A star hides inside a star

Just when you thought story-telling in astronomy and cosmology had reached its peak we read an even more bizarre story.1,2 It is nothing more than extreme special pleading that the big-bang-believing astronomers must engage in to maintain their story.

The Milky Way. (Credit: Roanish, Flickr)

Big bang cosmologist believe that the first stars in the universe were what they call Population III stars. These were the stars that allegedly first formed after the big bang. They allegedly were borne with very few elements other than hydrogen and helium. The reason for this is that the big bang itself allegedly could only make hydrogen, helium and a little bit of lithium.

But that presented a problem for big bang cosmology as a viable story for the origin of the universe. Where are all the Population III stars now? Surely some of them must still be around? No … none have been found! As a prediction of the standard big bang model that is a serious problem.

In the recently published story,1,2 astronomers claim that they have found evidence of one of the oldest stars in the universe–a star that lived 13.5 billion years ago–hidden inside a star that’s nearly as old.

But no such 13.5 billion-year-old Pop III was observed. They believe the star that was observed was formed from a Pop III star that had exploded a long time ago. And because the supernova was such a weak explosion most of the stuff that was ejected was sucked back into the observed star, which they claim is its offspring.

But how do they know that there is a star hiding in that star? The article reports:

“The pattern of elements we found in the star in our galaxy reveals traces of its ancestor,” Nordlander added. “That long-dead star exploded as a supernova – a fairly feeble one at that too.

What this means is that the amount of iron detected in the stars was the lowest ever detected. Then with computer simulations they arrived at their conclusion.

This is another feeble attempt at story-telling to support the big bang origin of the universe. The non-existent unobserved Pop III star is allegedly 13.5 billion years old. (That sentence in itself make little sense.) However they did not observe that. It is a case of the story being the most important thing. And whatever they observe has to be fitted into that story.  

The story has now been updated to include the new item. The article states:

“It’s unlikely that any of the universe’s earliest [Pop III] stars survived, but the evidence of an older star found inside [the star they observed] can offer a glimpse into the early days of the universe.”

They assume what they intend to prove. The universe came from the big bang and nothing else can enter the story. So the conclusion here is that the amount of iron and carbon found in the star is evidence for the star harbouring a star that formed 13.5 billion years ago, just 200 million years after the big bang.  Just pure story-telling at its finest.

Reference

1. Chris Ciaccia, Fox News, “Evidence of 14B year-old ‘time machine’ star found 35,000 light-years from Earth”, http://www.foxnews.com/science/14b-year-old-star-found-earth;

2. T. Nordlander et al., “The lowest detected stellar Fe abundance: the halo star SMSS J160540.18−144323.1”, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters, 488(1): L109–L113, September 2019; https://doi.org/10.1093/mnrasl/slz109

Questions on the conventionality thesis and the one-way speed of light

The conventionality thesis and the asynchronous convention for the one-way speed of light (ASC) has been presented as a biblical creationist explanation for how light from the most distant sources in the cosmos reached Earth within the 6,000 years since the Creation, as determined from a straightforward reading of the Genesis account. There is no conflict with the true age of the universe because it simply is counted off by the years since creation.[1],[2],[3]

The conventionality thesis in Special Relativity relates to the synchronisation of clocks separated by a distance. It involves to the notion that the one-way speed of light, provided the two-way speed is c, can only be chosen by a convention, since it is impossible in principle to measure it. 

With respect to this subject, I address some issues raised from articles I have recently written on this subject.[4],[5],[6]

Innate bias

The first issue relates not so much to the science but to the mindset of the hearer when the topic is discussed. There seems to be in many of us an innate bias against accepting that the events (in light from stars, galaxies etc) we see in the cosmos are the same age as the earth and solar system. The idea is that all we see in the cosmos is occurring now, and not in some past epoch of time.  However due to our education among other factors we are biased into believing the starlight coming from the cosmos travels at a fixed speed of about 300,000 km/s and because of the distances involved it must have taken billions of years to reach Earth. We believe this even though it has never been measured.[7]

Last year I had the opportunity to share a PowerPoint talk titled “Can we see into the past?”[8] with a small group of friends who were all solidly biblical creationist in worldview. After I gave the PowerPoint presentation some questions were asked and one person, who does have some science training, said that he just could not get his head around it. I respect that but I believe it is a case where a little knowledge can be dangerous. In some cases a prior knowledge has led to a closely held belief, or an innate bias, which in turn can close off a person’s mind to new ideas without any logical reason. Such situations are well documented in science, particularly in fields that are undergoing revolutionary transitions. For example the case of phlogiston.[9]

Another man in that small group, who is physically blind and could not see my PowerPoint slides (so he did not have the advantage that the sighted people did), said that he had no problem understanding it. He said that he had had no science education and did not have any preconceived ideas (for example that the one-way speed of light must be finite, isotropic and equal to c, the measured two-way speed).

Continue reading

The conventionality thesis on the synchronisation of clocks separated by distance

I recently read the book “Concepts of Simultaneity” by Max Jammer[1] where Jammer presents the history of concepts of simultaneity. Primarily he starts with the Greek philosophers and works through to the modern age—with philosophers and physicists. The book outlines that in regards to the concept of simultaneity the most significant developments occurred in the past 110 years, starting with Albert Einstein when he published his famous paper on Special Relativity in 1905.

Time is intrinsically linked with simultaneity. Simultaneity involves how we might synchronise distant clocks with our own local clocks. This issue then has an enormous bearing on some significant philosophical questions. How do we measure the speed of light coming from the distant cosmos? How old is the universe? How do we know how old the universe is?

We accept as fact, even consider it as empirical fact, something that is actually not fact at all but conventional. I explain below. But an incorrectly held notion has led to the idea that we can definitively know how old the universe is. Since we know the speed of light is finite (not infinite) and the universe is enormously large, then it is concluded that it must have taken light billions of years to travel to Earth from the distant cosmos. From that it follows that both theist and atheist have incorrectly concluded that the biblical timeline cannot be correct. The atheists even use this as an argument against the existence of the Creator.

In classical (Newtonian) physics, up to several hundred years before Einstein and any measurement of the speed of light, a distant event was considered simultaneous with a local event if the local observer saw them occur at the same time, as measured by his local clock. This is because the speed of light was assumed to be infinite. There was no delay between the light leaving its source and its reception at the observer. But that all changed.

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Israel’s lunar lander crashed on the moon

You may have heard of the epic failure of the Israeli moon lander “Beresheet” on Thursday April 12. Interestingly it was named after the first word that appears in the Bible in Genesis 1:1 – Beresheet, meaning “in the beginning”.

Below is a picture the lunar lander took just before it crashed.

Final shot from the Beresheet lander. Image Credit: SpaceIL 

The engine failed to reignite at 10 km above the lunar surface and the spacecraft crashed.

But note there are no stars visible in the dark lunar sky. What do the conspiracy theorists say about this one? This was one of the arguments that allegedly proved that man did not go to the moon under the NASA Apollo program. But it is due to the contrast of the dark sky and the surface of the moon. The starlight is too weak to be visible in the presence of the strong reflection of the sun’s light from the lunar surface.

The moon shot was funded by the company SpaceIL. It is a private company. Along with private donors it spent US$100 million on the attempt. So do the conspiracy theorist now say that all those non-NASA, non-government people also are in league with NASA conspiring a fake lunar mission? It becomes even more ridiculous.

Beresheet lander and an entire Hebrew Bible that are now lying on the lunar surface
(in pieces maybe). Image Credit: SPACEIL/GETTY

This moon landing (not controlled) means that Israel became the seventh nation to insert a probe into lunar orbit (on April 4) and the fifth nation to send a robot to the moon’s surface. It was a very good attempt because it only cost a mere $100 million, a far cry cheaper than the expensive NASA missions.

Also as part of the payload there was a Hebrew bible, which now must be on the moon. So those on the next mission to the moon will have something to read about how God created the moon on the 4th day of Creation only about 6000 years ago.

My current thinking on distant starlight

I suppose it had to come to this. Since 2003 I have considered many different potential solutions to the biblical-creationist distant-starlight problem. I presented a lecture in 2015 based on a 2003 summary of my five categories of where a solution might be found. In that list of categories I suspected that only timing convention and time dilation models had any hope of solving the problem.

By August 2015, when I gave the lecture, I had come to the conclusion that Jason Lisle’s Anisotropic Synchrony Convention (ASC) model was better than my own Carmeli-Hartnett model.

In the years leading up to 2015 I had discovered several serious inconsistencies with Carmeli’s cosmology. Besides those, there did not exist a viable 5D (space-time-velocity) version that could be used to give a robust description of the early universe on a biblical timeline.

In 2003, I pointed out that there is a problem of the light-travel time within the Milky Way galaxy with white-hole gravitational-well ESC-based time-dilation cosmologies. They cannot provide sufficient time-dilation. That problem has not been solved, though Russ Humphreys has developed a much better model since his first ones. I suspect though that his current model is somewhat ad hoc in the details to get it all to work.

On this website you’ll find articles on my use of Carmeli’s cosmology. They will all remain, but note, that I no longer have much faith in such an approach.

So that brings me up to the present. I now believe that Lisle’s ASC model is the best solution by a long shot. It works when other ESC based time-dilation models fail. For example, the problem of the effects of the Curse in the universe, can be answered with the ASC model but not with a time-dilation model. I recommend Lisle’s new book if you are interested in a simple solution that works and is consistent with the 6-thousand-year history of the Bible.

The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) has resolved the event horizon of a supermassive black hole

On April 10th the globally coordinated announcement was made of the first ever image of the event horizon of the supermassive black hole at the centre of the distant galaxy Messier 87 (M87). The galaxy is at a distance of 55 million light-years and the supermassive black hole was confirmed to have a mass of 6.5 billion suns. See details of press release here.

The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) — a planet-scale array of eight ground-based radio telescopes forged through international collaboration — was designed to capture images of supermassive black holes at the centre of galaxies.

Figure 1: Using the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), scientists obtained an image of the black hole at the centre of galaxy M87, outlined by emission from hot gas swirling around it under the influence of strong gravity near its event horizon. Credit: Event Horizon Telescope collaboration et al.

This is the work of many astronomers using millimetre wave VLBI radio-telescopes across the planet. By stitching together the power of 8 state-of-the-art mmWave radio-telescopes they essentially turned the planet into one giant radio-telescope. By using such a large telescope and millimetre wavelengths they gained never before obtained resolution to image the event horizon, which is about the diameter of our solar system.

Figure 2: Map of the EHT. Stations active in 2017 and 2018 are shown with connecting lines and labelled in yellow, sites in commission are labeleld in green, and legacy sites are labelled in red. Nearly redundant baselines are overlaying each other, i.e., to ALMA/APEX and SMA/JCMT. Such redundancy allows improvement in determining the amplitude calibration of the array.
Credit: Event Horizon Telescope collaboration et al

The results, so far, are consistent with all predictions of Einstein’s General Relativity theory.

From the biblical creationist perspective this is, yet again, good operational science. There is nothing new here that refutes the biblical timeline of about 6 thousand year because that is subject to historical science considerations. It is not an operational science question.

The distance to the galaxy is about 55 million light-years. Using the Einstein Synchrony Convention (ESC) (which assumes isotropic speed of light, c) the millimetre waves used in this measurement took 55 million years to reach Earth. But using the Anisotropic Synchrony Convention (ASC), where the incoming speed of light, one-way, is chosen at infinity, the black hole is essentially observed in real time. No delay. This is consistent with the biblical description of events in the cosmos. See Genesis 1:16-19, Psalm 33:9, and Isaiah 48:7,13.

The data was taken from the different telescopes and was assembled and processed over a period of about a year but those initial observations were taken over a period of 7 days in April of 2017. Assuming the ASC, over those days the supermassive black hole was “observed” in real time. In the same way over the 24-hour period Day 4 of Creation Week about 6000 years ago all the stars and galaxies (with black holes at their centres) were “observed” at the earth as God created them in real time (Genesis 1:16-19). God spoke and “it was so.”

How does a biblical creationist explain the fact that we see the sun?

Figure 1: The sun is 150 million km from Earth.

Genesis chapter 1 tells us that God created the sun on the 4th Day of Creation week and the chronology of the Bible puts that about 6 thousand years ago.

The sun is at a distance of about 150 million km and that means light travelling at about 300,000 km/s would take about 8.3 minutes to travel from the surface–the photosphere–to Earth.

But doesn’t the very existence of the sun present a problem for biblical creation? The idea is that the sun is no more than 6 thousand years old. Then how does light reach Earth in that short period of time?

No problem you say! It only takes 8.3 minutes to get to Earth so it easily fits into the 24-hour period of the Creation Day 4. And certainly into the 6 thousand years that have passed since Creation. You say there is no problem there.

In relation to the stars and galaxies, millions and billions of light-years distant, it is admitted by biblical creationists that there is a problem–a starlight travel-time problem–which some have suggested potential solutions for.

My current view is that the ASC model is by far the simplest solution to that problem (see list below). Continue reading