Sometimes, one comes across a statement that makes one think – That should have been kind of obvious, but I never thought about it before. Witness this article in the Asia Times:
Red shift, Big Bang and the James Webb telescope - Asia Times
The Red Shift of spectrographic lines of elements in distant stars is observable & measurable, and therefore real. The accepted interpretation (with a lot of good reason) is the Doppler Effect – light from an object travelling away from us will have the same speed as if the object were standing still, but it will be shifted towards longer wave-lenghts, i.e. the red end of the spectrum. Similarly, light from an object travelling towards us will have the same speed, but shifted to shorter wave-lengths, the blue end of the spectrum. For example, light from one side of a rotating galaxy shows a red shift, and from the other side a blue shift. Edwin Hubble observed that fainter galaxies tend to have larger red shifts, suggesting that more distant galaxies are moving away faster, hence the Universe must be expanding. This is the foundation for much of modern cosmology, including the Big Bang.
Now, about that strange non-intuitive constant speed of light in a vacuum. One of the great advances in physics was when James Clerk Maxwell realized that the speed of light can be calculated from the electromagnetic properties of empty space. But hang on! If a vacuum has measurable properties, can it really be empty? That is a new thought, an interesting thought!
The article in the Asia Times talks about Mark Anderson and his “Resonance Theory” – about which I know nothing. Anderson’s theory is that the observed red shift represents the combination of the Doppler Effect and a smaller loss of energy as light moves through the non-empty vacuum of space. (Are we getting close to the theory of the Aether, which Michelson & Morley disproved in Cleveland, Ohio all those years ago?)
The fascinating possibility is that, if there is anything to this “Resonance Theory”, then our current cosmological theories (including the Big Bang) may collapse. What an interesting time to be alive!