Posts Tagged ‘Cosmology’

We don’t exist, and even if we do we are doomed

May 5, 2019

The nice thing about cosmological theories is the the time scales involved make the theories unfalsifiable.

One of the latest theories is that the universe is cyclic.

  1. A sort of a Big Bang,
  2. Expansion,
  3. A Big Suck,
  4. Compression.

followed by another kind of a Big Bang, and so on ad infinitum.

But why that should be so is outside the realm of the knowable.

Two articles caught my eye this morning.

Universe shouldn’t exist, CERN physicists conclude

NEW RESEARCH SUGGEST ANDROMEDA AND MILKY WAY GALAXIES ARE ALREADY TOUCHING, MIGHT COLLIDE SOONER THAN WE THINK


One of the great mysteries of modern physics is why antimatter did not destroy the universe at the beginning of time.

To explain it, physicists suppose there must be some difference between matter and antimatter – apart from electric charge. Whatever that difference is, it’s not in their magnetism, it seems.

Physicists at CERN in Switzerland have made the most precise measurement ever of the magnetic moment of an anti-proton – a number that measures how a particle reacts to magnetic force – and found it to be exactly the same as that of the proton but with opposite sign. The work is described in Nature.

“All of our observations find a complete symmetry between matter and antimatter, which is why the universe should not actually exist,” says Christian Smorra, a physicist at CERN’s Baryon–Antibaryon Symmetry Experiment (BASE) collaboration. “An asymmetry must exist here somewhere but we simply do not understand where the difference is.”


The Milky Way and Andromeda galaxy won’t collide for next 4 billion years. But but a recent discovery of a massive halo of hot gas close to Andromeda Galaxy may mean that our galaxies are already touching. Astrophysicist Nicholas Lehner from University of Notre Dame, led a group of scientists using the Hubble Space Telescope to detect an enormous halo of hot, ionized gas about 2 million light years in diameter around the galaxy.

The Andromeda Galaxy and Milky Way are the largest member of a ragtag group of some 54 galaxies, called the Local Group. Andromeda, with almost a trillion stars — twice as many as the Milky Way — shines 25% brighter and can simply be seen with the naked eye from outlying and rural skies. If the recently discovered halo spreads at least a million light years in our direction, our two galaxies are way MUCH closer to touching than previously thought.


 

Universe may be getting more massive rather than expanding

May 25, 2014

Not being Sheldon Cooper I have difficulty with the theory of an Expanding Universe. A finite Universe expanding into an infinite nothingness would be bad enough. But an infinite. ever-expanding Universe becomes incomprehensible. This expansion apparently consists of the scale of space itself expanding, such that galaxies are moving away from each other but where – for some other incomprehensible reasons – this does not apply at less than galactic scale (and certainly not at the scale of the puny earth or our human bodies)!

Skyserver: …. other physicists and mathematicians working on Einstein’s theory of gravity discovered the equations had some solutions that described an expanding universe. In these solutions, the light coming from distant objects would be redshifted as it traveled through the expanding universe. The redshift would increase with increasing distance to the object. ……

When he (Hubble) plotted redshift against relative distance, he found that the redshift of distant galaxies increased as a linear function of their distance. The only explanation for this observation is that the universe was expanding.

Once scientists understood that the universe was expanding, they immediately realized that it would have been smaller in the past. At some point in the past, the entire universe would have been a single point. This point, later called the big bang, was the beginning of the universe as we understand it today.

But now a new paper suggests that the red shift may be due to the Universe increasing in mass rather than expanding.  The Big Bang singularity – says the paper – turns out to be a consequence of choosing “a singular set of field coordinates”But the paper has still to run the gauntlet of peer review.

C. Wetterich, A Universe without expansion, arXiv:1303.6878  arxiv.org/abs/1303.6878/

Abstract
We discuss a cosmological model where the universe shrinks rather than expands during the radiation and matter dominated periods. Instead, the Planck mass and all particle masses grow exponentially, with the size of atoms shrinking correspondingly. Only dimensionless ratios as the distance between galaxies divided by the atom radius are observable. Then the cosmological increase of this ratio can also be attributed to shrinking atoms. We present a simple model where the masses of particles arise from a scalar “cosmon” field, similar to the Higgs scalar. The potential of the cosmon is responsible for inflation and the present dark energy. Our model is compatible with all present observations. While the value of the cosmon field increases, the curvature scalar is almost constant during all cosmological epochs. Cosmology has no big bang singularity. There exist other, equivalent choices of field variables for which the universe shows the usual expansion or is static during the radiation or matter dominated epochs. For those “field coordinates“ the big bang is singular. Thus the big bang singularity turns out to be related to a singular choice of field coordinates.

Just as an expanding Universe -in reverse – leads to a Big Bang where some pre-existing mass “explodes” from a zero size, a Universe getting more massive – in reverse – must lead to a an initial mass-less state. Just about as incomprehensible as the Expanding Universe.

Nature: 

But, as Wetterich points out, the characteristic light emitted by atoms is also governed by the masses of the atoms’ elementary particles, and in particular of their electrons. If an atom were to grow in mass, the photons it emits would become more energetic. Because higher energies correspond to higher frequencies, the emission and absorption frequencies would move towards the blue part of the spectrum. Conversely, if the particles were to become lighter, the frequencies would become redshifted.

Because the speed of light is finite, when we look at distant galaxies we are looking backwards in time — seeing them as they would have been when they emitted the light that we observe. If all masses were once lower, and had been constantly increasing, the colours of old galaxies would look redshifted in comparison to current frequencies, and the amount of redshift would be proportionate to their distances from Earth. Thus, the redshift would make galaxies seem to be receding even if they were not.

Work through the maths in this alternative interpretation of redshift, and all of cosmology looks very different. The Universe still expands rapidly during a short-lived period known as inflation. But prior to inflation, according to Wetterich, the Big Bang no longer contains a ‘singularity’ where the density of the Universe would be infinite. Instead, the Big Bang stretches out in the past over an essentially infinite period of time. And the current cosmos could be static, or even beginning to contract.

Cosmology uses real mathematics and is – of course – much more respected than astrology. However the modern invocation of dark energy and dark matter by physicists and cosmologists is quite as magical as the invocation of the aether or of various elixirs by alchemists. In fact even gravity – though calculable and predictable – is just another “magical” term with no proper explanation.

An infinite and timeless universe measured with an accuracy of 1%!

January 10, 2014

A new paper has been capturing some headlines. It is all completely beyond me and while the Abstract – written presumably in English – may be perfectly intelligible for an astronomer or a physicist, it is totally incomprehensible for me. But some of the quotations in the accompanying press release – which were picked up and reported widely in the mainstream media (here and here for example) – sounded strangely illogical.

from the Press Release

  • Today the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS) Collaboration announced that BOSS has measured the scale of the universe to an accuracy of one percent.
  • “One-percent accuracy in the scale of the universe is the most precise such measurement ever made,” says BOSS’s principal investigator, David Schlegel, a member of the Physics Division of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). 
  • … the BOSS results suggest that dark energy is a cosmological constant whose strength does not vary in space or time. 
  • …. the BOSS analysis “also provides one of the best-ever determinations of the curvature of space. The answer is, it’s not curved much.”
  • “One of the reasons we care is that a flat universe has implications for whether the universe is infinite,” says Schlegel.
  • … “That means – while we can’t say with certainty that it will never come to an end – it’s likely the universe extends forever in space and will go on forever in time. Our results are consistent with an infinite universe.”
  • … By 380,000 years after the big bang, however, the temperature of the expanding mixture had cooled enough for light to escape, suffusing the newly transparent universe with intense radiation, which in the 13.4 billion years since has continued to cool to today’s faint but pervasive cosmic microwave background.
  • … BOSS collaborator Beth Reid of Berkeley Lab translates the two-dimensional sky coordinates of galaxies, plus their redshifts, into 3-D maps of the density of galaxies in space. “It’s from fluctuations in the density of galaxies in the volume we’re looking at that we extract the BAO standard ruler,” she says.
  • …. The universe’s expansion history has been measured with unprecedented accuracy during the very stretch of ancient time, over six billion years in the past, when expansion had stopped slowing and acceleration began. …

At this point I gave up.

My knowledge of physics and astronomy is sadly lacking and I cannot be reconciled to a universe which is

  • an expanding universe, where
  • the expansion is accelerating, and where
  • the university is infinite, and
  • timeless, and 
  • has been “measured” to an accuracy of 1%

1% of an infinite universe ought to be infinity in my boggled mind!  Is the “ruler” expanding as well? And did time exist before the Big Bang? And if the universe is “timeless”, is time just an artificial construct? And can infinity expand without having a larger infinity?

Oh well! I’m afraid I cannot picture this universe – but I am only an engineer.

Lauren Anderson et al, The clustering of galaxies in the SDSS-III Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey: Baryon Acoustic Oscillations in the Data Release 10 and 11 galaxy samplesMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 2014.

Abstract: We present a one per cent measurement of the cosmic distance scale from the detections of the baryon acoustic oscillations in the clustering of galaxies from the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS), which is part of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey III (SDSS-III). Our results come from the Data Release 11 (DR11) sample, containing nearly one million galaxies and covering approximately 8500 square degrees and the redshift range 0.2the baryon acoustic oscillation (BAO) feature. The acoustic features are detected at a significance of over 7σ in both the correlation function and power spectrum. Fitting for the position of the acoustic features measures the distance relative to the sound horizon at the drag epoch, rd, which has a value of rd,fid=149.28Mpc in our fiducial cosmology. We find DV=(1264±25Mpc)(rd/rd,fid) at z=0.32 and DV=(2056±20Mpc)(rd/rd,fid) at z=0.57. At 1.0 per cent, this latter measure is the most precise distance constraint ever obtained from a galaxy survey. Separating the clustering along and transverse to the line-of-sight yields measurements at z=0.57 of DA=(1421±20Mpc)(rd/rd,fid) and H=(96.8±3.4km/s/Mpc)(rd,fid/rd). Our measurements of the distance scale are in good agreement with previous BAO measurements and with the predictions from cosmic microwave background data for a spatially flat cold dark matter model with a cosmological constant.


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