Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Wormholes and light

After looking at gravitational lensing, and seeing how, in terms of General Relativity, light acts under a gravitational field, I've found something rather interesting with the wormholes in New Eden.

If you fly to any wormhole, you can generally tell its destination by looking at it. We can see the some of the distant nebulae of the joining system. 

This one is from earlier. You can see the grey and reddish nebula in the middle.

A zoomed out picture for reference. The system of the observer (i.e. me) has the mix between red and yellow nebulae you find in between the Empire and the Republic.

The issue is this... the light is the same colour as the nebulae on the other side.

Sounds absurd to argue that, and clearly the light is being affected. However, you need to know that light acts a little different in gravitational fields than other objects.

Let's do an experiment: Drop something. Go ahead, I'll wait.

It should have dropped to the ground right? That object (and I hope it wasn't expensive) starts accelerating to the ground. It's losing gravitational energy, and transferring that to kinetic energy. The velocity increases.

Light as it falls towards a gravitational field also gains energy. But it's light. It's already going as fast as anything can go. Photons are too small to fit acceleration gates or traditional warp engines. It simply can't go any faster. That additional energy needs to go somewhere.

To understand what's going on here, we need to know an equation:

E = energy
h = Plank's constant
c = Speed of light
λ = wavelength

Plank's constant and the speed of light are both physical constants. We can't change them. This means that Energy has an inversely proportional effect on wavelength. More energy results in a shorter wavelength. Less energy, larger wavelength.

Here's a diagram of the EM spectrum. Larger wavelengths of light are on the right, shorter ones are on the left.

As light comes closer to the wormhole, we would expect it to get more blue. As it moves away from the hole, we'd expect it to get more red. 

We don't see light coming through the wormhole changing colour, regardless of distance from the hole.

This means that light is energy balanced coming through. 

This is weird. 

It's almost as if light is unaffected by the hole's gravitational field... at least in the center of our perspective. But we know that objects exiting the wormholes are affected by their mass. Larger ships tend to be ejected further away from the wormhole than smaller ones. Mass also affects wormholes. More massive objects destabilize wormholes faster.

And we still have the gravitational lensing effect, as predicted by General Relativity around the hole. We even see some ripples within the center of the hole, which suggest the lensing effect there.

This needs further observation to find out what's going on here. Why? I do not believe these wormholes to be natural phenomena. I believe them to be constructed, but out of control. And above all, I believe I am having a lot of fun learning the maths behind all of this! 

Seriously, I'm learning how to do tensors. Up until now I hadn't even heard of them!

Update: I should point out that the increase in energy is actually due to time dilation. Just needed to make that distinction to the analogy I gave above. Light is affected by gravitational fields, but not in the same way as objects with mass.

1 comment:

  1. Eight, sir; seven, sir;
    Six, sir; five, sir;
    Four, sir; three, sir;
    Two, sir; one!
    Tenser, said the Tensor.
    Tenser, said the Tensor.
    Tension, apprehension,
    And dissension have begun.

    That's my tensor word association.