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astronomy Cosmology Physics Science

No CMB shadows: an argument against the big bang that can no longer be sustained

I have previously made the argument that the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation, ‘light’ allegedly from the big bang fireball, casts no shadows in the foreground of galaxy clusters.1 If the big bang were true, the light from the fireball should cast a shadow in the foreground of all galaxy clusters. This is because the source of the CMB radiation, in standard big bang cosmology, is what is known as the “last scattering surface“.

The last scattering surface is the stage of the big bang fireball that describes the situation when big bang photons cooled to about 1100 K. At that stage of the story those photons separated from the plasma that had previously kept them bound. Then expansion of the universe is alleged to have further cooled those photons to about 3 K, which brings them into the microwave band. Thus if these CMB photons cast no shadows in front of all galaxy clusters it spells bad news for the big bang hypothesis.

Fig 1: Schematic of the Sunyaev-Zel’dovich effect that results in an increase in higher energy (or blue shifted) photons of the CMB when seen through the hot gas present in cluster of galaxies. Credit: astro.uchicago.edu/sza/primer.html

The CMB radiation shadowing effect, or more precisely the cooling effect, by galaxy clusters is understood in terms of the Sunyaev–Zel’dovich Effect (SZE). This is where microwave photons are isotropically scattered by electrons in the hot inter-cluster medium (ICM) (see Fig. 1) via an inverse Compton process leaving a net decrement (or cooling) in the foreground towards the observer in the solar system. Of those CMB photons coming from behind the galaxy cluster less emerge with the same trajectory due to the scattering. Even though the scattered photons pick up energy from the ICM the number of more energetic CMB photons is reduced. After modelling what this new CMB photon energy (hence temperature) should be, a decrement can, in principle, be detected.

Starting around 2003 some published investigations, using this SZE, looked for the expected shadowing/cooling effect in galaxy clusters. No significant cooling effect was found, by multiple studies, including the WMAP satellite data.2 This was considered to be very anomalous, significantly different from what was expected if the CMB radiation was from the big bang fireball. The anomaly was even confirmed by the early Planck satellite survey data in 2011.3

Categories
astronomy Cosmology Physics

Is the Universe really expanding — the evidence revisited

3d expansion question markThe Hubble law, determined from the distances and redshifts of galaxies, for the past 80 years, has been used as strong evidence for an expanding universe. In 2011 I reviewed various lines of evidence for and against this claim. It included the lack of evidence for the necessary existence of time dilation in quasar and gamma-ray burst luminosity variations, angular size tests for galaxies as a function of redshift, the Tolman surface brightness test which is sensitive to expansion of the Universe, evidence that the CMB radiation is not from the background, which it should be if from the big bang fireball as alleged, intergalactic absorption lines due to hydrogen clouds and Lyman-α systems, and what they do tell us. Here I present that information again in light of my current understanding.

This review concluded that the observations could be used to describe either a static universe (where the Hubble law results from some as-yet-unknown mechanism) or an expanding universe described by the standard Λ cold-dark-matter model. In the latter case, the imposition of size evolution of galaxies is necessary to get agreement with observations. Yet the simple non-expanding (i.e. static) Euclidean universe fits most data with the least number of assumptions. I made a straw table comparison with the various lines of evidence to see how they stack up. It was found not to be definitive and hence the result equivocal. From this review it became quite apparent that there are still many unanswered questions in cosmology and it would be a mistake to base one’s theology on any particular cosmology. Far better to base you cosmology and theology on the clear narrative historical prescription in the Genesis account and elsewhere in the Scriptures. (This was first published in two parts in the Journal of Creation 25(3):109-120, 2011.)

Introduction

Ever since the late 1920s, when Edwin Hubble discovered a simple proportionality1 between the redshifts of the light coming from nearby galaxies and their distances, we have been told that the Universe is expanding. This relationship—dubbed the Hubble Law—has since been strengthened and extended to very great distances in the cosmos. Nowadays it is considered to be the established dogma of the expanding big bang universe. This means that the space that contains the galaxies is expanding and that the galaxies are essentially stationary in that space, but being dragged apart as the universe expands.

Hubble initially interpreted his redshifts as a Doppler effect, due to the motion of the galaxies as they rushed away from our location in the Universe. He called it a ‘Doppler effect’ as though the galaxies were moving ‘through space’—the space itself is not expanding but the galaxies are moving through space, and that is how some people, especially astronomers, initially perceived it. This is different to what has now become accepted, but observations alone cannot distinguish between the two concepts. Later in his life Hubble varied from his initial interpretation and said that the Hubble Law was due to some hitherto undiscovered mechanism, but not due to expansion of space—now called cosmological expansion.

The big bang expanding universe model essentially offers a coherent paradigm or explanatory framework which can, in principle, provide answers to a wide range of key cosmological questions; examples are the origin of extragalactic redshifts, the dynamical state of the Universe (i.e. not apparently collapsing under gravity), Olbers’ paradox (why is the night sky dark?), the origin of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation, the origin of galaxies, and the origin of the elements. The fact that its answers to some questions are currently unsatisfactory or unconvincing does not change the basic point that such a model will always be preferred to a more limited model such as a static Euclidean universe, which does not attempt to address such questions. In this sense the big bang model is necessarily preferable regardless of one’s theological position.

Categories
Cosmology Science

Have scientists found evidence of a parallel universe?

Ranga-Ram-Chary
Ranga-Ram Chary

Caltech cosmologist Ranga-Ram Chary claims that he may have found evidence for the existence of a parallel universe. Many online articles report this.1,2,3 His claim, published in the Astrophysical Journal, suggests some sort of “cosmic bruising” — one universe bumping up against another universe — could explain an anomaly he found in the map of the cosmic microwave background (CMB). The anomaly is in regards to a mysterious blob of light found in the CMB radiation, which allegedly is leftover radiation from the big bang.

USA Today reports:

Chary, a researcher at the European Space Agency’s Planck Space Telescope data center at CalTech, said the glow could be due to matter from a neighboring universe “leaking” into ours, according to New Scientist magazine.

“Our universe may simply be a region within an eternally inflating super-region,” scientist Chary wrote in a recent study in the Astrophysical Journal.

Categories
astronomy Cosmology Creation/evolution Physics

Cosmic Inflation: Did it really happen?

Built on a house of cards

House of cards
chrishildrew.files.wordpress.com

Astrophysicists have measured the temperature of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) radiation and its small variations (anisotropies) but also they have found it is partially polarized. They make the claim that,1

The largest contribution to the polarization was imprinted during the epoch of recombination, when local quadrupole intensity fluctuations, incident on free electrons, created linear polarization via Thomson scattering.2 [emphasis added]

This is a key element in the alleged evolution of the big bang universe. The big bang supposedly produced a super-hot plasma of electrons, protons, and photons, and this plasma was opaque.  The “epoch of recombination” is assumed to have occurred about 380,000 years after the bang, when it was cool enough for electrons to combine with protons to become neutral hydrogen atoms. This made space transparent to photons, so the CMB radiation separated from matter in the big bang fireball, called ‘photon decoupling’. Once radiation decoupled from matter it travelled freely throughout the universe, no longer interacting with matter. Thus it should carry information of the physics from the early universe. This radiation, allegedly, after it cooled by about a factor of 1100, is observed at the earth as the CMB radiation.

Categories
astronomy Cosmology Creation/evolution Physics Science

New study confirms BICEP2 detection of cosmic inflation wrong

In 2014 the BICEP2 team of astronomers operating out of their South Pole telescope made the spectacular claim of detection of cosmic inflation via a signal that was expected in the CMB radiation from accompanying gravitational waves in the period of time much less than a second after the alleged big bang. I expressed my doubts back then. And other scientists much closer to the field than I doubted the discovery. See the list of related articles below.

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BICEP2 sought characteristic swirls in the polarisation of the Universe’s so-called relic radiation from the big bang

By the time the BICEP2 team’s 25-page paper was accepted for publication in the prestigious journal Physical Review Letters1 they had added a half-page caveat saying that they might be wrong. This was later confirmed that they were most probably wrong due to their not properly accounting for the foreground contamination of their putative signal from dust emission in the Galaxy. That highlights one of the dangers of rushing to publish when you have not ruled out all other possible sources. And cosmology is particularly more difficult than other branches of science, if we can even call cosmology science.

The Planck satellite team then looked at the foreground dust contamination problem: