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any merit to this? [sciencealert.com]

By hankster
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This is interesting. Note also that in beer brewing light and it's absence play an important role. Also, beer is brewed in large but round containers. A big square container will not do the job. In many ways our Universe would seem to fit this also. What if we are all a brain in a beer vat? Should we fear being drank?

DenoPenno Level 8 Mar 8, 2019

You and Kavanaugh: "I like beer. I've always liked beer. My friends like beer." etc.


As the article indicates, the effect from photons could be a small portion of the solution. One of the authors of the study stated: "We don't currently consider photon mass to be the solution to the rotation-curve problem. But it could be part of the solution," Budker said.

One prediction of the scientific paper is the Sun's orbit around the Milky Way should be highly elliptical, which it's not. Clearly, this paper represents an investigation on the frontier of new knowledge. While intriguing, it's usually best to wait and see how this plays out. cc @sakdo

TheAstroChuck Level 8 Mar 8, 2019

One of these days science will discover "whatsamatter" and end any disputes as if they matter.

Antifred Level 7 Mar 8, 2019

The only merit I can rescue from this is the statement that we must keep looking. Dark matter remind me of the "ether" story...... Anyhow, last time I checked photons don't have mass and Proca applies to Z and W bosons, not photons.

IamNobody Level 8 Mar 8, 2019

Above my pay grade. Ask @TheAstroChuck .

skado Level 8 Mar 8, 2019

lol... I'm just thinking about it for free.


I like this. Thinking outside of the box! Fun thought to entertain anyway.

Hathacat Level 8 Mar 8, 2019

Not so "dark" after all. Who knows? The science is beyond me, let the experts figure it out.

godef Level 7 Mar 8, 2019

"What if...?" questions are just speculation. No merit until proven.

LiterateHiker Level 8 Mar 8, 2019

I agree with you comment. However, "no merit" is a little too strong in this case. Scientific investigations at the forefront of new knowledge usually incorporate some physics and some speculation into their theories. While it is wise to take a wait-and-see approach to such research, there is at least a small amount of merit to their conclusions.


Merit? As much merit as any hypothesis has until it is proven true or false.

darthfaja Level 7 Mar 8, 2019

Very interesting, this is something to watch for...just to see if a new discovery will solve the mystery.

Freedompath Level 8 Mar 8, 2019

If you are interested look at the link from evidentalist. There are 3 of them.


That's really interesting. I can't wait to hear how this plays out.

Stephanie99 Level 7 Mar 8, 2019

Seems legit. Who knows? Personally I always thought it might be the galactic magnetosphere or something like that.

RiverRick Level 7 Mar 8, 2019

how the universe works, on the science channel, explains dark matter rather well. i'm convinced it is at least likely (better than just possible).


genessa Level 8 Mar 8, 2019

In the text says that even counting on it, it is not enough. That was my first reaction.
Dark matter is an unknown in the equation.
Lets say you have a box of fruits, you put 3 apples there, and then you go count how many fruits are in the box, but you are in the dark, you count 7 fruits.
You know that there are 4 dark fruits there, you know they are there, you can measure them, but you do not know what they are until you can see it.
That is dark matter. It can be one thing, it can be many, it can be a new effect that we do not know. We just know that there is more things that we can see/detect generating gravity.

Also, we need to confirm or dismiss this experimentally because it is a theoretical study, it means that in paper it works (there is no mistake in the calculations).
For example: I saw a car going out of my town and you saw this car arriving in your town (50km distance) 1 hour later. We can say that the guy drove continuously at 50km/h, or he drove 100km/h with a long 30 min pause, or he drove 150km/h but went to your town, came back and went again.
All those models can explain the current observations. So until we find a way to measure in the middle of the road we cannot discard any of those, at the same time none of them can be the correct one. There can be more pauses, variation in speed, some shortcut that we are not aware off, 2 cars that are perfectly equal fooling us etc.

Basically in science you never discover what is true, you just discard the wrong ones and write in what conditions this theory is a good approximation of the experiments. (you control how wrong and not how correct you are)

Pedrohbds Level 7 Mar 8, 2019

I love your analogies right up to the last paragraph. Science really doesn't deal in "truth" or "what is true." Science only deals with what fits (the observed data) and what does not. A good theory is one that fits all of the data extremely well - that theory is considered correct, but not true.


Cool. Thanks for the post.

kmdskit3 Level 8 Mar 8, 2019



The accepted wisdom is that photons are pure energy; massless particles of light. However, a distinction is made between REST mass and mass at the speed of light. Apparently photons do have mass while they are travelling at or near the speed of light. In fact, if we look at Einstein's famous equation explaining the relationship between mass and energy, E=mc squared, we can readily see that a photon, which we all agree is energy, MUST have mass. In the equation, if mass is zero, then c (the speed of light) must also be zero, and E (energy) would also have to be zero. But there IS energy in a photon and therefore there must be mass. The question then becomes, is the mass of the light in the galaxy sufficient to explain the galaxy's high apparent gravity? Maybe not by itself, but it looks like it might be part of the solution as to why galaxies don't fly apart due to their high rotational velocities. Maybe it is the mass of light AND the as yet undefined dark matter together that keep galaxies together.

There is a lot we don't know, but every little scientific iteration seems to get closer to the truth. Always remind yourself of the assumptions, as you read the conclusions.


I only have one word to say:
“The earth is flat”

Therefore this is wrong

Seajay88 Level 4 Mar 8, 2019

That was four words.

@Metahuman I’m debating on whether sarcasm is lost this world. Or if this worlds sarcasm is lost me


At this is may only be a hypothesis. Of course, science has never claimed to be complete as new things are discovered every day. We (humanity) have a long way to go before we can perfectly define the how of gravity, light, space, and time. It is possible that Dark Matter and / or Dark Energy many not exist -- we just lack the ability to sense it, as of today.

xyz123 Level 7 Mar 8, 2019

I’m no astro physicists, so I can’t speak directly about it’s merits. Though the article said something about a ‘new paper’ on this subject. You may want to see the peer reviews to determine it’s validity.

indirect76 Level 7 Mar 8, 2019

Peer reviews are anonymous and are only seen by the original authors and the editor. The merits of this article usually take a decade or more to play out.

@TheAstroChuck @hankster -- Although this is something worth looking into a bit further, there are some things wrong with it that are readily apparent. One thing I find that would lend some theoretical support to the idea is the work of Dr. Ronald Mallet, who is basing his experiments in time travel (don't laugh) on the idea that enough cohesive light traveling in a circular path can induce a degree of frame dragging that would produce time-like curves that we normally associate with an extension of relativistic gravity. Yes, it is quite far fetched, but theoretically there is nothing I find wrong with it on the face of it. With some reservations, it is certainly an interesting idea.


I see theories, no matter how obscure, as being paramount to the advancement of science and knowledge. There was a video titled "Particle Fever" that showed both theoretical and applied physicists working on an idea of finding a particle and determining the existence of a multi-verse.

JackPedigo Level 8 Mar 8, 2019

They are now wanting to build a super super-collider some four times the size of the Large Hadron Collider currently in place. I'm all for it.


@evidentialist Wow, very impressive. The film was not just about finding the Higgs-Boson but in finding it's energy level. Above a certain point it would point to t multi-verse and below it would mean a single universe. Of course the energy level was mid-range. So no conclusions could be drawn.

Also, the film showed that a larger collider was planned and even started in Texas. Then the idiot Republicans took over and killed the project. Our cuntry is slowly loosing it as a premier science nation.

I good friend of mine on the island is a physicist and I have sent him the links.


@JackPedigo -- You will be pleased to hear that we as a nation are now lagging most advanced nations in math, science, and reading skills. One of the biggest cross-national tests is the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), which every three years measures reading ability, math and science literacy and other key skills among 15-year-olds in dozens of developed and developing countries. The most recent PISA results, from 2015, placed the U.S. an unimpressive 38th out of 71 countries in math and 24th in science. Among the 35 members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which sponsors the PISA initiative, the U.S. ranked 30th in math and 19th in science in 2015. For 2018, we slipped a bit more. Link for 2018 below. smile007.gif



@hankster -- We have discovered doesn't matter and it has been shown to have no effect on anything whatsoever. smile007.gif

Yes, the thought is credible, but the effect (as stated in the article) would not be much. We know that photons do affect matter, so it isn't too much of a stretch to think that some of the rotational velocity differential might be affected by light. It is a notion worth looking into.

evidentialist Level 8 Mar 8, 2019

@hankster -- I should have added that if there is indeed any effect, it will still leave us with the problem of dark matter being the larger percentage of the effect.


Like the article says, if photons had mass, then Proca stress would have given our own sun a highly elliptical orbit, which didn't happen, so I dunno why this theory is being considered.

birdingnut Level 8 Mar 8, 2019
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