Tuesday, March 22, 2005

String Theory

I have a pretty good grasp of the concepts basics physics world. I even understand some of the basic concepts of string theory (as well as an person who knows not enough math to shake a stick at can understand the theory). I almost understand the reasons for it's success or rather the holes in the theories that it was supposed to fix between the basic physics theory and the quantum theory.

It was my understanding that the biggest problem with string theory was that it really made no predictions. Well, it turns out that it did make some predictions. It just took awhile to work out the math.

"The problem with string theory is that the strings are fantastically smaller than atoms and, therefore, impossible to detect in any conceivable laboratory experiment. But recently, physicists realized that the extreme conditions that existed in the early universe could have spawned enormously big strings."

That was news to me.

"It is one of these "cosmic superstring" that some believe is passing between the Earth and CSL- 1, and, in the process, creating the curious double image of the galaxy. "

I find this article absolute amazing. More information is given further below.

If CSL-1 was the only piece of evidence for a cosmic superstring it might be easy to brush it under the carpet. But it isn't. There is the "double quasar" Q0957+561A,B. Discovered at Jodrell Bank near Manchester in 1979, the two images of a super-bright galaxy, or quasar, are formed by a galaxy lying between the quasar and the Earth.

The gravity of the intervening galaxy bends the light of the quasar so that it follows two distinct paths to Earth, creating two images of unequal brightness. Crucially, the two light paths are of different lengths and so the light takes a different time to travel along each. In fact, astronomers find that when one image brightens, the other image brightens 417.1 days later.

But this is not what has been found by a team of astronomers from the US and the Ukraine, led by Rudolph Schild of the Harvard- Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics. When they studied the two images, they noticed that, between September 1994 and July 1995, the two images brightened and faded at the same time - with no time delay The two images did this four times, on each occasion for a period of about 100 days.

The only way Schild and his colleagues can make sense of this behavior is if, between September 1994 and July 1995, something moved across our line of sight to the quasar, simultaneously affecting the light coming down both paths to the Earth. The only thing that fits the bill, they claim, is a vibrating loop of cosmic string moving across the line of sight at about 70 per cent of the speed of light.

To oscillate once every 100 days or so, the loop has to be very small - no bigger than 1 per cent of the distance between the Sun and the nearest star. And Schild and his colleagues calculate that the string must be remarkably close to us - well within our Milky Way galaxy. "

The way i am reading it is that there are two distinct images that look exactly the same and CSL-1 was the image they are talking about in that part. (Please correct me if i am wrong on that point.)

From what i know, this sounds a little strange. If the comic superstring is splitting the light perfectly into two distinct pictures AND it is moving at about 70 percent the speed of light, then that means our picture should change soon. I see a few options. The superstring could be sitting there spinning like a top or it could be heading straight for earth (or away from earth).

I am packing my bags and heading to mars.


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