First it was dark matter,1 then came dark energy,2 followed by dark fluid,3 dark flow,4 and dark radiation5; and now a new entity is suggested for the dark sector of particle physics—dark photons. The dark sector is full of hypothetical entities designed to save the big bang story but it is really just a lot of cosmic storytelling.6
Previously I have argued that dark matter is a sort of ‘god of the gaps’, the ‘unknown god’,7 in astrophysics. It is an unknown invoked to explain the inexplicable,8 which, if you follow the chain of logic, is required to maintain a belief in the big bang paradigm. Its existence is only inferred from the application of known physics to certain observations in the universe.9 Without assuming the existence of some exotic unknown dark matter comprising about 25% of the matter/energy content of the universe10 the standard big bang model would have to be discarded as a total failure.
Dark matter has never been observed in space or in any laboratory experiment.
Now a new observation of four colliding galaxies in the Abell 3827 cluster apparently may shed new light on the conundrum.11 See the four galaxies in the centre of the figure here.
Figure: Approximately real-colour image from the Hubble Space Telescope, of galaxy cluster Abell 3827. The galaxy cluster is made of hundreds of yellowish galaxies. At its core, four giant galaxies are smashing into each other. As the topmost of the four galaxies fell in, it is proposed that it left its dark matter trailing behind, separated from the normal matter. You can’t see the dark matter in this picture because it is ‘dark’; meaning invisible. But its position is allegedly revealed by the gravitational lensing of an unrelated spiral galaxy behind the cluster, whose distorted image is seen as a blue arc, around the group of four central galaxies. Credit: Dr. Richard Massey (Durham University) image. Ref. 12.
A never-ending story
The big bang is a good story … as far as storytelling goes.
“Storytelling has been the single most powerful communication tool for thousands of years and we are just starting to understand how relevant and significant it is today.”1
But as Mark Twain once is reputed to have said:
“Never let the truth get in the way of a good story,”
A letter to a colleague written April 1st, 2015, published April 6th, 2015.
Dear Obsidian Noire,
Thank you so much for you recent theoretical proofs in the Dark Matter Sector.1 The following is how I usually explain Dark Matter and those other entities from the Dark Sector to those who have doubts.
God said “Let there be light!” The reason: the Universe began in total darkness.
For a long time the correct meaning of this statement in Genesis chapter 1 had been once lost in darkness, but we now know for science has shown us what it really means. The author of the text really meant that because even God could not see what He was doing, He created light. He had to. Once the light separated from the Darkness He could see enough to start sorting out the chaotic mess that had formed. But this way of speaking was just how the ‘early primitives’ thought and spoke about the Universe. We now know better. I will try to explain this in the simplest terms.
At the beginning the Darkness was all around in many forms including Dark Energy, Dark Radiation, Dark Flows, Dark Holes (also called black holes) and the most ubiquitous stuff of all, Dark Matter. All these entities belong to what we call in physics the ‘Dark Sector’, which now has become firmly established through modern science.
The Dark Ages was that period in the history of the Universe just after the big bang, when Dark Matter assembled the necessary materials to build all stars and galaxies. God was not involved so much in that as He was busy keeping the Darkness out while He created normal matter—protons and neutrons etc., the stuff we do observe in the Universe. Well, He started off the Universe in a big bang, that took a lot out of Him, and as a result the Darkness eventually won. Continue reading
Keeping Science in Darkness
Sometimes the existence of a new ‘particle’ in physics has been proposed long before it was discovered by an experimentalist in a lab experiment. Some examples of this are the anti-electron (positron) proposed by Paul Dirac in 1927 and discovered in 1932; the neutron, predicted by Ernest Rutherford in 1920, and discovered by James Chadwick in 1932; the pi meson discovered by C. F. Powell’s group in 1947 but predicted by Hideki Yukawa in 1935; and in 2012 a particle was detected exhibiting most of the predicted characteristics of the Higgs boson, which was predicted by Peter Higgs and five others in 1964. For their prediction, Peter Higgs and François Englert, were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2013.
In astrophysics such a new ‘particle’ could be the planet Neptune. Its existence was mathematically predicted by Urbain Le Verrier before it was directly observed in 1846 by Johann Gottfried Galle at the Berlin Observatory. (There was some dispute over credit as John Couch Adams from Cambridge had separately made predictions on the position of the planet.)
Those predictions, which led to successful outcomes, were based on the established laws of nature; for Neptune it was Newton’s gravitational theory, and for particle physics, the newly developing quantum theory. Continue reading
Dark sector physics and the sterile neutrino
Abstract: And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. (Genesis 1:4) In this modern era darkness has developed a new meaning. From various problems in cosmology a need has developed to postulate the existence of unknown types of energy and matter from the dark side. These are sought for in the dark sector of particle physics and in the description of the expanding universe acted upon by gravitation. Besides dark energy and dark matter, now a new dark component is being promoted—dark radiation—in the form of a sterile neutrino, which does not interact with electromagnetic radiation or matter except via gravitation. This has come about because of the dichotomy that has occurred when the total mass of the universe has been measured using two quite different methods. But this new development underlines the problems that have developed in cosmology, especially when the model (paradigm) being considered is a clear departure from the historical account in Genesis. Article first published by Answers Research Journal 7 (2014):357–361. PDF available here.
Is something dark going on in cosmology? If you thought dark energy and dark matter were hard to understand (and justify), now a new component has been added to the dark side—dark radiation.
When astrophysicists measure the total amount of matter in the universe using different methods, and different data sets, it has been found that they get quite different answers. Continue reading