Is it possible that the redshift observed by Edwin Hubble is really from a gravitational redshift and the universe isn't expanding as he has predicted?

What I think I know thus far is this:

  • Redshift due to the Doppler effect of a moving object is happening due to universe expansion. Galaxies further away are speeding away from us faster than those close to us, hence having a stronger redshift effect.
  • Gravitational redshift is happening due to light "escaping" the gravitational pull of the source (star) and it has nothing to do with the movement of such source.
  • $\begingroup$ Perhaps you could indicate what you have already found out about the Hubble Flow or gravitational red shift. $\endgroup$
    – James K
    Nov 7 '15 at 14:54
  • $\begingroup$ Added to original question. $\endgroup$
    – Ska
    Nov 7 '15 at 16:22
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    $\begingroup$ You haven't thought this through. In your model, why should there be any relationship between redshift and distance? Or to put it another way, why do objects at similar distances, but in opposite directions, have similar redshifts? $\endgroup$
    – ProfRob
    Nov 7 '15 at 22:20
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    $\begingroup$ BTW Better to think about cosmological redshift as due to the expansion of the universe not the movement of sources. Wavelengths are stretched in transit. $\endgroup$
    – ProfRob
    Nov 7 '15 at 22:22

Ultimately this is an application of Occam's razor

In order for the light to be gravitationally redshifted, it would have to be coming out of a deep gravitational well. For the red shift observed in galaxies to be gravitational, you would have to suppose several things.

First, that the stars in distant galaxies are somehow much denser: more than neutron star dense. (or possibly that entire galaxies are as dense as neutron stars.) A neutron star has a redshift of about z=0.35 distant galaxies have redshift of more than 7. No known object has a gravitational redshift like that.

Secondly that the density is proportional to distance from us. Placing us at a special position in the universe.

It is much simpler to interpret the redshift as a doppler redshift, and therefore an expanding universe

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    $\begingroup$ The basic reason is Hubble shift is not what you'd see if the osberved red shift was down to the local gravitational field around the source. However I would just point out that Hubble shift is not Doppler shift. Doppler shift depends on the direction of motion and velocity of the source relative at emission relative to the observer when received. Hubble shift depends on the cosmological scale factor at emission relative to scale factor when received. $\endgroup$
    – John Davis
    Nov 7 '15 at 22:36
  • $\begingroup$ Isn't this assuming that the local gravity well at source of emission is the only possible gravitational redshift factor though? Integrated Sachs-Wolfe effect is mainly concerned with CMB, but it confirms that photons suffer a net energy loss every time they pass through a void. If the proportion of inter-stellar and intergalactic void space is greater than the proportion of high-density spaces that result in net blueshift as photons pass through, it would be reasonable to expect an average net redshift relative to distance traveled for photons coming from most stars. $\endgroup$
    – MacThule
    Nov 15 '19 at 19:24

I would hazard a guess at this point, but effects of gravitational red-shift would perhaps average out, so approximately 50% of light would orginate from objects with stronger gravitational fields and 50% from weaker gravitational fields. Hence, we would see blue-shifted and red-shifted objects if gravitational redshift is an prominent as assumed.

However, with the exception of the local group (where due to being gravitationally bound M33, Andromeda and ourselves are all moving towards each other), most of the extragalactic objects we observe have a redshift. Hence, the Doppler effect must be dominating.

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    $\begingroup$ The shear magnitude of the redshift of (especially) high redshift galaxies couldn't possibly be explained by a gravitational redshift, because that would imply exotic, much denser objects at high redshift that is not only contrived, but also completely incompatible with observations. In this scenario, the redshift itself (as opposed to a blueshift as you say) is not the biggest problem. The increased redshift with distance is. $\endgroup$
    – user1991
    Nov 8 '15 at 11:02

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