Tag Archives: gravity

A warp in the TimeSpace continuum!

Einstein also theorized that really big objects, like planets, warp the TimeSpace continuum around them. The example often used to illustrate this idea is a bowling ball on a trampoline. The bowling ball is so heavy that it makes a big downward bulge in the surface. Then you roll a marble around the edge of the trampoline. The marble feels a pull toward the bowling ball as it circles around the trampoline. A huge object like the Sun is so enormous that it bends TimeSpace around it. Like the marble, planets are pulled toward the Sun as they circle around. Don’t worry—the planets don’t go crashing into the Sun! Why not? Because they’re set in their orbits around it. There’s a balance between the Sun’s gravity (pulling Earth closer) and the Earth’s centrifugal energy (pulling Earth away) as she orbits. This situation has existed for billions of years.

Here’s an animation of the solar system traveling through space: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zBlAGGzup48

Here are some cartoons.


This one’s a guy drawing on a white board in time-lapse video which I kind of like—https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awMw0Vv0QBA

Back to the beginning of The Western Civ User’s Guide to Time & Space

Atoms. They’re small.

Here’s something: before I can even begin to figure out how atomic clocks work, it may be helpful to understand what an atom is. An atom is the smallest thing that exists. Anything you can touch is made out of atoms. Lots of ‘em. There is literally nothing physical that’s smaller than an atom.

An atom is made out of subatomic particles, but these can’t be separated so they don’t count as being smaller than a whole atom.* These particles have Greek names (like Aristotle hahajustkidding). In the middle of the atom are neutrons and protons stuck together in a clump, called a nucleus. Around the nucleus are electrons, circling like the moon circles Earth.** The electrons don’t fly away from the nucleus because the neutrons and protons exert a magnetism kind of like gravity.

So, no, I still haven’t figured out how the atomic clock works. This is taking longer than I thought. I’ll be back as soon as have more info. Please continue to hold.



*Ms Physics chimes in: “Atomos (Greek) ‘indivisible’ later proved incorrect!” Well, yes, that’s true. I don’t want you kids getting any ideas. Please, if you manage to isolate an atom—DON’T SPLIT IT!



** Another Western Civ Irregular Jeffrey K takes exception to me comparing an atom’s nucleus to a planet and electrons to orbiting moons. He says “Electrons don’t really orbit like planets– more like moths around a flame (without the usual fatalities). Also electrons are magnetic but the rest is held together by nuclear forces.” I said “So far as I know, nobody’s seen an atom because they’re so teensy.” So he sent me this:





Back to the beginning of The Western Civ User’s Guide to Time & Space