Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Dark Matter and Gravity Magic: inspiration & spark

This post is Part 10 of a series to augment the Author's Manifesto available for free download. Start with Part 1 here.

This and other inspirations of mine are gathered in the Spark Directory for you to explore.

Find more mystic content in my Magic Directory.

In Part 1 of this series, I began working on the magic system for my fantasy saga. I had all sorts of magics in place, but the magic of gravity escaped me, mostly due to my open-ended questions about the true nature of gravity itself.

Astronomy tells us about dark matter, which is poorly named because it doesn't technically have to be matter at all. Astronomers hit upon this idea when they noticed that the stars in galaxies do not orbit the way our equations predict they should.

Our laws of physics state that the farther an object is from its gravitational center, the slower it should orbit. Think of our solar system, where Pluto and the other dwarf planets near the Oort Cloud orbit the sun (their gravitational center) much more slowly than closer objects like Mercury.

Check out this Author's Manifesto for more of my inspirations!

But the stars at the far-flung edges of the Milky Way all seem to rotate around the center at the same rate as those closer in. This defies our current laws of physics, so astronomers postulated that there must be extra matter in certain places, to generate the extra gravity needed to cause the outer stars to orbit faster than they should. Since we can't see this matter, or detect it in any way known to modern science, astronomers named it dark matter.

But what if dark matter isn't matter at all? What if there are simply extra folds in space-time, generating extra gravity, but for some reason matter itself hasn't accumulated in those folds? Instead of physical particles that we can detect directly, there is only gravity that we can detect indirectly, through methods like measuring the orbital rate of outer stars. 

My ideas for the Magic Codex hit a wall right about here, since we know that gravity always draws matter in. Why is there no matter in these areas of gravity? It could be something as simple as a lack of nearby material to be drawn into the gravity well. Or it could be something beyond the current scope of science, special folds in space-time that create gravity-like effects on physical bodies in orbit, but without causing the actual accumulation of matter. 

Maybe the expansion of the universe itself is at play. Science tells us that as space-time itself expands, gravity holds the galaxies and solar systems together. But the space itself is expanding, passing through all that material as it expands.

Perhaps as space-time expands through a galaxy, the gravity not only holds the physical material in place, but it also causes the expanding space-time to buckle at certain distances, causing rings of gravitational increase at specific orbits in our Milky Way. And the outer stars move in response to these buckled rings, causing the effect that astronomers have observed.

With all these ideas floating around about the nature of gravity, it's no surprise I haven't ironed out how I'd like gravity magic to function in my Tales of the Known World saga. So for now, gravity magic is merely an arcane field of study, and as I gain more clarity on my own ideas, scholars in the Known World will make their own advancements in the field.

That's it for this series! Check out my latest inspirations for more.

Download the Author's Manifesto here, or start your adventure below.

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