Is speed of light SLOWER than we think?
Date: Monday, June 30, 2014 @ 01:13:43 EDT
Topic: General


Einstein claimed speed of light in a vacuum is 186,282 miles per second. But James Franson from Maryland University believes it is slower than this. In 1987, light particles of a supernova arrived 4.7 hours later than expected. Dr James Franson suggests this may be because of 'vacuum polarisation'. This, he claims, had a gradual, but significant, impact on speed of photons. If he is correct, it means scientists have to recalculate everything from our distance to the sun to some of the most distant objects in other galaxies.

The study was conducted by Baltimore-based physicist, James Franson, who looked at why light particles of supernova SN 1987A arrived 4.7 hours later than expected.

The University of Maryland physicist believes the delay could have been because the light was in fact slowed as it travelled due to something known as 'vacuum polarisation'. During this phenomenon, photons break down to something known as ‘positrons’ and electrons for a split second. before combining together again.

When they split, quantum mechanics creates a gravitational potential between the pair of ‘virtual’ particles. Dr Franson argues that the process might have a gradual impact on the speed of the photon, meaning that over 168,000 light years, the photons may have suffered a near five-hour delay.

If the physicist is correct, it means scientists have to recalculate everything from our distance to the sun to some of the most distant objects seen in other galaxies. Dr Franson’s paper has been submitted to the New Journal of Physics and is currently undergoing peer review.

Source: http://www.keelynet.com/news/062814j.html







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