Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Weirdest Thing in Space : Nothing...

Albert Einstein, in presenting his special andgeneral theories of relativity, was the first to suggest a fourth dimension,called space-time.

"Einstein went on to say that matter and space affect oneanother," White says. "Matter, which must exist in space --like a pencil or a snail or a galaxy -- bends space." Gravity is the forcethat does the bending.

White likens the concept to pushing an inflated balloon with yourfinger. The dimple you create is similar to the effect that all matter has onspace.

"If you shine the beam of an incredibly bright flashlight past theedge of the Sun and off into space, your friend on the other side of the Sun willsee that the light's path is bent a bit toward the Sun, which causes a dimplein space-time," he explains. "In a more extreme example, if you shineyour flashlight very near the edge of a black hole's event horizon -- theregion inside of which even light cannot escape -- your friend will see thatlight beam bent by a huge extent."

White says we may never fully understand the nothingness of space, butwith more sophisticated studies, we may eventually get used to the weird idea that nothing is always something.

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