isaacnewton

Astronomy

Milky Way Dwarf Galaxies Thwart Newtonian Gravity?

11 May , 2009 by

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Here at Universe Today, the subject of Newtonian gravity always seems to lead to vigorous debate. Now, there’s new research to stoke it.

Manuel Metz, and astrophysicist at the German Aero-space Center, and his colleagues say dwarf galaxies in the Milky Way are arranged in a way that precludes the existence of dark matter — but also depends on it. 

“Maybe Newton was indeed wrong,” said Pavel Kroupa, an astronomer at Bonn University. “Although his theory does, in fact, describe the everyday effects of gravity on Earth, things we can see and measure, it is conceivable that we have completely failed to comprehend the actual physics underlying the force of gravity.”

As modern cosmologists rely more and more on the ominous “dark matter” to explain otherwise inexplicable observations, much effort has gone into the detection of this mysterious substance in the last two decades, yet no direct proof could be found that it actually exists. Even if it does exist, dark matter would be unable to reconcile all the current discrepancies between actual measurements and predictions based on theoretical models. Hence the number of physicists questioning the existence of dark matter has been increasing for some time now. Competing theories of gravitation have already been developed which are independent of this construction. Their only problem is that they conflict with Newton’s theory of gravitation.

In two new studies, Metz and his team have examined so-called “satellite galaxies.” This term is used for dwarf galaxy companions of the Milky Way, some of which contain only a few thousand stars. According to the best cosmological models, they exist presumably in hundreds around most of the major galaxies. Up to now, however, only 30 such satellites have been observed around the Milky Way, a discrepancy in numbers which is commonly attributed to the fact that the light emitted from the majority of satellite galaxies is so faint they remain invisible.

A detailed study of these stellar agglomerates has revealed some astonishing phenomena: “First of all, there is something unusual about their distribution,” Kroupa said, “the satellites should be uniformly arranged around their mother galaxy, but this is not what we found.” More precisely, all classical satellites of the Milky Way – the eleven brightest dwarf galaxies – lie more or less in the same plane, they are forming some sort of a disc in the sky. The research team has also been able to show that most of these satellite galaxies rotate in the same direction around the Milky Way, like the planets revolve around the Sun.

The physicists believe that this phenomenon can only be explained if the satellites were created a long time ago through collisions between younger galaxies.

“The fragments produced by such an event can form rotating dwarf galaxies,” Metz said. But there is an interesting catch to this crash theory, “theoretical calculations tell us that the satellites created cannot contain any dark matter.” This assumption, however, stands in contradiction to another observation. “The stars in the satellites we have observed are moving much faster than predicted by the Gravitational Law. If classical physics holds this can only be attributed to the presence of dark matter.” 

Or one must assume that some basic fundamental principles of physics have hitherto been incorrectly understood. “The only solution would be to reject Newton’s classical theory of gravitation,” adds Kroupa. “We probably live in a non-Newton universe. If this is true, then our observations could be explained without dark matter.” Such approaches are finding support amongst other research teams in Europe, too.

It would not be the first time that Newton’s theory of gravitation had to be modified over the past hundred years. This became necessary in three special cases: when high velocities are involved (through the Special Theory of Relativity), in the proximity of large masses (through the theory of General Relativity), and on sub-atomic scales (through quantum mechanics). 

Source: Eurekalert. The relevant papers are available here and here.

By
Anne Minard is a freelance science journalist with an academic background in biology and a fascination with outer space. Her first book, Pluto and Beyond, was published in 2007.


66 Responses

  1. Dark Gnat says:

    Decades from now, Dark Matter will be a laughable concept, like Aether.

    Which is easier to prove, the existence of an invisible, immeasurable, inactive substance, or that our current understanding is simply flawed (as every previous understanding before it).

    It is a demonstration of an enormous ego to assume a theory is correct, and spend countless resources looking for something to back up the theory, which may be wrong in the first place. It isn’t much different than Intelligent Design in that regard. We should never assume that we are right.

    That said, I don’t think we need to simply jump on the dark matter-less gravitation bandwagon, as a lot of junk “science” is out there. Any new theory must be objectively scrutinized. I have a feeling there will be tremendous resistance to such theories, as a lot of funding is riding on the standard model. I guess this is a double-edged sword.

    I’m not a supporter of all of these alternative pseudo-science theories out there, but I do believe the current model needs to be re-evaluated.

    Regardless, don’t be dissing Newton. He was a genius, and his ideas work very well on a local scale. Where would we be today without his work?

  2. Jon Hanford says:

    This story presented at several science news sites (and based on the Bonn University press release) seemed to be another attempt to bring MOND into the picture with no mention made of the currently accepted model of GR. This excerpt from the Phys.Org site: “The deviations detected in the satellite galaxy data support the hypothesis that in space where extremely weak accelerations predominate, a “modified Newton dynamic” must be adopted. This conclusion has far-reaching consequences for fundamental physics in general, and also for cosmological theories. Famous astrophysicist Bob Sanders from the University of Groningen declares: “The authors of this paper make a strong argument. Their result is entirely consistent with the expectations of modified Newtonian dynamics (MOND), but completely opposite to the predictions of the dark matter hypothesis. Rarely is an observational test so definite.” The whole tone of their story seemed rather one sided . Other science sites (like this one) don’t directly mention MOND, but the strong inference is there that Newtonian gravity may need to be ‘modified’. Why not just come out and say what their getting at instead of couching the results in a poorly worded press release? Statements like this: “The only solution would be to reject Newton’s classical theory of gravitation” by Kroupa, among others, leaves me to wonder about the author’s objectivity. As others have pointed out, among the many assumptions used in both papers ( “theoretical calculations tell us that the satellites created cannot contain any dark matter.” This assumption, however, stands in contradiction to another observation. “The stars in the satellites we have observed are moving much faster than predicted by the Gravitational Law. If classical physics holds this can only be attributed to the presence of dark matter.”

    “Or one must assume that some basic fundamental principles of physics have hitherto been incorrectly understood.” ) might not their computer simulations of galaxy collisions and DM distribution be in error? On the whole, neither paper made a compelling case for dumping current theory and adopting a MOND solution, even in this special case. I’ve got nothing personally against using observations to confirm or rebut their case, just the manner that this story was presented to the lay public. It just seemed too one-sided and lacked balance. Phys.Org story can be found here: http://www.physorg.com/news160726282.html .

  3. damian says:

    Oh, Physorg Beat you to this one by days, Already inspired some debate there.

    It would be great to consider the role of dwarf galaxies in context to the Local group and ultimately Local Supercluster of Galaxies. Is there any evidence for Lagrangian type points to Galaxies and Galaxy groups?

    Let the Dark Matter games begin. :)

  4. Jon Hanford says:

    @ Dark Gnat: Above you’ve stated “It is a demonstration of an enormous ego to assume a theory is correct, and spend countless resources looking for something to back up the theory, which may be wrong in the first place. It isn’t much different than Intelligent Design in that regard. We should never assume that we are right. ” Were you referring to proponents of Plasma Cosmology, Electric Universe, Plasma Universe, and AWT, among others? Above you also stated: “I’m not a supporter of all of these alternative pseudo-science theories out there, but I do believe the current model needs to be re-evaluated.” As others have already pointed out elsewhere, the current model is constantly ‘re-evaluated’ in light of new observations and research being made. At least we can agree on your statements concerning Newton: “Where would we be today without his work? “

  5. tacitus says:

    It isn’t much different than Intelligent Design in that regard.

    What do you mean by this? ID is an example of a bad theory where the proponents are too ideologically hidebound to accept that there is no merit to it? If so, I would agree, but I still don’t see how that can be regarded as equivalent to Newtonian physics which at least has the merit of being true (except in very, very marginal cases).

  6. Anaconda says:

    Interesting…

    And more interesting that Universe Today was purportedly late on this story, although, I seem to remember a story similar to this in the last month or so.

    Jon Hanford states: ‘Were you referring to proponents of Plasma Cosmology, Electric Universe, Plasma Universe, and AWT, among others?”

    Hanford, that was laughable. The standard model proponents, such as yourself, espousing the gravity “only” model, or are we to say gravity “predominates” model, as electromagnetism has been confirmed by NASA to have a significant role in planetary dynamics, have attempted to “shout down” anybody that challneges their world view.

    “Shout down” is a debatable term, no doubt (and not all proponents have gone this way).

    Certainly, when it comes to “dark” matter and “dark” energy — people such as yourself have steadfastly maintained, “not detecting it doesn’t invalidate anything at all.

    Finally, somebody within the “community” is staring, pointing, and saying, “the emperor has no clothes.”

    But there is something else that must be stated: If Newtonian gravity is wrong, is Einstein’s Relativity wrong, too?

    It just goes to show, for those who wanted to censor folks like me off this website, is that the way forward in science?

    Even on a popular website.

    Robert J. Oppenheimer on Scientific freedom of inquiry:

    “There must be no barriers to freedom of inquiry … There is no place for dogma in science. The scientist is free, and must be free to ask any question, to doubt any assertion, to seek for any evidence, to correct any errors. Our political life is also predicated on openness. We know that the only way to avoid error is to detect it and that the only way to detect it is to be free to inquire. And we know that as long as men are free to ask what they must, free to say what they think, free to think what they will, freedom can never be lost, and science can never regress.”

    There are those that haven’t even given lip service to the above ideal.

    You know who you are.

    Egos, you bet. Group think, sure, close minded, absolutely.

    It’s time to respect open scientific inquiry and open COMMENT policy as well, as long as it’s polite.

  7. DrFlimmer says:

    But we already knew that our galaxy is somehow “special”. The lack of globular clusters and dwarf galaxies is long known. Even our SMBH is so quiet compared to other galaxies.

    But what about other galaxies? We have observed many big galaxies and we found many globular clusters around them, probably 10 times or more compared to the Milky Way.

    When I read this theme first somewhere else, these were my first thoughts. I wonder why all the articles never mentioned the other galaxies that seem to be “normal” (whatever this means). This is a very important point: Other galaxies seem to be in agreement with “theory”.
    So, I think it is too quick to say: “throw everything over board!”. The first step should be to find out if the MW is an exception or if other galaxies also show this “strangeness”.
    Just to say “everything is flawed” because of one example is a case of very bad statistics (I am tempted to say that this is just like Arp’s ideas about AGN – but I think I keep it with me).

  8. Nereid says:

    @Dark Gnat:

    It is a demonstration of an enormous ego to assume a theory is correct, and spend countless resources looking for something to back up the theory, which may be wrong in the first place.

    I think you rather badly misunderstand what contemporary astronomy and astrophysics are about, and how they work.

    The whole point of research is to ask new questions, and get answers (and, if no answers were forthcoming, to rephrase the questions, over and over, as often as necessary).

    A lot of resources go into surveys, which may be summarised as ‘let’s take an unbiased, detailed, look’; the data from surveys, often including the raw data, nearly always are made available, for free, and often immediately. This allows anyone – whether a professional astronomer or not, whether the author of a standard textbook or not, whether the creator of a brilliant new idea or not – to analyse the data to see how well (or how badly) it matches one or other theory.

    But suppose you were in charge of allocating time on a major telescope, or even a dozen such, how would you go about deciding who should get time on that telescope?

    Even better: suppose you have a million seconds at your disposal, on any of the major astronomical facilities, in any waveband; how would you go about deciding what to use you precious time observing? Assume, for the sake of discussion, that you have unlimited computing power, to crunch the observations from your chosen facility, in any way you wish.

  9. Anaconda says:

    @ DrFlimmer:

    DrFlimmer states: “Other galaxies seem to be in agreement with ‘theory’.”

    No. All galaxies experience rotation of the arms that is inconsistent with Newtonian gavity, if that is all that contributes to the dynamics of deep-space large structures.

    Maybe, it’s not so much that Man’s understanding of gravity is out of wack, but that other Fundamental Forces are acting on the large structures of deep-space?

    DrFlimmer states: “But we already knew that our galaxy is somehow ‘special’.”

    No. The Milky Way galaxy is simply at a particular stage in its electromagnetic evolution.

    What is interesting about this post and report is that the reported dwarf galaxies are in a placement one could postulate is due to electromagnetism being the dominant force: “the satellites should be uniformly arranged around their mother galaxy, but this is not what we found.” More precisely, all classical satellites of the Milky Way – the eleven brightest dwarf galaxies – lie more or less in the same plane, they are forming some sort of a disc in the sky. ”

    A torus or circular disk around the Milky Way.

    Just as a torus of plasma is found around the plasmoids in galaxy centers, just as toroids, “donuts”, of plasma are found to exist around the Sun, Earth, Jupiter, and Saturn.

    This toroid, “donut”, is a recurrent observation at increasing scales of size and strength.

    Star burst galaxies with electromagnetic jets emmitted from their central plasmoid are likely younger galaxies, or at the very least they are electromagnetically more active than the Milky Way for whatever reason.

    Want to see a series of pictures of the Milky Way’s active galactic nucleous in various wavelength filters (pictures can be enlarged with click on picture)?

    Do the series of pictures even come close to the imaginary word pictures or artists’ renderings of what has been represented as a so-called “black hole”?

    So-called “dark” matter is a placeholder…to keep the gravity “only” model from being falsified.

    Could “dark” matter’s “placeholder” days be drawing to a close?

  10. Nereid says:

    @Anaconda: allow me, please, to ask you the same questions I’ve just asked Dark Gnat:

    Suppose you were in charge of allocating time on a major telescope, or even a dozen such, how would you go about deciding who should get time on that telescope?

    Suppose you have a million seconds at your disposal, on any of the major astronomical facilities, in any waveband; how would you go about deciding what to use you precious time observing? Assume, for the sake of discussion, that you have unlimited computing power, to crunch the observations from your chosen facility, in any way you wish.

    The only caveat I’d like to place on your (Gedunken) choices, as perfect dictator of telescope time, is that the research must relate to dwarf galaxies in the Local Group, preferably those which are MW satellites.

  11. Feenixx says:

    One of the main differences between mainstream and fringe theories seems to be:
    Mainstream theories are continuously being adjusted and modified by their proponents, who usually fit the description of “model agnostics”.
    Fringe theories are cast in stone, and their proponents have found a way to “know” that Newton, Einstein, Heisewnberg, etc were wrong.

    Intelligent design was mentioned as a “bad theory”. I don’t believe it’s a theory of any kind at all – it isn’t based on observation and measurement, not even on flawed observation, which would make it something I’d agree to call a “bad theory”. I reckon calling it a “conjecture” would be more appropriate.

    Funny that I earlier today I wrote a comment in another thread when somebody asked me what I reckon about MOND, and I said I wouldn’t necessarily call it “fringe”. It seems to “play by the rules”, but it also looks vague and a little half-baked, perhaps in need of more time and work spent on it. This looks like a MOND case…. vague, and needs more work, but utterly fascinating.
    Away with me now, to Physics Org…
    Off with me to

  12. Nereid says:

    @Anaconda: are you going to return to our discussion, on the other UT story? I think you promised that you would comment on what I wrote …

  13. Sili says:

    I was frustrated when I heard the SGU kibbits about this without getting some expert in for clarification. I’m now disappointed the UT hasn’t made more of an effort to elaborate (I know, I know, I’m not paying anything for the privilege of reading). But to say that it generates comments and is contrversial and then just rehash the press releases is pretty annoying.

    Why can’t this obsevation be modelled if there’s DM in the clusters? That strikes me as a very sweeping generalisation without much explanation for the laypeople.

    Sorry. DM still works pretty damn elegantly. And I have yet to hear anyone give a good explanation for the galaxy cluster collisions within a MOND framework. Why would the MOND force not be ‘central’ (sorry I can’t recall the proper word for “directed along the vector connecting the masses)? Pardon me, but I don’t care if you don’t DM is ‘pretty’. I think making gravity curve at a distance is ugly.

  14. Dark Gnat says:

    Jon Hanford

    I’m mearly saying that we need to keep an open mind. History has shown that new or radical scientific ideas are met with skepticism, and sometimes hostility.

    That said, bogus theories need to be shot down with good science, not simply dismissed outright.

    Dark matter has never been observed, and may not be observable at all, especially if it isn’t real. If we go for 500 years on the assumption that it does exist, and are then proven wrong, we would feel like fools. Think of the what we could have learned if we had just looked in the right places, or made sure our “measuring sticks” were accurate.

    Simply assuming that dark matter exist, and then trying to find the evidence for it is questionable in my opinion. It might turn out to be right, but all other explanations need to be eliminated, and the current models must be rechecked. Otherwise we might miss out on an amazing breakthrough.

    It just appears that Dark matter is becomeing a catch all for anything unexplained. Don’t know why a planet is moving a certain way?
    Dark Matter! Don’t know why galaxies are distributed the way they are? Dark Matter! Why does one sock always disappear in a load of laundry? Dark Matter! :)

    If it is proven to be a reality, then a new name needs to be applied. Something more descriptive this time!

  15. Nereid says:

    Anaconda wrote:

    What is interesting about this post and report is that the reported dwarf galaxies are in a placement one could postulate is due to electromagnetism being the dominant force: “the satellites should be uniformly arranged around their mother galaxy, but this is not what we found.” More precisely, all classical satellites of the Milky Way – the eleven brightest dwarf galaxies – lie more or less in the same plane, they are forming some sort of a disc in the sky. ”

    A torus or circular disk around the Milky Way.

    Just as a torus of plasma is found around the plasmoids in galaxy centers, just as toroids, “donuts”, of plasma are found to exist around the Sun, Earth, Jupiter, and Saturn.

    This toroid, “donut”, is a recurrent observation at increasing scales of size and strength.

    Star burst galaxies with electromagnetic jets emmitted from their central plasmoid are likely younger galaxies, or at the very least they are electromagnetically more active than the Milky Way for whatever reason.

    Interesting words.

    Is there more to this idea than just words?

    For example, is there even the outline of a model, based on the relevant equations (Maxwell’s, for example)? And if there is, has it been written down and published somewhere, so that it can be subject to objective, independent scrutiny?

    If so, may we know where?

    And if so, how you would, Anaconda, propose that such an idea be tested? Specifically, what astronomical observations would you say would be efficient and effective in testing this idea?

  16. Nereid says:

    Dark Gnat wrote:

    It just appears that Dark matter is becomeing a catch all for anything unexplained. Don’t know why a planet is moving a certain way?
    Dark Matter! Don’t know why galaxies are distributed the way they are? Dark Matter! Why does one sock always disappear in a load of laundry? Dark Matter!

    Again, I have no idea how you came to these conclusions, because they are little more than a grotesque parody IMHO.

    CDM (cold dark matter) has become a successful component of contemporary cosmological models because it provides a simple, consistent explanation, across an astonishing range of types of observations.

    Similarly, it is successful in studies of galaxy dynamics.

    Ditto wrt observations of rich clusters of galaxies.

    And here’s the real kicker: all three independent sets of research reach the same conclusion; namely, that CDM comprises ~85% of the mass-energy of mass!

    Perhaps because you know little of the history of this topic in astronomy you do not know of the several severe issues that the CDM idea has run into, stretching back over seven decades now; for example, when one set of observations produced results wrt CDM that were inconsistent with another set (usually a pretty good indication that the underlying idea is flawed). Such inconsistencies became the focus of research (especially observational), precisely because they offered opportunities to learn something new, to confirm that the CDM idea was fatally flawed, etc.

    And yet, what happened, every time so far? (I’ll leave you to have a go at working out the answer).

  17. Nereid says:

    Typo:
    “CDM comprises ~85% of the mass-energy of mass”
    ->
    “CDM comprises ~85% of the mass-energy of matter

  18. Anaconda says:

    @ Nereid:

    Dark Gnat states: “It is a demonstration of an enormous ego to assume a theory is correct, and spend countless resources looking for something to back up the theory, which may be wrong in the first place.”

    And Nereid responds: “I think you rather badly misunderstand what contemporary astronomy and astrophysics are about, and how they work.”

    Typical from Nereid: “You don’t understand “US”.

    No, Nereid, the truth is that you can’t see youself in the mirror as others see you.

    You constantly request peer-reviewed papers, but fail to acknowledge that peer-reviewed journals are a closed shop (Plasma Cosmology papers need not apply).

    After a while one does not waste time doing work that will be summarily rejected.

    As far as aportioning telescope time (a way to refer to ‘resources’, i.e., money), perhaps, it should be split up so that at least the “best” of a rival school of analysis & interpretation gets a “shot” to make observations on the best equipmen currently available.

    Today, a lot of what you have is redundant ideas from the standard model with little originality, while rival schools are locked out period.

    Imagine how much more vital astronomy would be if it wasn’t dominated by one school of analysis & interpretation that increasingly shows signs of being fundamentally wrong.

    Science does flourish with actual competition from rival schools of thought, not sham group-think where everbody pats each other on the back and parrots whatever is in fashion.

  19. Anaconda says:

    @ Nereid:

    Nereid, it is apparent you are an apologist for “modern” astonomy’s status quo.

    Have you EVER spoken out against the status quo? Just asking.

    Nereid, you come across as an ideological “keeper of the flame” which justifies the status quo no matter how much evidence suggests it is fundamentally worng.

    You quote a passage from my comment and respond: ” interesiting words.”

    But fail to challenge a single concept raised.

    Popular websites allow for altenative concepts to be raised.

    And you know what Nereid, there may be papers out there, there may not, but I can recognize patterns and put 2 and 2 together.

    Perhaps, because it matches what has been observed, and you, being informed, also know these patterns exist “out there”, but you can’t leave the status quo “porch”, chained as you are to “dogma” and protecting the money spigot.

    Have you considered anything creative in astronomy, Nereid? Or has your career been about protecting the accepted status quo?

    No matter what?

  20. Nereid says:

    @Anaconda: Fraser requested that comments “be nice”, and I intend to do my best to keep to his request.

    The papers that are published in relevant, peer-reviewed journals are open, and in a great many cases, free (although you may have to be satisfied with rather older ones – access to recent papers is restricted to those who subscribe – or preprints).

    If an alternative idea has legs, it will get up; if someone without a connection with a research institute or university comes up with a good idea, by all means let them write it up and get it published! It’s not hard to do. Once any such good idea is published, anyone can build on it, test it (through observations, etc), and so on.

    OTOH, if the alternative idea fails, then the paper in which its published is unlikely to be cited much, is it?

    Well-established theories in physics (and so astrophysics) today were not always so well-established; indeed, go back far enough and they didn’t exist at all. So how did they become well-established?

    Take CDM as an example.

    AFAIK, the first mention of this was by Zwicky, in the early 1930s, in respect to the Coma cluster of galaxies. Oort proposed something similar for the region of the MW near the Sun, more or less at the same time.

    Fast forward a decade or so, and we find Zwicky’s work has been independently verified, and a ‘dark matter’ signal found in several rich clusters. Not so Oort’s; more and better observations showed that there is little, if any, DM near the Sun, and certainly nothing like as much as Oort concluded, from his analyses.

    Fast forward another decade or so, and we find Rubin and Ford proposing that the rotation curves of a few (normal) spiral galaxies show they have dark matter halos. Very much against the status quo, and they got a lot of flack for this (especially Rubin, a young woman grad student at the time, IIRC).

    And so on.

    Science is not static; there is no inviolable, sacred text; all theories live or die by their ability to account for all relevant observations and experimental results, and to do so quantitatively (assuming they are internally consistent, etc).

    In the case of dark matter, “all relevant observations and experimental results” is a huge dataset, so it is relatively easy to quickly test any alternatives. And alternatives like Peratt’s (which have been published, btw) are easy to test, and to show they have a great many weaknesses (i.e. are strongly inconsistent with much of the relevant observational datasets); no surprise then to learn that his papers on this topic have essentially zero citations (other than by his own, later, papers).

    Now here’s a surprise: despite its obvious flaws (e.g. it is incompatible with special relativity), MOND does a half-way decent job of accounting for all those relevant observations etc. And the published extensions which incorporate relativity do too. OTOH, it has some weaknesses, so it’s an open question as to whether it can be tweaked to address them.

  21. Aqua says:

    Thank you for posting this release.

    Although it opens a Pandora’s Box for those who are ‘attracted’ to this or that theory of gravitation, its good to see that you’ve made the decision not to shy away from the debate! Your publication of this story with its controversial theories assures me of your site’s continued journalistic integrity.

    In a perfect world, knowlege would be free… like truth or beauty. Instead we all too often find ourselves holding on to ideas as if they were gold or some other precious posession to be hoarded and not shared.

    What a shame, and such a waste.

  22. covariant says:

    “despite its obvious flaws (e.g. it is incompatible with special relativity)”

    I really don’t think this “flaw” can be overstated. I would call it more of a “fatal disease” than a flaw, personally.

    Generically, breaking Lorentz covariance is catastrophically bad for a theory. It just slaughters it. Typically, if Lorentz covariance is broken *at all* it is also broken as much as you want it to be.

    We have, however, done very many extremely careful experiments that have observed that Lorentz invariance is good to (at worst case) about 1 part in 10^-40 or so. More optimistic estimates can yield better estimates, but it’s at least this good.

    So, really, you’d better have a damned good reason for doing anything to violate Lorentz invariance. As far as I know, any scheme to violate this (other than “spontaneously breaking” it, or other similar things, which are outside of this scope) is extremely contrived, has “fine tuning” problems, needed to prevent runaway Lorentz violations, and has serious phenomenological problems. In fact, the problems are bad enough that these theories generically break, well, all of the laws of physics (at once).

    Since it’s really the case that Lorentz covariance at every point = GR, and GR at low energies uniquely gives you Newtonian gravity, there is very little room for modifications which do not blatantly break the laws of physics.

    So based simply on this, one can really rule out almost any conceivable MOND theory, as breaking all of the laws of physics, and certainly all of the proposed ones.

    The very very best one could hope to do is propose some kind of MOND-like theory is an “effective long-range theory”–that is, there are medium-range interactions we don’t understand that are compatible with GR, but average out to give you something that looks funny. [This is the same kind of thing we do when we describe how E&M in matter works, without needing to describe the E&M field interacting with every single atom and molecule in the solid.]

    But this is *exactly what dark matter is*!!! It says there’s a medium-range interaction caused by other particles out there, that averages out to give you strange things like rotation curves different than you predicted!

    Dark matter really is the only answer! That’s why it’s taken so seriously!

  23. Aqua says:

    GO Atlantis! Nothing like a new pair of eyes, AND a new brain! ~@; )

    P.S. Please send us some answers to our questions.

  24. Surak says:

    @Anaconda

    “After a while one does not waste time doing work that will be summarily rejected.”

    No need for any excuses for why you have no published work to substantiate your claims.

    Just show us your work directly here. No more arm-waving and quoting of other arm-wavers … let’s see your actual work, your calculations posted right here so that others can work through it.

    If your work is correct, if your peers (the rest of us) can’t find any problems with the calculations, you will be vindicated and will be one step closer to that trip to Stockholm.

    If your work does not add up, failing to explain basic observations that other theories have no problem handling, you will have the benefit of being able to go away and work on the problem more or dreaming of some new theory instead of wasting time promoting a broken idea here.

    I’m no physicist, but I’m sure there must be readers here who would be up to the challenge of reviewing your work.

    However, if you are unable to post your work at all here for your peers to judge, you will be shown to truly be nothing but an arm-waver and will lose any credibility that you may have enjoyed here … a Troll will be laid to rest at last.

    What’s it going to be Anaconda? Will you put your money where your mouth is?

  25. Anaconda says:

    Actually as a model, Peratt’s work is solid, it’s not cited because it goes against the thinking in “modern” astronomy that gravity is the predominate force for shaping deep-space structures.

    It follows up on Winston H. Bostick’s (1916-1991) work where plasma in the lab actually formed small-scale structures that were similar to what galaxies look like (the plasmoid).

    Nereid, in another post you commented on how electromagnetism was considered and rejected by “modern” astronomy — hardly, it was dismissed out of hand and never seriously considered.

    But has subsequently been found to be pervasive in the solar system.

    Getting back to the post, if Science’s understanding of gravity is incomplete anything that was based on an incomplete understanding is also likely to be incomplete.

    Such would be the case with Einstein’s thought experiments which led to General Relativity.

    MOND was seriously entertained by “modern” astronomy exactly because it was an effort to sustain the “big bang”, “black hole” construct in the face of anomalous observations. Mond has been downplayed and the anomalies generally ignored.

    The “big bang” aka something out of nothing — creationism, by another name and “black holes” are the line in the sand that “modern” astronomers dare not cross — if they want to stay in the “community” — numerous astronomers were “kicked” out of the “community” for challenging these basic assumptions.

    The message has been sent and received.

    That electromagnetism explains deep-space structures without recourse to either the “big bang” or “black holes” is it original sin.

  26. Surak says:

    Just more arm-waving.

    Show your proof, your calculations that back your claims.

    You are free to challenge any basic assumption. … but without actual proof that we can review, your challenge will be meaningless.

    Astronomers have not rejected electromagnetism … without it we would have almost no observations of the universe.

    I can arm-wave too. When I drain my bath-tub, I see a spiral pattern of water going down the drain due to gravity … Held to your standard of no proof / no calculations being required, this is just as good a proof for gravity creating the structure of galaxies as your plasmoids.

  27. Lawrence B. Crowell says:

    I frankly hope that this is not due to MOND, at least as it is formulated. Potentially a resetting of general relativity might be at work. Maybe connection terms established in conformally flat regions, instead of just flat regions, might establish some new gravitational physics on the galactic scale. In working this I have thought it would apply on the > 50Mpc scale instead of the .1Mpc scale.

    Lawrence B. Crowell

  28. Damien says:

    Dark Gnat said: “Dark matter has never been observed, and may not be observable at all, especially if it isn’t real.”

    Dark matter has been observed indirectly through gravitational lensing effects. In fact, whole sky surveys have mapped a patchwork of dark matter. There is little doubt that it exists, just the specific details aren’t well understood at this time.

    Dark Gnat said: “If we go for 500 years on the assumption that it does exist, and are then proven wrong, we would feel like fools.”

    Hardly. If after 500 years there is still compelling evidence for the existence of dark matter and no other theory/observation has been more successful, then it simply strengthens the need for further research of DM.

    Dark Gnat said: “Think of the what we could have learned if we had just looked in the right places, or made sure our “measuring sticks” were accurate”

    Science is capable on working on more than one thing at a time, you know.

    Dark Gnat said: “Simply assuming that dark matter exist, and then trying to find the evidence for it is questionable in my opinion”

    Why is it questionable? If the underlying assumption is reasonable and observations haven’t contradicted the assumption, indeed, have supported it, then why is it questionable? It’s far more questionable to invent a new classical gravity theory based around fudging Newtonian gravity (why not GR?) to make the observations fit. And no one ever seems to mention the fact that MOND is incompatible with general relativity.

    Dark Gnat said: “It might turn out to be right, but all other explanations need to be eliminated, and the current models must be rechecked.”

    That’s what science does and is continuing to do. As I said before, science is a wavefront, not a single body working on a single problem at a time.

  29. Anaconda says:

    @ Surak:

    Just like you, I’m no physicist, and I don’t pretend to be one, neither am I a mathematician.

    Plasma physics and by extension Plasma Cosmology can be quantified, more so than the “big bang”, “black hole” paradigm that “modern” astronomy labors under, today.

    So what have we — a crisis of gravity because observations contradict the paradigm.

    A crisis because of “dark” matter. Outlandish papers are published in peer-reviewed journals on “dark” energy being “frozen” sometime in the past. A regular Baskin Robbins with 31 flavors of “black holes” (I’m exaggerating for effect).

    But the cat’s out of the bag: as EureckAlert! captions the report: “Study plunges standard theory of cosmology into crisis”

    With the subtitle: “New insights into Milky Way satellite galaxies raise awkward questions for cosmologists”

    These are not my words, although, I have stated similar words and concerns and been ridiculed for my efforts.

    Surak, you should be more concerned with Crowell’s comment, now he is a mathematician, the type that has taken over “modern” astronomy and analyze his comment.

    Complete hand waving at least apparently from your perspective, but would you visit your comment on him? Not likely because he stands four-sqare for the ‘big bang” and ‘black holes” and all the rest of the menagerie that “modern” astonomy has concocted to support the “big bang”, “black hole” paradigm.

    I’ve read plenty about being willing to adjust theories, all well and good, if their basis is sound to start with, but if not it doesn’t matter how much you re-jigger them. It only leads “modern” astronomy farther astray.

    2009 is the “year of astronomy”. Yes, but not for the reasons the organizers thought.

    I have a prediction: As more acute observations & measurements are recorded, more anomalous results will come forth.

    Damien states: “Why is it questionable? If the underlying assumption is reasonable and observations haven’t contradicted the assumption, indeed, have supported it, then why is it questionable?”

    The underlying assumption was made BECAUSE observations & measurements contradicted the theory.

    Yes, “dark” matter was hypothesized 70 years ago, but in actuality a different type of “dark” matter entirely. Zwicky hypothesized normal matter that didn’t emit any electromagnetic energy — a different “animal” from today’s “dark” matter as I understand the history and today’s hypothesized “dark” matter.

    Today’s “dark” matter was proposed in direct response to observations & measurements that falsified the theory at a basic level.

    So-called “dark” energy and “dark” matter supposedly make up more than 80% of the matter in the Universe and its undetectable???

    Make no mistake, there is a crisis of cosmology.

    Perhaps, if “modern” astronomy had a more open-mind and taught electrodynamics to young budding astronomists that had math skills, you would have your crop of new Nobel Prize winners.

    I do what I can — which is limited — I’m the first one to admit that.

    I am, however, an observer, and I can apply logic and reason to observations.

    I present ideas, here, that are not original to myself.

    Likely, if my ideas were original they would be deleted unless they fit the “big bang”, “black hole” paradigm then they would possibly pass without comment, maybe even receive favorable comments, who knows.

    That seems to be the thing — as long as your ideas fit the current paradigm you can come up with anything and you might even get them published in a peer-reviewed journal, see above as in “frozen” so-called “dark” energy.

  30. covariant says:

    “A crisis because of “dark” matter. Outlandish papers are published in peer-reviewed journals on “dark” energy being “frozen” sometime in the past. A regular Baskin Robbins with 31 flavors of “black holes” (I’m exaggerating for effect).”

    I’m sorry, but that’s just stupid. It’s condensing out from a phase transition. This is the same thing that caused the CMB, it caused baryons to condense in the early universe, it caused the cosmic neutrino background, it’s how particles condense out of a quark-gluon plasma, etc, etc, etc. Criticizing the idea phase transitions is just totally insane.

    “Perhaps, if “modern” astronomy had a more open-mind and taught electrodynamics to young budding astronomists that had math skills, you would have your crop of new Nobel Prize winners.”

    Believe it or not, every single physicist is required to take an entire year of electromagnetism in their first year. And a number of physicists, myself included, have a quite extensive background in math. Some of us even have multiple degrees. And you know what? Not one, not *one* take MOND, let alone other “alternative” theories very seriously.

    You really need to go learn some basic math and physics. Learn *HOW* dark matter comes out of the theories. Learn *HOW* Newtonian mechanics comes out of GR. Learn *HOW* GR comes out of SR. Learn where SR comes from.

    I expect to not hear from you again until you can tell me how (using math) to derive the Lagrangian for GR from local SR (math), take the low-energy limit (math), and get Newtonian mechanics, and then tell me exactly which assumptions are invalid (using math again) and how MOND does not contradict (using math) the observed low-energy limits and local symmetries (math again).

    If you can’t do this homework-level difficulty problem, you have absolutely no business telling physicists how to do their job!

    It’s no problem asking for clarifications, or explanations or whatever, but trying to tell the entire scientific community they are wrong when you yourself don’t know what it is that they actually do is just arrogant and offensive.

  31. Damien says:

    Anaconda said: “The underlying assumption was made BECAUSE observations & measurements contradicted the theory”.

    Which theory, classical Newtonian physics? We’ve moved on since then to a more accurate description of gravity (GR), with which MOND is incompatible. I don’t see the point you’re trying to make.

    How do you explain the DM gravitational lensing maps? If there was nothing there (ie, DM doesn’t exist), what bent the light rays? MOND certainly cannot explain it. It has to be some kind of unseen matter – hmmm, let’s call it dark matter!

  32. Surak says:

    @Anaconda

    As I expected. You failed utterly.

    You did nothing but try and change the focus of the debate, try to move my attention onto other people, and avoid showing any kind of proof to validate your beliefs.

    It’s really sad that you can not see that you are the very thing you claim to be fighting against.

    You rattle off all the flaws with ‘the paradigm’ but you won’t acknowledge the massive flaws in your theory that are exposed by easy observations of the world around us … this alone proves that you in fact do not “apply logic and reason to observations.”.

    You need to learn more about the theory you believe in.

    You will continue to be nothing but a nuissance and laughing stock here until you can quantifiably close the massive holes in your theory, and truly prove that your theory can explain the universe around us better than ‘the paradigm’ does … something that none of the idols you follow have been able to do.

    Otherwise, I can simply continue to wave my arms, pointing out that water draining from a bath-tub looks like a spiral, that therefore galaxies get their structure from gravity … and I will have more credibility than your ‘plasmoids’.

    And a reminder … Neutrinos were theorized long before they were detectable, and remain only just barely detectable today … they could pass through a slab of lead several light-years thick without interacting with the lead … but are quite real none-the-less.

    Is it really so hard to imagine particles that interact with familiar matter even less?

  33. damian says:

    ER, Just to avoid confusion. New Dami(e)n is not me, Dami(a)n. Who also occasionally posts here with no scientific qualifications.

    Nice Dark Matter war but. :) If I did have to stick my nose in it without any qualifications, Id say Red corner with the Electric Universe theory is down for the count. Seems to me that you have an Idea but are waiting for someone with brains to actually do the science. Dont get me wrong, its a nice idea but I do appreciate the system of peer review that your theory is NOT engaging.

    As for Dark matter, time and further study will tell, but at least its supported by a body of work that works some of the time.

    As far as these arguments in theoretical science go I am reminded of the ‘Gaia Hypothesis’, (was it the 60’s?) which was widely ridiculed at the time but has in more recent times found strong support in Environmental studies. Homeostasis is still poorly understood, but its accepted that it is in fact occurring.

    Regards
    Damian K

  34. Torbjorn Larsson OM says:

    I’ll have to agree with Jon Hanford and Sili, this was a case of presenting a press release only. And badly at that, cutting the author’s obvious MOND agenda out.

    Not being an astrophysicist I quickly scanned the two papers referred to in the original press release without being able to find any hard DM prediction.

    Seems to me the authors have found a distribution of galaxies which isn’t the expected. (Not a unique event, I believe the latest observations of early galaxy sizes got some heads scratched too.) But no verification of actually breaking predicted DM dynamics, as opposed to Sanders’ claim that it is “completely opposite to the predictions of the dark matter hypothesis. Rarely is an observational test so definite.”

    covariant mentions some problems with MOND. I believe I read elsewhere that besides DM being the natural explanation tested by Bullet et al clusters, a MOND needing a lot of fine-tuning, observations now make these theories specific for each instance. I.e. they don’t seem like candidates for a general theory anymore.

  35. Torbjorn Larsson OM says:

    Re homeostasis, I find it fascinating that the basic carbon cycle(s) “homeostasis” may have two outer feedback loops. Kind of.

    First, besides the basic biological and water-atmosphere cycle(s) it seems there is a long geological carbon cycle where carbonates gets recycled through plate tectonics. IIRC colder climate will eventually release more carbon to restore the balance. (At the moment I don’t remember the mechanism. But I believe that is what they hypothesize protects us from Iceball Earth events.)

    Second, AFAIU water has been suggested as needed to lubricate plate tectonics. Too hot a climate, say Venus hot house, and the plates may stop. That is rightly a runaway break of the above loop so I guess it doesn’t exactly place under homeostasis feedback loops. Except if you cheat and say that “water maintains water”. 😉

  36. Trippy says:

    What’s really funny about all of this is this:

    We have known for some fifteen years now that MOND does not fully explain away the mass discrepancy in galaxy clusters.

    -M. Milgrom, founder of MOND.

    Even after correcting with MOND you still need in the cluster some yet undetected matter in roughly the same amount as that of the visible matter. Call it dark matter if you wish, but we think it is simply some standard matter in some form that has not been detected. It could easily be in the form of dim stars or cold gas clouds (or, some people suggested neutrinos). The thing is that you do not need much of it, only about as much as the already visible matter in the cluster.

    -M. Milgrom, Founder of MOND

    The cause for MOND is based on the fact that it has predicted with uncanny accuracy the full dynamics in over a hundred galaxies without DM, and even in cluster at large it removes a large part of the discrepancy. The fact there is still to be detected some normal matter in the universe is not really alarming.
    -M. Milgrom

    I’ll let you folk mull on that for a while, and contemplate what it means – Even the founder of MOND admits that MOND can not do away with Dark Matter (whatever it is) completely, he’s only changed at what scale it’s effects become significant, and how much there might be.

  37. Trippy says:

    Sorry, forgot to close my quote before citing the author.

  38. damian says:

    Homostasis; I know we dont need any more twits proposing unproven theories. (in this case myself)

    But what if Dwarf Galaxies and Ultimately groupings of galaxies happen to interact because its in their interest to do so?

    That the cumulative solar out-gassings of galaxies (i.e solar flares) propel them into galactic groupings. A galactic kind of Homostasis?

    From what little I understand of MOND theory, it falls over dealing on Galaxy level Clusters.

    Surely the cumulative effect of millions of suns creating solar flares will (steer) a galaxy through the interstellar medium. Gravity may not actually be that needed.

    (Once again, I’m no scientist, just musing)

    Regards
    Damian K

  39. Dark Gnat says:

    Wow, it’s amazing how words can be twisted into different meanings simply to justify a “holier than thou” rant.

    Is there really a need to indirectly throw insults and claim that everyone who is skeptical of the standard is an idiot?

  40. Nereid says:

    @Dark Gnat:

    Decades from now, Dark Matter will be a laughable concept, like Aether.

    It is a demonstration of an enormous ego to assume a theory is correct, and spend countless resources looking for something to back up the theory, which may be wrong in the first place. It isn’t much different than Intelligent Design in that regard.

    It just appears that Dark matter is becomeing a catch all for anything unexplained. Don’t know why a planet is moving a certain way?
    Dark Matter! Don’t know why galaxies are distributed the way they are? Dark Matter!

    You wrote all that right (I added some bold, so you can see just how inflammatory some of your words are)?

    Then you seem surprised at the reaction, and ask:

    Wow, it’s amazing how words can be twisted into different meanings simply to justify a “holier than thou” rant.

    Is there really a need to indirectly throw insults and claim that everyone who is skeptical of the standard is an idiot?

    Scepticism is healthy, and welcome; ignorance is neither.

    Perhaps you’d have received a warmer reception if you’d tried to understand a bit more of the subject, BEFORE you let fire with both barrels?

  41. Nereid says:

    Anaconda wrote:

    Want to see a series of pictures of the Milky Way’s active galactic nucleous in various wavelength filters (pictures can be enlarged with click on picture)?

    Do the series of pictures even come close to the imaginary word pictures or artists’ renderings of what has been represented as a so-called “black hole”?

    Of course they don’t; nor does anyone suggest that they should.

    A multi-million sol SMBH (super-massive black hole) at SgrA*’s distance would have an event horizon that would be considerably smaller than a pixel, in any of those images.

    You constantly request peer-reviewed papers, but fail to acknowledge that peer-reviewed journals are a closed shop (Plasma Cosmology papers need not apply).

    After a while one does not waste time doing work that will be summarily rejected.

    Do you have some evidence for this closed shop/summary rejection?

    Have you, perhaps, written a Plasma Cosmology paper, submitted it (to ApJ, say), and had it rejected?

    As far as aportioning telescope time (a way to refer to ‘resources’, i.e., money), perhaps, it should be split up so that at least the “best” of a rival school of analysis & interpretation gets a “shot” to make observations on the best equipmen currently available.

    Two things:

    * suppose you are the only decision-maker wrt allocating telescope time, whether it’s the Hubble Space Telescope, the VLTs, the Kecks, XMM-Newton, Fermi, Spitzer, or H.E.S.S.

    How – in a little more detail – do you go about deciding which are the best rival schools of analysis & interpretation with respect to allocating resources?

    * how would you use any of the world’s premier astronomy facilities to test Plasma Cosmology, with respect to direct alternatives to “dark matter”?

    What telescopes would you use? Where would you point them? How would you process the data from the telescopes to test your ideas?

    Actually as a model, Peratt’s work is solid, it’s not cited because it goes against the thinking in “modern” astronomy that gravity is the predominate force for shaping deep-space structures.

    I’ve already commented on why Peratt’s work on galaxies is a failure, in terms of the gross inconsistencies between observation and theory, and I think you read my comments. So I don’t know why you are repeating this demonstrably false claim; would you care to explain?

    For the benefit of other readers, here is a small selection of reasons why Peratt’s model fails:

    * there is no observational evidence of ~35 kpc wide, ~300 Mpc – 3 Gpc long filaments

    * few, if any, spiral galaxies have bulges with the double-peaked morphology required in Peratt’s model

    * local spiral galaxies have significant populations of stars that are much more than 1-5 billion years’ old (in Peratt’s model, star formation begins when filaments interact, and spiral shapes last no more than ~5 billion years).

    Note that these are quite fatal to Peratt’s model, not least because the heart of the model is plasma scaling relationships; in other words, if you try to adjust the model to give greater ages to the stars, say, then other parts go out of whack wrt what’s observed.

  42. Nereid says:

    Anaconda wrote:

    MOND was seriously entertained by “modern” astronomy exactly because it was an effort to sustain the “big bang”, “black hole” construct in the face of anomalous observations. Mond has been downplayed and the anomalies generally ignored.

    Really?

    That you hold this opinion I have no doubt.

    But do you have any evidence for it? As in objective, independently verifiable evidence?

    The “big bang” aka something out of nothing — creationism, by another name and “black holes” are the line in the sand that “modern” astronomers dare not cross — if they want to stay in the “community” — numerous astronomers were “kicked” out of the “community” for challenging these basic assumptions.

    This – the bit in bold – is a widespread misrepresentation.

    General Relativity and quantum mechanics are mutually incompatible, a fact which has been known for many decades.

    The mutual incompatibility is very deep, and within the Planck regime, intolerable.

    A logical, direct, and inevitable consequence of this intolerable incompatibility is that one cannot say anything about the physical conditions of the observable universe if you ‘run the clock backwards’ to the Planck regime.

    In other words, cosmology is silent on the origin of the universe; there is no “creationism”.

    Of course, if you develop a theory which does away with the mutual incompatibility of GR and QM (and which ‘reduces to’ each, ‘in the limit’), you can address the question of the state of the universe in the Planck regime. However, no such theory is sufficiently well-established – IMHO – to warrant confidence in its predictions concerning the origins of the observable universe.

  43. Marco says:

    Dark Gnat,

    I submit that it is only ego speaking concerning research when a scientist pursues a theory in order to prove that he is right rather than to follow where the facts lead. The question of dark matter is open for the moment. Since there is definitely an unexplained phenomenon out there and the idea of dark matter appears to answer at least some aspects of the unexplained, then money spent searching for dark matter is well spent.

    There are two possibilities, dark matter either exists or it doesn’t. In either case, searching for it makes sense until the logical end of the search is reached. If it exists, in what ever form, then we must search for it. If it does not exist, then the search will discover new facts. The search for evidence of the aether produced, among other things, the true value of the speed of light which in turn led to many other discoveries. True, they may have been eventually found by other research, but the fact is that the discoveries flowed from research into something that didn’t exist.

    Something is causing an effect on galactic and larger scales. It could be dark matter, extra gravity from string theory’s 10th dimension, stars near galactic cores drinking huge amounts of Red Bull, or fairies with giant space lassoes. We don’t know yet. But searching for the answer will eventually reveal the truth. Frankly, dark matter seems to me to be a bit of hand waving in the middle of a formula. I think that historically, people in the future will view dark matter as a place holder for a gap in our understanding of the universe that we used until we found the real answer.

    As for Newton being a genius, that is indisputable. However, he, like all geniuses, was constrained by two facts. He was a human with the resulting limits and ability to make mistakes. And, he was limited by the level of knowledge available to humans at the time. Were he alive today, perhaps he could answer the dark matter question, but he was silent on the subject because science at the time could not even ask the question. Newton’s genius does not preclude us from using new information to formulate new theories.

  44. Nereid says:

    Anaconda wrote:

    Yes, “dark” matter was hypothesized 70 years ago, but in actuality a different type of “dark” matter entirely. Zwicky hypothesized normal matter that didn’t emit any electromagnetic energy — a different “animal” from today’s “dark” matter as I understand the history and today’s hypothesized “dark” matter.

    The history is considerably more complicated than this.

    Estimates of the total mass of (rich) galaxy clusters, derived from analysis of the observed redshifts of the constituent galaxies and application of the virial theorem, were (and still are) considerably greater than estimates of the total mass in the galaxies in those clusters.

    Many decades after Zwicky’s publications on the Coma cluster, x-ray observations of clusters showed that the estimated mass of the inter-galactic medium in those clusters greatly exceeded the estimated mass in all the galaxies, combined.

    Gravitational lensing observations of rich clusters also produce estimates of the total mass of the clusters being much greater than the estimated mass in all galaxies combined.

    However, the estimated total mass due to ‘baryons’ (i.e. normal matter: atoms, ions, electrons, etc) is only ~15% of the estimated total mass; the difference is, in contemporary astrophysics, due to CDM, ‘cold dark matter’, which is ‘non-baryonic’.

    Just like you, I’m no physicist, and I don’t pretend to be one, neither am I a mathematician.

    Here’s the thing Anaconda: if you are neither a physicist nor a mathematician, you cannot expect people who read you comments to take you seriously; at least not when you comment about the plausibility of alternative explanations (to CDM) of observations of rich clusters of galaxies.

    You see, there are several sets of observations, obtained using different techniques, and relying upon different physical mechanisms and processes, all of which are consistent with models involving CDM.

    Further, and pertinent to your beloved ‘electromagnetism’, at least one of the physical mechanisms used to arrive at CDM conclusions does not involve ‘gravity’ at all (the Sunyaev-Zel’dovich effect, which at its heart is the electromagnetic interaction of microwaves and ‘hot’ electrons in a plasma).

  45. DrFlimmer says:

    @ Anaconda

    Two tasks:

    Explain where PC get its energy from. You need a high amount of energy in the first place to get the universe full of plasma (otherwise you just get neutral atoms) in which the effects (you talk about all the time) can start to take place.

    Explain “Olber’s paradoxon” with PC.

  46. SeaFire says:

    <>

    You guys actually expect to have a model that explains everything in the universe?

    Not going to happen. The theories will just keep evolving and will look something like Zeno’s Paradox, getting close but never getting there.

  47. solrey says:

    Science is subject to the same powerstructure dynamics as any other institution. That’s one of the primary reasons why people should always be in the process of questioning institutional authority, be it scientific, religious, political or cultural.

    It’s not hard to identify the ‘gatekeepers of the status quo’ because they provide the most vociferous attacks towards those who question ‘accepted’ paradigms.

    Dark matter was invented into the equations in order for those equations to match observations and to salvage a hypothesis. Talk of the ‘estimated mass’ of galaxies as hard fact is erroneous, due to the fact that we really don’t understand how gravity works and may not be taking other forces into account. If the basic assumptions are incorrect, then all the hypotheses that grow from them will be flawed as well.

    @drflimmer
    Two tasks? Is that an order, or a friendly request for Anaconda?
    Do you realize that you, and several others, consistently demand answers to subject matter that ‘mainstream’ science hasn’t produced viable explanations for? Where do atomic particles and their components come from? Where do they draw their energy from? That’s basically what you’re asking, considering that atoms are anything but ‘static’.

    My opinion is that ‘particles’ condense in and out of harmonic energy states/waves. We know that pairs of particles and ‘anti’-particles ‘wink’ in and out of existence constantly, releasing the energy of their interaction as they annihilate each other, or ‘wink’ out. When particle colliders detect the constituent parts of atomic particles, what they’re forcing is a discordant harmonic that causes the individual energy waves to evaporate out of the system (particle) where they will immediately condense into a nearby, or new, harmonic system/particle. The Casimir effect is a demonstration of this, imo.
    The atomic/subatomic realm is extremely energetic, it’s not static, that’s what maintains a certain minimum level of ionization in the cosmos, which is also boosted by localized energetic events.
    That’s my opinion, Anaconda may have different ideas.

  48. DrFlimmer says:

    @ solrey and Anaconda

    Two tasks? Is that an order, or a friendly request for Anaconda?
    Do you realize that you, and several others, consistently demand answers to subject matter that ‘mainstream’ science hasn’t produced viable explanations for?

    Probably “task” is a too “hard” word, friendly request is probably better, I just wish to know his answers to my questions.

    But your second comment, solrey, is not entirely correct. This questions for example are answered (more or less) by “mainstream”. But that we ask questions that even “mainstream” may have no answer to is due to the reason that Anaconda seems to claim that “electromagnetism” can explain everything – it’s just a check to find out, what he and it can explain and what he and it cannot.

    But your interpretation of my first “task” is also not quite right. I was just asking for the energy source (in the BB it’s the Big Bang that created even the energy that fills the cosmos, now). Such a “creative” moment is missing in PC. But in order to get a plasma you need an energy source, because plasmas are mostly really hot – especially compared to the temperature of the universe that is probably only a few Kelvins cold.
    Whenever you cool a plasma the atoms will recombine (every laboratory experiment will show you that) – so to keep a plasma stable you need an energy source. Otherwise it will lose too much energy due to heat radiation and will finally “die out”.
    So: What is the energy source (and the important point is the very FIRST energy source) that started and keeps the medium in a plasma state?

    Btw: Solrey, your first part of the particle creation sounds like a quantum mechanical explanation – not too bad, I must say 😉 .
    The Casimir effect is due to “virtual” particles and prooves that particles are created and annihilated in the vaccum (a concept Hawking used for “his” radiation). A very interesting experiment, indeed.

    The atomic/subatomic realm is extremely energetic, it’s not static, that’s what maintains a certain minimum level of ionization in the cosmos

    The subatomic realm is energetic, yes, because protons (etc) contain highly relativistic quarks (and gluons and virtual particles), but that energy normally doesn’t show up outside the proton and is captured and covered by the strong force. The energy inside the proton is not able to do anything outside the proton (confinement of quarks, e.g.). This means that things happening on subatomic scales normally cannot account for things on bigger scales.
    One could say (in a “nonchalant” way): Quarks are not the reason for the existence of plasma 😉

  49. Dark Gnat says:

    Marco Says:
    May 12th, 2009 at 7:37 am
    “Dark Gnat,

    I submit that it is only ego speaking concerning research when a scientist pursues a theory in order to prove that he is right rather than to follow where the facts lead. The question of dark matter is open for the moment. Since there is definitely an unexplained phenomenon out there and the idea of dark matter appears to answer at least some aspects of the unexplained, then money spent searching for dark matter is well spent.

    There are two possibilities, dark matter either exists or it doesn’t. In either case, searching for it makes sense until the logical end of the search is reached. If it exists, in what ever form, then we must search for it. If it does not exist, then the search will discover new facts. The search for evidence of the aether produced, among other things, the true value of the speed of light which in turn led to many other discoveries. True, they may have been eventually found by other research, but the fact is that the discoveries flowed from research into something that didn’t exist.

    Something is causing an effect on galactic and larger scales. It could be dark matter, extra gravity from string theory’s 10th dimension, stars near galactic cores drinking huge amounts of Red Bull, or fairies with giant space lassoes. We don’t know yet. But searching for the answer will eventually reveal the truth. Frankly, dark matter seems to me to be a bit of hand waving in the middle of a formula. I think that historically, people in the future will view dark matter as a place holder for a gap in our understanding of the universe that we used until we found the real answer.

    As for Newton being a genius, that is indisputable. However, he, like all geniuses, was constrained by two facts. He was a human with the resulting limits and ability to make mistakes. And, he was limited by the level of knowledge available to humans at the time. Were he alive today, perhaps he could answer the dark matter question, but he was silent on the subject because science at the time could not even ask the question. Newton’s genius does not preclude us from using new information to formulate new theories.”

    See, that’s a respectable post, and actually very much in line with my views. (I might have worded some of it poorly.)

    I accept the idea of dark matter, but with great skepticism. It is important to remain skeptical of even the most widely accepted theories, otherwise vast knowledge would be lost.

    Nereid,

    You obviously misinterpreted my tone. We need more smileys here. 😉

  50. Lawrence B. Crowell says:

    Anaconda writes: “Just like you, I’m no physicist, and I don’t pretend to be one, neither am I a mathematician.” This goes for miles in explaining the difficulty here. Anaconda has hardly the foggiest idea of what he is talking about.

    Dark matter, and quantum field associations with supersymmetry, are the benchmark we work with. There is nothing about them which has been verified completely. The Bullet galaxy collision does illustrate the existence of some gravitating mass that is not luminous. So dark matter does appear to exist. We think it might have connections with supersymmetry and particle physics, but time will tell whether this is so. The DM theories are the benchmark we work with, largely because they are the best we have.

    Lawrence B. Crowell

  51. Matt S. says:

    Solrey writes: “Dark matter was invented into the equations in order for those equations to match observations and to salvage a hypothesis.”

    This seems to be a line of thought that recurs a lot here and interestingly, what you said is completely right, although I don’t think you intended it be a supportive statement of DM.

    Dark matter was introduced to make the equations match observations. Yeah. That’s how science works, right?. Building a model of reality by observing how nature behave. In this case dark matter can account for these observations, consistently with many different lines of evidence.

    Let’s rephrase your statement: “MOND was invented into the equations in order for those equations to match observations and to salvage a hypothesis.”

    Again. This is how science works, has worked and will continue to work (and will do so quite well). Successfully modelling something that happens in nature and that allows you to make predictions is what we, in science lingo, call “making progress”.

    The only difference between the two is that with the introduction of dark matter into the models, you solve a lot of problems. With MOND you solve a few and create a hundred more.

    Matt S.

  52. Nereid says:

    I wonder how much you thought about this before penning it solrey?

    It’s not hard to identify the ‘gatekeepers of the status quo’ because they provide the most vociferous attacks towards those who question ‘accepted’ paradigms.

    As a definition (of ‘gatekeepers of the status quo’), well, OK; but did you intend to write a definition?

    And the quote marks around accepted? What are you trying to say, that the paradigms seem accepted but in fact are not? In the context of your comment, does that make any sense at all??

    Then there’s ‘provide the most vociferous attacks’ vs ‘question’; I don’t know how many scientists you know (and with whom you’ve had detailed conversations about what they do), but ‘question the accepted paradigm’ pretty much describes what a great many, if not most, scientists do, all the time … that’s close to the heart of science’s SOP (standard operating procedure).

    Oh, and ‘vociferous attacks’: yep, there are plenty of those; however you misidentified the target … it’s the ideas, not the people, and that’s also part of science’s SOP.

    Seriously, solrey, would you have it any other way?

  53. Nereid says:

    @DarkGnat: :-)
    :-(
    😉

  54. Surak says:

    Wow, has Anaconda learned his lesson? It’s been awhile since he posted anything.

    I’d absolutely love it if he would post his proof / evidence for his theory rather than just quote mining, actually engage the debate instead of playing with his strawmen, or just give a statement that he sees now that he must think deeper about why he holds his beliefs.

    But silence is pretty nice too … until the next dark matter story comes around.

  55. IVAN3MAN says:

    @ Surak,

    This article may explain Anaconda’s argumentum ex silentio.

  56. ND says:

    Surak,

    Anaconda is just waiting for another juicy UT posting to start over again. When all you have is a very poor to no understanding of the science and just rhetorics, that’s the best you can do afteryour arguments have been shot down.

    I’ve been catching up with the UT postings after being away for a while and Nereid has been doing a great job going through arguments in detail. Anaconda’s and solrey’s silence in the face of it is very gratifying to see. It’s either silence or empty rhetoric about gatekeepers and repression. Just because your arguments are being discussed at length and with passion does not mean you are being repressed by an acadamic cabal.

  57. solrey says:

    Did any of you who consider ‘silence’ to be resignation ever think that some of us might be busy?
    Taking care of over a dozen bonsai, a big garden and a one acre yard, especially in the spring, takes a lot of time. That’s in addition to a host of projects related to being a self-employed general contractor/carpenter/mechanic.
    For me it’s a matter of priorities and commenting on UT (or any website) doesn’t even make that list.

    Anyways, the struggle for acceptance of new theories within any scientific discipline is real and historically persistent.

    http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=2373380

    “The history of science is replete with such theories that only became accepted by the scientific community after a long and protracted uphill battle.”

    “It is not only the reluctance of established research fields and communities that slow down the uptake of revolutionary hypotheses, but also a general reluctance to explore new ideas and support those who do so.”

    “Despite the difficulties, there is some comfort for those who think that they have a revolutionary insight that remains largely ignored: history has nearly always proven that, in the end, truth prevails, as the stories of great scientists such as Darwin, Heisenberg and Marshall show.”
    :)

  58. Nereid says:

    @solrey: interesting article.

    I wonder if anyone has done a similar piece, looking at astronomy, astrophysics, and cosmology?

    Here’s a couple of questions for you though:

    A. some new theories are accepted, within a scientific discipline, without too much of a struggle at all (just look at the history of ideas on the structure of the atom, for example); what makes for an easy passage for one and a really tough time for another?

    B. as the Sagan quote goes (I don’t know where and when he said it, nor even if this is what he actually said!) “they laughed at Galileo; they laughed at Columbus; but they also laughed at Bozo the Clown”: an idea which is laughed at, or attacked, is not The Next Big Thing in Science, simply because it is laughed at and/or attacked. What is it about Plasma Cosmology that makes you so sure that it is, indeed, The Next Big Thing in Astrophysics?

  59. DrFlimmer says:

    @ ND (and others)

    Anaconda is also busy at the “new mysteries on mercury” thread where the debate is still going on and where I recently tried to give him some insights into quantum mechancis (which also discredits as being mathematical…). Also Nereid is doing good work over there in an attempt to come to conclusions with Anaconda.

  60. Anaconda says:

    I what I find amazing is that the report contradicts assumed ideas in “modern” astronomy, namely, that Science has a firm handle on gravity, but most of the comments don’t address the specifics of the report at all.

    Electromagnetism doesn’t “answer everything”, but obviously enough, gravity doesn’t answer everything either.

    At least the currrent understanding of Science.

    But here’s the thing: Twice now I raised the fact that if Newton’s equations don’t cover all the bases, neither does Einstein.

    Crickets was the response.

    I’m not a MOND supporter or non-supporter.

    Nereid states: “there is no observational evidence of ~35 kpc wide, ~300 Mpc – 3 Gpc long filaments”

    Please…this is an example of Nereid’s misdirection: Peratt’s model is an idealized simulation, AS ARE ALL GENERALIZED MODELS.

    Science does know there are large extraglactic magnetic fields (having underlying electric currents which generate the magnetic fields).

    You can’t have the “magnetic” without the “electro” :-)

    Nereid states: “few, if any, spiral galaxies have bulges with the double-peaked morphology required in Peratt’s model”

    Nereid ignores the large number of “double lobed radio galaxies” that Peratt specifically compares to his simulation.

    Apparently, Nereid has little knowledge of galaxy morphology and less knowledge of Peratt’s work, not surprising really, considering she is an ideologue.

    Or she is engaging in intentional misdirection.

    Nereid states: “local spiral galaxies have significant populations of stars that are much more than 1-5 billion years’ old (in Peratt’s model, star formation begins when filaments interact, and spiral shapes last no more than ~5 billion years).”

    Star age is an estimation at best and maybe completely wrong at worst.

    What Nereid completely ignores is that “modern” astronomy’s gravity “only” model has almost no explanation for galaxy formation that is born out by observation & measurement.

    The different structures in the various galaxies continually baffle “modern” astronomers, there are a whole line of reports where “unexpected” is used (that means predictions didn”t turn out), as opposed to Plasma Cosmology that has explanations for the various structures.

    But let’s not forget this post. It’s another example that ‘modern” astronomy has a number of “gaps”, but they aren’t just graps, they are falsifications of the gravity “only” model.

    That’s the 800 pound gorilla in the room.

    The gravity “only” model predictions have not been born out by observation & measurement.

    This report is just another in a long line of falsification.

    Is Nereid a gate keeper?

    Ask yourself.

    Why does “modern” astonomy need gate keepers if it’s doing such a great job?

    It’s not as the EurekAlert article stated:

    Cosmology is in Crisis.

    No matter how much Nereid acts as the “goalie”.

    The “shots on goal” keep coming from Scientists that are unafraid to report their findings no matter how many “hangers on” don’t like it.

    So there is hope yet for the study of astronomy.

    It’s about seaching for “how things work” not about protecting a particular theory.

    It seems a lot of people forget that in the rush to protect their “turf”.

  61. Nereid says:

    @DrFlimmer: here’s a very recent preprint in arXiv that you may find interesting, in light of your recent comments about QM, GR, etc (Title, authors, abstract):

    Atom interferometry tests of local Lorentz invariance in gravity and electrodynamics
    Keng-Yeow Chung, Sheng-wey Chiow, Sven Herrmann, Steven Chu, Holger Mueller

    We present atom-interferometer tests of the local Lorentz invariance of post-Newtonian gravity. An experiment probing for anomalous vertical gravity on Earth, which has already been performed by us, uses the highest-resolution atomic gravimeter so far. The influence of Lorentz violation in electrodynamics is also taken into account, resulting in combined bounds on Lorentz violation in gravity and electrodynamics. Expressed within the standard model extension or Nordtvedt’s anisotropic universe model, we limit twelve linear combinations of seven coefficients for Lorentz violation at the part per billion level, from which we derive limits on six coefficients (and seven when taking into account additional data from lunar laser ranging). We also discuss the use of horizontal interferometers, including atom-chip or guided-atom devices, which potentially allow the use of longer coherence times in order to achieve higher sensitivity.

    (Source: http://arxiv.org/abs/0905.1929)

    Pretty cool, eh? :-)

  62. Nereid says:

    Let’s see now …

    A. Peratt, “Evolution of the Plasma Universe: I. Double Radio Galaxies, Quasars, and Extragalactic Jets” (1986); some extracts

    In dimensionless gaussian simulation units, (9) is:
    v = Bd/2 SQRT (2L/M) (10)

    {I cannot reproduce the fonts, nor the subscripts; both are important}

    The simulations reported in this paper are scaled to Cygnus A using the latter force law via (9)

    […]

    These parameters characterize Cygnus A and are in close agreement with many previously published estimates using independent means (Table I).

    Bottom line: pace Anaconda, Peratt’s model has little room for tweaking; once the scaling laws are established and just a few parameters fixed, the results stated follow.

    Corollary: if no interacting Birkeland filaments of thickness ~35 kpc and length ~300 Mpc – 3 Gpc are observed, then Peratt’s model cannot account for “Double Radio Galaxies, Quasars, and Extragalactic Jets” (at least, not those kinds covered in this paper).

    A. Peratt, “Evolution of the Plasma Universe: II. The Formation of Systems of Galaxies” (1986); some extracts

    The evolution of cosmic plasma from a filamentary state to the development of double radio sources and quasars was investigated in the first paper […] The time frame of this study, based upon scaling simulation parameters to galactic dimensions, spanned some 10^8 – 10^9 years. In this paper (Paper II), the evolution for the next 1-5 x 10^9 years under the influence of electromagnetic forces acting on the plasma is investigated.

    Figures 3, 4, 5, and 6 are snapshots from the simulation; one of these is to be found on the website that a link Anaconda gives takes you to.

    Table II (Percentage Classification of Observed and Simulation Galaxies (Time T = 0-2000)) is quite eye-opening; in Peratt’s model, elliptical galaxies evolve into irregulars, which in turn evolve into spirals!

    And on, and on, and on … if you have kept abreast of the observational results from the likes of the HST, the VLTs, the Kecks, the Geminis, Chandra, XMM-Newton, Spitzer, GALAX, 2MASS, … – none of which were available in 1986 – you’ll no doubt find the Peratt papers amusing, astonishing, even incredible (no wonder just about the only person who cites these is Peratt himself).

  63. DrFlimmer says:

    @Nereid

    (Source: http://arxiv.org/abs/0905.1929)

    Pretty cool, eh? :-)

    Very cool, indeed :-)

    @Anaconda

    Science does know there are large extraglactic magnetic fields (having underlying electric currents which generate the magnetic fields).

    This is likely true, but you should tell the whole story: Those “large” magnetic fields are probably of extream dimensions, but they tend to be really weak. Even the earth’s magnetic field is quite weak and the interstellar is even weaker. The only thing the earth’s magnetic field is doing is protecting us (which is, of course, a good thing) from cosmic rays (including the solar wind). It is of no further use (yes, it was used for navigation in the past…) and is doing anything that we could call “important”.
    What I mean is that the weak magnetic field of our planet isn’t doing much. The magnetic field in interstellar and intergalactic space is even weaker. I don’t think it is reasonable that such a weak thing (that is doing almost nothing on earth, the only place where we can do “real” experiments) has a more significant role than gravity.
    And I want to come back to one of your favourite formulations:

    the gravity “only” model

    Get real, dude! “modern” astronomy is far beyond that point. EM-forces are taken into account for almost any model concerning almost any problem in astrophysics. Star formation, e.g. A cold (neutral…) cloud collapses due to some external pressure (a SN, e.g.). So far so good. But finally the star heats up and its particles will become ionized. So we will gain em-fields due to the rotation. And this fields are quite necessary to explain how the star loses its angular momentum and how it can still accrete matter, although its wind is quite strong.
    How does this happen? The magnetic field “grapples” packages of matter from the inner part of the accretion disk. Those packages crash into the star and this can be seen as a “hot spot”, a bright part on the stars surface that rotates in and out of view. And guess what: We see such hot spots. We can detect them with our telescopes!
    Herbig-Haro objects are another example. It is a jet-phenomenon of young stars, a small counterpart of the big evil jets of AGN.
    So, astronomy includes em-forces, as it includes the weak force and the strong force whenever it is necessary.

    So, do me a favor, and leave out this, indeed misleading term “gravity only”. This just wrong.

  64. Nereid says:

    @DrFlimmer et al.

    @ ND (and others)

    Anaconda is also busy at the “new mysteries on mercury” thread where the debate is still going on and where I recently tried to give him some insights into quantum mechancis (which also discredits as being mathematical…). Also Nereid is doing good work over there in an attempt to come to conclusions with Anaconda.

    Not any more … it seems that thread is closed to comments now; a sign, perhaps, that I should abandon my attempts to find a mutually agreed basis on which to build a meaningful discussion with Anaconda?

  65. DrFlimmer says:

    No, but a sign that we broke some of the rules….. Our posts tended to be a bit lengthy 😉

  66. Nereid says:

    Well, if that’s the only thing, then easily addressed; instead of one comment of x words, write n comments each with an average of x/n words …

    (somehow I think there’s more to it than that)

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