In 2011 the Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to three astronomers for their discovery, as part of two separate teams which published their results around 1998 that they claimed showed that the Universe is expanding at an accelerating rate. Also they claimed the existence of some sort of mysterious ‘dark energy’ that was driving the expansion at a faster and faster rate.
Hubble image of supernova remnant N 49 in the Large Magellanic Cloud. Credit: NASA and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
The interpretation of the 1998 data depended heavily on the big bang cosmological theory they applied and the assumption that it was the correct theory to describe the structure and time evolution of the Universe. It also depended heavily on the assumption that the type Ia supernova explosions that they used are reliable standard “light bulbs”, i.e. that those stellar explosions all were accurately chosen to have the same characteristic intrinsic absolute brightness.1 The latter, however, we now know is not the case.2
It has been shown that the stellar masses of the stars that result in the type Ia class of supernova are not so well-defined that they all fall within a narrow range as to give a clear standard in terms of the intrinsic brightness of the resulting explosions and hence the type Ia are not a uniform reference. Also as I have previously indicated circular reasoning was employed in the choice of the candidate supernova to be considered.2,3 The cosmology under test was used to choose the candidate Ia supernovae and then those chosen were used to test the same cosmology.
A new study, published in the Nature journal Scientific Reports, on a data set ten times larger than the original studies used (5 years ago) has been carried out.4
Now, a team of scientists led by Professor Subir Sarkar of Oxford University’s Department of Physics has cast doubt on this standard cosmological concept. Making use of a vastly increased data set – a catalogue of 740 Type Ia supernovae, more than ten times the original sample size – the researchers have found that the evidence for acceleration may be flimsier than previously thought, with the data being consistent with a constant rate of expansion. (emphasis added)
I once wrote about one of the problems of determining distance using the so-called standard ‘candle’ of the type Ia supernovae.1 That method is considered to be the gold standard in cosmic distance determination and hence in testing of the expanding universe paradigm. From those measurements, by two independent teams, an accelerating expansion of the Universe was claimed in 1998, for which the Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded in 2011.2
An optical image of the galaxy M101, with bars indicating the location of supernova SN 2011fe. This NASA/Swift image is a false-color image with UV emission shown in blue and optical emission shown in red. Credit: NASA/Swift
Type Ia supernova were (are) believed to be a class of stellar explosions that resulted from progenitor stars with a very small range of masses and chemical properties. It was (is) believed that these could be accurately modelled and therefore they could be relied upon to produce the same intrinsic brightness in their explosions. It was believed therefore that they varied only by a very small degree in a distribution around a well established intrinsic brightness or absolute magnitude near MB ~ -19. That means they were believed to all have the same intrinsic brightness. Continue reading
Alleged history of the Universe (from wikipedia)
The big bang model, used to describe the observations made in the universe, according to its advocates, now precisely has determined the history of the Universe. See left graphic. Yet to do so it is filled with unproveable fudge factors. That may sound like an exaggerated claim but it seems to be the state of cosmology today. (This article was edited and updated from my article ‘Cosmology is not even astrophysics,’ originally published 3 December 2008, creation.com.)
This situation has come about because of the unverifiable starting assumptions are inherently wrong! Some brave physicists have had the temerity to challenge the ruling paradigm—the standard big bang ΛCDM inflation cosmology.1 One of those is Prof. Richard Lieu, astrophysicist, of the Department of Physics, University of Alabama, who wrote:2
‘Cosmology is not even astrophysics: all the principal assumptions in this field are unverified (or unverifiable) in the laboratory … .’ [emphasis added]