Is gravity faster than light....

Microsoft Windows xp professional w/serv...
January 31, 2011 at 13:45:49
Specs: Windows Vista Home SP2, Intel T2330 / 2gb
Not very useful but i spend q bit of time on these boards.....OK i pose the following question(Purely theoretical the sun isn't going to die). Lets say Aliens came and had a device that would allow them to turn off the sun (No mass just gone). We would just fly off into space, right? Is this an instantaneous experience or would we still get light from the sun for 8 min then fly off into space?

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#1
January 31, 2011 at 14:21:31
I graduated (maby yearsago) in electrical engineering and as far as I know today how Gravity travels across space-time is unlnown. Graviton is still a theoretical particle if ever it exists. Light is electromagnetic field and a stream of photons.

So stated I suppose we can enjoy light for the next eight minutes according to Maxwell-Einstein laws while Earth is beginning to fly out of the (vanished) Solar System according to Newton's mechanics,


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#2
January 31, 2011 at 14:37:39
General relativity defines gravity as a curve in spacetime, so it's really an apples/oranges question.

How To Ask Questions The Smart Way


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#3
January 31, 2011 at 18:46:51
I have now clue what y'all are talking about but I am betting I will spend my last eight minutes complaining that sun spots have caused the reception of my sattallite dish to go out again!!!!

Likely


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Related Solutions

#4
February 1, 2011 at 01:31:13
Wolfram Alpha is kind of fun for figuring stuff like this out.

earth orbital velocity / speed of light

=~ 1.008×10^-4

So Earth's orbital velocity is about 0.01% the speed of light.


Assuming the Earth was flung away from the Sun, and the velocity remains the same (unlikely), we would actually experience about 0.05 seconds (1/20th of one second) of *additional* sunlight, as we would be traveling away from the Sun with the photons.


If we were flung inwards, 'towards' the sun, we would loose about 0.05 seconds of sunlight.

(60*8)*((earth orbital velocity / speed of light))

Gravity, though, does not have a 'speed'. It is measured in terms of strength (or, mass), and it is constantly 'pulling' on the light photon as it travels. The photon will always win this fight, unless it passes within the 'Event Horizon' of a black hole (like a steep slope, the event horizon is the 'Point of no return').

The actual limit at which this happens is called the Schwarzschild radius (I just learned that!)

But your question does not make sense because gravity does not 'move' in the traditional sense - it pulls the medium around it (Spacetime), bending it & creating a 'hill' which objects will 'fall into'.

Watch this clip for a better idea of how gravity interacts with spacetime:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AAqS...

And, theretically, an object could move *faster* than the speed of light using gravity. Although it is not actually moving 'faster' than light, gravity can transport the object and the 'space' around it quicker than the speed of light could, but it never 'exceeds' the speed of light because it's space itself that's moving...this is the idea behind a 'Warp Drive' - theoretically possible, but we have no idea how to control gravity.

or something like that anyway...


If you find this stuff interesting, you should watch 'The Universe' on the History channel -
http://www.history.com/shows/the-un...


And, for the record, IANAAP (Astrophysicist) - so everything I just said could be completely wrong...

...edited calculation, my first result was way off...


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#5
February 1, 2011 at 10:37:57
(Purely theoretical the sun isn't going to die).

Actually, one day it will indeed die. That's an awful long time in the future so it won't affect us, but scientists do say it will happen.

We would just fly off into space, right? Is this an instantaneous experience or would we still get light from the sun for 8 min then fly off into space?

Why would we "fly off into space"? Gravity is created by the mass of the earth. The earth's mass (and therefore the gravity it produces) won't change just because the light goes off.

Just FYI, you'd get 8 min's of light (or however long it takes light to travel from the sun to here, a number I don't know offhand and don't have enough interest to research) after the sun stopped producing light/heat.

It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

***William Henley***


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#6
February 1, 2011 at 11:15:27
I think a lot of people are missing the point. I was just curious if the sudden loss of the suns gravity tethering us to our present orbit would result in an instantaneous "un-tethering" or is gravity restricted to the speed of light(would the loss of gravity and sunlight correspond)?

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#7
February 1, 2011 at 21:15:08
This is just way to deep for me. I guess I am way to grounded. I am thinking for us to fall out of orbit of the sun there would need to be more of an issue then the light going out. I am sure I am wrong as I know nothing of these things beyond the teachings of many years of Star Trek.

If however the light did go out I see us becoming a dark ball of ice still in the same orbit around our former sun. Now if that big ball of light and heat was just no longer there all of the sudden I am thinking there are several other planets nearby that we will probably colide with at some point ofcourse we will all be popcycles by then.

Likely


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#8
February 3, 2011 at 13:56:12
If the sun is still there, then our position will remain the same, with or without light.

If the moon continues to move away (and it is) the seas will die and eventually life on this planet.

I would be more worried about a distant star going nova and we get all the gamma rays.

I doubt any aliens are dumb enough to have any thing to do with us.


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#9
February 3, 2011 at 19:19:17
The sun also creates a huge gravity field and it is that that keeps the Earth in orbit. If this gravitational field of the Sun where to disappear, the effect of that, according the Sir Issac Newton's first Law of Motion is that the Earth would begin to travel in a straight line, effectively flying off into space. It would keep traveling in a straight line until such time as it approached another body with enough mass to have an effect on the Earth. What happens then is dependent on the speed it is traveling at and the angle of approach.

One of three things could happen. The Earth could go crashing into this object and be swallowed up. It could be accelerated by this object and shoot past in a slightly different direction. The sling shot that unmanned space vehicles use to travel huge distances. Or if the speed and angle of approach was just right it would go into orbit around this new object.

By this time we would all be dead anyway so it really doesn't matter. Without the heat from the sun I reckon life would survive on Earth for about 36 hours.

Stuart


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#10
February 5, 2011 at 05:58:41
I think a lot of people are missing the point. I was just curious if the sudden loss of the suns gravity tethering us to our present orbit would result in an instantaneous "un-tethering" or is gravity restricted to the speed of light(would the loss of gravity and sunlight correspond)?

No wonder we all missed the point. Reread your original post. To me it sounded like you were wondering if we (humans) would fly off the face of the planet earth if you turned off the sun. If you had asked the above question in the first place we would have known what it was you were asking.

When the sun finally goes nova, say goodbye to earth and pretty much every other planet in it's immediate orbit. It won't go sailing off into space because it won't exist.

If you could just "turn off the sun" like flipping a light switch, and it was still there, then it's gravity wouldn't change and neither would our orbit.

I'm sorry if I sound critical but, this is a silly question. If you spend your free time pondering such things you might want to get yourself some hobbies.

It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

***William Henley***


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#11
February 6, 2011 at 11:57:08
If you spend your free time pondering such things you might want to get yourself some hobbies.

I really have to laugh at this because aside from the OP seven of us have now discussed this even put real effort into it. I don't feel this is a bad thing but to basically say that the person that asked the question needs to get a life is a bit of the pot calling the kettle black at this point.

Likely


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#12
February 7, 2011 at 10:39:57
LOL - one might think so but.......

I'm a bit of a science/physics nut and I've spent some time reading, learning and studying physics so I didn't have to spend a whole lot of time on answering. Probably less than 1 minute per response.

I only bothered replying because the question was silly and poorly thought out and I was pointing that out.

I don't mind wasting.....errr, spending, time kicking around theoretical questions or mind experiments (like Schroedinger's cat) but they have to be logical and meaningful.

If you understand how gravity works, then you know up front this question wasn't very well thought out.

Uh oh, now I've gone and burned two minutes responding to you!

LOL

It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

***William Henley***


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#13
February 7, 2011 at 13:20:33
Ouch i just thought you boring b---tards would want something to talk about....

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#14
February 8, 2011 at 09:47:20
Wanamingo

If you want to participate in any forum you need to grow a thicker skin.

Read #9 above for the correct answer to your hypothetical question.

I would add that because the light traveling from the sun is already in route it would continue to travel for billions of years. The amount of the light that would reach the Earth would be the speed of light minus the speed of the earth. Light travels at approx. 186,000 miles per second. The earth travels only a fraction of that speed. Therefore as a practical matter the light would still continue to reach the Earth for approx. 8 minutes.


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#15
February 9, 2011 at 01:49:22
Dang first I need to get a life now I am a boring b--tard. Okay turn off the sun the party is over.

Likely


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#16
February 9, 2011 at 08:02:00
Hey OtheHill, my answers were both correct too (ie: #5, 10)

Stuarts only addressed the gravity field of the sun disappearing suddenly, which IMHO isn't very likely. Whereas the sun going nova will eventually happen.

As for the sun just stopping to produce light, well, that's about as likely as it (and therefore it's gravity field) disappearing completely in an instant....

Dang first I need to get a life now I am a boring b--tard. Okay turn off the sun the party is over.

ROFLMAO

Personally I prefer. "Stop the world, I wanna get off!"

It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

***William Henley***


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#17
February 9, 2011 at 10:53:38
Curt, my apologies. I didn't think to look for additional correct answers.

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#18
February 9, 2011 at 18:43:23
I agree Curt but did not want to appear to be hijacking this thread so I had to keep in line with the discussion.

Likely


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#19
July 15, 2011 at 05:53:19
Huzzah found the answer on my own (Help from Toms Forums)

http://metaresearch.org/cosmology/s...

I know the speed of light, or top speed of time. I was curious as to how gravity stacked up to it since everything has a speed. If you pull a beach ball out of the water the water does not fill the space that the ball was in instantly. Same thing if you remove a planet the gravity does not dissipate instantly. You follow?


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