[link to http://www.chm.davidson.edu/]
This is something that I think may cause some confusion as to the concept of an aether. That it may have ‘multiple modes’ as it undergoes phase-changes. Not to mention the limiting factors imposed by 19th century interpretations of “matter”. Solid, liquid, gas, now we have plasma. Whereas, If I’m not mistaken, Aristotle considered the aether to be the 5th state of “matter” with Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Aether.
It seems as if we can become ‘stuck’ within the realm of what we consider to be “states of matter” and we only relate to those known states. Consider how easy the relatively recent plasma state is being incorporated into the knowledge base and how confused the standard makers waffle between calling it a “gas” or a plasma.
Obviously, simply because we don’t recognize or haven’t discovered other ‘phase states’ of matter doesn’t mean that they aren’t there. We still don’t have an adequate answer as to how magnetic and electrostatic “fields” can ‘store energy’ in the space surrounding an object as “potential”. It seems apparent that something about “space” acts like a dielectric.
One can construct a useful “explanation” but this is nothing to rest upon the laurels of and is no substitute for what may actually be functioning within said region of space. Like astrophysical plasma over the last century or so, we could be looking right through (or at) these other ‘phase-states’ of matter without recognizing them. The concept of “space” as ’empty’ has fallen. Yet, “explanations” of astrophysical processes derived from that paradigm still dominate such as with “gravitational lensing.” There was no thought of re-transmission/ refraction/reflection/diffraction in the density of plasma and/or the density of solar neutrinos at the edge of the Sun when the beast was unleashed.
Likewise, what properties or state of matter aren’t we seeing with regard to “space” when it is acting like a dielectric forming a “field” around objects or to such extent that it can ‘transmit’ the ‘impulse’ of a “photonic aether” from point A to point B without the object (photon) actually “traveling” – but instead being punctual on the spot?