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“But beauty, real beauty, ends where an intellectual expression begins.”
I received my copy of the Journal of Astrophysics and Astronomy today and when I was going through the abstract of a paper titled Peculiar physical properties of HST-1 in M87 by Y J Chen et al.
We report on VLA observations of HST-1 in M87 at 8 GHz from 2003–2007, during which a long major outburst occurs from radio to X-ray wave bands. At the VLA resolution, the flux density of HST-1 rises rapidly from 2003, peaks at the end of 2004, and then falls slowly in subsequent stages, which is similar to that in optical and X-ray wave bands. It appears that HST-1 moves with an apparent speed of 1.23c±0.91c, and the fractional polarization keeps rising through the whole major outburst. The persistent increase in polarization level may mainly be attributed to the formation of a couple of new ‘subcomponents’ of relatively high degree of polarization within HST-1, and the weakening depolarization due to Faraday rotation and/or opacity through the whole major outburst.
One particular line caught my eye: It appears that HST-1 moves with an apparent speed of 1.23c±0.91c … The first question I asked myself was, ‘How would a layman interpret this?’
Would he interpret it as an instance where Special Relativity fails? Would he interpret it as a break down of causality? Would he call it an impossibility?
I still do not know the answer to this, but this was when I realised that some of my readers would not be acquainted with the idea that Special Relativity allows faster-than-time travel—under certain circumstances—and that there exists a putative particle known as the Tachyon which indeed does travel faster than light.
(And that is how I got the topic for my article today!)