The Moving Universe

This hypothesis is inspired, like many great scientific breakthroughs, by a fast food fountain drink. This is completely true and no exaggeration. I happened to get a cup from Chipotle that detailed the life of Einstein on it. And in its short and sweet description was how Einstein had mastered the use of thought experiments and imagined riding alongside a beam of light to create the basis of his Theory of Relativity. And if Einstein can perform thought experiments then so can I. “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” he said. He was right.

What I am proposing is a hypothesis based on a number of thought experiments that state that our universe is moving. A moving universe can explain a number of very odd observations of physics on the cosmic scale. We of course cannot see that the universe is moving any more then we could see the Earth rotating around the sun. The Ptolemaic model of the universe shows that the Earth was the center of the universe and that everything, including the sun and the stars, revolved around it. This was not bad science and it did use real world data to determine this idea. However, it was wrong. It took centuries to see that the Earth does in fact revolve around the sun and that many natural phenomena can be described as a result of the Earth traveling through the solar system on its yearly voyage. Suddenly the seasons changing, the procession of constellations rising and shorter and longer days had scientific explanations.

If we do in fact live in a moving universe, there is no way we can observe this movement directly. We would have to escape the universe itself to look at it from the outside and as much as I would like to think that someday science will take us to the stars and beyond, such technology is far away. But so was spaceflight and trips to the Moon in the days of Copernicus and Galileo. And in the half millennia since, we made it happen. We therefore have to look at other evidence and see if it matches and is consistent with this idea, much like how those early scientists created the heliocentric model.

I am proposing then that there is significant evidence to say that the entire universe is moving. I can then look at real-world phenomena to back up this claim and unravel some of the greater mysteries in astrophysics by adding an unseen aspect to the equation. I fully admit that what I am proposing is not a theory, but a hypothesis, and it would be up to other scientists to make the determination if what I say is bunk, or better yet, prove me right. If I am correct, that we live in a universe moving through another dimension of space, I am raising many more complex questions then I am answering.

It would be very important to familiarize yourself with the book, Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions by Edwin A. Abbott. It is a short novella that is mostly a satire of the Victorian era mannerisms and politics. However, its enduring legacy is that it explains how sentiment beings capable of only perceiving two dimensions might perceive three and even four dimensions of space. I will make frequent analogies ripped directly from that story to explain my hypothesis. In fact, without me reading this story years ago, I would never have obsessed over extra dimensional physics and my hypothesis would not have occurred.

With a quick online search, you can find a copy of it available for free since it’s in the public domain. A movie was made based on the short story and is currently available on YouTube.

In this unique story more than 100 years old, we get an idea of not only how difficult it is to conceive of extra dimensional realities. We also learn how a person for whom their reality is oriented towards a particular dimension has difficulty perceiving an additional one. I am going to write concerning how our reality interacts with the fourth dimension, and I expect a lot of people to not get it right away. It’s a difficult concept to grasp and a bit like learning a foreign language.

In the story, there are three distinct dimensions that we encounter. It all starts in Flatland, where everything is two-dimensional and people can only see lines. We also get a glimpse of Lineland, where everything is two-dimensional and its occupants only see points. The main character, a square, is lifted out of Flatland and into Spaceland, which is much like our reality in that it is three-dimensional. In Spaceland, everyone was a shape. In our reality, perfect sphere-shaped people do not exist.

The main character proposed that there must be something beyond Spaceland. He knew length and width in Flatland, but had to learn what height was. So he believed that there must be a hidden extra height. The inhabitants of Spaceland scoffed, saying that it wasn’t possible and that people who believed in a world beyond their own, or who saw strange manifestations of beings from a higher place, were delusional.

Well, I am here to say that there is in fact a fourth dimension and we experience it every day. For the sake of making things easy and being consistent with the story and terms of Flatland, I will call it Timeland. Time is the fourth dimension and should be considered much more like a place. In fact, each slice of time, once it passes, is just a place we cannot go back to. And with good reason. Once a particular moment passes, we can never go back to it. It’s now too far away and no amount of speed on our part will get us back to it.

Neil DeGrasse Tyson gave a good analogy of how time is an important dimension for any event to occur. If you want to meet someone in New York, you need to know the intersection of the building you plan to meet them in. So, you need to two coordinates, those being the street and the avenue, such as 53rd street and 3rd Avenue. But you also need a third coordinate, the floor on which you plan to meet. You need a height coordinate. You may meet on the first floor, but you may also meet on the third. Finally, you need a fourth coordinate, time. If you do not know when or what day to meet, you will either be waiting a very long time or you will miss them. Time can be considered to be very similar to a place in that it is a coordinate we can either be at or not be at.

Back to the Chipotle cup. Einstein had pioneered the idea of thought experiments. The cup mentions that he once imagined himself trying to ride his bicycle alongside a beam of light. It would seem logical that as you went faster, the beam of light would appear to be going slower. If you were driving a car and trying to catch up to a fast-moving train parallel to the road, this would make perfect sense. But it doesn’t work with a beam of light. In fact, no matter how fast you try and catch up to the beam of light, it still rockets away at the speed of light. This was consistent with Maxwell’s equations on electromagnetism that didn’t allow for light to ever travel slower than the speed of light, even if you were moving very fast in relation to it.

This lead to perhaps Einstein’s most famous thought experiment about time dilation — The Twins Paradox. To sum up this thought experiment, if you have a set of identical twins and one takes off in a rocket traveling near the speed of light and returns after a short trip, he will have found that his twin on Earth has aged quite a bit, since many years will have past, but that he has not aged much. This is because for objects moving very, very fast, time slows down.

This was proven by a study in Muons. Muons are the byproducts of cosmic radiation bombarding the upper atmosphere. Muons have a very short life, though. They decay in a fraction of a second. However, thousands of Muons hit the Earth’s surface every minute. How can particle that lasts a fraction of the second travel from the upper atmosphere and hit the Earth? It moves very fast, close to the speed of light and therefore, time slows down for it. Einstein was totally right. Time really does slow down for objects moving really fast.

This effect can also be shown in satellites orbiting the Earth. Gravity affects time, as does the speed of an object. These need to be calculated very carefully or else our satellite communications would be way off. Global Positioning Systems would have constant errors, since they rely on knowing exactly where your device is at specific distances and times if they did not compensate for the differences in time.

So we know that time slows down when things speed up, but we don’t exactly know why time slows down. We seem to think of time as a constant, always moving forward at fixed intervals. However, these experiments and the real world data proves this is not true. Why is time so flexible? Despite hearing several hypotheses as to why time speeds up and slows down, I have never received a satisfactory answer, except that Einstein is right and he is really smart.

The best answer I have heard is that all phenomena are the result of quantum actions. Quantum actions are the things that occur at the quantum or subatomic level. These actions occur at the speed of light, so when you travel faster, they slow done because the actions are attempting to catch up to the bodies moving. This answer is again unsatisfactory and it seems there is not a real explanation for time dilations even though we can measure them.

This bothers me and I became obsessed over it. I decided to perform a few thought experiments to try and figure out if there was some logic to how time dilation works. If it worked for Einstein, I figured I would give it try.

Imagine there are two trains on parallel tracks, both going very fast Each train has a twin brother in cars that are at the same position so that each can wave to the other from their windows. The train passes a giant sign that says PRESENT. So one brother leaps up and begins to run towards the back of the train in an attempt to keep reading this sign. He runs from car to car very fast, always looking at the sign as he goes. After getting exhausted, he turns to wave to his brother only to find his brother has aged very rapidly. Why? Because he never did the long run his brother did. He didn’t keep up with the present and is now much older. This is exactly what Einstein predicted.

That’s when I realized that the train is the universe or Spaceland. And it is moving very fast through the time dimension — Timeland. We have never conceived that the entire universe is moving because we can’t see its motion. It is moving in a very strange way for certain. It is not moving in any three-dimensional spatial directions like up or down or left or right. It is moving in all those directions at once. It is in fact moving through a fourth dimension we cannot quite perceive easily. This is why any velocity a body takes counteracts the movement of Spaceland through Timeland. It doesn’t matter the direction.

Once I came to the conclusion that the universe is moving through a time dimension, I asked myself what other evidence is there that the universe is moving? Surely if something this large is moving, there must be other phenomena that are being affected. Well, I thought about it, and it turns out I can make connections to numerous cosmic phenomena that are the result of a moving universe. First, I have explained time dilation and how the Theory of Relativity is heavily connected to a moving universe. I then saw that the Arrow of Time, The Big Bang, Dark Energy, and gravity might all be the results of Spaceland moving very rapidly through Timeland.

The Arrow of Time is a concept that seems so simple it almost isn’t needed. Why does time go in only one direction? Why does it always go from the past to the present? Why don’t we ever see things unfold backward? There are some physicists who say that as far as reality goes, there is nothing stopping time from just going backward.

The best explanation scientists can come up with is that time follows the third law of thermodynamics that states that systems tend to move towards higher states of entropy. The third law is a fancy way of saying that things move from order to chaos unless work or energy is added to the system. And it can be seen in many things in our lives. Old cars rust and decay. Rarely does a car spontaneously fix itself unless someone adds work to it.

This is a very unsatisfactory answer for many reasons. To begin with, sometimes things do get more ordered over time. I’d like to think humans are part of the universe and we as animals are more ordered than the elements that make us up. And I do understand that the Earth is a system that has energy being added to it, so we in fact follow the laws of thermodynamics with our very existence. The sun adds a lot of energy and drives our evolution.

Asking entropy to do what time does is a stretch for me. We have to assume that at some time the universe was at a higher state of entropy, or more ordered, and that it is breaking down at a very constant rate into chaos. Chaos is well, too chaotic to be so precise as time. Also, I see no reason why relativity and entropy are related. Why then does moving at a very fast speed somehow slow entropy, like it does time?

The explanation that the third law of thermodynamics is the reason that the Arrow of Time leaves too many gaps. I am not saying it isn’t related, but it doesn’t serve to explain time very reasonably. It may be part of the driving force as to why the universe moves.

I will for simplicity refer to the movement of Spaceland through Timeland as being in the F Vector. F stands for future. P Vector will stand for past. This is merely a way to categorize a direction we can’t quite see. The universe moves in the F Vector — from the past to the future. We only move to the future. We never move to the past. Time can slow down at high speeds, but we can’t go backward.

If we accept that Spaceland or the universe moves at the speed of light through Timeland and never stops or reverses direction, then the Arrow of Time makes all the sense in the world. We never see anything go backward in time because we are on a train going in only one direction. That direction is the F — Vector, or the future.

As predicted by Einstein, this means that if you somehow got in a spacecraft and traveled faster than the speed of light, you would be going backward in time. And under the Moving Universe model, this is exactly what happens. You speed up, time slows down and once you are going faster than the speed of light, the speed of the universe, you start to outpace it and eventually go backward in time.

This is just speculation, since we cannot observe anything going faster than the speed of light with our current technology, though some scientists believe that there may be some subatomic particles capable of attaining speeds above that of light. Work at the Large Hadron Collider may find these particles and time travel, at least by very small particles, might be a scientific possibility. This opens up the idea that information then could be transmitted backward in time.

One of the most talked about phenomena of the cosmos has to be the Big Bang. Scientists believe that they can discern the exact movement the entire universe came into existence. Sometime 13.8 billion years ago the universe was infinitely small, nothing more than a singularity, a single point. This point quickly expanded with great force and over time, cooled down. Atoms formed, and those atoms, through gravity, formed stars, planets, and galaxies.

Let us again look to Flatland to see a similar phenomenon. Flatlanders can only see lines. To them there are no such things as spheres,only circles. So what then does a sphere look like when it enters two-dimensional space? It begins as a single, very small point and as it passes through the Flatland, it becomes a circle, then a wider circle, and wider still. Once it reaches the diameter of the sphere, it starts to become a smaller circle and smaller until it is again a small point.

For anyone wanting to see a visual representation of this, you can watch the 2007 movie of Flatland in order to see exactly what I am describing.

Flatland

Just like in the movie, those of us that occupy three-dimensional space have a hard time understanding what fourth-dimensional objects can look like. There is mathematics behind creating things like fourth-dimensional cubes like a Tesseract and how they interact with space and would look when they pass through dimensions. Several very well done videos are up on YouTube to watch to better understand this concept.

This is one shape that is much more boring to watch as it transitions from the fourth dimension into the third. And that is the sphere. A fourth-dimensional sphere passing into the third dimension is much like a three-dimensional sphere passing into Flatland. It starts as a tiny point, and expands into a sphere, getting larger and larger in all directions. This is exactly what scientists are saying happened at the very beginning of the universe. A Timeland object passing through Spaceland accurately describes the Big Bang.

What this means is that the Big Bang is the result of a single vector of force. If we look at our sphere passing through Flatland, the Flatlander mistakenly thinks that the circle is expanding and he might be tempted to think that some energy is pushing it outward. In fact, those of us observing in Spaceland see that the sphere is moving in only one direction and we would be wrong to think that it is expanding.

When scientists observe the universe, they noticed that every galaxy appears to be moving away from us. They can tell this because the light from these galaxies is red shifted, meaning that they are stretched to appear slightly more red. If they were moving toward us, they would be shifted towards the violet end of the color spectrum. Not a single galaxy is doing that, so it is not speculation to determine that the entire universe is expanding.

Something is causing the universe to expand. Scientists have named this Dark Energy. They believe there is some force moving everything apart and that the universe is expanding like a giant balloon. However, the thinking that the energy is radiating outward might be incorrect. The sphere moving through Flatland expands in all directions on a two-dimensional plane is the result of a single vector of movement by the sphere. So too might the expansion of the universe be the result of a single force vector moving a Spaceland object through Timeland.

This of course does not rid us of the problem of finding Dark Energy. On the contrary, it means it must still exist. I have written much concerning the movement of our universe through Timeland. I have not however, spoken about what is moving it. It stand to reason that there is some force moving the universe. And that force is not one I have any insight into. However, if our scientists are always looking in the wrong direction, they will never find it. So I certainly hope that someday that mystery of the universe is solved. Of course, the classic concept of Dark Energy as a force pushing galaxies away could still be uncovered and my hypothesis proven wrong. I still welcome the day when that scientific discovery is made.

To make things easier, I propose that we do not abandon the traditional search for Dark Energy but add the pursuit of Time Energy, or the force moving our universe through Timeland.

Gravity is a real problem. Why are we all not flying off the Earth right now? Why? Science has done a great job of telling us how gravity works. Sir Issac Newton famously figured out gravity when an apple fell on his head. “What goes up, must come down,” he notoriously professed. Though most likely anecdotal, Newton did a great deal to figure out the how of gravity when he wrote his famous work Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica.

Gravity from a strictly math standpoint is simple. The equation goes like this -

F is the force of gravity

G is the gravitational constant

m1 and m2 are the masses of the two bodies (such as you and the Earth)

R is the distance between the two bodies

Newton’s Principia gave us the how of gravity almost 350 years ago. So far, scientists can’t figure out why. Why do two bodies attract each other? Einstein determined that a large mass can bend space, causing gravity. He predicted that a large body like the sun could bend space enough so that even light would bend around it. After many attempts he was proven right when a group of scientists observed a star behind the sun during a solar eclipse. The star should have been behind the sun and not visible at all. During the eclipse, the sun warped space just enough so that the light from that star bent enough to make it visible on earth.

Still, there has been no explanation as to why. There was a theory that a particle called a graviton existed. This graviton would act much like an electron. Just like magnets have an electromagnetic field; massive bodies would have a gravitational field generated by gravitons. This would make gravity like a magnet. Just like your magnet attracts paperclips to it, so does the Earth pull other bodies toward it.

Except science has not found any evidence gravitons exist. Most likely they do not. Einstein correctly figured out that the space around a massive body curves space. However, we still don’t know why. The current line of thinking is that there is some fundamental aspect of matter that generates gravity by warping space. However, there is no evidence that that is what is happening. Why a massive body warps space is not a question science has answered.

Furthermore, we seem to think that gravity is a force that pulls things into the center of an object. And in three dimensions it does. However, there is no logical reason why this happens. I do understand that gravity pulls things towards the center of its gravity or as is the case with two large bodies, its common center. So it always seemed strange to me that you could ever think that gravity acts like electromagnetism, which has nothing to do with its size and moreover, two magnets do not pull in towards a common center of mass.

It seems so strange that a force that affects us every day is so mysterious. We know how but not why. And I became obsessed with this. I would go to sleep thinking a bit too much about gravity sometimes. I greatly tried to understand the unique relationship between mass and space that causes this warping and the force we experience as gravity.

It wasn’t until I did my thought experiment about the twins on the train that I described earlier that I thought perhaps I should apply the model of a moving universe to my other big obsession, gravity. And with a few thought experiments coupled with an understanding of fourth-dimensional mathematics, I found that gravity might be the result of a moving universe.

Let’s look at Lineland as described in the story of Flatland. Lineland is a straight line. It has only one dimension of space. On this Lineland live sentient points who are only capable of seeing points. Now let’s attach some rockets to their either end of their line and give all of Lineland a force vector.

Lineland as represented by the black line is blasting off through Flatland, or two dimensional space. The two points are the red dots. They are sentient beings and are good friends who communicate often. Now let’s see what happens when this Lineland that is moving very fast encounters a massive body.

The big black dot represents a massive and heavy point. It causes Lineland to warp and slope downward. Our two sentient points are also pulled right toward it. When they communicate to each other and describe the force at work, they come to the conclusion that there must be some force pulling them into the center of the massive object.

To the outside observer, the force is not in the direction toward the center of the massive objects. Rather, we see it as a single force vector that our residents of Lineland are unaware of.

Let’s extend this idea to Flatland. We need a giant rubber sheet. We will put rockets on all sides of it and blast it off into Spaceland, or three-dimensional space. There are Flatlanders on all four corners when suddenly, our rubber sheet encounters a massive heavy disk right in the center. Our rubber sheet warps and all of our Flatland residents are pulled toward it. They could even walk around the circular edge of this massive object like it’s a planet. They too will start to believe that this object has some property to it that draws things into its center. Those of us observing from Spaceland know that the force is in a single vector with all those rockets.

Here’s an illustration of how two-dimensional space is warped by a heavy object.

If you look at the picture it is like graph paper being warped. Any one of those lines on the graph paper acts like it is our illustrations above with Lineland. We have just extended it out to two dimensions.

So what happens when we extend this experiment out to three dimensions? We attach rockets in three dimensions and blast off three-dimensional space into a fourth-dimensional vector we can’t perceive? What will happen is three-dimensional space gets warped on every surface of a three-dimensional object. And three-dimensional beings are pulled towards the center of those massive objects. These beings then think that the force is pulling them towards the center of the massive object. However, if a fourth-dimensional being were to look at the picture, they would see that there is a single force vector pulling Spaceland through a fourth dimension or Timeland.

There is no way for me to illustrate this. It is a simple leap of the imagination to see that this is a model for how gravity works.

If we can conceive that the Universe is a result of Spaceland moving through Timeland, then there is no need to think that there is some property of matter or mass that causes gravity. It is the result of a mass interacting with a moving space. Therefore things like gravitational particles or gravitons will never be found.

One peculiar property of gravity is that it cannot be shielded, unlike magnetism. Put enough insulation between a magnet and metal and they do not attract. Every kid knows lead can stop X-rays because Superman cannot see through lead with his X-ray vision. A more practical experience is that you wear a lead apron when you get X-rays at the dentist to avoid exposure to radiation. However, no amount of shielding stops gravity. There is no place where you can suddenly not experience it because there is something between you and a massive object. This makes perfect sense if you simply concede that gravity is the result of a moving universe. The motion cannot be shielded. It is not caused by a particle. And this also explains why gravity does not seem to be a quantum phenomenon.

I can speculate also that black holes are areas where Spaceland is just plain ripped right through. An event horizon then is a point where a body’s gravitation accelerations meet their space acceleration. They are moving in the F Vector as fast as the black hole is pulling them down in the P Vector. In short, they are a massive hole in time and space, much like our physicist say they are.

Our universe has many unanswered questions. And we often figure out the how and not the why first. My reason for writing this was to put thoughts I had about how our universe works down and make them tangible. As a writer, you tend to become obsessed with ideas until they are tangible.

Time dilation, the Arrow of Time, the Big Bang, Dark Energy and gravity can all be explained as a single force vector if we can conceive that our universe of three dimensions is moving through a fourth dimension at the speed of light. As I mentioned, this is a hard concept for us as three-dimensional beings to grasp, but I hope a few people catch on to what I am saying and think its ideas have merit for both consideration and criticism.

The implication for this is profound. If gravity can be considered the result of a moving universe and not a quantum phenomenon as many scientists suspect, then we can remove it from the four fundamental forces that make up the universe. Gravity is the one force that doesn’t fit into any model of unified field theory very easily. By removing it, we come one step further in actually having a unified field theory. We might then be able to say we do in fact have one since the remaining three forces, the electromagnetic force and the strong and weak nuclear forces, much more easily combine together. It’s gravity that is the odd man out and it may be because we have been looking for its cause in the wrong place.

I welcome criticism. I would love to know if the ideas I put forth can be disproven as a hypothesis. I would be happy if scientists at least attempts to make experiments that might prove me right, or even prove me wrong. I believe that science has the ability to filter out wrong ideas and find the ones that are true.

I do however want people to only criticize this hypothesis if they have proof it is not true. I also understand that when I explained nearly every concept of physics presented in this work, I gave it a very stunted and superficial explanation, so there is no need to point this out. I do not need people simply saying they think the idea is dumb or stupid or crazy. I would prefer something more thought-provoking.

We have no way to definitively determine if my hypothesis of a moving universe is true. We cannot go outside the universe. We can only infer from the data we have what the nature of the universe is. I do hope that my ideas lead scientists to look in new directions. If I am right, then attempting to discover exactly what Time Energy is could be a new frontier for science. Conversely, it’s possible that the discover of something like Dark Energy might show it related to my hypothesis. We can only hope science makes that discovery.

I may have been able to describe various phenomena in the universe with a single force vector, however I am completely unable to answer what that force is. This does not mean science cannot find out and I hope they do. It does mean they have to look in the right place.

I hope you have enjoyed this voyage into the imagination. I hoped to take our readers on a journey through time and space and to delve the cosmos in search of the secrets of the universe. Through these thought experiments, I hoped to follow in the footsteps of Einstein who made his major break through with thought experiments. “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” he said. He was right and my fountain drink cup concurs.

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