inverse square law, like all laws of science, is not a reason explaining why something works. It is merely a statement of the consequences of something working. Any valid gravity theory must show that the gravity it theorizes actually creates the inverse square law. The line of reasoning shown above provides a gravity that perfectly creates the inverse square law.

See many more details on gravity in Is There a Dynamic Ether on this website, and in Books Two and Six of Behind Light's Illusion.

II.E. Mass, Velocity, and Density

We can see that a spherical cross-section far from the center of a celestial body such as a planet is much greater that one that is near the center. Yet the same Mass of nether must pass through each cross-section. This means that as the area of each cross-section is decreasing while we approach the center, the Mass per second (M/t) must be increasing to compensate. Otherwise, the amount of nether passage at each cross-section would not remain the same. M/t has two components: "v" and "D", where "v" is inward velocity and "D" is nether density.

The vacuum creating the gravity funnel is pulling on the nether which resists because it has inertia. This distends the nether and tends to lessen its density. In other words, the suction of the incoming nether "stretches" the nether and tends to reduce the nether density in the radial direction reciprocally to the incoming velocity. The incoming nether velocity is proportional to r-1/2. Therefore, the tendency of radial nether reduction, "radial density" or Dr,
conforms to the following: Dr ~ r1/2.
So the tendency for density reduction of the nether in the radial direction is proportional to the square root of the radius at that point.

II.G. Tangential Density

The cross-sectional area is decreasing according to the equation
A = 4(pi)r2. This means that the area of a cross-section is proportional to r2.

Therefore, from the effect of the area alone, the nether density in the two tangential directions tends to increase as nether approaches the center of the attracting mass. The tendency for compressing tangentially can be labeled "Dt".

If the tangential density is called "Dt, then
Dt ~ r-2.

This is the reciprocal of the cross-sectional area because it is the reduction of the cross-sectional area that causes the increase in Dt.
So if A ~ r2, then Dt ~ 1/(r2). 1/(r2) = r-2, so Dt = r-2.

II.H. Actual Nether Density

The actual nether density, D, at any point in a gravity funnel is the product of Dr and Dt.
Dr ~ r1/2 and Dt ~ r-2, so (Dr)(Dt) ~ (r1/2)(r-2) or D ~ r-3/2.
This means that the density of the nether at any cross-section of a gravity funnel is proportional to one divided by the cube root of the square of the radius at that point.

Marshmallows

We may consider a gravity funnel to be similar to an ordinary greased kitchen funnel into which we stuff marshmallows. The marshmallows compress in the dimensions of the cross-sections and extrude in the dimension of forward motion.

Two major things are required for a valid gravity funnel. First, at every spherical cross-section the amount of nether flow must be exactly the same. In other words, the same number of marshmallows that entered the funnel must exit the funnel. Second, the gravity produced must conform to the inverse square law.

III. Conformance to the MEL and the ISL

III.A. Satisfying the Mass Equivalence Law (MEL)

The MEL states that exactly the same amount of nether must pass through each cross-section of a gravity funnel as passes through every other cross-section of the same gravity funnel within any period of absolute time.

The use of the term "absolute time" means time as it passes when there is no relative nether velocity. This is important because there is time dilation when there is relative nether velocity.

This law is logical because a gravity funnel has no sides from which nether can enter or leave. What is there stays there until it exits at the vortex centers. Since the gravity funnel top is the entire universe, no more can enter the funnel.

At all levels of the gravity funnel, the product of DvA must be the same because the same amount of nether must pass through each level. D is actual nether density at a particular spherical cross-section, v is the instantaneous velocity at that same cross-section, and A is the area of that cross-section. If this product is proportional to r to the zero power, which is one, then Mass equivalence has been satisfied and the same amount of nether is moving through each cross-section.
D ~ r-3/2, v ~ r-1/2, A ~ r2.
So: DvA ~ r-3/2r-1/2r2 which is r0 or one.
The Mass equivalence law has been satisfied.

III.B. Satisfying the Inverse Square Law (ISL)

This was shown in part II.D. where it is apparent that the energy level at each spherical cross-section of a gravity funnel is a function of v2, making v proportional to r-1/2, which is also true according to the ISL.

III.C. Conclusion

Gravity as a consequence of inflowing nether is the most logical and least complex theory of gravity.

Gravity Waves

The following comes from The New Physics edited by Paul Davies, published by Cambridge University Press, copyrighted in 1989, and reprinted in 1990 and 1993.

"The subject of gravitational radiation is almost as old as general relativity itself. By 1916, Einstein had succeeded in showing that the field equations of general relativity admitted wavelike solutions analogous to those of eletromagnetic theory. For example, a dumb-bell rotating about an axis passing at right angles through its handle will emit gravitational waves that travel at the speed of light. But Einstein also found that the waves have a very important property: they carry energy away from the rotating dumb-bell, just as electomagnetic waves carry energy away from a light source. He even derived a formula to determine the rate at which energy would be lost from a system such as a rotating dumb-bell, as a consequence of the emission of gravitational waves. As it turned out, the assumptions he made to simplify the calculation were not completely rigorous, and he also made a trivial mathematical error that made his answer a factor too large, but the basic analysis was correct. (The error was first pointed out by Eddington.)"

Note that with the dumb-bell, there are two masses, one at each end. As the ends rotate, they become closer and then farther from a detector of gravity. Furthermore, the dumb-bell rotates so that the close/far is gradual in the form of a sign wave as each dumb-bell end moves from one side to the other. So that gravity, which is normally a flow straight inward, looks like a sign wave that is transverse. So the conclusion was that a gravitational wave is an oscillating field that is perpendicular to the plane of propagation. Considering the method used, what else could it be?

In such an experiment, the wave is "caused" by gravity - as it should have been since the nether (dynamic ether) inflow is what causes each aspect of energy, including electromagnetic waves. However, the wave is an effect of having moved the source of the gravity. And the energy loss is in the rotational energy rather than the gravitational energy. Rather than the wave creating gravity, or gravity creating the wave, the motion of the dumb-bell created a change in gravity as measured at a particular location - and this change created a wave of acceleration through the nether.

This same book goes on to state: "While the source of electromagnetic waves is moving charges, the source of gravitational waves is moving masses. But only a particular kind of mass motion is applicable: motion in which the source changes its shape, in other words in which the dynamics are non-spherical... The kinds of sources that might produce gravitational waves therefore include a star that vibrates or collapses in a non-spherical manner, a binary star system, a black hole swallowing a star, two stars or black holes colliding or flying past each other, and so on."

Since that early experiment with a dumb-bell in a laboratory, neutron star binary systems have been used to verify gravity waves. These are very strong gravitational sources and they must be because gravity waves are not gravity itself. They are very weak changes in gravity. The book goes on to state "One of the strongest imagined sources of gravitational waves, a rotating star that collapses to form a black hole in our galaxy, will produce a field of tidal forces [gravitational waves] that will cause two masses separated by one meter to move together and apart by only one-hundredth of the diameter of an atomic nucleus."

In regard to nether theory, this shows that a wave of acceleration caused by a change in gravity will move at the speed of light. After all, it should do so because light, according to nether theory is a wave of acceleration that is also moving through the nether and is caused by the "gravity" of an electron shifting its orientation.

Pulsars

Pulsars are rapidly spinning stars that are deformed so the diameters at their equators are not the same all the way around. They are deformed so that they act somewhat like a laboratory dumb-bell. Therefore, they emit gravity waves that bleed off their energy so that they do not reach a point where centrifugal force can cause them to disintegrate. An example is given below.

Bill Steigerwald
Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
(Phone: 301/286-5017)

RELEASE: 03-224

EINSTEIN'S GRAVITATIONAL WAVES MAY
SET SPEED LIMIT FOR PULSAR SPIN

Gravitational radiation, ripples in the fabric of space predicted by Albert Einstein, may serve as a cosmic traffic enforcer, protecting reckless pulsars from spinning too fast and blowing apart, according to a report published in the July 3 issue of Nature.

Pulsars, the fastest spinning stars in the Universe, are the core remains of exploded stars, containing the mass of our Sun compressed into a sphere about 10 miles across. Some pulsars gain speed by pulling in gas from a neighboring star, reaching spin rates of nearly one revolution per millisecond, or almost 20 percent light speed. These "millisecond" pulsars would fly apart if they gained much more speed.

Using NASA's Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer, scientists have found a limit to how fast a pulsar spins and speculate that the cause is gravitational radiation: The faster a pulsar spins, the more gravitational radiation it might release, as its exquisite spherical shape becomes slightly deformed. This may restrain the pulsar's rotation and save it from obliteration.

"Nature has set a speed limit for pulsar spins," said Prof. Deepto Chakrabarty of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, lead author on the journal article. "Just like cars speeding on a highway, the fastest- spinning pulsars could technically go twice as fast, but something stops them before they break apart. It may be gravitational radiation that prevents pulsars from destroying themselves."

Chakrabarty's co-authors are Drs. Edward Morgan, Michael Muno, and Duncan Galloway of MIT; Rudy Wijnands, University of St. Andrews, Scotland; Michiel van der Klis, University of Amsterdam; and Craig Markwardt, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. Wijnands also leads a second Nature letter complementing this finding.

Gravitational waves, analogous to waves upon an ocean, are ripples in four-dimensional spacetime. These exotic waves, predicted by Einstein's theory of relativity, are produced by massive objects in motion and have not yet been directly detected.

Created in a star explosion, a pulsar is born spinning, perhaps 30 times per second, and slows down over millions of years. Yet if the dense pulsar, with its strong gravitational potential, is in a binary system, it can pull in material from its companion star. This influx can spin up the pulsar to the millisecond range, rotating hundreds of times per second.

In some pulsars, the accumulating material on the surface occasionally is consumed in a massive thermonuclear explosion, emitting a burst of X-ray light lasting only a few seconds. In this fury lies a brief opportunity to measure the spin of otherwise faint pulsars. Scientists report in Nature that a type of flickering found in these X-ray bursts, called "burst oscillations," serves as a direct measure of the pulsars' spin rate. Studying the burst oscillations from 11 pulsars, they found none spinning faster than 619 times per second.

The Rossi Explorer is capable of detecting pulsars spinning as fast as 4,000 times per second. Pulsar breakup is predicted to occur at 1,000 to 3,000 revolutions per second. Yet scientists have found none that fast. From statistical analysis of 11 pulsars, they concluded that the maximum speed seen in nature must be below 760 revolutions per second.

This observation supports the theory of a feedback mechanism involving gravitational radiation limiting pulsar speeds, proposed by Prof. Lars Bildsten of the University of California, Santa Barbara. As the pulsar picks up speed through accretion, any slight distortion in the star's dense, half-mile-thick crust of crystalline metal will allow the pulsar to radiate gravitational waves. (Envision a spinning, oblong rugby ball in water, which would cause more ripples than a spinning, spherical basketball.) An equilibrium rotation rate is eventually reached where the angular momentum shed by emitting gravitational radiation matches the angular momentum being added to the pulsar by its companion star.

Bildsten said that accreting millisecond pulsars could eventually be studied in greater detail in an entirely new way, through the direct detection of their gravitational radiation. LIGO, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory now in operation in Hanford, Wash. and in Livingston, La., will eventually be tunable to the frequency at which millisecond pulsars are expected to emit gravitational waves.

"The waves are subtle, altering spacetime and the distance between objects as far apart as the Earth and the Moon by much less than the width of an atom," said Prof. Barry Barish, LIGO director from the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena. "As such, gravitational radiation has not been directly detected yet. We hope to change that soon."

Colliding Black Holes

The dumb-bell experiment previously described in Gravity Waves is a smaller version of what happens when two black holes begin to collide. The old dumb-bells were spherical bodies held together by a metal rod. Black holes are merely denser almost-spherical bodies which have very strong gravity. When two of them revolve about one another, they are held together by their gravitational attraction (analogous to the steel rod).

When celestial bodies approach one another, they seldom collide head-on. Instead, they pass closely to one another and, sometimes, their mutual gravitational attraction is strong enough to cause them to revolve about one another rather than taking separate paths away from the point of near-pact. If their mutual gravitational attraction is even stronger, they will revolve about one another a finite number of times while spiralling toward one another to eventually collide. During the process of spiralling toward one another, they will produce gravitational waves that are more easily detected than would otherwise be the case. The most obvious example of this would be two black holes approaching closely enough to revolve about one another as a binary system while approaching the point of collision.

In the April 22 issue of Science News is a short article with the title: Crash - Ripples of space-time debut in black hole simulations. Some exerpts from the article follow.

When black holes collide, they cause surrounding space-time to wiggle, generating a torrent of radiation known as gravitational waves. That's what Einstein's theory of relativity predicts, [actually almost any semi-reasonable theory of gravity would predict this] but computer models have struggled for more than 30 years to reproduce those waves...

Now, two teams independently report that they have successfully simulated the merger of two black holes and the event's production of gravitational waves [The picture produced is very beautiful and well worth a good look.]...

... the simple approach enabled the modelers to watch the gravitational waves emitted by two orbiting, equal-mass black holes in the critical period hours or seconds before they coalesced...

The strength of the kick revealed by the Goddard simulation suggests that gravitational waves could indeed have controlled the growth of black holes and galaxies...

Instantaneous Gravity

There are some who claim that gravity is instantaneous. This is appears to be true in certain instances, but the effect is caused by the fact that gravity was there already before the receiver arrived. Instantaneous gravity is, therefore, an illusion. See Gravity Waves, Gravitons, and Illusion on this website for a more detailed explanation. Of course gravity waves such as those of the dumb-bell experiments (whether man-made in a laboratory or made by nature with two revolving black holes) travel at the speed of light.

Gravity Lensing

Gravity lensing is the effect caused by the inflow of nether as light moves through it. When a luminous object sends its light through the inflowing nether of a gravity funnel, the light is "bent" just as light does in a lens made of glass - but for a different reason. It is the same thing that would happen to a motor boat crossing a river at right angles to the flow. It does not arrive at the opposite bank until is has drifted a long way in the direction of the current.

Gravity lensing was predicted by Einstein using his model of gravity. The nether model of gravity has the same effect, but rather than using "space-time" with a curved space, the nether model uses a time separate from our three-dimensional space of Euclidean geometry which is "straight" or "flat". Recently, several observations have indicated that space is indeed "flat" rather that curved, so that Einstein's model no longer seems to be valid. One of the best examples of gravity lensing follows. It illustrates how gravity lensing is being used in a practical manner today and is no longer merely a theoretical concept.

Micro-Gravity

At the subatomic level, the attraction caused by inflow into individual vortices of matter is very different from the gravity of which we are familiar. Usually, the separation of the vortices is great enough to make each one more independent. Where large concentrations of vortices may create large inflows that can actually attain inward velocities that exceed the speed of light (called black holes), the inflows of individual vortices attain the speed of light only at points very near their centers.

It is only the geometry of a spherical funnel cross-section of a gravity funnel that causes the incoming velocities and accelerations to be so great. As a sphere grows in size, its volume increases as the cube of its radius while its area increases as only the square of its radius. Inside the sphere is where the subatomic entities exist so they increase in number as the volume of the sphere increases. The increase in nether inflow grows at the same rate as as does the number of spherical entities which create it. Yet, the inflow must pass through the area of a sphere which is not increasing as rapidly as the inflow itself. So as a mass grows due to its increasing number of subatomic entities, the velocity and acceleration of its incoming nether grow.

The lack of higher incoming nether velocities at individual vortices is accompanied by a lack of nether compression. The result of this and of the lower nether velocities and accelerations is what I have called micro-gravity, the attraction of subatomic entities to one another due to their radial inflows. Micro-gravity is very weak. Yet, it is multiplied as the result of concentrations of these same subatomic entities, to become a very strong force which we call gravity.

When subatomic entities are concentrated in large quantities as in the case of a planet, their tangential inflow vectors cancel each other out and average to zero while their radial inflow vectors add to one another to create the force we call gravity.

Far-flung galaxy breaks record

18:34 01 March 04

NewScientist.com news service

A small, faint galaxy may claim the title of the most distant object known - breaking a record that was set just two weeks ago.

The new find appears to lie 13.2 billion light-years away from Earth and reveals what the earliest galaxies looked like.

Light from this galaxy may have formed a mere 460 million years after the Big Bang, which formed the Universe 13.7 billion years ago, say its discoverers.

The previous record-holder, reported in February 2004, dates back to 750 million years after the birth of the Universe.

"We are approaching the youngest ages of galaxies," says Roser Pelló, an astronomer at the Observatoire Midi-Pyrénées in France and co-leader of the discovery team.

Astronomers have been steadily probing further back in time and space to see when and how the first stars and galaxies formed from dense gas clouds. This murky period was known as the Dark Ages and lasted about one billion years. The radiation from these first stellar objects may have broken apart the clouds' atomic hydrogen into ions - a process known as re-ionisation - to make space transparent.

So far only 30 or so objects have been found that date to the universe's first billion years. But Pelló believes observations such as hers show early galaxies "could be one of the main sources of re-ionisation if they are numerous".

Bent and Magnified

The far-flung galaxy was discovered using one of the four 8.2-metre telescopes comprising the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile. Focusing on a single region of sky for an average of three to six hours at a time, the international team used an infrared imager and spectrograph called ISAAC to detect a single telling emission line that appeared to arise from hydrogen.

But the distant galaxy was only visible because of a chance geometric alignment. A massive galaxy cluster called Abell 1835 lies between the new galaxy and Earth. Abell 1835's gravity bent and magnified the distant galaxy's light, making it between 25 and 100 times brighter.

Early galaxies actively form stars, producing a telltale spike of ultraviolet radiation from hydrogen. But the light from distant objects gets stretched by the expansion of the Universe, which allows astronomers to calculate vast distances using a measure called redshift.

This galaxy appears to lie at a redshift of 10.0. The previous record holder for the most distant object is a galaxy at redshift 7.0, reported just two weeks ago by a team led by one of the researchers in this study.

This result is "very exciting," says Andrew Bunker, an astronomer at the University of Exeter, UK. "A jump to redshift ten from redshift six is significant and unprecedented."

Researchers also urge caution in interpreting the result. "The authors are to be congratulated on their approach and observational technique," says Donald Schneider, an astronomer at Pennsylvania State University, US. But he says the redshift of 10.0 is "not ironclad" and points out that some previous claims of high-redshift discoveries have been "retracted when additional observations were obtained."

Building Blocks

The researchers themselves acknowledge the galaxy might lie closer than redshift 10.0. That could occur if the emission line arises not from hydrogen but from other elements, such as oxygen or nitrogen. A star-forming galaxy at redshift 2.5, for example, could account for the observed emission - but this would be unlikely to reveal the distinctive spectra seen, they say.

The researchers have requested observing time on the Hubble Space Telescope to confirm their result.

Named Abell 1835 IR1916, the new galaxy appears to form stars at the rate of between one and five suns per year and contains ten thousand times less matter than our Milky Way. Such small, star-forming galaxies are expected in the early Universe as they are thought to be the building blocks of the large galaxies seen today.

Journal reference: Astronomy & Astrophysics (vol 416, p L35)

Maggie McKee

Footnote

Recently, someone who claimed to have been a physicist for the last 45 years publicly stated that my understanding of flute physics was incorrect, that much of my work on flutes is wrong, that what I did show correctly was stolen from other sources, and that it was a waste of money to buy my books or my computer program on flute design. He did not contact me and ask anything. I had to find out from a friend that I was being attacked in a rather cowardly manner.

This man formed his opinion after having supposedly read two of my books on flutes. He stated that physicists other than himself have published works on flutes which do not mention vortices and, therefore, there are no vortices in flute theory.

Bear in mind that I am not a physicist. I am an engineer (general engineering which includes aeronautical engineering and some fluid dynamics) and an ex Air Force navigator. Those who work in both of these professions must use theories, calculations, and conclusions that actually work in the real world - or lives may be lost. We do not make up fantasies on our coffee breaks.

This man actually provided information as to why some people have difficulty understanding nether theory. Until he began his unfounded attack, I did not realize that a physicist could fail to comprehend at least the basics behind vortex theory. Obviously, some of them do not deal with a branch of physics that involves any knowledge relating to such things. This being the case, I have added this section which goes into more detail as why a vortex forms and why any other type of flow is prohibited in cases where conditions for vortices are met.

I thank this man (sorry - can't honestly refer to him as a gentleman) for helping me to realize that more was needed to be added to this website. I dedicate the following to him.

A vortex forms because (1) the fluid with which it is composed has the property of inertia, (2) there is a pressure difference between the surrounding fluid of which it is composed and its center, and (3) the laws of conservation of momentum and conservation of energy have not been repealed. The fluid cannot suddenly turn ninety degrees because of the laws of conservation so it adopts a spiral path that we call a vortex.

Gravity would not exist if there were not vortices massed together. The vortex and its vacuum-like center is the underlying reason for gravity.

See the Appendix for more back-up information on gravity.