Profile image
By ScienceBlogs (Reporter)
Contributor profile | More stories
Story Views

Now:
Last Hour:
Last 24 Hours:
Total:

Distant Quasars Show That Fundamental Constants Never Change [Starts With a Bang]

Thursday, January 5, 2017 10:01
% of readers think this story is Fact. Add your two cents.

(Before It's News)

“The mystery about α is actually a double mystery. The first mystery – the origin of its numerical value α ≈ 1/137 has been recognized and discussed for decades. The second mystery – the range of its domain – is generally unrecognized.” -Malcolm H. MacGregor

We assume that the fundamental constants are truly constant, but they don’t have to be. The speed of light is the same everywhere, but it could have been different elsewhere, either in space or in time. The same is true for other constants, like Planck’s constant, the gravitational constant, or even the fundamental charges or masses of particles. You might not think it’s likely, but the evidence indicated otherwise.

Spatial variations in the fine-structure constant are indicated from a previous, 2011 study. Image credit: J.K. Webb et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 107, 191101 (2011).

Spatial variations in the fine-structure constant are indicated from a previous, 2011 study. Image credit: J.K. Webb et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 107, 191101 (2011).

Over the past 20 years, time variations and spatial variations in the fine structure constant, which determines the force of the electromagnetic coupling, have been observed to about 5 parts in a million in different locations and at different distances. It was a disputed but intriguing finding, but new evidence was just released conflicting with those results. Instead, the fundamental constant, α, once again appears to be truly constant, to better than 1.3 parts in a million, thanks to the new results from Arecibo.

An ultra-distant quasar will encounter gas clouds on the light's journey to Earth, allowing us to measure α. Image credit: Ed Janssen, ESO.

An ultra-distant quasar will encounter gas clouds on the light’s journey to Earth, allowing us to measure α. Image credit: Ed Janssen, ESO.

There’s always more work to be done, but one of the greatest puzzling results from the astrophysical community might not be a puzzle after all!



Source: http://scienceblogs.com/startswithabang/2017/01/05/distant-quasars-show-that-fundamental-constants-never-change/

Report abuse

Comments

Your Comments
Question   Razz  Sad   Evil  Exclaim  Smile  Redface  Biggrin  Surprised  Eek   Confused   Cool  LOL   Mad   Twisted  Rolleyes   Wink  Idea  Arrow  Neutral  Cry   Mr. Green

Top Stories
Recent Stories
 

Featured

 

Top Global

 

Top Alternative

 

Register

Newsletter

Email this story
Email this story

If you really want to ban this commenter, please write down the reason:

If you really want to disable all recommended stories, click on OK button. After that, you will be redirect to your options page.