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[interesting theory and very plausible but like everything the truth is probably somewhere in between

Posted by: aj]

A great answer to this (and all "we MUST compromise" statements) was in a signature on the internet:

Some say the sun rises in the east. Some say it rises in the west. The truth is probably somewhere in between.

PS: Scott, photons have MOMENTUM, not mass. When they stop they have zero rest mass and their momentum is lost. It's a force of (if I remember correctly) about 1.6lbs per square kilometer.

So even if it WAS mass, that's not a lot of mass going down...

I'd like it if you thought these things through: these crackpot ideas are only entertaining in that the persuit of whether it's true can open up some amazing things. But you have to look for them. You seem to want to skip that bit...


James Thomas

Regarding the expanding matter solution to gravity - apologies if this has point has been made before, it's been in my head for years and I've yet to see it made so I'll go for it.

I have no problem with orbits in this thought experiment - to be honest I'm not totally sure how they work anyway. When a scientist tells me the proven idea of light being a wave and a particle, I believe him, even though I can't see how that's possible. If a scientist tells me that orbits still work in an expanding-matter framework, I could believe that too.

What I have difficulty with is density. If you have two planets that are the same size, but planet A is twice the mass of planet B, we observe that planet A has more gravity that planet B, despite the fact that they retain the same relative size so must be expanding at the same rate.

However ... it occurs to me that maybe scientists only "know" the mass of each planet by calculating it from the gravitational effect it has. Maybe they're wrong because they haven't accounted for the expanding matter.

However however ... we still see planets of very similar size with very different gravitational forces. Even without knowing the mass of the planets, that seems to throw a spoke in the wheel. My brain's not big enough to see a solution to that one if the gravity is an illusion caused by expanding matter.

But then, as I say, my brain's not big enough to appreciate light as a wave and a particle either, but I still believe it.


Yes, photons do have mass, which is proportional to their energy over the speed of light. However, this has no net effect on the mass of the earth because we are (more or less) in thermal equilibrium, meaning that we radiate an equal energy of photons back to space. The outgoing IR radiation is also photons with mass and energy.


Patti adds:
I believe that this makes good sense.
Why, just yesterday.....
I felt light headed and my significant other.. decided to give me mouth to mouth.
As he blew deeply into my mouth.. I felt myself expanding.
On and on.. he blew.
Now, today.. I try to look into the mirror and it is almost impossible.

My liquid filled eyes are now on the side of my enlarged head.. my ears are located a little bit north and waaaay to the side and they seem to be filled with fluid (water. Maybe?).
My once delicate mouth... is enormously large with water dripping all around it.
My forehead is located way at the top..
AND? my doctor could not explain the water on my brain.

And I worry. I WAS once a very stable person. and ...I don't want to appear Bi-polar. However, I now feel flooded with emotions that engulf me with out-of-control ideas and ever expanding conflicting thoughts.

I am terrified. So? Tonight, I will ask my significant other (who is now much smaller and less significant than yesterday) to PLEASE .. PLEASE attack my mouth and suck-out .. the expansion.
I will need to deflate immediately or I am truly afraid that I will crack.

Simon Witkiss

@ Kirado

Got to stick up for the high readership IQ here. Photons may have zero REST mass, but you don't see many photons at rest given by definition they travel at the speed of light.

The delightful Einstein told us that E=mc^2. We also know the energy of a photon is propotional to it's frequency (multiplied by the Planck constant).

Quick substitution reveals a photon having non-rest mass proportional to it's frequency / c^2, i.e. non-zero.


In response to your question about photons:
It's true that they act mass-like in a gravitational field but this is not because they have mass. Nothing with mass can travel at the speed of light. I'm sure you're familiar with wave-particle duality. Photons (light) can also be described as waves of electric and magnetic fields propagating through space. Electromagnetic fields have electromagnetic energy which has a momentum associated with it. This momentum has a mass associated with it that corresponds to the mass expected from the mass-like behavior observed when passing through a gravitational field. It's not quite true to say that photons have mass.

Anyway, so mass is not deposited on earth when photons from the sun slam into the
planet. What actually happens is the energy of the photons/electromagnetic field is transferred to the ground or whatever object they hit in the form of temperature. What literally happens is the photons bang into particles on earth and the other particles ricochet off faster, like billiard balls. The kinetic energy of the the particles being hit increases because their speed increases. Temperature is the average kinetic energy (related to speed) of the particles in the object, so as the particles move faster the object heats up. This is why things that have been left in the sun are warmer than things that are in the shade. This energy doesn't remain on earth forever though (because that would cause a buildup of mass by mass energy equivalence). Classical physics and relativity predict that when a charged particle like an electron changes speed or direction, it emits energy. If an object is hot enough, it emits radiation energetic enough to be seen by the naked eye (for example when we say something is burning white-hot). So the now quickly moving particles inside the warmed object are bouncing off each other more often and changing direction faster, so they radiate more energy than before (since the particles are always moving they're always radiating energy. Although this radiation is too low energy to be seen, infrared cameras can use this energy for imaging). As they lose energy, they slow down and the temperature drops. Under normal conditions when they reach equilibrium the object will be at room temperature.


I thought photons will only contain mass once they prove the Higgs boson exists?

Brain of J

Hey Scott. Every person and tree that I know was made from matter that was already part of the Earth. As far as I know, my birth and subsequent growth did not add any mass to the Earth, since, as you know, for every pound I gained, some poor cow or potato had to give up a pound. Food for thought I guess.


About the photon mass thing...

Try not to confuse the M of (E = mc2) with actual mass, its call relative mass which is just a semantic term. It is not actually mass at all. The mass of a photon is zero.

However if all the light is perfectly deflected in the Earth atmosphere this could, in theory, increase the mass of the Earth as stated in the Perfect mirror box experiment.

I Hope this contributes to your theory,

I'll try to think in a way to get money out of this... a cream to prevent potential mass increment sound like a infomercial success to me


Photons have mass? I'm sorry??? You must be a moron.

".. so long as you don't know too much about science."

I think almost all of your readers "don't know much about science"...


The eearth is not expanding. It's just holding its breath until "W" leaves office.


to finally clear this up just because something gets bigger doesn't mean the mass increases i can just be less dense

also the guy said thats why all the fish fossils were found on land well its a bit hard to do archeology underwater


Not sure if it was mentioned yet, but the earth is gaining mass all the time. It is just insignificant when compared to the total mass of the earth. Most studies hint to the daily increase being around 100 tons a day from space dust, meteors and other things. The earth also loses some mass from the loss of gasses from the atmosphere, but that is even less then the mass gained.

As many others have indicated here, the growing of animals and plants comes from the shifting of matter from one form into another. Many into higher energy/energy potential states.


I thought experimented with the expanding matter theory of gravity when I was a teenager 15 years ago.

The theory broke down for me because I couldn't explain orbits. An accelerating mass beneath your feet explains the gravity we all feel, but it doesn't explain why the moon travels around the earth.


Photons have mass? You fail high school science again? -) You're thinking about PROTONS?... surprised no one noticed.. I guess the whole hi IQ readership thing was a hoax.

Minister of Silly People in Green

Bummer about Jesus being canned. I was looking forward to him making an apple run Vista. Or does he get rehired in three days?

"Yea, though I walk through the mail room. I shall fear no tasking, for my time card is punched. And I will dwell in the excutive lounge forever!"


It's true! It's on youtube! ;)


Eh. I am so compelled to do this, and I don't want to.

(1) If we expanded at the same rate, we would all die. Although all reference points would expand / contract at the same rate, your heart cannot continue to pump blood effectively if it were ridiculously huge.

(2) Last time I checked, there are more people because we are turning food into people: we have sex, combine the DNA, fetus grows (as it steals food stuffs from Mom, which is why pregneant women need to eat more), birth happens, kid eats food and gets bigger. We take in food, convert it to energy and get bigger. No change in mass.

Look, I agree that science is as much about consensus and advances in science are due to fring elements in the scientific community. However, any scientific advancement is brought about by individuals who have spent their time studying, experimenting, and reviewing. Their hypothesis may be stricken down at first, but usually enough people review it so that the rest of the scientific community must acknowledge it.

Anyone can observe a series of events and develop a reason as to why that occurs. Unless you can prove it, however, that doesn't make it true.


Actually, you've got the effects of expansion exactly backwards. Expanding universe means that the distances between all objects are increasing-- and the distances between objects that are farther apart are increasing faster than the distances between objects that are closer. It's the bugs-on-an-expanding-balloon effect.

Andrew Fisher

Just an ignorant question....if the earth expanded and water filled in the gaps...where did the water come from?
Wouldn't that mean that the whole earth was underwater for a time if this theory is true. Or maybe the planet was under a hydrogen cloud or something. Makes you wonder if maybe there were two types of clouds, hydrogen and oxygen, and they weren't allowed to mix because their mommies said to stay away from each other. But one day, maybe two teenage clouds got together on the railroad tracks to light one up when they thought no one was looking, then poof!!!! water! Just a thought.


The most obvious problem with this lunatic theory is it doesn't explain where all the water in the oceans came from.

Big A

I became convinced that the earth must be expanding by the ever increasing length of scheduled flights between the same two cities. For example, in the early 1980's a flight from Chicago to Toronto, gate to gate, was 58 minutes long with a fairly good on time record. Currently, the flight between Chicago and Toronto is about an hour and 30 minutes gate to gate with a similar on-time record. A lot of airlines are still flying planes that are 30 years old and should fly at the roughly the same speed (with newer planes capable of flying faster). Therefore, the only logical conclusion is that the distance between cities is increasing as the earth expands, which is why its taking longer to fly between cities. However, a more detailed analysis may yield data that cities farther apart originally haven't moved as far apart as cities that were closer to each other. For instance, the flight from LA and Hong Kong might be only 45 minutes longer, whereas flights from New York to Boston are 20-30 minutes longer than they were 20-30 years ago. This discrepency might be attributed to plate techtonics and continental drift.

Lazy Boy

"But isn’t the mass of earth increasing? People are being born and new trees are growing every day."

Here we go; now there's a yahoo somwhere telling his friends that the mass of earth is increasing because the Dilbert guy said so with a good example...

I'll bet you that if you started a mock pyramid scheme you'd have some people sending you money.

Lazy Boy


For those that think plants turn light into mass ... the photosynthesis reaction is ...

6 CO2(gas) + 6 H2O(liquid) + photons → C6H12O6(aqueous) + 6 O2(gas)

... light energy is required to drive the reaction, but the mass going in is the same as the mass coming out. Really.


Well mass is always constant right ..... new people being born and new trees shooting up aren't signs of mass growing. They are just other forms of matter(C, H2 and what nots) which assembled together in correct proportions to form the child or the tree ..... so no matter/mass remains constant ... doesnt grow.

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