One hundred years ago this Spring, Vesto Slipher wrote an article on Redshift that dramatically changed cosmology. However few have ever read his original paper, or the several other articles and books considered cosmology landmarks of past century.
Andromeda Galaxy M31
These are so rarely read perhaps because it takes more than a bit of effort and sometimes expense to find them. One result is that many of the papers are seriously misunderstood; particularly about which topics were actually discussed and which topics were not and what was actually written. To help you clarify this for your self here are a few primary cosmology papers for your intellectual appetite and entertainment.
Redshift, Spectral Line:
“The radial velocity of the Andromeda Nebula,” Slipher, Vesto (1913)
Hubble’s Original Redshift Graph
Galaxy Radial Velocity:
“A Relation Between Distance and Radial Velocity Among Extra-Galactic Nebulae,” Hubble, Edwin (1929) Note how this paper does not discuss Universe Expansion.
“O KPИBИ ЗHE ПPOCTPAHCTBA (On the Curvature of Space),” Friedmann, Alexander (1922) manuscript in original Russian. Analysis; not an experiment.
On the Curvature of Space,” Friedmann, Alexander Translated into English, Friedmann Archives
“Un Univers homogène de masse constante et de rayon croissant rendant compte de la vitesse radiale des nébuleuses extra-galactiques,” Lemaître, Abbe’ Georges (1927 in the original French) Analysis; this is not an experiment. It is only mathematical speculations that step into physics and drew Einstein’s retort “Your calculations are correct, but your physics are abominable.”
“A homogeneous Universe of constant mass and increasing radius accounting for the radial velocity of extra-galactic nebulae,” Lemaître, Abbe’ Georges (1931, Translated by Lemaître himself.) This paper does discuss Universe Expansion. I particularly enjoy reading the last two paragraphs.
Posted in Basic Astrophysics, Basic Science, Conjectures OverInterpreting Data, Cosmic Microwave Radiation, Dark Matter, Experiments, Models, Observations Change Ideas, Redshift, Spectral Line, Structure
(c) Copyright 2012 David Dilworth
This article Voted 3-Quarks Daily Semi-Finalist 2012
iPhone-4 (Credit: Jason Hiner / TechRepublic)
What gives more detailed images (higher resolution) – an iPhone or the satellite camera used to propel Big Bang into the leading Cosmology concept?
News Flash: (June 17, 2012) This article was just voted one of the best science blog articles of the past year at 3-Quarks Daily. Thank you for your votes.
Well lets find out by trying this puzzle: See if you can figure out what fairly well-known astronomical phenomenon this is a photograph of :
COBE Astrophotography Surprise
Here’s a hint. This first photograph of the mystery phenomenon is presented with the same angular resolution as the camera on Cosmic Background Explorer – Differential Microwave Radiometer (COBE-DMR or COBE).
(“Angular Resolution” simply means how much detail is in an image. A camera with more megapixels has a greater angular resolution; more is better.)
The COBE satellite’s data / images were described as “echoes of Big Bang” and used to first claim cosmic microwave radiation is purely from “background,” not from stars or galaxies or space dust or gas. COBE’s “background” radiation map was used to eliminate the “ Steady-State” cosmology – Big Bang’s popular competitor at the time.
Can’t see anything? Try this sharper version of the same image with a resolution identical to the best NASA technology (WMAP) for cosmic microwave radiation.
WMAP Astrophotography Surprise
Can you guess what it is yet? or is it still too obscure?
Well, when you are ready – lets take a look at it with the resolution of an ordinary camera.
IAU has no Definition for Big Bang
(c) Copyright 2011 David Dilworth
3 Quarks Daily Semi-Finalist Logo
“…the [Big Bang] definition is a mess.” – Prof. P. James E. Peebles, Princeton University, Feb. 2011
News: (Carmel, California) The world’s most widely respected astrophysics organization, the International Astronomical Union (or IAU), has affirmed that it has no definition for any Big Bang model.
(c) Copyright 2013 Louis Marmet
The WMAP estimate of the age of the Universe, 13.77 ± 0.06 Gyr (billion years), is challenged once again by two recent publications. The study of a nearby star shows that it is older than the Universe. The other study finds that starburst galaxies already existed one billion years after the Big Bang. These new results add weight to the arguments that the Universe is much older than claimed by some cosmologists.
Methuselah Star (HD 140283) relative to our other neighboring stars. Credit: DailyGalaxy.com
The first study reports new measurements made on a star called HD 140283. This “Methuselah” star, located only 190 light-years away from us, is estimated to be 14.4 ± 0.8 Gyr-old. The improvement in the estimate of its age results from a more accurately known distance to the star obtained from parallax measurements using the Hubble Space Telescope. The more accurate determination allows a better measurement of its absolute luminosity. Using the luminosity, the known composition of the star from spectroscopic data and temperature measurements, models of stellar formation allow a reevaluation of its age.
A Higgs Boson? – Likely
“The preliminary results with the full 2012 data set are magnificent and to me it is clear that we are dealing with a Higgs boson though we still have a long way to go to know what kind of Higgs boson it is
Higgs boson trails
,” said CERN’s CMS Experiment Leader and spokesman Joe Incandela
(a professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara) at a Particle Conference in Italia
This is a bold step forward as, in the midst of last year’s Public Relations circus and media firestorm, Prof Incandela was brave enough to say “We don’t know if its a Higgs boson.”
However, some CERN physicists remain concerned that it is still too early to call the particle detection a “Higgs” until the evidence is totally irrefutable. This is in part due to a slight but persistent excess of gamma-gamma decays. They are not alone.
“University of Adelaide’s Professor Anthony Thomas, director of the Adelaide node of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Particle Physics at the Terascale, said “This work adds some confidence concerning one feature of the Higgs, namely its couplings to bosons.
However, the essential missing element is the coupling to fermions and there we still need more information and this may not come until after the shutdown of the Large Hadron Collider — not until 2015.”
CERN itself was rather cautious, notably not claiming a Higgs discovery which would allow Nobel prizes for scientists involved with “the new particle discovered at CERN last year is looking more and more like a Higgs boson. However, more analysis is still required before a definitive statement can be made.”
Higgs Theorists Winning 2010 Sakurai Prize: Kibble, Guralnik, Hagen, Englert, and Brout (Peter Higgs absent)
Instead CERN suggested this might be a “super-Higgs” opening doors to new worlds of physics.
A “Standard Model” Higgs Boson? – Not Yet.
Rocket Explosion From Software Bug (Ariane 5)
The $500 million dollar European satellite carrying Ariane-5 rocket blew up 37 seconds into its first launch – because of a one line software bug.
The $1.4 billion US Air Force B-2 bomber wouldn’t fly on its maiden flight — thanks to a software bug.
Later a B-2 bomber crashed and burned due to another software bug.
“If debugging is taking bugs out of software – then programming must mean putting bugs in . . .” – Doug Goodall, Assembly Language Poet, 1989 (1)
This article is to let us ponder the complexity and potential flaws of computer programs used in astrophysics and cosmology.
You’ve probably heard a thousand times that a Proton is made up of three Quarks: Two Up-Quarks and one Down-Quark. Right?
So lets just take a quick look to see how they add up.
OK – an Up Quark weighs in at 1.7 to 3.1 (MeV/c — Million Electron Volts divided by by the speed of light. That is its “rest-mass.”)
and a Down-Quark weighs in at 4.1-5.7 (MeV/c)
So two Up Quarks ~ 3.4 to 6.2 MeV/c
And One Down Quark ~ 4.1 to 5.7 MeV/c
Total ~ 7.5 to 11.9 MeV/c
Now a Proton weighs in at 938 MeV/c.
Whoa ! That doesn’t add up. This means a Proton is at least 80 times heavier that the three quarks !
(c) Copyright 2012 Louis Marmet
Q2343-BX442: A false color composite image of galaxy BX442 generated with data from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and the W.M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii. (Credit: David Law/Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics)
A team of astronomers have reported the discovery of the oldest spiral galaxy known so far. What makes this discovery interesting is that this grand-design spiral galaxy already existed 3 billion years after the Big Bang when the universe was too hot and chaotic to allow such a regular structure to survive long enough to be seen.
Usually, galaxies born this early after the Big Bang look clumpy and irregular. When the astronomers saw the regular spiral arms of this unusual galaxy, they studied it further with the Keck Observatory in Hawai’i. The results confirmed that grand-design spiral galaxies existed at a very early age of the universe.
“There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.” – Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi (1)
Gold Rush Prospectors
Q: What’s the difference between a religious fanatic and an extreme science “enthusiast” ?
A: I’m beginning to wonder.
Neither seems to understand that there are boundaries to science.
You might have seen the New York Times Headline on July 4th “Physicists Find Elusive Particle Seen as Key to Universe”
A proton-proton collision event in the CMS experiment producing two high-energy photons (red towers). This is what we would expect to see from the decay of a Higgs boson but it is also consistent with background Standard Model physics processes. © CERN 2012
“I think we have it”
said Rolf-Dieter Heuer, the director general of CERN.
While CERN’s spokespeople were reasonably tentative in their description (they called it “Higgs-like”), they did not exhibit as much caution as the OPERA folks did when announcing the evidence for potentially faster than light Neutrinos. This time CERN went to a lot of skillful effort to make it a media circus – and succeeded.
But did they find a Higgs particle?
For the second year in a row an article from this CosmologyScience.com website was voted one of the best science blog articles of the year at 3-Quarks Daily. This is thanks to friends, colleagues and you readers.
This year articles from two authors on CosmologyScience.com were nominated:
“Observation of two early yet mature galaxies: Rare objects or is Big Bang model inaccurate?” by the brilliant Louis Marmet of Canada’s National Research Council,
Posted in Contest, Fun, News
Its official – no “Faster than Light” Neutrinos at CERN.
CERN (not OPERA) Research Director Sergio Bertolucci announced yesterday at a Japanese conference that they have re-run the Neutrino experiments on four different machines and all neutrinos seem to be obeying the speed limit.
“Although this result isn’t as exciting as some would have liked,” said Bertolucci, “it is what we all expected deep down. The story captured the public imagination, and has given people the opportunity to see the scientific method in action – an unexpected result was put up for scrutiny, thoroughly investigated and resolved in part thanks to collaboration between normally competing experiments. That’s how science moves forward.”
Gigantic pillars of Big Bang are creaking and starting to collapse like colossal dominoes. These are tumultuous times in Cosmology.
Dark Matter -- You're Out !
Recently I described how the “The voice you hear getting louder is Brünnhilde practicing Götterdämmerung” in describing the fruitless and essentially completed search for Higgs Bosons. (Update: See “Did CERN Find a Higgs ? Well not quite. But they probably found a New Particle ! and extended their funding for years“)
Well, now the hypothesis called “Dark Matter” is facing a similar fate.
What a contrast with a mere five years ago when both Dark Matter and Higgs Bosons were expected to be found rapidly.
Spin-Charge Separation Graph
Credit: Nature, Schlappa et al
Amazing news: Researchers in Switzerland split an Electron into two smaller particles – a “Spinon” and an “Orbiton;” meaning they have physically separated the spin and the orbit properties of an Electron.
Until now, standard physics generally accepted that an Electron was a fundamental particle – that it was not made of smaller components.
However, as early as 1980 theorists had predicted an electron could be made of three smaller pieces: A “Spinon” (providing spin), an “Orbiton” (providing the orbit) and a “Holon” (carrying the charge).
It is not always made clear that astronomical images are altered or “cleaned-up” before we see them. You know the colors of gasses and dust are “adjusted” so we can more easily see different astrophysical phenomena. You might be surprised to learn everything that goes into making the celestial beautiful.
Astronomical Image Enhancement Engineer Brant Widgeon explaining . . .
Well, here’s an interview with an Astronomical Image Enhancement engineer, Brant Widgeon, who describes one of the lesser known phenomena that interferes with so many space photographs.
Credit: Lucasfilm Limited
Currently the speed of light in a vacuum is just a hair under 300,000 kilometers per second (more precisely 299,792,458 kps).
“In 1983, the metre was redefined in the International System of Units (SI) as the distance travelled by light in vacuum in 1⁄299,792,458 of a second.“
Because the speed of light (known as “c” to mathematicians and physicists) does not exactly match 300,000 kilometers per second, it makes calculations for physicists and mathematicians unnecessarily tedious.
Cherenkov Radiation Credit: Wikipedia
A recent criticism of the apparently Faster-than-light (FTL) Neutrinos inspiring a lot of discussion is the claim that if Neutrinos are going FTL – they must cause Cerenkov radiation.
Why? That doesn’t make sense. And its never been observed so how would anyone test that?
Cherenkov Radiation Requires Charged Particles – But Neutrinos Have No Charge
The beautiful blue glow of Cherenkov Radiation is only caused by charged particles, primarily electrons.
I’m Not Sure about the Uncertainty Principle
(c) Copyright 2011 David Dilworth
You or I can test or measure the flavor of an apple by taking a bite of it. It is difficult to test its flavor without biting it or taking some sample out of it. Either method of “testing” changes the apple irreversibly. That’s called “Destructive Testing.”
When I take a photograph inside a building, where the light is dimmer, I usually use a flash.
Using a flash intentionally affects the subject of the photograph in a demonstrable way, and in an unintended way — some people react to a strong flash of light in their eyes. A flash often changes how someone looks in a photograph.
By contrast – photography without a flash does not affect the “model,” at least not with light.
Similarly, while X-rays show us the inner workings of some things, they also harm living photography subjects by damaging the DNA of living tissue.
Regarding the potentially Faster than light Neutrinos, it is vital to realize that only about one (1) Neutrino is detected by Italy’s OPERA every hour; that’s one Neutrino per hour.
Compare that to how every square centimeter on Earth (facing the Sun) encounters some 65 billion solar neutrinos per second.
Neutrino Beam PathCredit:OPERA
When that single neutrino hits in Italy, its timed arrival is associated (extrapolated back) to a recorded proton pulse at CERN by using the time it would take for a photon to travel the same distance.
Here’s a very clear article in (relatively) plain English explaining problems with the Cosmological Inflation conjecture by Sean Carroll in Discovery Magazine.
While I disagree with the author’s conclusion that the final ingredients of a “settled” cosmology hypothesis will include Inflation, this article is very well summarized, explained and organized.
This began as a simple question, but it has intrigued enough people that I decided to feature it as an article.
Carmel Beach has many more grains of sand than our Milky Way has Stars
“I have heard people say that there are more stars in the universe than there are the grains of sand ‘on the beach.’ What size is the beach and are the grains of sand coarse or fine? Or does the saying go “all the grains of sand on all the world’s beaches,” something I simply can’t believe to be true.”
Disclaimer: You are going to get an answer, but be warned — There will never be a definitive, conclusive, absolute, precise or final answer to this question.
Its even worse than that — we can’t even get approximate numbers with much confidence.
We can only roughly estimate the number of stars in our own galaxy. Estimates easily vary by 150 times (more than two orders of magnitude) and estimates of the number of grains of beach sand are even worse.