Before asking, I must say that I am not a physicist of any sort, but I do have a strong interest in Relativity that has led me to question my layman’s understanding. So please stay with me on this “thought experiment” despite my lack of formality.
At center is the so-called rubber sheet analogy for how massive objects such as the Earth warp space-time. Similar to how a bowling ball is placed onto a trampoline, the surface will warp and anything on a straight path that crosses this warped surface will have its trajectory altered by the curvature of space-time. Light does this when it curves around the gravity of the sun.
Given a few things I’ve heard, I wonder if the expansion of space-time by massive objects is actually true. Is the space warped outwardly because of a “bowling ball” on a tense surface, or does the “bowing ball” actually make space-time more dense? I ask because there are three things I’ve considered. I will cover two of them first.
Considering it factual that:
An object free-falling toward a massive body without resistance will accelerate proportionally given its distance.
The closer one is to a massive object, the slower time moves.
My thoughts are that the reason an object in free fall will accelerate toward something more massive, is because it crosses to regions of evermore condensed space-time.
My third thought is that less time passes but more “distance” is covered.
That said, I also considered how a gravitational wave might interact with a gravity well. If as Einstein said was true, then all gravity should propagate equal to the speed of light. However, if one considers that a gravity wave both contracts and expands space-time as it propagates, then is this not a wave that may potentially move faster than light in its locality?
My suggestion here is that massive bodies gravitationally attract space instead of expanding it, and this eventually could be seen in the data with the likes of LIGO and future experiments. I’m not betting my life on it, but I’d like to offer a suggestion to people way smarter than me.
Does mass contract or expand space time?