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Dr. Tom Van Flandern
local time: 2023-06-09 21:09 (-07:00 DST)
Dr. Tom Van Flandern (Abstracts)
Titles Abstracts Details
  • Big Bang Reaches Deflation Stage (2008) [Updated 5 years ago]

    The essence of the Big Bang theory is the origin of space and time in the gigantic explosion of a singularity. The momentum of that explosion was, and continues to be, imparted only to newly created, energy-rich space, which continually forces everything not bound by gravity to become farther apart. The high energy of the initial space spreads, cools, and condenses to become matter. New space continues to be created even today, adding ?dark energy" at the ambient temperature between galaxies. To avoid edge problems, exceeding-the-speed-of-light problems, and fine-tuning problems, an early period of rapid expansion called "inflation" was added to the theory in the 1980's. Inflation is expansion of the universe much like expansion when air is pumped into a balloon. It is exempt from the light-speed velocity limit because such expansion involves no motion of matter through local space, analogous to objects taped to the balloon's surface getting farther apart without moving on the surface. Over the past two decades, numerous serious problems with the Big Bang theory have arisen. We presented 50 such problems at the 2005 NPA meeting, but new ones continue to appear at the rate of 4-5 per year. Now, observational contradictions have arisen to the Big Bang's two fundamental pillars: that cosmological redshift is caused by expansion, and that the cosmic microwave radiation originates from the background, beyond all visible galaxies. At first, supernova data appeared to confirm expansion by showing evidence of "time dilation", which would imply that distant galaxies really are getting farther away from us. However, Malmquist bias is a well-known, well-understood phenomenon in cosmol-ogy, and correcting for it is not optional. In brief, for any population having a more-or-less normal distribution of member properties such as size or brightness, there will be both more members and more extremes of properties with distance because increasing distance samples a volume proportional to distance cubed; and at the same time, samples are absent more of the small or faint end of the distri-bution with distance squared because those members are harder to see. The net of these two effects is a continuing skew in samples with increasing distance, biased toward seeing the most extreme on the high side (e.g., largest and brightest) members of the popula-tion. In the case of supernovas, the brightest have the slowest light curves, emulating a time dilation effect. So when the supernova data is corrected for Malmquist bias, all evidence for "time dilation" vanishes. This means the universe cannot be expanding. In addition, studies of the microwave radiation showed two unexpected results: (1) the octopole moments of the distribution of this radiation are strongly correlated with the ecliptic plane and solar velocity component through the local interstellar medium; and (2) the "SZ effect" showing heating of the radiation by x-rays in some galaxy clusters now shows cooling in roughly half the cases, consistent with random fluctuations but not with x-ray heating. Both of these studies indicate that at least the major part of the cosmic micro-wave radiation must have a local or intermediate-distance origin, but cannot be from the background. By any objective judgment, the air has now gone out of the balloon (deflation), and these new results mean that the Big Bang is no longer a viable hypothesis. It should be taken off the scientific table to make room for better models. Already-well-discussed possibili-ties are QSSC (quasi-steady-state cosmology), PC (plasma cosmology), VMC (variable-mass cosmology), and MM (meta model).

  • Properties of Geodesics: Resolving an Apparent Conflict of Global Positioning System Evidence with General Relativity (2008) [Updated 6 years ago]

    A gedanken experiment is described that exposes an apparent conflict between the treatment of proper timekeeping on geodesics according to general relativity theory, as customarily understood, and empirical evidence such as that of the Global Positioning System. The paradox is resolved by noting that there may be many geodesics between two spacetime events, only one of which represents a global maximum of proper time. The cardinality of such nonuniqueness (which may be that of the continuum) at first seems to violate the property that a geodesic between two events always incurs a (local) extremum of proper time. However, to first order (hence to observationally significant order), all free-fall orbits that have the same period have the same proper time, so no first variations of the orbits within our solution set change the proper time?a consistency check on the geodesic (extremum) interpretation of such orbits.

  • Global Positioning System and the Twins' Paradox (2007) [Updated 1 decade ago]

  • The Top 50 Problems with the Big Bang (2005) [Updated 5 years ago]

    The Big Bang theory has never achieved a true prediction success in a situation where the theory was placed at risk of falsification before the results were known. It is instead a series of accommodations of existing observations aided by a variety of ad hoc helper hypotheses, the best known of which are ?dark matter? and ?dark energy?. A decade ago, a list of the top 10 problems with the theory seemed to encapsulate the situation. Since then, the list has had to be expanded twice. It should now be evident to objective minds that nothing about the Universe interpreted with the Big Bang theory is necessarily right, not even the most basic idea in it; namely, that the Universe is expanding. There are four major and many more minor replacement models that should be seriously considered. To get this message to the astronomical community, we are looking for additional authors and their associated institutions to put out a joint communiqu? in a major journal summarizing these points.

  • Lorentz Contraction (2003) [Updated 6 years ago]

    Lorentz contraction is not a change in the physical length of rods or meter sticks. Rather, it is an illusion introduced in special relativity by the lack of remote simultaneity. In Lorentzian relativity, elysium is entrained, so the need for a Lorentz contraction vanishes.

  • Does Gravity Have Inertia? (2003) [Updated 1 decade ago]
    by Tom Van Flandern   read the paper:

    Gravity is different from the other known forces of nature. All bodies, big and small, accelerate at equal rates in any given gravitational field. That property is opposite to our everyday experience, in which more massive bodies require more work to move or accelerate than less massive ones. That gravity accelerates masses of all size with equal ease is so anti-intuitive that people universally believed otherwise until Galileo?s demonstration at the Leaning Tower of Pisa.  He simultaneously dropped a heavy and a light mass (both heavy enough that air resistance was not a factor), and observers below tried to time which hit first and by how much. But to the astonishment of the observers, who were certain that the heavier body would fall faster, the two masses reached the ground at the same time.

  • What the Global Positioning System Tells Us about the Twin?s Paradox (2003) [Updated 6 years ago]
    by Tom Van Flandern   read the paper:

    In the GPS, all atomic clocks in all reference frames (in orbit and on the ground) are set once and stay synchronized. We can use this same trick to place a GPS-type clock aboard the spacecraft of a traveling twin. That clock will stay synchronized with Earth clocks, allowing a clear resolution of the twin?s paradox in special relativity ?why the traveller expects to come back younger, and why the stay-at-home twin is not entitled to the same expectation."

  • 21st Century Gravity (A Deeper Understanding of Why Apples Fall from Trees) (2003) [Updated 6 years ago]

  • A Universe Older Than Itself? (2002) [Updated 6 years ago]
    by Tom Van Flandern   read the paper:

    A European Space Agency team found three times more iron in quasar APM 8279+5255 than exists in our solar system today. So what, you say? The catch is that this quasar is roughly 13.5 billion light years away, if its redshift is any indicator. But that means the light from the quasar has been en route to us for 13.5 billion years, leaving precious little time after the Big Bang explosion for this quasar to form, develop lots of iron, and send the iron lines in its spectrum on their way to us. It takes many generations of supernovas, the only known source of iron in stars, galaxies, and quasars, to get that much iron into an astrophysical body. In fact, other things being equal, it should take three times as long to develop that quasar than it took for the many generations of stars that preceded our Sun to form the Sun with as much iron as the Sun has today. The large iron content of the quasar is therefore a major puzzle. Only two explanations appear possible, and either one is going to upset some theorists: (1) the Big Bang redshift-distance-age relationship is wrong; or (2) the early universe contained iron factories producing extra iron by an unknown physical means. Although this latter possibility would do less violence to the Big Bang theory, it presently seems unimaginable for that much iron to form in any other way, so ?iron factories? seem the less likely possibility. But that leaves only the conclusion that the redshift-distance-age relationship is wrong. So the universe would be older than the time it would take to expand to its present size (basically, the Big Bang is wrong); or redshift is not a reliable distance indicator for at least quasars (basically, the Big Bang is wrong, but maybe not so totally wrong as in the other possibility). If you see any response from cosmologists, send news of it down here to the cave. On most days there?s more excitement in watching the moss grow than waiting for explanations of the latest problems for cosmologists. The bigger the problem, the more likely it is to be ignored.

  • The Top 30 Problems with the Big Bang (2002) [Updated 5 years ago]
    by Tom Van Flandern   read the paper:

    Earlier, we presented a simple list of the top ten problems with the Big Bang. Since that publication, we have had many requests for citations and additional details , which we provide here. We also respond to a few rebuttal arguments to the earlier list. Then we supplement the list based on the last four years of developments ?with another 20 problems for the theory."

  • Experimental Repeal of the Speed Limit for Gravitational, Electrodynamic, and Quantum Field Interactions (2002) [Updated 1 decade ago]

  • A Complete Relativistic Gravity Model with No Speed-of-Light Limit (2000) [Updated 6 years ago]

    If we understood the origin and nature of gravitational force, apparent paradoxes in relativity and cosmology would disappear. Recent experimental results show that gravity propagates much faster than light (Phys. Lett. A 250, #1-3, 1-11, 1999). This provides the first experimental distinction between special relativity (SR) and Lorentzian relativity (LR) in favor of the latter. The Global Positioning System (GPS) already makes full use of LR's universal simultaneity. This result also favors LeSage-type models for the nature of gravity over curved space-time models such as general relativity (GR). A LeSage model explains gravity as a vast sea of tiny, fast-moving entities (called classical "gravitons") that easily penetrate ordinary matter, even of planetary or stellar dimensions. Bodies feel an apparent force of attraction because they shadow one another from some graviton impacts. All classical and relativistic effects are readily understood in such a model, and have no paradoxical aspects. Differences between the Einstein and LeSage interpretations of gravity arise in four areas, each providing new insights into the operations of nature. Existing experimental data clearly favor the LeSage interpretation. A falsification test involving binary pulsars will soon be available.

  • Mass Variation in Relation to the GPS (2000) [Updated 1 decade ago]

    aka "Implication of Mass Increase From GPS"

  • Physics Has its Principles (1999) [Updated 1 decade ago]

    Physicists and mathematicians have fundamentally different approaches to describing reality. The essential difference is that physicists adhere to certain logical principles, any violation of which would amount to a miracle, whereas the equations of mathematics generally are oblivious to physical constraints. This leads to drastically different views of what is, and what is not, possible for cosmology and the reality we live in.

  • The Speed of Gravity - What the experiments Say (1999) [Updated 1 decade ago]

    Standard experimental techniques exist to determine the propagation speed of forces. When we apply these techniques to gravity, they all yield propagation speeds too great to measure, substantially faster than lightspeed. This is because gravity, in contrast to light, has no detectable aberration of propagation delay for its action, even for cases (such as binary pulsars) where sources of gravity accelerate significantly during the light time from source to target. By contrast, the finite propagation speed of light causes radiation pressure forces to have a non-radial component causing orbits to decay (the Poynting-Robertson effect"); but gravity has no counterpart force proportional to v/c to first order. General relativity (GR) explains these features by suggesting that gravitation (unlike electromagnetic forces) is a pure goemetric effect of curved space-time, not a force of nature that propagates. Gravitational radiation, which surely does propagate at lightspeed but is a fifth order effect in v/c, is too small to play a role in explaining this difference in behavior between gravity and ordinary forces of nature. Problems with the causality principle also exist for GR in this connection, such as explaining how the external fields between binary block holes manage to continually update without benefit of communication with the masses hidden behind event horizons. These causality problems would be solved without any change to the mathematical formalism of GR, but only to its interpretation, if gravity is once again taken to be a propagating force of nature in flat space-time with the propagation speed indicated by observational evidence and experiments: not less than 2x1010 c. Such a change of perspective requires no change in the assumed character of gravitational radiation or its lightspeed propagation. Although faster-than-light force propagation speeds do violate Einstein special relativity (SR), they are in accord with Lorentzian relativity, which has never been experimentally distinguished from SR    at least, not in favor of SR. Indeed, far from upsetting much of current physics, the main changes induced by this new perspective are beneficial to areas where physics has been struggling, such a explaining experimental evidence for non-locality in quantum physics, the dark matter issue in cosmology, and the possible unification of forces. Recognition of a faster-than-lightspeed propagation of gravity, as indicated by all existing experimental evidence, may be the key to taking conventional physics to the next plateau.

  • The Speed of Gravity: An Experimental Contradiction of Einstein's Special Relativity (1998) [Updated 5 years ago]

    Of the ten independent classes of experiments testing various aspects of special relativity (SR), half appeared at first to contradict the frame reciprocity prediction of SR in favor of the earlier non-reciprocal relativity theory proposed by Lorentz (LR). However, these were all eventually reconciled by giving new interpretations to SR. and are now cited as experimental corroboration of Sa. One of these apparently contradictory. now reconciled experiments is the Global Positioning System (GPS). GPS shows that clocks in many different reference frames can be simultaneously synchronized and syntonized. and remain that way even as satellite clocks orbit and ground clocks rotate around the Earth?s spin axis. This experimental fact is alien to the spirit of SR. but can be reconciled with it by confining one's attention to the Earth-centered inertial frame. thereby ignoring reciprocity issues. Apparently. only the finding of a natural phenomenon that propagates much faster than light in forward time would unambiguously distinguish between SR and LR in favor of the latter. We present the results of several lines of experimental evidence. both direct and indirect, showing that the speed of gravity is a natural phenomenon of that type. The strongest experiment uses binary pulsar orbits to place a lower limit to the speed of gravity of 20.000,000,000 times the speed of light. Far from upsetting physics, this resolves several current dilemmas, such as explaining how the external gravity fields of binary black holes get updated. and why some recent quantum physics experiments appear to violate the locality condition.

  • The Speed of Gravity ? What the Experiments Say (1998) [Updated 6 years ago]

    Physics Letters A, V250, N1-3, pp. 1-11 (1998).

    Aka "Propagation of Gravity has been Experimentally Shown to Exceed the Speed of Light"

  • New Evidence of Artificiality at Cydonia on Mars (1997) [Updated 6 years ago]
    by Tom Van Flandern   read the paper:

    The so-called "Face" on Mars and the surrounding anomalous objects in a region called "Cydonia" appear at first glance to be randomly located and oriented on the planet. But it has previously been established that the martian poles had a different location with respect to the surface of the planet in the past, and apparently jumped from that location to the present one in relatively little geological time. We draw attention to the fact that the Cydonia area is right on the old martian equator, and the "Face" is oriented perpendicular to that old equator, to within the measurement uncertainties. This has only about a 1% probability of occurring by chance. Both the line of inquiry that led to this discovery and a possible purpose for building such an artificial structure looking into space were suggested by the exploded planet hypothesis. Taken in conjunction with the finding of bilateral symmetry in the Face and the anomalous nature of other nearby objects on Mars, the weight of existing evidence has, in this author's opinion, shifted in favor of an artificial origin of the Cydonia complex. With luck, the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft now en route to Mars will confirm or refute this conclusion.

  • The Original Solar System (Revised) (1997) [Updated 1 decade ago]
    by Tom Van Flandern   read the paper:

    In the light of the multiple exploded planet hypothesis, evidence in this book that Mercury, Mars, and Pluto are escaped moons rather than original major planets, and the arguments in Chapter 19 in favor of a solar fission origin for the major planets, we re-visit the original solar system. We take note of the six original major planets to occur in "twin" pairs, and of the main asteroid belt and new trans-Neptunian belt to apparently each have two parent bodies as well. If fission is considered as the principal mechanism for all major planet and natural moon formation, then solid planets will tend to form with singlet moons, whereas gaseous parent bodies (including the Sun) will tend to fission off smaller bodies (moons) in nearly-twin pairs. We examine the theory of formation by fission and compare it to the major planets and large, natural moons of the solar system. A very good match is found, including the surprising fulfillment of a prediction of the model regarding the order of the pairings in a previously unrecognized pattern. Using a Titius-Bode law for planetary spacing in its simplest form (where each planet has double the period of the previous one), we infer the existence of twelve original major planets, of which half remain today. Two short-lived gas giant planets may be responsible for the "late heavy bombardment" episode in the early solar system, and for building up the mass of Jupiter.

  • Implications of Relativity Without Einstein Synchronization in the GPS (1997) [Updated 6 years ago]

    In Einstein Special Relativity (ESR), each of two co-located observers with a relative motion will differ in their respective views of the time at any remote location. This is the so-called "lack of distant simultaneity" in ESR. However, the Global Positioning System (GPS) is a global network of 24 satellites carrying atomic clocks on board. All of these clocks are simultaneously and continuously synchronized with one another and with ground clocks all over the Earth, although relative velocities are high enough for ESR effects to be strongly significant. This is accomplished by ignoring relative velocities between clocks and synchronizing each clock to the underlying Earth centered inertial frame. But this is exactly the prescription first proposed by Lorentz in an alternate form of the theory of relativity (LSR). LSR still has clock slowing and meter-stick contraction and agrees with all existing experimental tests of special relativity. However, LSR retains a local preferred frame of reference and a ?universal time" standard, and does not require of nature that nothing can propagate faster than light in forward time. The GPS appears to provide the first test capable of distinguishing ESR from LSR, with results favoring the latter.

  • GPS and the Twins Paradox (1997) [Updated 6 years ago]

    Satellite clocks in the Global Positioning System have their rates increased by the gamma factor [l/sqrt(1 - v2/c2)] so they tick at rates comparable to ground clocks despite their high relative velocity. It is instructive to place a clock adjusted in a similar way on board the spacecraft in the classic twin's paradox. When that is done, the "GPS clock" on board the spacecraft always reads the same as any local clock synchronized in the Earth frame that it encounters along its journey. And it always reads a factor of gamma more time elapsed than a "natural" clock carried on board. So upon its return to Earth, or indeed at any moment along the journey, the GPS clock (representing the age of the stay-at-home twin) must always read a factor of gamma larger than the natural clock (representing the age of the traveling twin), as expected. This holds true whether or not the spacecraft accelerates or turns around, which events clearly have nothing to do with resolving the paradox. But this thought experiment points up that there are two different logical inferences available about the time at distant locations in other frames: the one given by the Lorentz time transformation, and the one given by the "GPS clock". The former, a consequence of Einstein's special relativity (ESR), has discontinuous jumps if the spacecraft accelerates or turns around. The latter, a consequence of Lorentz's special relativity (LSR), has a preferred frame and a universal time. The discontinuities in distant time in ESR, while mathematically possible, argue against that interpretation on the grounds of physical plausibility.

  • What the Global Positioning System Tells Us about Relativity (1997) [Updated 1 decade ago]

    The Global Positioning System (GPS) consists of a network of 24 satellites in roughly 12-hour orbits, each carrying atomic clocks on board. The orbital radius of the satellites is about four Earth-radii (26,600 km). The orbits are nearly circular, with a typical eccentricity of less than 1%. Orbital inclination to the Earth's equator is typically 55 degrees. The satellites have orbital speeds of about 3.9 km/s in a frame centered on the Earth and not rotating with respect to the distant stars. Nominally, the satellites occupy one of six equally spaced orbital planes. Four of them occupy each plane, spread at roughly 90-degree intervals around the Earth in that plane. The precise orbital periods of the satellites are close to 11 hours and 58 minutes so that the ground tracks of the satellites repeat day after day, because the Earth makes one rotation with respect to the stars about every 23 hours and 56 minutes. (Four extra minutes are required for a point on the Earth to return to a position directly under the Sun because the Sun advances about one degree per day with respect to the stars.)

  • Another Aftershock for the Big Bang (1996) [Updated 5 years ago]
    by Tom Van Flandern   read the paper:

    Last year in this journal I reported evidence that the cosmological redshift of galaxy light may not indicate that the universe is expanding at all. Results from several cosmological tests favor instead an energy loss mechanism in a basically static universe. (Apeiron, January 1995, pp. 20- 24.) The past year?s research and discoveries have given mainstream cosmologists little consolation for shoring up the crumbling edifice of the standard big bang model. Much of the latest news concerns quasars. Here are the highlights of two of the most significant new findings reported in the series ?Remarkable Papers in the Journals? in the Meta Research Bulletin, for which I serve as editor.

    Galaxies are extended objects, the closest of which are clearly resolvable into individual stars. Quasars, by contrast, are generally point-like objects, sometimes visible only to radio telescopes, whose true nature is still debated.

  • A Revision of the Exploded Planet Hypothesis (1995) [Updated 1 decade ago]
    by Tom Van Flandern   read the paper:

    In network discussions (on sci.astro on the Internet) of the exploded planet hypothesis, respondents have continued to raise objections about associating the explosion of a major planet in the asteroid belt ? astronomically dated at 3.2 million years ago (Ma) ? with the K/T boundary in stratigraphic layers on Earth ? geologically dated at 65 Ma ? because of the date discrepancy. Extensive evidence for the exploded planet hypothesis (eph) was presented in Dark Matter, Missing Planets and New Comets. This date discrepancy is one of only two lines of evidence, out of over one hundred, that does not fit the hypothesis.

  • Did the Universe have a Beginning? (1994) [Updated 6 years ago]
    by Tom Van Flandern   read the paper:

    The big bang theory postulates that the entire universe originated in a cosmic explosion about 15 billion years ago. Such an idea had no serious constituency until Edwin Hubble discovered the redshift of galaxy light in the 1920s, which seemed to imply an expanding universe. However, our ability to test cosmological theories has vastly improved with modern telescopes covering all wavelengths, some of them in orbit. Despite the widespread acceptance of the big bang theory as a working model for interpreting new findings, not a single important prediction of the theory has yet been confirmed, and substantial evidence has accumulated against it. Here, we examine the evidence for the most fundamental postulate of the big bang, the expansion of the universe. We conclude that the evidence does not support the theory; and that it is time to stop patching up the theory to keep it viable, and to consider fundamentally new working models for the origin and nature of the universe in better agreement with the observations.

  • On the "Speed of Gravity" (1993) [Updated 1 decade ago]

    The question is often asked, "At what speed does the force of gravity propagate?" To answer this question properly, one must first define terms to insure that the question is well-formed. The quick answer one invariably hears to the question above is "at (or near) the speed of light". But this answer is incorrect. This false but widespread impression has taken hold because there is a hypothetical phenomenon called "gravity waves" which, if they exist, are expected to propagate at or near the speed of light. But gravity waves are not a factor in the question as posed; and may not exist at all. This paper examines why.

  • A Former Asteroidal Planet as the Origin of Comets (1978) [Updated 1 decade ago]

    Icarus, V36, pp. 51-74.