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Topic: DOPPLER EFFECT MEANS VARIABLE SPEED OF LIGHT
Replies: 2   Last Post: Mar 20, 2013 3:48 AM

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 Pentcho Valev Posts: 5,573 Registered: 12/13/04
Re: DOPPLER EFFECT MEANS VARIABLE SPEED OF LIGHT
Posted: Mar 20, 2013 3:48 AM

In a gravitational field, the speed of light varies exactly as the speed of cannonballs does. Accordingly, by measuring the gravitational redshift of light coming from astronomical objects we in fact measure THE DECREASE IN THE SPEED OF LIGHT (generally, any frequency shift is a measure of a shift in the speed of light):

http://www.einstein-online.info/spotlights/redshift_white_dwarfs
Albert Einstein Institute: "One of the three classical tests for general relativity is the gravitational redshift of light or other forms of electromagnetic radiation. However, in contrast to the other two tests - the gravitational deflection of light and the relativistic perihelion shift -, you do not need general relativity to derive the correct prediction for the gravitational redshift. A combination of Newtonian gravity, a particle theory of light, and the weak equivalence principle (gravitating mass equals inertial mass) suffices. (...) The gravitational redshift was first measured on earth in 1960-65 by Pound, Rebka, and Snider at Harvard University..."

http://courses.physics.illinois.edu/phys419/lectures/l13.pdf
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: "Consider a falling object. ITS SPEED INCREASES AS IT IS FALLING. Hence, if we were to associate a frequency with that object the frequency should increase accordingly as it falls to earth. Because of the equivalence between gravitational and inertial mass, WE SHOULD OBSERVE THE SAME EFFECT FOR LIGHT. So lets shine a light beam from the top of a very tall building. If we can measure the frequency shift as the light beam descends the building, we should be able to discern how gravity affects a falling light beam. This was done by Pound and Rebka in 1960. They shone a light from the top of the Jefferson tower at Harvard and measured the frequency shift. The frequency shift was tiny but in agreement with the theoretical prediction. Consider a light beam that is travelling away from a gravitational field. Its frequency should shift to lower values. This is known as the gravitational red shift of light."

In the absence of a gravitational field, the analogy between photons and cannonballs remains valid: the speed of light relative to the observer varies with the speed of the observer:

http://www.einstein-online.info/spotlights/doppler
Albert Einstein Institute: "The frequency of a wave-like signal - such as sound or light - depends on the movement of the sender and of the receiver. This is known as the Doppler effect. (...) Here is an animation of the receiver moving towards the source: (...) By observing the two indicator lights, you can see for yourself that, once more, there is a blue-shift - the pulse frequency measured at the receiver is somewhat higher than the frequency with which the pulses are sent out. This time, the distances between subsequent pulses are not affected, but still there is a frequency shift: As the receiver moves towards each pulse, the time until pulse and receiver meet up is shortened. In this particular animation, which has the receiver moving towards the source at one third the speed of the pulses themselves, four pulses are received in the time it takes the source to emit three pulses."

That is, the motion of the observer cannot change the wavelength ("the distances between subsequent pulses are not affected") and accordingly the speed of light as measured by the receiver is (4/3)c.

Pentcho Valev

Date Subject Author
3/18/13 Pentcho Valev
3/19/13 Pentcho Valev
3/20/13 Pentcho Valev