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Astrophysics/Warp Bubbles?

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Hello,

Thanks for taking the time to help.  So, for possibly the dorkiest of reasons I've got a question about warp bubbles.  :)  I'm a gamer and I'm about to start up a new game with a bunch of friends and for the setting I'm trying to have more science in my science fiction this time around.  (We've done more of a space fantasy thing in the past.  Fun but done.)  As such I'm trying to get my understanding of the potential science involved to a point of "not intrinsically embarrassing to myself and others."  So...  I'm trying to understand warp bubbles I've heard about in what I assume is bad reporting about science.  

So I know someone figured out how to theoretically set up a warp bubble to not require obnoxious amounts of non-existant exotic matter.  I know that there's a problem how that washes with quantum mechanics and...  That's about where my understanding ends.  

My questions such as they are:

1)  What is the theoretical max speed if c isn't the speed limit of the universe anymore?

2)  What controls the max velocity?  Some other physical law?  Technological refinement?

3)  Is there anything approachable for a non-physicist such as myself where I read up on this stuff without too much sensationalism?  I dig futurism and all but would like to be actually informed one way or another.

I realize this might run afoul your "no bunk" policy.  I apologize if that's the case.  

Many thanks again!

Answer
Hello,


The only context in which I am aware of "warp bubbles" is with the proposed Alcubierre "warp drive" and a question on that was addressed two years ago, i.e.

http://en.allexperts.com/q/Astrophysics-3368/2013/4/alcubierre-drive-theory.htm


The key point in the preceding is that "warp drive travelers are never really moving faster than the speed of light, since technically they always remain “in their own light cones”. So, rather than an FTL (faster-than-light) displacement of their inertial reference frame (attached to the ship) itself, it is the expansion of space-time that creates the enormous speed of separation."

In addition, let's be clear that in any cosmological argument-context one has to take care to define an *inertial reference* frame, otherwise all observations and assumptions amount to comparing apples and oranges. Any given photon in an inertial reference frame, and based on Einstein's relativity, travels at the speed of light c. There is no faster speed, though tachyons have been conjectured.

Based on all this your questions can be answered as follows:

1) The speed of light, c, is still the maximum 'speed limit' of the universe.

2) There is no "physical law" that controls any maximum velocity other than Einstein's postulate from the special theory of relativity - that c = 300,000 km/sec

3) I suggest if you'd like to learn much more to get hold of Kip Thorne's book: 'Black Holes and Time Warps' especially Chapter 2, 'The Warping of Space and Time'

Hope this proves useful!

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Philip A. Stahl

Expertise

I specialize in stellar and solar astrophysics. Can answer questions pertaining to these areas, including: stellar structure and evolution, HR diagrams, binary systems, collapsars (black holes, neutron stars) stellar atmospheres and the spectroscopic analysis of stars – as well as the magnetohydrodynamics of sunspots and solar flares. Sorry – No homework problems done or research projects! I will provide hints on solutions. No nonsense questions accepted, i.e. pertaining to astrology, or 'UFOs' or overly speculative questions: 'traveling through or near black holes, worm holes, time travel etc. Absolutely NO questions based on the twaddle at this Canadian site: http://members.shaw.ca/warmbeach/FAQ.htm purporting to show a "new physics". Do not waste my time or yours by wasting bandwidith with reference to such bunkum.

Experience

Have constructed computerized stellar models; MHD research. Gave workshops in astrophysics (stellar spectroscopy, analysis) at Harry Bayley Observatory, Barbados. More than twenty years spent in solar physics research, including discovery of SID flares. Developed first ever consistent magnetic arcade model for solar flares incorporating energy dissipation and accumulation. Developed first ever loop-based solar flare model using double layers and incorporating cavity resonators. (Paper presented at Joint AGU/AAS Meeting in Baltimore, MD, May 1994)

Organizations
American Astronomical Society (Solar physics and Dynamical astronomy divisions), American Geophysical Union, American Mathematical Society, Intertel.

Publications
Papers appearing in Solar Physics, Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Journal of the Barbados Astronomical Society, Meudon Solar Flare Proceedings (Meudon, France). Books: 'Fundamentals of Solar Physics', 'Selected Analyses in Solar Flare Plasma Dynamics', 'Physics Notes for Advanced Level', 'Astronomy & Astrophysics: Notes, Problems and Solutions', 'Modern Physics: Notes, Problems and Solutions'

Education/Credentials
B.A. degree in Astronomy; M.Phil. degree in Physics - specializing in solar physics.

Awards and Honors
Postgraduate research award- Barbados government; Studentship Award in Solar Physics - American Astronomical Society. Barbados Astronomical Society award for service (1977-91) as Journal editor.

Past/Present Clients
Caribbean Examinations Council (as advisor, examiner), Barbados Astronomical Society (as Journal Editor 1977-91), Trinidad & Tobago Astronomical Society (as consultant on courses, methods of instruction, and guest speaker).

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