The path of gravity

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    Bill Eshleman

    Gravity travels in straight lines, right?…NO.

    When I first posed this to supposedly smart fellows,
    they quickly conjectured, “Even though we know that
    the speed of gravity is not infinity as Newton
    suggested, gravity and electromagnetic waves travel
    in straight lines anyway. Maybe the straight lines
    are tilted due to delays caused by the finite speed
    of radiations, but they are still straight.”

    But look at it this way; light at the center of the face
    of the Sun, destined for Earth, emanates from the Sun, always perpendicular to the Sun’s surface…always.

    From the perspective of the Earth, our telescopes aimed
    at the Sun, are always aimed where the Sun was approximately
    8 minutes ago. So always, there are two angles that the
    path must satisfy, and a straight line is not capable of
    fulfilling these two requirements, so the path is a curve
    in a dynamic system; not a tilted straight line.

    Curves are longer than the straight line connecting the
    source and destination, so I suspect that the 8 minute delay is augmented by a tiny delay due to the longer
    path of the travel of gravity and electromagnetic waves.

    A piece of a quadratic polynomial could satisfy the
    required angles at the Sun and the Earth; but a higher
    power polynomial can always be found that will match
    the curve better, especially at the curve’s midpoint.

    If the curve is approximated by ratios of polynomials,
    there will always be remainders for every quotient.

    So, armed with these conditions, what is the polynomial
    representation for that curve?

    Well, join the discussion, and maybe we will find out.
    I’ve got some ideas up-my-sleeve, anybody else got any
    ideas? Like maybe the introduction of gravitational

    I’m hoping that this problem will be a nice armchair
    exercise for the puzzle-solvers out there.

    Bill Eshleman

    The picture in this post is a page out of my “idea-book”.

    This cardioid-like curve is constructed piecewise-linear,
    with the equality,

    (delta theta)/(delta R) = theta/R

    For our Sun, theta is the angle between an imaginary line
    to where the Sun really is, and an imaginary line to where
    the Sun was about 500 seconds previously. R is the distance of separation of the Earth and Sun, a 500 second
    trip for the light(and gravity).

    We all know that light and gravity travel only in straight
    lines if not interfered with somehow, but that cardioid-like
    “path” is compelling to say the least. Could it be a real path? Please dash my hopes with some logical reason why
    that cardioid-like curve is just a mathematical artifact.

    I literally need to “straighten-out” out that curve so I can
    discard it or optionally leave more folks confused, as
    certainly am I.

    Gyula, please put Picture004.jpg here:

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