Dear Editor

I am an amateur astro-physicist [Pause for laughter]. I have gained whatever level of expertise I have from reading ‘oodles’ of science-fiction since childhood and frequenting the New York Times Science section (published on Tuesdays, FYI) since 1980.

I would like to share a pet theory of mine concerning the mysterious force known as Gravity. As you may be aware, this seemingly universal force, which holds solar systems together (planets orbiting suns) and people to planets, is really a mystery to scientists. Physicists and Astro-Physicists observe and describe the results of ‘gravity’ but don’t know where gravity comes from, or what it really is. Also, as you may know, two probes launched by NASA in 1977 (Voyager 1 and 2) have recently become the first man-made objects to exit our solar system and enter interstellar space.

This is exciting to me, because I have long theorized that the mysterious force we call ‘gravity’ is actually electrostatic magnetism, the same magnetism that holds atoms together.

I posit that perhaps we are unable to detect this magnetic force because all of our scientific instruments are located within the magnetic field of our solar system.

I have hoped that when and if we could test this from outside our solar system then my theory may be proven true. I hope the scientists in charge of Voyager 1 and 2 will attempt to have them ‘look back’ and gather data on our solar system, from the outside as well as studying deep space.

Chip Shirley

Trinidad

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