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Thread: Gravity Questions and Concepts

  1. #1 Gravity Questions and Concepts 
    Forum Professor arKane's Avatar
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    Gravity Questions and Concepts

    I wish to explore gravity and perhaps develop a new point of view. If anyone wants to see supporting math, you will not get it from me. I am not a mathematician and do not think in equations and mathematical expressions. I like working with observations and theories that try to explain those observations in terms that are relatively easy to understand and leave the math to someone more qualified.

    First I think Einstein was on the right track and wish to push his concepts a bit. Mass warps space-time and we call the resulting effect gravity. The question is what is it about mass that would cause space-time to warp? We know that all matter has mass, however depending on how we define matter the reverse may not be true. So I will concede this, normal matter is made of atoms and any mass without atoms is exotic matter.

    What is the one thing all matter-mass has in common and could not exist without it? The strong force. Having said that I do not think it is unreasonable to believe that the strong force may be the cause of space-time warping. At this point your probably thinking there is no way to say for sure what aspect of mass causes space-time to warp. But, I want to say that it does and see what happens to how we think about the reality of our universe. First can anyone think of any reason why the strong force could not be the cause of warping space-time? I am not sure how this might effect quantum thinking if any, but I will say I am not very comfortable with gravitons, gravity waves or gravity radiation.

    The main reason I wanted to establish that gravity is the result of warped space-time is that I have been looking for a way to support my view that the universe is all about black holes and they do in fact have an upper limit on how massive they can become before they recycle all their mass mostly in the form of star fuel - Hydrogen. Anyway regardless of which big bang theory is more correct than the other, there has to be a reason why it would happen at all. Now I have a mechanism by which that might happen. I think space-time has a limit on how much it can be warped before something has to give, and that limit determines how massive a black hole can become.

    For those of you that enjoyed reading my posting - *Makeover For The Big Bang Standard Model Of Our Universe it is still a work in progress and I hope to have a very much improved version of it ready by early in 2010. The questions you ask me and the answers and ideas you offer me to all my post will be of great help, and I think you will find my ideas and questions very interesting whether you choose to believe in them or not. I have been finding much to support my ideas in the most current observations being posted in science news within the last year and will be adding those articles with my comments to to the improved version.


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  3. #2  
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    The main problem with this idea is that there are particles that have a mass, but don't exert the strong force, e.g. electrons. All leptons (not constructed by quarks) are by definition not a source of the strong force. And yet they have a mass and therefore produce a gravitational force.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lepton

    This is a general Physics topic, and it does not specifically belong to the Astronomy section. Therefore, I move it to the Physics sub-forum.

    Dishmaster
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  4. #3  
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    ...which proves wrong the theory. XD
    Well, trust me, scientists have thought about those problems for years AND served the according math. But it's good that you want feedback so you're gonna diminish your mistakes.
    I am.
    You can't deny it.
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  5. #4 electron gravity? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dishmaster
    The main problem with this idea is that there are particles that have a mass, but don't exert the strong force, e.g. electrons. All leptons (not constructed by quarks) are by definition not a source of the strong force. And yet they have a mass and therefore produce a gravitational force.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lepton

    This is a general Physics topic, and it does not specifically belong to the Astronomy section. Therefore, I move it to the Physics sub-forum.

    Dishmaster
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    I hear what you are saying, but has it ever been proved that electrons, neutrinos...etc, have gravity? Your statement that they have mass and therefore have gravity is not proof. It suggest an accepted truth based on the notion that all mass has gravity. It seems to me that to actually measure gravity at the quantum level would not be an easy task by any means.

    If they in fact have gravity, how would one ever have a way of knowing that. If someone were to tell me it has been proved mathematically I would have to say any math based on a false notion is not valid regardless of how good the math looks.

    In any event I am not claiming anything one way or the other and I proposed the strong force question simply as a what if, and examine how that would change our thinking about how stuff works.
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  6. #5 Re: electron gravity? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lance Wenban

    I hear what you are saying, but has it ever been proved that electrons, neutrinos...etc, have gravity? Your statement that they have mass and therefore have gravity is not proof. It suggest an accepted truth based on the notion that all mass has gravity. It seems to me that to actually measure gravity at the quantum level would not be an easy task by any means.
    Here's the problem. If as you said, you wish to build on Einstein's idea of the warping of space-time, then you must except that gravitational mass is equivalent to inertial mass. The whole conscept is based on this.

    Besides that, we do have evidence of particles that do not exhibit the strong force but do interact gravitationally. That would be photons. Photon have been observed to bend their trajectory in response to gravity, which means, in turn, that they have gravity. (somethiing cannot respond to gravity without having gravity itself anymore than one object can touch another object without being touched by the other object.)
    "Men are apt to mistake the strength of their feelings for the strength of their argument.
    The heated mind resents the chill touch & relentless scrutiny of logic"-W.E. Gladstone


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  7. #6 Re: Gravity Questions and Concepts 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lance Wenban
    but I will say I am not very comfortable with gravitons, gravity waves or gravity radiation.
    Unfortunately for you, the universe doesn't care one whit about what you are "comfortable with". You have to learn to deal with it on its terms, not yours.
    "Men are apt to mistake the strength of their feelings for the strength of their argument.
    The heated mind resents the chill touch & relentless scrutiny of logic"-W.E. Gladstone


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    i agree with you both. i have the same idea im just going to explain it a little different. i think that light is a wave traveling through space itself. kind of like a wave travels through water. the wave itself is moving energy and its system is the water.
    light is the moving energy traveling through space itself. light fallows space because of the different densities of space. if a large portion of space is being distorted because of a mass being there than space would have increasing densities as you get closer to the mass. each proton neutron and electron would be exhibiting its own ring of densities. inside an atom all of these densities would be overlapping each other. i think of space as having a viscoelasticity meaning that it has both fluid and elastic properties. the elastic property is where gravity comes from. think of a rubber band. if you stretch it it exerts energy inward like if you tried to pull your fingers out of a chinese finger trap. if you were to squish the rubber band it would exert the energy outwards like if when you push in on a chinese finger trap. ok so, we have a positive and a negative. imagine protons push out and electrons pull in. when they get near each other they will attract because one will want to go into the other. how they are distorting space causes every property in everything. no matter what it is. gravity is when two masses get close enough that their density rings overlap it causes a negative stretch in between the two masses which cancels out some of the positive stretch ringing the two masses. for a good illistration on how this happens draw a fine grid on a rubber band and the poke two pencils through it relatively close to each other. you will notice that the rubber band isnt being stretched as far in between the two pencils compared to on the outside of the two pencils.
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  9. #8 Re: Gravity Questions and Concepts 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Janus
    Quote Originally Posted by Lance Wenban
    but I will say I am not very comfortable with gravitons, gravity waves or gravity radiation.
    Unfortunately for you, the universe doesn't care one whit about what you are "comfortable with". You have to learn to deal with it on its terms, not yours.
    I have to say your statement doesn't make a lot of sense. The universe equally doesn't care about whatever abstract terms humans might make up about how it really works. Quantum physics is not something very many people understand and even those that think they do, disagree with each other frequently. So what's your real point?

    I happen to think the universe operates under fundamental principles and that when we know what they are, they will be fairly easy to understand. Just because someone might have a PHD or several of them, doesn't mean they can't be wrong. It only means that wrong has more credibility. But credibility aside, wrong is still wrong and history is littered very credible people being wrong in a big way. So I ask you again what's your real point?
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  10. #9  
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    His point is that our models work incredibly well, and just because you don't think they are simple enough does not mean they are inaccurate. The universe behaves a certain way, and is under no obligation to behave in a way which makes sense to you.
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  11. #10 Re: electron gravity? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Janus
    Quote Originally Posted by Lance Wenban

    I hear what you are saying, but has it ever been proved that electrons, neutrinos...etc, have gravity? Your statement that they have mass and therefore have gravity is not proof. It suggest an accepted truth based on the notion that all mass has gravity. It seems to me that to actually measure gravity at the quantum level would not be an easy task by any means.
    Here's the problem. If as you said, you wish to build on Einstein's idea of the warping of space-time, then you must except that gravitational mass is equivalent to inertial mass. The whole conscept is based on this.

    Besides that, we do have evidence of particles that do not exhibit the strong force but do interact gravitationally. That would be photons. Photon have been observed to bend their trajectory in response to gravity, which means, in turn, that they have gravity. (somethiing cannot respond to gravity without having gravity itself anymore than one object can touch another object without being touched by the other object.)
    Janus, I think you are full of it. If you like to hear yourself talk, try saying something intelligent for a change. Being descriptive about mass doesn't make it any different than just plain mass. The fact that mass has properties that are not fully understood yet is quite obvious. Your next statement:

    Photon have been observed to bend their trajectory in response to gravity, which means, in turn, that they have gravity. (somethiing cannot respond to gravity without having gravity itself anymore than one object can touch another object without being touched by the other object.
    Makes you look stupid. A photon doesn't have any mass and therefore can't have gravity by anybodies definition of the reason for gravity.
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  12. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    His point is that our models work incredibly well, and just because you don't think they are simple enough does not mean they are inaccurate. The universe behaves a certain way, and is under no obligation to behave in a way which makes sense to you.
    inow how nice of you to add your 2 cents. Just because I ask the questions it does not imply I think anything is wrong with the status quo. The fact is the current model we are working with in, is still very much a work in progress and questions such as I ask are nothing more than probes to help build better understanding. Hope that helps you understand me better?
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  13. #12  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lance Wenban
    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    His point is that our models work incredibly well, and just because you don't think they are simple enough does not mean they are inaccurate. The universe behaves a certain way, and is under no obligation to behave in a way which makes sense to you.
    inow how nice of you to add your 2 cents. Just because I ask the questions I do does not imply I think anything is wrong with the status quo. The fact is the current model we are working with in, is still very much a work in progress and questions such as I ask are nothing more than probes to help build better understanding. Hope that helps you understand me better?
    Well here is a chance for Jackson to tell me I've screwed up again.

    Lance, as written you seem annoyed at inow's clarification. The phrase 'nice of you to add your two cents' is normally translated as 'if I want you to stick your nose in my business I shall ask'. If you are annoyed I am not sure why.

    I agree that science, in all fields, is always in a state of change in the detail and sometimes in the 'big theories'. However, you suggest, no you state "I happen to think the universe operates under fundamental principles and that when we know what they are, they will be fairly easy to understand."

    That is one hell of a big assumption, with no obvious means of support. Note my signature - the universe may be weirder than we can imagine. So your 'discomfort' with gravitons and the like is not much of a basis for actually doubting them. Janus said it. You said you didn't understand him. inow tried to clarify. Now I'm repeating what they both said.........Are you going to be rude to me too?
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  14. #13  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by Lance Wenban
    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    His point is that our models work incredibly well, and just because you don't think they are simple enough does not mean they are inaccurate. The universe behaves a certain way, and is under no obligation to behave in a way which makes sense to you.
    inow how nice of you to add your 2 cents. Just because I ask the questions I do does not imply I think anything is wrong with the status quo. The fact is the current model we are working with in, is still very much a work in progress and questions such as I ask are nothing more than probes to help build better understanding. Hope that helps you understand me better?
    Well here is a chance for Jackson to tell me I've screwed up again.

    Lance, as written you seem annoyed at inow's clarification. The phrase 'nice of you to add your two cents' is normally translated as 'if I want you to stick your nose in my business I shall ask'. If you are annoyed I am not sure why.

    I agree that science, in all fields, is always in a state of change in the detail and sometimes in the 'big theories'. However, you suggest, no you state "I happen to think the universe operates under fundamental principles and that when we know what they are, they will be fairly easy to understand."

    That is one hell of a big assumption, with no obvious means of support. Note my signature - the universe may be weirder than we can imagine. So your 'discomfort' with gravitons and the like is not much of a basis for actually doubting them. Janus said it. You said you didn't understand him. inow tried to clarify. Now I'm repeating what they both said.........Are you going to be rude to me too?
    Just because I believe the fundamental principles of universe might be turn out to be easy to understand from some arbitrary future time, does not mean I think all the amazing complexities we are observing in the universe that are being manifest from those fundamental principles will necessarily be easy to understand. However, that is the thing about understanding. Until you do understand it is never simple or easy and I do appreciate the work being done by the thousands of well educated scientists that have dedicated their lives to finding answers.

    About inow, yes I was somewhat annoyed. Maybe he thinks what Janus wrote was worth clarifying, but I sure don't. Also, when I state an opinion and it's obvious, please don't jump on me as if I'm quoting from a solid belief of any kind. Thank you
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  15. #14  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lance Wenban
    About inow, yes I was somewhat annoyed. Maybe he thinks what Janus wrote was worth clarifying, but I sure don't.
    I observed these words in your post responding to Janus.

    I have to say your statement doesn't make a lot of sense. The universe equally doesn't care about whatever abstract terms humans might make up about how it really works. Quantum physics is not something very many people understand and even those that think they do, disagree with each other frequently. So what's your real point?

    Under any normal use of the English language that I am familiar with you were asking for clarification, the first time implicitly, the second time explicitly. If you thought then the remark was not worth clarifying why did you ask for it to be clarified? Twice!

    Quote Originally Posted by Lance Wenban
    Also, when I state an opinion and it's obvious, please don't jump on me as if I'm quoting from a solid belief of any kind. Thank you
    I didn't jump on you. I don't know which opinion you are referring to. All I saw was a request for clarification. If you find that unhelpful there is an ignore function available to you.
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    Actually Ophie, I have been following this thread, trying to figure out what Lance is getting at. I have an interest in any new ideas on gravity. Certainly I wouldn't want to get in the middle of a budding friendship. Maybe on your next visit to Houston, a little side trip to Austin would be in order. Heck, I'm only a couple hundred miles on the other side of Austin and could join you both...What fun that sounds like???

    Lance;
    Makes you look stupid. A photon doesn't have any mass and therefore can't have gravity by anybodies definition of the reason for gravity.
    If you agree with relativity, that space is warped of by mass gravity, I'll assume you understand photons in that space, would also be effected. That is the change in direction, is caused by the curvature of space, not the gravity. I take a little different view, in that all mass attracts mass to the point of its own gravity, Earth for instance has atoms of elements out to about five hundred miles, our sun much further. since a photon mixing with matter (absorbed) whats released as energy is another photon not the original, while the direction is altered and random, what is visualized are new random photons releases form that matter not altered photons directions from the original source. Before I go on and if your understand what I'm trying to say, do you have a comment on this hypothosis...
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  17. #16  
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    If you agree with relativity, that space is warped of by mass gravity, I'll assume you understand photons in that space, would also be effected. That is the change in direction, is caused by the curvature of space, not the gravity. I take a little different view, in that all mass attracts mass to the point of its own gravity, Earth for instance has atoms of elements out to about five hundred miles, our sun much further. since a photon mixing with matter (absorbed) whats released as energy is another photon not the original, while the direction is altered and random, what is visualized are new random photons releases form that matter not altered photons directions from the original source. Before I go on and if your understand what I'm trying to say, do you have a comment on this hypothesis...
    Very well put, I can visualize what you are saying quite well. Correct me if I'm wrong here. The way I understand photon emission is when a photon is absorbed by an atom and a new photon is emitted it is always emitted in the exact same direction as the absorbed photon. When you talk about photon scatter or altered photon direction it has more to do with the reflective and refractive properties of the atoms in the path of the photons. So unless you can show me something valid that disproves what I just said. I plan to stay happy with my own hypothesis if you don't mind. If photon emission was in random directions as you suggest, how do you explain lasers?

    Now a little more about my being annoyed. First Janus tries to tell me I'm wrong and then states that photons have gravity and then along comes inow and tries to defend what Janus said. How should I take that? If someone wants me to be wrong they aren't going to be very convincing when they make wrong statements like that.
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  18. #17  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lance Wenban
    Now a little more about my being annoyed. First Janus tries to tell me I'm wrong and then states that photons have gravity and then along comes inow and tries to defend what Janus said. How should I take that? If someone wants me to be wrong they aren't going to be very convincing when they make wrong statements like that.
    If they're wrong, show that. If you can't convince them, consider the possibility that you are incorrect. You may not be, but you certainly won't get very far by tutting at their scepticism. Don't complain that they're trying to dismantle your argument. That's how science works and sometimes that requires a thick skin. If you can't handle a few jabs from anonymous enthusiasts on a message board, then you may not be cut out for this game. So you can play the game or you can quit. The road between these two options goes nowhere.
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  19. #18  
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheBiologista
    Quote Originally Posted by Lance Wenban
    Now a little more about my being annoyed. First Janus tries to tell me I'm wrong and then states that photons have gravity and then along comes inow and tries to defend what Janus said. How should I take that? If someone wants me to be wrong they aren't going to be very convincing when they make wrong statements like that.
    If they're wrong, show that. If you can't convince them, consider the possibility that you are incorrect. You may not be, but you certainly won't get very far by tutting at their scepticism. Don't complain that they're trying to dismantle your argument. That's how science works and sometimes that requires a thick skin. If you can't handle a few jabs from anonymous enthusiasts on a message board, then you may not be cut out for this game. So you can play the game or you can quit. The road between these two options goes nowhere.
    I think your advice is good and if everybody followed it we wouldn't be having this conversation now. It's not what he claimed as much as how he presented it. Had he even supplied a link to show new research that photons may indeed have a very tiny amount of mass or his clarifying(not) supporters had thought to point out a link, I certainly would not have been annoyed with them. Adding a link is not very time consuming and might save many unnecessary posts. As far as taking jabs, well sometimes you are just plain tired so you throw a couple back.
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  20. #19  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lance Wenban
    Quote Originally Posted by TheBiologista
    Quote Originally Posted by Lance Wenban
    Now a little more about my being annoyed. First Janus tries to tell me I'm wrong and then states that photons have gravity and then along comes inow and tries to defend what Janus said. How should I take that? If someone wants me to be wrong they aren't going to be very convincing when they make wrong statements like that.
    If they're wrong, show that. If you can't convince them, consider the possibility that you are incorrect. You may not be, but you certainly won't get very far by tutting at their scepticism. Don't complain that they're trying to dismantle your argument. That's how science works and sometimes that requires a thick skin. If you can't handle a few jabs from anonymous enthusiasts on a message board, then you may not be cut out for this game. So you can play the game or you can quit. The road between these two options goes nowhere.
    I think your advice is good and if everybody followed it we wouldn't be having this conversation now. It's not what he claimed as much as how he presented it. Had he even supplied a link to show new research that photons may indeed have a very tiny amount of mass or his clarifying(not) supporters had thought to point out a link, I certainly would not have been annoyed with them. Adding a link is not very time consuming and might save many unnecessary posts. As far as taking jabs, well sometimes you are just plain tired so you throw a couple back.
    Which is all fine as long as the jabs come in the form of scientific critique or new evidence.
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  21. #20 Re: electron gravity? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lance Wenban

    Photon have been observed to bend their trajectory in response to gravity, which means, in turn, that they have gravity. (somethiing cannot respond to gravity without having gravity itself anymore than one object can touch another object without being touched by the other object.
    Makes you look stupid. A photon doesn't have any mass and therefore can't have gravity by anybodies definition of the reason for gravity.

    Only if your definition of "anybody" excludes the vast majority of the Physics community.

    In General Relativity, gravity in generated by the stress-energy-momentum tensor, of which mass is only a single component. The upshot is that in GR, energy is also a source of gravity in of itself. And since light does have energy (and momentum), as demonstrated by multiple experiments, it does create a gravitational field of its own. This is a generally accepted scientific fact.

    Before you go around denigrating other people's statements as "stupid" you should be have a better grasp of the subject matter yourself.

    As to your remark pertaining to my lack of providing a link. It is not a general practice to provide a link to back up something that has long ago gained scientific acceptance.
    "Men are apt to mistake the strength of their feelings for the strength of their argument.
    The heated mind resents the chill touch & relentless scrutiny of logic"-W.E. Gladstone


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  22. #21 Re: electron gravity? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Janus
    Quote Originally Posted by Lance Wenban

    Photon have been observed to bend their trajectory in response to gravity, which means, in turn, that they have gravity. (somethiing cannot respond to gravity without having gravity itself anymore than one object can touch another object without being touched by the other object.
    Makes you look stupid. A photon doesn't have any mass and therefore can't have gravity by anybodies definition of the reason for gravity.

    Only if your definition of "anybody" excludes the vast majority of the Physics community.

    In General Relativity, gravity in generated by the stress-energy-momentum tensor, of which mass is only a single component. The upshot is that in GR, energy is also a source of gravity in of itself. And since light does have energy (and momentum), as demonstrated by multiple experiments, it does create a gravitational field of its own. This is a generally accepted scientific fact.

    Before you go around denigrating other people's statements as "stupid" you should be have a better grasp of the subject matter yourself.

    As to your remark pertaining to my lack of providing a link. It is not a general practice to provide a link to back up something that has long ago gained scientific acceptance.
    Sorry about that remark. If you type 'photon' into the search engine, you don't find anything that suggest light is anything but massless. However if you type 'Photon mass' into the search engine you get many sites talking about new research suggesting photons might have some infinitesimal amount of mass. That does not sound like long ago scientific acceptance to me. It also does not sound like general acceptance by the scientific community. That being the case I think posting a source link to support your statement would not be unreasonable.
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  23. #22 Re: electron gravity? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lance Wenban

    Sorry about that remark. If you type 'photon' into the search engine, you don't find anything that suggest light is anything but massless. However if you type 'Photon mass' into the search engine you get many sites talking about new research suggesting photons might have some infinitesimal amount of mass. That does not sound like long ago scientific acceptance to me. It also does not sound like general acceptance by the scientific community. That being the case I think posting a source link to support your statement would not be unreasonable.
    You are missing the point. In General Relativity, the long accepted model for gravity's behavior, gravity is not just the product of mass. Gravity is produced by the stress-energy-momentum tensor, which includes energy as a source of gravity. Light has energy, therefore it produces gravity, regardless of whether or not it is "massless". It is only in Newtonian gravity that mass is the only source of gravity, and GR has long replaced Newtonian gravity as the accepted model.
    "Men are apt to mistake the strength of their feelings for the strength of their argument.
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  24. #23 Re: electron gravity? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Janus
    Quote Originally Posted by Lance Wenban

    Sorry about that remark. If you type 'photon' into the search engine, you don't find anything that suggest light is anything but massless. However if you type 'Photon mass' into the search engine you get many sites talking about new research suggesting photons might have some infinitesimal amount of mass. That does not sound like long ago scientific acceptance to me. It also does not sound like general acceptance by the scientific community. That being the case I think posting a source link to support your statement would not be unreasonable.
    You are missing the point. In General Relativity, the long accepted model for gravity's behavior, gravity is not just the product of mass. Gravity is produced by the stress-energy-momentum tensor, which includes energy as a source of gravity. Light has energy, therefore it produces gravity, regardless of whether or not it is "massless". It is only in Newtonian gravity that mass is the only source of gravity, and GR has long replaced Newtonian gravity as the accepted model.
    Okay you've convinced me to study up a bit. I did find an article that seems to have some relationship to what you have been saying. It is posted below:

    Fermi Space Telescope Captures Glimpse of Space-Time
    NASA's Fermi Gamma Ray Space Telescope has observed more than one thousand separate sources of gamma rays
    By Jeremy Hsu Posted 10.28.2009 at 3:16 pm 23 Comments

    Gamma Ray Map My God, it's full of gamma ray bursts! NASA/DOE/Fermi LAT Collaboration

    NASA's Fermi Gamma Ray Space Telescope spent a year collecting data from a thousand gamma ray sources and came up with this, the best map to date of the extreme universe. It also gave Einstein a shot in the arm by confirming the scientist's theories of space-time.

    Gamma rays represent the highest-energy form of light in the universe, and often emerge from sources such as massive black holes that spew out fast jets of matter. One particular event known as a short gamma ray burst confirmed Einstein's view that radio waves, infrared, visible light, X-rays and gamma rays all travel at the same speed through space.

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    Tags
    Science, Jeremy Hsu, blazars, fermi, gamma ray burst, gamma rays, gamma-rays, grb, space, space telescope, supernova
    Scientists have explored a theory that space-time represents a frothy, dynamic structure at incredibly tiny physical scales trillions of times smaller than electrons. Models have predicted that the foamy space-time could cause higher-energy gamma rays to move more slowly than lower energy photons -- a prediction put to the test by the space telescope's observations.
    "Physicists would like to replace Einstein's vision of gravity -- as expressed in his relativity theories -- with something that handles all fundamental forces," said Peter Michelson, a scientist working on Fermi's Large Area Telescope, or LAT, at Stanford University in California. "There are many ideas, but few ways to test them."

    Fermi detected the GRB 090510 event on May 10, and astronomers deduced that the gamma ray burst likely came from the collision of two neutron stars 7.3 billion light-years away. Two gamma ray photons in particular had wildly different levels of energy millions of times apart. And yet the pair arrived at Fermi's detectors just nine-tenths of a second apart after traveling across seven billion years.

    "This measurement eliminates any approach to a new theory of gravity that predicts a strong energy dependent change in the speed of light," Michelson said.

    The thousand gamma ray sources discovered by Fermi mark a fivefold increase in the number previously known, and a few have proved particularly record-breaking. For instance, the GRB 090510 event ejected its matter at 99.99995 percent of light speed. The highest energy seen in a gamma ray yet came from GRB 090902B in the form of 33.4 billion electron volts -- about 13 billion times the energy of visible light.

    A third source, GRB 080916C, created enough total energy to rival 9,000 supernova explosions. And if that's not crazy enough, consider that gamma ray bursts also serve as a good source of those ghostly neutrinos.
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