General Question

talljasperman's avatar

Is it possible that the aether is actually dark matter , and dark energy?

Asked by talljasperman (21734points) July 7th, 2014

Scientists believed that light travelled though the aether. Could they be right?

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9 Answers

Darth_Algar's avatar

Well since “aether” was just another term for outer space they were right. Light does travel through the aether.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

I’m unfamiliar with science admitting that aether even exists… quint-essence, fifth element… NOT outer space @Darth_Algar, as far as I’m familiar with the concept.

How would light travel through something which is not even confirmed to exist?

I’m not saying it doesn’t exist, but I feel it is more akin to life essence, thought, consciousness, proto mind, etc… But what do I know…?

flutherother's avatar

The aether was thought of as being smooth and uniform but dark matter forms in clumps. Dark energy on the other hand is more like the idea of the aether as it seems to permeate the universe evenly.

LostInParadise's avatar

The aether was proposed as the substance that carries light waves. The thinking was that a wave has to propagate through some material. You can’t have ocean waves without any ocean. Sound waves don’t travel in a vacuum. The theory was debunked by showing that the speed of light is constant. If there was an aether that carried light waves then if you travel in the aether toward the light source, the speed of the light should speed up.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

They used to use aether to knock you out before an operation. I wonder if it’s the same stuff?

Darth_Algar's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies “I’m unfamiliar with science admitting that aether even exists… quint-essence, fifth element… NOT outer space @Darth_Algar, as far as I’m familiar with the concept.”

Modern science doesn’t really use the term. Hence my usage of was (past tense), not is (present tense). And a cursory glace at the first two things listed in that link you provided would have demonstrated to you exactly what I was referring to.

Paradox25's avatar

There are a couple of different hypotheses concerning a background medium of that everything would propagate through. I’m only giving a very crude description below.

Some scientists believe that the true background medium isn’t the old version of the aether, but is really made up of sub-quantum particles, and is the ultimate level of reality. Some scientists believe that what’s termed as the alleged dark energy having long range repulsion powers that’s pushing the universe farther apart is really sub-quantum particles/primaries made up of positive and negative mass. Their collisions would produce a unique energy gain due to their characteristics.

General Relativity does not acknowledge a background medium would exist, though according to some scientists it could exist, if its motion was relative itself. Technically the ‘void’ of outer space is filled with virtual particles, so perhaps this too could be considered to be a background medium of sorts.

Some scientists have proposed some experiments utilizing some electrical components to try to discredit relativity. Some of these experiments involved induction on coils, and even oscillating capacitors. The entire point of the aether theory was that it was based on absolute motion over relative motion, and some scientists had critiqued the Michelson-Morley experiment.

UzZiBiKeR's avatar

The aether was used by science in the early 20th century to try an explain light speed. Scientists back then didn’t realize that the speed of light is constant in a vacuum. Einstein brought this to their attention with his theory of special relativity and the aether was proved to be non-existent.

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