Arguments for and against the Aether

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Abstract

Four important natural phenomena are described which Modern Physics cannot explain but which are explained by the Aether hypothesis. Four common objections to the Aether hypothesis are given and countered. Aether physics is substantially different to non-Aether physics.

Some Reasons behind the Aether hypothesis

Universal Distance

Cosmic bodies, eg. stars, are separated by greatly varying distances of Space.
From our knowledge of the Universe we can therefore say that, somehow, Space determines distance in all directions out to infinity.
If Space were a void, as sometimes thought, it could not determine degrees of distance.

Distance within a material solid is created by the matrix of atoms of which that solid is constructed -- when the atoms are all of a single type the matrix is regular throughout. The distance between any two chosen atoms of the matrix is determined by their relative positions in the reference frame created by the matrix. It may be said that separation distance is determined by the lowest count of atoms lying along a path joining the two chosen atoms.

Thus Universal distance in all directions would be determined by Space if Space were a matrix constructed of identical physical unit volumes. These unit volumes we may call aethons and the Space substance as a whole, the Aether. An aethon is presumed to be an exceedingly small unit volume. Fractional aethons do not exist.

Non-Aether physics does not have a physical explanation of Universal distance.

Action at a Distance

Bodies are observed to accelerate in the presence of other bodies although separated from them by empty Space.
The acceleration may result from either the mass (gravity) or the charge (electric or magnetic) of the source body.

There must be some physical means by which these various effects are communicated across empty Space.

The Aether physics explanation of the action of the electric and magnetic effects across Space is not credible. See Appendix 1.
Non-Aether physics has no explanation for the action of gravity across empty Space.

The Aether hypothesis postulates that the gravitational and electric potentials are intrinsic physical properties of the Aether (the magnetic effect is a derivative of the electric potential field). The electric potential is the internal 'pressure' of the Aether and the gravitational potential is the propagation velocity of the Aether.These potentials are transported through the Aether via aethon to aethon contact. Matter is caused to accelerate by the local gradient of these potentials (see the papers Force in Aether Physics and Gravity in Aether Physics).

Radiant Energy

Radiant energy is a wave phenomenon which passes through empty Space without loss. Visible light is an example of radiant energy occupying a specific band of frequencies (or wave lengths).
Now acoustic waves within a material medium are regularly changing levels of an intrinsic physical property of the medium -- its internal pressure. They propagate through the material medium at a velocity precisely determined by the physical properties of that medium.
Just as acoustic waves cannot pass through a volume void of material medium so the Aether hypothesis postulates by analogy that radiant waves cannot pass through a Space void of substance. Thus the Aether substance is the medium which both supports the electric potentials of the electric field and the changing potentials of the electric wave.

The Speed of Light

The speed of light, the propagation velocity of the Aether, is 299,792,458 m/s.
This very exact figure must surely be determined by something physical.
Non-Aether physics gives no explanation.

The Aether hypothesis states that this figure is determined by the intrinsic physical properties of the Aether substance.

The exact speed of light varies locally in Space depending on proximity to matter. After all it is the gravitational potential.

Some Common Objections to the Aether Hypothesis

  1. Material bodies could not move freely through Space, as observed, if Space were a substance.
  2. No expected characteristic of the Aether can be detected, eg. the null result of the Michelson-Morley experiment (see the paper The Michelson-Morley experiment).
  3. Observed velocity effects, such as length contraction, time dilation and mass increase, are all functions of velocity relative to the observerís personal Space (IRF) rather than to the Aether.
  4. It is impossible to define the physical properties of the Aether from which a viable physics may be generated (the 19c physicists could not do it).

Responses to the Common Objections

Objection 1

It is a necessary part of the Aether hypothesis that matter is not constructed of a special matter substance but instead is constructed of some complex geometry of the intrinsic potentials of the Aether. Thus matter, being of the Aether, moves through the Aether without hindrance.

Objection 2

Aether physics -- derived directly from the Aether properties -- determines that all matter suffers length contraction, time dilation and mass increase as the Lorentz function of its Aether velocity. It is because our measuring rods and clocks are affected by these factors that a null result is always obtained, whatever the experiment.

Objection 3

An Aether Theory of Relativity is constructed from the properties of the Aether. See the paper The Aether Theory of Relativity

The Aether Theory of Relativity is intrinsically applicable to non-inertial, ie, accelerating bodies, to which Special Relativity cannot, by edict of its postulates, be applied. Thus, not only does Aether theory predict relative velocity effects but it also has the crucial advantage over Special Relativity in that it is applicable to real bodies accelerating to any degree.

Objection 4

There must exist an infinity of Aether properties capable of suggestion. But only one set of properties (a model) can be correct. Thus many Aether models may be proposed, as happened during the 19th century, and all may fail (as they did) to create a viable physics; yet it is not acceptable logic for Modern Physics to conclude from these failures (as it does) that a correct model cannot exist.

Previous Aether models failed because their inventors all, incorrectly, took magnetism to be a property of the Aether

Appendix 1

The Modern Physics explanation of action at a distance.

Modern physics states that the electric and the magnetic force are mediated across Space by means of virtual photons. But is this explanation credible?

  1. Modern physics states that photons are constructed of changing electric and magnetic force fields--the very fields that the photon is proposed to mediate. This is logically impossible.
  2. A photon emanating from one charge cannot know the position of the recipient charge at the point of emission. So how does the photon find the recipient charge?
  3. The mediating photon must act differently upon the recipient according to whether it emanated from a positive or negative charge or a north or south magnetic pole. Photons have no means to carry this information.
  4. On reaching its destination the photon must decide whether to either attract, repel or do nothing to the recipient and to what degree. Photons do not have this capability of decision.
  5. The strength of the force upon the recipient is a function of the inverse square of the separation distance. But an individual photon moves in a straight line with constant energy irrespective of distance travelled. In order to generate an inverse square field the mediating photons would require to be emitted in all directions. This would mean considerable loss of energy.
  6. There is no mechanism available to determine the required energy (frequency) of the emitted virtual photons.