astronomy Cosmology Creation/evolution Physics

A cosmic dragonfly

A galaxy, known as Dragonfly 44, first detected in 2015 using the Dragonfly Telephoto Array in New Mexico by Professor Peter van Dokkum is now claimed to be made of 99.99% dark matter.1 It is a galaxy where very few stars can be seen. It took a two-hour exposure using one of the very biggest telescopes on Earth, one of the Gemini telescopes at the W. M. Keck Observatory in Mauna Kea, Hawaii, to get a picture of this wispy galaxy as shown in Fig. 1 below.

Figure 1: Astronomers photographed the ultradiffuse galaxy Dragonfly 44 using the Gemini Multi-Object Spectrograph (GMOS) on the 8-meter Gemini North telescope in Mauna Kea, Hawaii. Credit: Pieter van Dokkum, Roberto Abraham, Gemini Observatory/AURA

Professor van Dokkum from the Astronomy Department and the Physics Department of Yale University is not only an astrophysicist but also a photographer of insects, particularly dragonflies.It is a strange coincidence, or is it, to find that one of his particular interests in the cosmos are these ultradiffuse, or “fluffy” galaxies. One of them is named Dragonfly 44, which van Dokkum and team determined to be at a distance of 300 million light-years from Earth, in the Coma Cluster.3  That distance is easily close enough for a big telescope to see, which can see galaxies at billions of light-year distances but no one had previously noticed these fluffy galaxies before even though they are ‘so close’.

Dragonfly 44 was like “a dirty smudge on a photo of deep space.”1 And it was one of the largest and brightest galaxies of those they found. From its distance its size was determined and it was concluded that it is as big as our Milky Way galaxy, yet it only emits about 1 percent as much light. So I suppose to van Dokkum the galaxy is reminiscent of the very fragile, lightweight and transparent wings of dragonflies he likes to photograph.

Cosmology Physics

SUSY is not the solution to the dark matter crisis

On August 19, 2016, the “SUSY Bet” event took place in Copenhagen at the conference on Current Themes in High Energy Physics and Cosmology at the Niels Bohr International Academy. An adjudication of the wager on supersymmetry (SUSY) first made in 2000 was given. The detail of wager is explained in the image below.


The bet involved two aspects of supersymmetry theory.1

  1. That after 10 years (from 2000) the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) would have collected enough experimental data to confirm or deny the existence of the supersymmetric particles that the theoretical physicists were thinking about at that time.
  2. That supersymmetric particles with sufficiently low masses would be discovered like “sitting ducks” (as Gerard ‘t Hooft put it).

At the event, the Yes side of the bet, who believed the particles would be detected, conceded the loss of the bet to the No side. The bet was meant to be decided on June 16th 2016 if no SUSY particle was detected after effectively 10 years of operation of the LHC. The adjudication of the bet was extended by the ‘No’ side by an addition of 6 years due delays in getting the LHC online, part of which was a delay due to an explosion, which caused a delay of 2 years.

On the larger question of the significance of the negative LHC results, a recorded video statement by Nobel Laureate Gerard ‘t Hooft (who had bet against SUSY) can be viewed above, and a statement by Stephen Hawking (not in on the bet, but in the audience) claimed that if arguments for SUSY were correct, the LHC should have seen something, so they think nature has spoken and there’s something wrong with the idea.

astronomy Cosmology Creation/evolution Physics

Quasars exhibit no time dilation and still defy a big bang explanation

In April 2010, Marcus Chown wrote in an article entitled “Time waits for no quasar—even though it shouldfor New Scientist online,

“Why do distant galaxies seem to age at the same rate as those closer to us when big bang theory predicts that time should appear to slow down at greater distances from Earth? No one can yet answer this new question [emphasis added] … .”

Figure 1: An artist’s depiction of what a quasar is believed to be — a supermassive black hole at the centre of a galaxy.

He says no one can answer this question. But this question has already been answered before it was even asked. To understand this we need some background.

Quasars are assumed to be supermassive black holes with the mass of a galaxy2 that are the early progenitors of the mature galaxies we see around us today. See Fig. 1. They nearly all exhibit extremely large redshifts in their emitted light and the big bang community believes that these redshifts are nearly entirely due to cosmological expansion. Therefore it follows that these massive objects are extremely bright and are being observed at some stage only several billion years after the alleged origin of the Universe in the big bang. Hence, from their redshifts when interpreted as resulting from cosmological expansion of the Universe, using Einstein’s general theory of relativity, it follows that the greater the redshift the greater the effect of the distortion of time at the quasar. That is, local clocks on quasars at greater redshifts should run slower than local clocks on quasars at lower redshifts, which are interpreted to mean that they are closer to us. (This post is based on my original article “Quasars again defy a big bang explanation” published in the Journal of Creation 24(2):8-9, 2010.)

No time dilation

But that is where the problem comes in. Mike Hawkins of the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh, UK, looked at light from quasars and he found no time dilation. He used observations of nearly 900 quasars made over periods of up to 28 years. According to the article, he “compared patterns in the light between quasars about 6 billion light years from us with those at 10 billion light years away.” But the distances assigned here are actually derived from the assumed cosmology and the Hubble law. What was really measured was the redshifts of those quasars. However the problem arises because quasars scintillate or their brightness varies. This scintillation can have periods of as little as a week, or even a day. That tells us something about the size of the object at the core, since that time should be of the scale of the light-travel time across the light-emitting region.2

Chown writes,

“All quasars are broadly similar, and their light is powered by matter heating up as it swirls into the giant black holes at the galaxies’ cores. So one would expect that a brightness variation on the scale of, say, a month in the closer group would be stretched to two months in the more distant group.”

astronomy Cosmology Physics Science

20 big bang busting bloopers

There is about as much truth in the sitcom as there is in the actual big bang theory. Credit: Wikipedia

The following are 20 conundrums for the big bang theory for the origin of the Universe. These are problems in a universe which had no Creator God, but not in this Universe, created by the eternally existing uncreated One.

1. Where did the Universe come from? “Cosmology is not even astrophysics: all the principal assumptions in this field are unverified (or unverifiable) in the laboratory … .” Cosmologists have become “…comfortable with inventing unknowns to explain the unknown.” Dr Richard Lieu (University of Alabama, Huntsville)

2. How did nothing explode? Universe started in nothing not even space, time or energy. What fluctuated in the quantum vacuum if time did not exist and how do they know which laws of physics applied. Where did those laws come from?

3. How did stars and galaxies form? It is impossible to form a star without dark matter (or a nearby supernova, which is a chicken and egg problem). No stars means no galaxies which means no Universe. Dark matter is pure fiction!

4. The ‘Axis of Evil’ in the CMB anisotropies. Why a preferred axis? Why aligned with the ecliptic? There should be no preferred axes in the Universe. The CMB data from both WMAP and PLANCK satellites conforms a weird preference for a direction in the cosmos, which aligns with the orbit of the earth around the sun. Why?

Cosmology Creation/evolution hermeneutics Physics Science

Our eternal universe

Much has been written about the Universe, with its alleged big bang origin 13.8 billion years ago,1 with its expansion forcing all galaxies away from each other. And about two decades it was ‘discovered’ that the expansion is accelerating driven by some very strange form of energy – dark energy – that acts like an anti-gravity force, which is stranger than fiction. Yet the big question remains. What is the ultimate fate of the Universe? Secular cosmology does not have a precise answer, and I describe several of their scenarios below. However I believe that the Bible has the answer to this question. That answer may seem to many to be contrary to known science, but the same could be said of the creation of the Universe from nothing, whether it be by the action of the Creator God, or by secular physics invoking some quantum fluctuation of a metastable false vacuum.

Big bang fate of the Universe

Some believe the Universe will eventually die in a ‘big rip’,2 where space is literally ripped apart. This is alleged to result from the unlimited acceleration of the expansion of the Universe due to an unbounded increase in some very strange stuff called dark energy, for which laboratory science knows nothing. In that theory dark energy eventually becomes so strong that it completely overwhelms the effects of the gravitational, electromagnetic and weak nuclear forces, resulting in galaxies, stars and even atoms themselves being literally torn apart, at their core. See Fig. 1.

Others believe that the Universe will end in a ‘big crunch’.3 “Their calculations suggest that the collapse is “imminent”—on the order of a few tens of billions of years or so—which may not keep most people up at night, but for the physicists it’s still much too soon.”4 The big crunch is theorized to occur when the vacuum energy density (cosmological constant) becomes negative due to a change in some hypothetical scalar field changing sign. Details don’t really matter because it is really just ‘scratchings’ on pieces of paper.

Fig 1
Figure 1: The theorised expansion of a closed universe from a ‘big bang’ to a ‘big rip’ (or ‘big freeze’) and a contraction to a ‘big crunch’.

Yet another option, they say, is that the Universe will end in some unremarkable heat death, where every physical process just peters out. This is known as the ‘big chill’, ‘big freeze’ or ‘heat death’. In that view, the Universe continues expanding while gradually all thermodynamic free energy is dissipated, meaning that all motion eventually ceases. Over a hundred trillion years or so, they say, it comes to a state of maximum entropy at a temperature very close to absolute zero, when the Universe simply becomes too old and too cold to sustain life. All that they expect to remain are cold dead stars, cold dead planets and black holes.

These three scenarios (Fig. 1) are what comprise the secular belief system, the worldview most widely held by cosmologists today. It is based on pure materialism, that matter and energy is all that there is. The atheists believe there is no Creator, no God who loves us or has any personal interest in our destiny. Their beliefs are really pagan philosophy.5

astronomy Cosmology Physics

Hairy dark matter is still dark matter, which is still a fudge

The solar system might be a lot hairier than we thought.” So says a recent report1 on a new theoretical study soon to be published in the Astrophysical Journal by Gary Prézeau2 from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. His theory proposes the existence of long filaments of dark matter, which have a form similar to “hairs.” See Fig. 1 reproduced from the published report. If you thought dark matter couldn’t get any stranger you would be wrong. But what is driving these type of theoretical investigations?

Figure 1: Artist illustration showing Earth surrounded by hypothesized theoretical filaments of dark matter called “hairs.” Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Pie Dark Matter Dark Energy
Figure 2: Pie chart showing the alleged dark matter and dark energy percentages in the Universe

Dark matter is the alleged invisible, mysterious matter that comprises 24% of the total mass/energy content of the Universe. The matter that we are all familiar with, they say, comprises only about 5% of the mass/energy content of the Universe. The remaining 71% is the alleged dark energy, a strange anti-gravity-type energy that is allegedly driving the accelerating expansion of the Universe. See Fig. 2.

astronomy Cosmology Creation/evolution hermeneutics Physics

The lecture: Starlight and time—Is it a brick wall for biblical creation?

The universe is truly vast; tens of billions of light-years in size. If the universe is only about 6000 years old how do we see galaxies at all, which are more than 6000 light-years away? This is the biblical creationist starlight travel time problem. I present 5 categories wherein potential solutions may be found. Besides the big bang also has a light travel time problem—the horizon problem—besides many other various problems.

Lecture was given August 1st 2015. See Age and Reason Seminar Adelaide for details.

See also other lectures given at the same seminar:

Cosmology Creation/evolution Science

Is there a crisis in cosmology? It would seem so!

Cosmology, or really cosmogony, tries to answer one of the most fundamental questions of all: Where did the Universe come from?  Cosmologists have no idea about the contents of this vast Universe. They speak of many unknowns—dark entities—used to make the standard ΛCDM (Lambda cold dark matter) big bang model fit the observational data. Dark energy and dark matter, which together allegedly make up 95% of the mass/energy content of the Universe, are total unknowns to experimental physics.

But these entities seem more like fudge factors to me than real science. Well, there is good reason for that feeling. They are fudge factors and now it seems like I am not the only one saying it.

In the following I excerpt (indented blue text) from an article titled “Cosmology is in crisis – but not for the reason you may think.” (link for full text) My emphases are in bold text.

Nothing wrong with naming a nebula after what it looks like though, in this case a horse head. Credit: NASA

We still have no idea what the vast majority of the universe is made of. We struggle to understand how the Big Bang could suddenly arise from nothing or where the energy for “inflation”, a very short period of rapid growth in the early universe, came from. But despite these gaps in knowledge, it is actually human nature – our tendency to interpret data to fit our beliefs – that is the biggest threat to modern cosmology.

astronomy Cosmology Creation/evolution Physics Science

Piercing the ‘Darkness’

—The bankruptcy of big-bang thinking and its ‘dark’ fudge factors

JGH1Six important questions are asked in regards to the alleged big bang origin of the Universe? These questions highlight the bankruptcy of big bang thinking, about the origin of the universe that needs numerous fudge factors.

Embracing the ‘darkness’ has led man to develop unprovable fudge factors to plug the holes in his failed theory. I deal with each of these:

  1. Where did the Universe come from?
  2. How did nothing explode?
  3. How did stars and galaxies form?
  4. Why does CMB ‘light’ cast no shadows?
  5. Why the ‘Axis of Evil’?
  6. What about expansion of space?

…. 14 more problems are listed but not discussed in any detail.

Six major fudge factors are highlighted as a result but there are many more. The big bang needs these unverifiable fudge factors; so why hasn’t it been discarded? The answer is simple. The alternative, for the atheist–a Creator God–is unbearable, and for the compromised theist or deist, who accepts a big bang origin for the universe, the Creator as described by a straightforward reading of the Bible, is unbearable.

An illustrated talk presented at the Creation Ministries International 2016 Creation SuperCamp at The Tops Conference Centre, NSW, 7:30 pm Monday January 4, 2016.

Video of powerpoint presentation

Cosmology Science

Have scientists found evidence of a parallel universe?

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.