(urth) Problematic element in chronology

Gerry Quinn gerryq at indigo.ie
Wed Jun 1 09:27:37 PDT 2011

From: "António Pedro Marques" <entonio at gmail.com>
> Gerry Quinn wrote (01-06-2011 16:12):
>> From: "António Pedro Marques" <entonio at gmail.com>

>>> Can the speed of time, if such a thing exists, be slower the more one 
>>> goes
>>> from Urth to Blue? (Independently of gravity, of course(?); I'm not
>>> talking about classical relativity but some workable disuniformity of 
>>> the
>>> speed of time across the universe.)
>> Anything is possible in SF.
> 'Workable', come on.
>> But it begs the question of why the evolution of
>> stars seems to progress at the same rate everywhere!
> Or does it raise it?
> But now, seriously speaking, is it really so firmly established that, say, 
> the evolution of stars seems to progress at the same rate everywhere? I 
> don't know, I'm asking. Last minimally serious readings I did on 
> astrophysics were in the very early '90s. I'm not sure the question of 
> uniformity of Physics across the universe (barring singularities) was 
> settled by then.

It's still not settled.  But here we have the situation of visible stars 
that are a very short distance away and in the same galactic milieu.  If 
time were going 2-6 times slower for regions 100 light years away, wouldn't 
we notice considerable anomalies in the ages of stars and star clusters, the 
distribution of metals etc.

There are also questions of simple mechanics.  Wouldn't such an effect 
disrupt galactic rotation, and perhaps other effects such as doppler and 
gravitational red shifts from moving gas jets etc.?

We are talking about distances that are small in relation to a galaxy - how 
does galactic formation change is time progresses at radically different 
rates at arbitrary regions?  And if the regions don't move with the galaxy, 
shouldn't we see interesting effects at the interfaces?  It's a whole new SF 
novel in itself!

Of course Vernor Vinge made radical speculations abuout the speed of light 
as a  function of distance from the centre of the galaxy in _A Fire Upon The 
Deep_, and nobody called him on the astrophysics.  But that's because it's 
science fiction, not science.  We don't need to nitpick such issues, IMO.

- Gerry Quinn

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