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Gravity as the Effect of the Long Wavelength Background Radiation in a Static Universe with a Compton Effect Cosmological Red Shift


John Kierein


Abstract: A background of very long wavelength radiation is predicted from a static universe with a Compton effect red shift.  The interaction of this radiation with massive bodies produces gravity in a “push” process as suggested by Brush. 

Keywords: Gravity, gravitation, cosmology, Compton effect, red shift, static universe, unified field theory, Mach’s principle.



     The idea that gravity is a push from the outside, rather than a pull, has a long history. (See Edwards (1)).  It is a satisfying theory because it provides a mechanism for gravity that eliminates the magical “action at a distance” mystique about the attraction of masses.  LeSage’s “ultramundane particles” (highly penetrating particles coming from beyond the earth) provide a physical connection that pushes masses together in an inverse square law identical to Newton’s gravitational force (2).  Richard Feynman, in his popular “Feynman Lectures” (3), describes the excitement that people feel when they discover this idea because of the enlightened insight it provides them.  He then proceeds to explain why it is his belief that this idea cannot be correct.

     In this paper, we revive the ideas of LeSage with a modern view. This view comes about as a consequence of static universe models that contain a red shift.  One such model is the one in which the red shift is due to the Compton effect rather than the Doppler effect (4, 5).  The Compton effect explains intrinsic red shifts on the sun (6,7) and quasars as well (7). 


Compton Effect Red Shift

     In this model, there are electrons, positrons and other free particles between galaxies.  As light travels through this transparent medium, it loses energy to these free particles in the following manner:

     Hubble's law observes that z = Dl / l= HD or:


Dl = HDl                                                                                                (1)


where Dl is the red shifted change in wavelength, l is the original wavelength, D is the distance to the object, and H is "Hubble's constant" of proportionality (H is sometimes conventionally expressed as H/c for convenience for the Doppler interpretation).

     If one interprets this law as being due to multiple Compton effect interactions of photons starting at the distance D and interacting with an intervening medium of free particles (such as electrons) of density r particles per cubic centimeters, then the following calculations can be made:


Dl = (Dli)(Ni)                                                                                           (2)


where Dli is the shift per interaction given by the familiar Compton formula:


Dli = h (1 - cos q) / mc                                                                             (3)


where h is Planck's constant, m is the mass of the particle (electron), c is the velocity of light, and q is the angle of deflection of the photon velocity vector.  Ni in equation 2 is the number of Compton interactions occurring, so that cos q is the "average cos q" observed over the large number of interactions involved.



Ni = (Nt)T .                                                                                            (4)


That is, the number of interactions equals the integrated probability, Nt, that an interaction is occurring at any time, times the total time of travel, T, where


T = D / c.                                                                                                (5)




Nt = srl c / lc                                                                                        (6)


where s is the Thomson cross section (in the case where the particle is the electron), and lc = the Compton wavelength of the particle = h / mc

    Thus, from equations 4, 5 and 6:


Ni = srl c D / lc c                                                                                  (7)


and from equations 2, 3 and 7 and substituting and canceling:


Dl = sr (1 - cos q)Dl                                                                          (8)


Thus, from equations 1 and 8:


                             H = sr (1 - cos q)


     This interesting result shows that the "large cosmological constant", H can be expressed in terms of the "smaller" Thomson cross-section constant so familiar in the everyday physics of subatomic particles.

     It should be noted that the l in equations 6, 7 and 8 strictly speaking is not the original wavelength of the photon, but rather the wavelength at the time of the interaction. This wavelength varies from l at the start to l+ Dl at the end of the travel, so that the integrated average wavelength should be l+Dl/2. This is a small correction for the observed cosmological (non-quasar) galactic shifts where z is less than 1, the correction being less than the uncertainty in H and D.

     Thus, when l+Dl/2 is substituted for l, the result is:


z = HD/(1-HD/2).


This leads to correspondingly shorter distances for a given z than in the case that z = HD. These distance differences can be significant for larger z, resulting in a new form for Hubble's law. As better measurements are made of the red shift distance relationship, it should be theoretically possible to determine which relationship is the observed one.

     It should be noted that the magnitude of the shift per equation 3 is inversely proportional to the mass of the particle.  The mass of the electron is about 3500 times smaller than the mass of a hydrogen molecule, so the effectiveness of a density of free electrons in producing a red shift is correspondingly greater than the effectiveness of clouds of hydrogen gas.  However, there are now known to be clouds of hydrogen gas between galaxies (8) and they may well contribute significantly to the Compton effect red shift in a manner suggested by Marmet (9), if their number density is much greater than the number density of free electrons and positrons.


The Blurring Problem

     It has been suggested that the multiple scatterings of the Compton effect should cause stars to be blurred because the effect requires the photon to change direction to produce a red shift.  The answer lies in the dual particle and wave nature of light.  The Compton effect is entirely explained in terms of the conservation of energy and momentum.  It is not dependent on the charge of the target.  Compton (6) attributed the presence of an unshifted line in his data (in addition to the shifted line from the electron), to the scattering of the photon from the neutral atom in the target, which had too large a mass to produce a significant shift.  The electric and magnetic vectors of the photons are undisturbed by these scatterings, so the ExH vector continues to travel in its original direction, but at a reduced velocity in this direction.  This is the familiar effect that light has an ExH group velocity that is less than c in a transparent medium.  The index of refraction of the medium is the ratio of the speed of the ExH wavefront in the medium to the speed of the photon in a vacuum.  The wavefront of the group velocity is reconstructed from the scattering centers in the Huygens’ secondary wavelets and its wavefront velocity is the vectorial sum of the velocities of the group of photons in the direction of the ExH vector.  Reber (10) performed a computerized random walk analysis that showed the photon stayed within a small circle along the direction to the source from multiple scatterings, so the difference between the group velocity and the speed in vacuum is very small for the rare intergalactic medium.   The idea that the photon’s momentum-carrying particle-like velocity can be different from the velocity of its wave-like ExH vector explains how a single photon’s ExH vector can produce interference patterns when passing through a diffraction slit.   We see the ExH vector of the wave in images and spectra, which contains the information about the source, while energy detectors can detect the energy and momentum of the individual photon.  Because the ExH wavefront is reconstructed by the Huygens’ secondary wavelets in the transparent medium, there is no blurring even though there is multiple Compton scattering along the path.   The scattering centers act as the centers of the Huygens’ secondary wavelets.


Static Universe Long Wavelength Background Radiation

     A static universe model, in which the red shift is caused by the Compton effect, is what Reber calls an  “Endless, Boundless Stable Universe” (11).    In this universe there is a need to show that Olbers’ paradox is not a problem and that the universe is indeed stable.

     If the universe is infinite in extent with a constant density of light sources, then the night sky should appear to be totally bright.  This is because the number of galaxies increases, as the volume increases, with the cube of the distance from an observer on earth, while the energy only falls off as the inverse square of the distance.  This would seem to mean that an infinite amount of energy is being received from such an endless universe model. The fact that this is not observed is often called Olbers’ paradox, after the 18th century astronomer Heinrich Olbers.  (Olbers’ paradox can be a bigger problem for an expanding universe, since the density of sources is greater with distance as we look further back in time when galaxies were supposedly closer together.)  However, when one includes the red shift in this calculation, the solution results in a finite answer.  This is because the photons from sources at distances approaching infinity have been red shifted to wavelengths approaching infinite length, and therefore approach zero energy.  A mechanism for this red shift that allows the energy lost between galaxies in the Compton effect to be converted to mass (and not re-radiated) is given in (12).   This mechanism views the Compton effect from the point of view of the electron (or positron).  The electron between galaxies sees radiation of all wavelengths coming from all directions simultaneously.  Much of the resulting velocity increase of the electron from the Compton effect vectorially cancels.  Thus the electron gains energy without a corresponding increase in velocity and must increase in mass according to m = E/c2. 

     The result of this solution to Olbers’ paradox is that the universe is filled with a long wavelength radiation background.  This radiation comes from all directions and is as isotropic as the universe.  (Any anisotropy is probably due to motion of our galaxy relative to this general background.)  Reber has measured the background at wavelengths of 144 and 500 meters and found it to be very bright and extragalactic (10).  At 144 meters wavelength it is equivalent to a black body temperature of 3.5 X 106 degrees Kelvin. His maps show that the general brightness has less bright areas where the mass attenuates this radiation in identifiable locations such as the galactic center, and other spots along the galactic plane.  This solution to Olbers’ paradox predicts that Reber’s low frequency measurements, if extended to indefinitely longer wavelengths, show a strong and smooth background. The Compton effect cosmological red shift shifts the radiated spectrum of stars to these longer wavelengths.


Interaction of Long Wavelength Isotropic Radiation with Massive Bodies

     Short wavelength radiation, like gamma rays and x-rays, can penetrate matter because the wavelengths are so short they can travel between molecules and atoms.  When they interact with matter they cause violent collisions that can ionize the molecules and atoms For this reason, radiation of these wavelengths is often called “ionizing’ radiation.  Longer wavelength radiation, such as ultraviolet, visible and infrared radiation does not penetrate very far into matter.  When it interacts it causes surface heating as it gives kinetic energy to individual molecules and atoms.   Longer wavelength radiation, such as microwaves, is more penetrating and heats matter from the inside as in a microwave oven.  Longer wavelengths, such as radio waves, penetrate matter even further as witnessed by the ability to receive radio signals in a basement of a building.  This is because it interacts with all the molecules in the matter as it travels through the body and is slightly attenuated in the process. The attenuation is due to the Compton effect causing each long wavelength photon to be red shifted slightly and thus transfer energy to the body. Even longer wavelength radiation is even more penetrating.  When it interacts with the body, it is of such long wavelength that it interacts with multiple numbers of molecules at the same time, thus moving them in bulk to produce a pressure force rather than heating or ionization.


The Mechanism of Gravity

     The mechanism for gravity we introduce in this paper is that the “ultramundane” particles of Lesage are the background long wavelength photons from the static universe.  This radiation is highly penetrating and produces forces as it interacts with massive bodies. The presence of a second body near a massive body attenuates the radiation coming from its direction to the first body and Newton’s law of universal gravitation follows.  This attenuation is due to each photon transferring a small amount of its energy to the body. A push of long wavelength radiation as the cause of gravity was first suggested by Brush in 1910 and published in Nature in 1911 (13).  (Brush later changed his idea of the pushing radiation to the idea that it may be shorter wavelength radiation (14) after being impressed by the penetrating capabilities of x-rays, although he made no such explicit claims in his 1928 Franklin Medal Award paper.)


The Solution to the Static Universe Stability Problem

     As Tolman points out (15), models of a finite, unbounded, static universe with a radius R may not be stable to processes of conversion of mass to energy or energy to mass.  This is because R depends on the total gravitational potential and total radiation pressure in such a universe.  If there are processes introduced which change these, then R would change, producing an expanding or contracting universe.  If mass is converted to radiation, (as is observed in stars) then the model contracts.  However, the radiation created is balanced by the conversion of energy to mass as in (12) and results in an increase in the background radiation, which increases the gravitational potential. The increase in radiation pressure is balanced by the increase in gravity.  The model is stabilized, since this is a self-correcting mechanism.


The Graviton

     One can quantize the gravitational force from this Lesagian mechanism.  A quantization of this force identifies the graviton as a quantization of the “shadow” cast in the long wavelength background radiation field by a mass.  It is like the absence of a photon.  Thus, the graviton is similar to an electron hole in semiconductor.  This graviton travels at c.  (But consider the special case of a beam of long wavelength radiation penetrating a massive body and a second body entering its shadow.  The second body instantaneously feels the shadow of the first body as soon as it enters the shadow, so in this sense the second body feels the presence of the first body as though its gravity traveled faster than c.)  This theory unifies the electromagnetic field with the gravitational field serendipitously providing a unified field model.


Mach’s Principle

     The background radiation field defines a preferred reference inertial coordinate system.  This is in agreement with Mach’s principle for defining an inertial coordinate system as one being at rest or moving with a constant velocity with respect to the fixed stars.  The long wavelength background replaces Mach’s fixed stars, (and indeed is a result of red shifted radiation from the fixed stars).  The microwave background is the short wavelength end of the spectrum of this background.


Bodies in Motion with Respect to the Background

     Feynman’s objection to the Lesagian theory is that an object in motion should be slowed by the increase in flux of the Lesagian ultramundane particles in the forward direction.  He suggests that the earth should be slowed in its orbit and should therefore fall into the sun if the Lesagian theory holds.  However, when one replaces Lesage’s ultramundane particles with long wavelength photons, it is obvious that the increase in flux does not become significant until the velocity of the object approaches the speed of light.  When this occurs the increased flux is indistinguishable from an apparent increase in mass due to its velocity.  This is just what happens according to the special theory of relativity and indeed produces a physical reason for the validity of this theory.


Other Consequences

     There are some consequences of this theory that are worth pointing out:  The Russian scientists Radzievskii and Kagal’nikova (16) suggested in 1960 that a Brush theory of gravity could explain the Foucault pendulum solar eclipse anomalies observed by Nobel laureate Allais (17).  Also, this mechanism for gravity provides an explanation of the expanding earth theory of plate tectonics (12).  The short wavelength version of this gravity theory applied to small particles has been called “mock gravity” and suggested as being important for both solar system planetary formation by Spitzer (18) and Whipple (19) and for galaxy formation by Hogan and White (20).    




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20.    C.J. Hogan and S.D.M. White, “Galaxy Formation by Mock Gravity” Nature 321, 575-578, June 1986.