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Could we be observing the surface of the sun at the planck level, the artists perception quantum foam seems as unstable as the surface of the sun.
- calen (age 13)
No, the surface of the Sun just consists of hot gases, driven by nuclear fusion deep within the Sun. The instabilities are driven by complicated magnetic field effects, thermal convection, and other normal sorts of phenomena such as might be seen in a lab.
We really don't know much about the quantum space-time foam suspected to exist at the Planck scale. Some other quantum fluctuations are often pictured as consisting of little particle-antiparticle pairs popping in and out of existence. That picture, however, is wrong since the ground state of these "fluctuating" systems is actually not changing in time. The time-dependent fluctuations are just an artistic way of conveying the idea that these quantum states have the ability to give a range of different outcomes when probed in various ways.
So the Planck scale is something altogether strange. When artists picture it as being somehow like the surface of the Sun,they're borrowing something familiar (the Sun) to picture something deeply unfamiliar (the Planck scale), not the other way around.
(published on 05/22/12)
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