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No Joy for Dark Matter Detector’s First 100 Days

Bottom photomultiplier tube array on the XENON 100 detector. Credit: the XENON collaboration

We’re still mostly in the dark about Dark Matter, and the highly anticipated results from the XENON100 detector has perhaps shed a tad more light on the subject – by not making a detection in the first 100 days of the experiment. Researchers from the project say they have now been able to place the most stringent limits yet on the properties of dark matter.

To look for any possible hints of Dark Matter interacting with ordinary matter, the project has been looking for WIMPS — or weakly interacting massive particles – but for now, there is no new evidence for the existence of WIMPS, or Dark Matter either.

The extremely sensitive XENON100 detector is buried beneath the Gran Sasso mountain in central Italy, shielding it from cosmic radiation so it hopefully can detect WIMPS, hypothetical particles that might be heavier than atomic nuclei, and the most popular candidate for what Dark Matter might be made of. The detector consists of 62 kg of liquid xenon contained within a heavily shielded tank. If a WIMP would enter the detector, it should interact with the xenon nuclei to generate light and electric signals – which would be a kind of “You Have Won!” indicator.

Dark Matter is thought to make up more than 80% of all mass in the universe, but the nature of it is still unknown. Scientists believe that it is made up of exotic particles unlike the normal (baryonic) matter, which we, the Earth, Sun and stars are made of, and it is invisible so it has only been inferred from its gravitational effects.

The XENON detector ran from January to June 2010 for its first run, and in their paper on arxiv, the team revealed they found three candidate events that might be due to Dark Matter. But two of these were expected to appear anyway because of background noise, the team said, so their results are effectively negative.

Does this rule out the existence of WIMPS? Not necessarily – the team will keep working on their search. Plus, results from a preliminary analysis from11.2 days worth of data, taken during the experiment’s commissioning phase in October and November 2009, already set new upper limits on the interaction rate of WIMPs – the world’s best for WIMP masses below about 80 times the mass of a proton.

And the XENON100 team was optimistic. “These new results reveal the highest sensitivity reported as yet by any dark matter experiment, while placing the strongest constraints on new physics models for particles of dark matter,” the team said in a statement.

Read the team’s paper.

More info on XENON100

Sources: EurekAlert, physicsworld

About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also works with Astronomy Cast, and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Torbjorn Larsson OM April 15, 2011, 2:54 PM

    Oh, joy.

    – Direct search for gravitons (gravity waves) in LIGO: no joy. Direct search for Higgs in LHC: no joy. Direct search for DM in XENON100: no joy.

    – Constraining inflation in Planck et al: simplest eternal inflation model (square potential) starts to be ruled out. Constraining symmetries in XENON100: simplest symmetry model (supersymmetry) starts to be ruled out. Constraining DE in Planck et al: simplest dark energy model (cosmological constant) can’t be ruled out, repeatedly. (What do you know, finally some joy.)

    Well, sucks to be supersymmetric today. At least the funny stuff in DAMA/CoGeNT (earlier experiments) are shown to be likely artifacts.

    Btw, it can bear to read Jester’s article @ RésonAAnces. The 3 filtrated events after the unblinding of data “that passed the S1 coincidence requirement only because of correlated electronic noise that is picked up from an external 100 kHz source” that the paper speaks of?

    They “were static from the electric can opener ;-)”.

    [Looks at date stamp: 14th of April. Not April’s fools, at least. And Jester is privy to the gossip. Takes note: “Long hours makes people lazy in canteens.”]

    • Torbjorn Larsson OM April 16, 2011, 11:14 AM

      Speaking of some joy, Jennifer Ouellette has an update clarification from Robin Stebbins, NASA’s Project Scientist for LISA dated 13/11:

      “LISA has not been cancelled. No money or other resources has been reprogrammed. The two agencies have ended their work on a joint project.

      ESA has ended the partnership with NASA, because NASA is financially unable to participate when ESA’s funding is available (2015). To preserve their program, ESA’s must solicit a downscaled mission concept that does not rely on the availability of NASA funding, which they are doing.

      With ESA out of the partnership, NASA has, of course, ended its participation in the partnership, and will proceed in other ways. That could be a minority role in the ESA-led mission, that could be a NASA-led mission based on a downscaled concept, or that could be preparation for a joint mission at later date. NASA funding for gravitational wave astrophysics is unchanged, the NASA project team continues working towards a future gravitational wave mission.”

      • Lawrence B. Crowell April 16, 2011, 11:53 AM

        This does put the program at risk. The prospects for successful detect of gravity waves are reduced. I do not know what is meant here by a downscaled mission, but this might imply a reduction in the signal to noise ratio.

        LC

  • Bryan April 15, 2011, 3:03 PM

    This may be because of my lack of understanding or knowledge, but couldn’t neutrinos interact with the liquid xenon? Why would WIMPS enter the detector but other particles would not? Or is that part of the noise that was mentioned?

    • Torbjorn Larsson OM April 16, 2011, 8:34 AM

      I assume they could. The link in my comment takes you to a graph & discussion of how they filter out events:

      “Most of the events in the plot are due to photons scattering on electrons from the xenon atoms. The way to distinguish those from the more interesting nuclear recoils (expected when a dark matter particle scatters) is by simultaneously measuring the number of ionization electrons, […].”

      [I haven’t hunted up if and how they handle neutrino events, though.]

  • pbfred April 15, 2011, 4:39 PM

    {Violation of comment policy: text deleted.}

    • Astrofiend April 15, 2011, 11:43 PM

      Let me get this straight. You have placed ‘test masses’ in between a ‘1000W hot source and a cold source’, and then measured a change in their weight of up to 16%?

      Jesus mate – get some perspective. An effect of that magnitude would be blindingly and obviously noticeable in everyday life. Do you honestly think that by tinkering in your garage you have found a new effect unknown to physicists of the sort of magnitude you’re indicating? Do you honestly think that the great experimentalists of the past would have missed something like this? I mean, just think about it for two seconds.

      • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb April 16, 2011, 10:22 AM

        Is that why I weigh so differently before and after I have a cup of coffee or tea or have a hot shower? All this time, and I thought it was the bathroom scales!

        Has this pbfred ever heard of the Kirchhoff’s law of thermal radiation? If it were true it would break the basis of thermal equilibrium, and destroy the equivalence of emissivity and absorptivity; let alone matter’s absorptivity and power.

        …But go a ahead and ignore them, too.

    • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb April 16, 2011, 10:45 AM

      As George Orwell said, “To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.”

      Isn’t this one of the exact reason why one should never consume illicit drugs!

      I’m also interested that this theory is already two or more years old. Is there some reason why the scientific world has already rejected it as nonsense?

      Also, why hasn’t your paper been published in a Physics Journal.?
      viXra and arXiv are both pre-publication sites for comment and scrutiny prior to papers being publishing. So have all the good physics journals you have approach simply rejected the information contained in your somewhat alleged ‘paper’?

    • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb April 16, 2011, 11:42 AM

      This text from vixra (ArXiv backwards.) http://vixra.org/why explains it all.

      “A few of the cases where people have been blocked from submitting to the arXiv have been detailed on the Archive Freedom website, but as time has gone by it has become clear that Cornell have no plans to bow to pressure and change their policies. Some of us now feel that the time has come to start an alternative archive which will be open to the whole scientific community. That is why viXra has been created. viXra will be open to anybody for both reading and submitting articles. We will not prevent anybody from submitting and will only reject articles in extreme cases of abuse, e.g. where the work may be vulgar, libellous, plagiarism or dangerously misleading.”

      They also say;

      “In part viXra.org is a parody of arXiv.org to highlight Cornell University’s unacceptable censorship policy.”

      So you are no scientist, you are just a con-artist set up to fool the mainstream because you realise no one will listen to unprovable and devious nonsense.

      Sir, you absolutely disgust me for trying to fool everyone here. Plainly the bottom of the pile, the true scum of the earth!

      • solarx2 April 16, 2011, 12:36 PM

        wow! bro, you really get choked up by the EM loonies huh!? lol! I wouldn’t worry about it too much, not many people are dumb enough to be fooled by this sort of nonsense… It seems obvious that in the face of the deep dark unexplainable mysteries of the universe, science will always use the best available description. I may not understand the math of it, but if science hasn’t suddenly converted to plasma cosmology then there’s probably a good reason why. This all seems totally obvious and I don’t feel the general public is at any real danger of being woefully mislead or deceived by this stuff.

        • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb April 16, 2011, 12:56 PM

          You may be right.
          However, plasma cosmology is after recruits, and they seem to be getting a few of them. They are clearly more dangerous when they organised, but why should anyone be lead astray when they exploit others by using half-truths?
          Frankly it still disgust me when people lets them get away with it.
          (UT here doesn’t seemed to bothered by pseudoscience as long as your “nice”. They need to be more proactive in this regard, and just delete the garbage.)

          Cheers. I’ll serious take your sensible point into consideration. Thankx!

    • Olaf April 16, 2011, 4:48 PM

      My studies show a 1.9%, 8.9%, 9.6% and a 16% increase in the weight of the test mass when these test masses were placed between a 1000 W hot source and a cold source.

      So you claim that the meat I put in my barbecue gains 3×16% mass?
      My Barbecue is 3000 W!

      I tell you one thing, you never did these tests.

      And E=mc^2 will indeed increase the mass of my meat, but C^2 is an awful big number and I tell you that even not a hydrogen fusion bomb of energy would add one nano-gram to my meat.

      • Olaf April 16, 2011, 5:27 PM

        Ok correction, a theoretical 100 Megaton Tsar bomb with 4.2e17 Joule would add 4.67 kg to my meat on my Barbecue.

  • Shikyo April 15, 2011, 4:44 PM

    What if there is no dark matter? what if gravity doesn’t work the way it is currently theorized?

    • Olaf April 15, 2011, 6:28 PM

      You mean that all our satellites and space ships we launched into orbits of other planets are impossible to be there?

      Gravity actually works great.

    • Torbjorn Larsson OM April 16, 2011, 8:40 AM

      That is the MOND idea, among others.

      First, it won’t work to predict DM observations such as clusters, since you can’t fit one such theory to all individual observations.

      [You can turn that around, and say that DM doesn’t predict galaxies as good as MOND, say. But then MOND will be small (as in few good predictions) and an isolated ad hoc hypothesis.]

      Second, IIRC there are independent GR tests out to many z (huge redshift, ie long distances) to rather good precision.

  • lotusface April 15, 2011, 5:42 PM

    I have a feeling that the unknowns from all of the separate branches and fields of science will have similarities, or roots which are shared through their interactions which are observed by some or all of the many fields of scientific study.
    I.e. unexplainable phenomena should be put in the center of a table with representative from all fields and factions thereof there to do a skunkworks type brainstorm session. I feel that the unification of all scientific effort will be the unlocking of the greatest secrets of the universe.

    • Olaf April 15, 2011, 9:54 PM

      This is what is already happening, as peer review and scientific publications.

      • Mr Mike April 16, 2011, 2:43 PM

        @ Olaf

        I agree, however, the real reason there is not more progress toward a general solution for these events and conundrums we see and their causes is the lack of comradely feeling induced by significant quantities of humor, wit, beer for some, mirth for others.

        Get the folks into a room and toss the data in the air, some will grab a bit of fluff to be sure but that is the way of a brain-storming session. The rapid interactions work to an advantage in the search for a reason, a cause, rather than a more considered and staid approach to the matters as is common in both publications and peer review. Those are the things we do after the storm, to the rack and flotsam remaining after the shipwreck of ideas. You must first boil the water before you make cold vichyssoise.

        Isn’t it more true than not that success has many fathers and failure is an orphan, what better way to promote a common cause toward a solution than to share the credit with so many others that the sting of even major defeat of your wild idea(s) is mitigated by the feelings of kinship to the basic gathering.

        If there is one thing common to all mankind it is the need for an excuse as to why they are not yet done with the task set to them, this type of activity spreads the ‘blame’ for that over the lot of them –leaving no one individual fully accountable and face-shamed.

        Social interactions with your peers and those who are peers in differing fields will increase emotional ties to vast concepts but leave that feeling of failure in the lobby where it belongs –rather than carting it around as a part of your normal baggage. When folks feel an idea grow they wish to feed the frenetic follow-up work, energized by these others in different fields they no longer feel the animosity toward their fellows (yeah, right, you betcha) which proves anathema to the common goal oriented solution setting.

        In an ideal world this would be a great way to work on major issues in the sciences, to search for those elusive answers illustrative of the greatness of humankind contained in the oft quoted phrase, “Humm, that was odd… I wonder why that is?”. Multiply that reaction and you have the answer. It takes many people to lift a concept from the mud of meaning, to birth the delicate idea from the universe — to be the midwife of any answer.

        Mike (hackney for hire) C

  • Peter April 15, 2011, 11:16 PM

    Larsson, I can’t make sense of your fourth paragraph. Does it need a “Is it” in front of the second sentence?
    pbfred, the object with the MOST gravitation is a black hole. NOT very luminous. Also, Earth hardly has any intrinsic luminosity, lightning here, forest fire there, and it weighs every bit as much as we think it should. Methinks your theory is silly at best.
    I think much of this will be explained through some wildly divergent theory like other dimensional influence. The dark stuff is there but undetectable? Surely, it’s just an effect from real matter in another universe. Gravitons/gravity waves is another matter altogether tho, and for Einstein’s sake, I think we ought to come to grips with that right away. It doesn’t feel right saying he was wrong in one basic area.

    • Torbjorn Larsson OM April 16, 2011, 8:48 AM

      Huh. I though that Q&A was a common english construction; the 4th and 5th paragraph goes together, separated for effect only:

      “The 3 filtrated events after the unblinding of data “that passed the S1 coincidence requirement only because of correlated electronic noise that is picked up from an external 100 kHz source” that the paper speaks of?

      They “were static from the electric can opener ;-) ”.”

      English isn’t my primary language, so it will lack nuance that should be there and try to insert nuance that shouldn’t be there. I’m sorry for the confusion, and glad for any and all help!

  • Lawrence B. Crowell April 15, 2011, 11:33 PM

    Dark matter exists. Based on the Einstein lensing of distant objects by nearer galaxies it is very clear there is an excess amount of mass in these galaxies than what can be accounted for as ordinary matter. The collision between two galaxies in the Bullet cluster also illustrates how this dark matter passed through the collision, leaving the “sticky” luminous matter to clump together. The spacetime curvature associated with DM exists outside of the luminous stuff. I am not going to go through those arguments in detail, but it is very clear there exists by a ratio of 5:1 nonluminous matter or dark matter in the universe.

    This is not to be confused with dark energy, which is a vacuum physics effect, and actually involves far deeper issues.

    What this detector is designed to do is to detect dark matter as some very weakly interacting particle field. The null results either indicate this interaction, most likely the weak interaction, is very weak or that the assumption DM is made of particles is wrong. The best candidate for DM particles, or WIMPs, is a condensate states of the supersymmetric partners of the photon, W particle, neutral Higgs and the neutrino. This is the neutralino particle. It may interact by weak interactions and rattle a very cold atom in the crystalline lattice of the detector. So far we have not found this particle directly. However, the PAMELA detector has found signatures of radiation coming from the decay of ~ 1TeV particles near the center of the galaxy. This is a good indirect data for a neutralino candidate as DM.

    It took 30 years to detect the neutrino after Pauli proposed its existence. The situation may be similar with DM. It might take more decades to directly detect the WIMP particles, or neutralinos. However, it is abundantly clear there is some matter which exists coincident with galaxies. So far we just do not have empirical evidence of just what it is.

    LC

    • Torbjorn Larsson OM April 16, 2011, 9:06 AM

      I had to take a crash course on that.

      PAMELA detects excess positrons from the direction of the galactic centre. I also found that pulsars, such as the Geminga and others in that very direction, are believed to be mundane sources of excess positrons.

      So while positron excess is good indirect data for weakly interacting DM, it is also, presumably, good indirect data for pulsars which we already know exist.

      Is there any data to distinguish between those two predictions?

    • Question April 16, 2011, 11:24 PM

      my unhappiness with your definitive “Dark matter exists” statement is cancelled out by my happiness for your suggestion that ” the assumption DM is made of particles [might be] wrong”.

      so i guess that leaves me feeling… neutral. it’s obvious that some explanation is needed to explain the observations: perhaps a form of true mass, an unknown extension of a known force (or combination of forces), a currently unknown “new” force, or simply an error in observation / interpretation of data.

      • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb April 17, 2011, 6:37 AM

        I do get your point, but I basically disagree in what you say here.

        “Dark matter exists”, because we observationally see its gravitational signature. The actual problem is we are still uncertain what the composition of that dark matter is. This is made worst by the possibility of the existence of dark energy (as a force.)

        [It is like Darth Vadar using “the force.” You see it in action, but explaining how it is manifested in the physical world is the real fundamental problem!]

        In the nittty-gritty of it all, Lawrence here has not contradicted himself.

        The other point is that in physics all matter and energy are interchangeable (equivalence). We assume that dark matter and dark energy are a similar in being interchangeable (equivalence.) Probably very simplistic, but is a good way of thinking about it.)

        • wjwbudro April 17, 2011, 6:13 PM

          If indeed “equivalent” then how can we reconcile the proposed density ratios? Not a challenge, just a question.

  • Aqua April 16, 2011, 12:17 AM

    Short story subject: Dark matter… another distraction? Sometimes it seems that there are nefarious forces at work whose intentions are meant to slow scientific progress? The injection of qualified distractions might work… So who might have gone down that lane before? or seen the results of a chase after dark matter elsewhere and decided to use that here… to slow things up.

    • Aqua April 16, 2011, 12:25 AM

      Been reading too much Sci Fi….

    • Aqua April 17, 2011, 3:42 PM

      I missed completely ‘Holographicgalaxy’s statements… probably a good thing? It was not my intention to set off another firestorm – all too easily done within this forum – rather, I wanted to point out the possibility, however remote, that mankind’s progress toward the stars sometimes appears intentionally slowed by elements whose goals are counter to our evolutionary expansion into space.

      Continuing along this line of thought. WHY would an outside element determine to slow our reach for the stars? We’re a peaceful, organized society here on earth. All beings are treated equally, even the fish in the sea are given their lead…

  • HOLOGRAPHICGALAXY.blogspot.com April 16, 2011, 2:49 AM

    {Violation of comment policy: text deleted.}

    • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb April 16, 2011, 3:11 AM

      ” Good bye Universe Today…”

      Good bye Mr. Hologram. You should have moved on after your first post. You will not be missed!

      Please. Get some help for your unsubstantiated delusions.

    • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb April 16, 2011, 6:41 AM

      “Newtonian Gravity is not plasma…”

      This guy is a freaking genius!!! Who among us didn’t know this basic fact. We all must be dumber than dumb. Oh dear.

      …as for the rest of the diatribe, I have never read so many very simple mistakes, completely wrong theory, and combinations of totally unrelated parts of science. Even creationists do not make such wild claims!

      Worst all these alternative claims have absolutely no observational basis. ANY scientific theory must be able to explain the phenomena and provide observational tests or avenues to investigate to support the framework.

      The foolishness here is this individual is dismissing the science even before the experiment is complete. It takes not just 100 days, but many years to validate data and calibrate the instruments. A negative result does not mean the phenomena doesn’t exist ad it is all a waste of time. It constrains the phenomena of what it isn’t. If one experiment doesn’t work really means another future or concurrent experiment can be devised.

      It is clear that this individual has not got limited experience or qualifications to be able to “dump” on the current cosmology and science. Any person would realises arguments against whatever needs to be argued supported by what is known and already observed or seen. There is no reason to throw away what cannot be refuted all just for the convenience of making “your” personal theory true. Ot is plain silly and is NOT science nor how the scientific method is applied.

      Multiple explanations or alternative explanations of a theory is one thing, quite crazy explanations plucked from the air just because someone thinks consider “right” is plainly the opinion of pseudoscience, and in this case, bad pseudoscience.

      if you so believe in pseudoscience, like all this wild crazy nonsense, please keep it to yourself. Putting it out your ideas as accepted theory will always receive the wrath of others who do know better.

    • Greg April 16, 2011, 7:31 AM

      If you want me to even consider any of these wild claims then at least do me the favor of providing references that validate them. The more exceptional the theory, the more exceptional the evidence must be. These would provide a much needed break from a post that is otherwise painful to read.
      The lack of a dark matter detection is not surprising at this stage. There is a wide consensus that dark matter exists, but there is still much speculation about what it is composed of. As more evidence piles up the case has become more convincing for dark matter and less convincing than MOND or other competing theories. I am one to bet that the size and other properties of it will be an unexpected surprise. It would be much more surprising if this experiment when completed and other more sensitive experiments fail to detect it.

    • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb April 16, 2011, 10:01 AM

      I do often either discredit individuals like this one and take a chance of UT moderator would not (again) silence me. Most I know question why even I do not just ignore such people, but now and again I am so dumbstruck I am lost for words. However in this case, I think it is very worthwhile to actually rationally point out the many, many wrong things of this illogical post.

      “Light speed slows down ~5,000 miles per sec passing through water, and no perfect vacuum exists for a constant c and relativity to be real.”

      Plainly you deny relativity, which is probably the most proven and test theory in science. The density of water is so much higher than the vacuum of space, which for the latter, the velocity difference is quite infinitesimal. Anyway, relativity say light travels at a finite speed ‘c’ and no faster. Even your precious electromagnetic fields and theories are limited by ‘c’. What you are denying is even the nature of you personal theories. I.e. The relation between electricity, magnetism, and the speed of light is by the equation;
      c =1 /sqrt (μ0 × ε0) ; that was discovered by Mr. Weber. Denying this is plainly very silly.

      As for;

      “Relativity is testable to those who make their experiments “work”.”

      This is utterly ludicrous. Relativity is testable by observations, to the extent that it almost irrefutable. To me this is a convenient denial to make your ideas acceptable, when the matter of fact is that it readily completely rejects your notions.

      “Galaxies are surrounded by huge magnetic fields and WHIM filaments, and the dark matter just cannot be found to actually exist.”

      No they are not. There is no evidence of huge (or any) magnetic fields in galaxies. Also WHIM filaments, the central tenant of his “personal theory” are either inconsequential or unobserved. As for the dark matter quib, “cannot” should be replace to ‘unlikely.” (There are few absolutes in science, a mistake pseudoscientists and wannabes alway make.)

      “I cheer and celebrate at their ignorance…”

      How absolutely facile and superficial. This individual is making out he has some superiority qualification or knowledge that outstrips the best mind through the world. Most scientists work very hard to not only to validate their data and experiments, but are subject to scrutiny by their peers and all all of science. These people are far from ignorant.

      “Newtonian Gravity is not plasma…”

      Plasma is a condition of the ionic state of the elements while Newtonian gravity is the force exerted by matter. They are no related.

      “…they invent black holes and DM to solve this.”

      So invention of black holes was predicted by theory and found by nature. The black has been proven by the gravitational attraction in compact binary objects, where the mass and radius are determined by the orbits of the two masses. Also “dark matter” is postulated by the observed gravitational attraction between objects and the consequences of orbital motion. Just replacing it with so bizarre plasma theory does not mean the problem will go away.

      “There is no need to invent quantum gravity either, when EM forces dominate from sand sized objects and smaller.”

      No one has invented “quantum gravity.” It is an idea of theoretical physics to explain the link between quantum mechanics and general relativity. The exist of both of these concepts are irrefutable and the consequences of them have been well observed and studied. Quantum gravity will allow understanding of quantum effects on strong gravitational fields. It has little to do with electromagnetic fields. As for electromagnetic fields “dominating” the very small is actually quite wrong. It is the strong and the weak force, especially on an atomic scale. Ie electromagnetic forces are so dominate, then why do all the protons stay together in the nucleus?

      As for stars having “vortical heliospheres that extend 20AU”? What the heck does this mean? (It is a non-term that does not exist!)

      “Superclusters are not even gravitational bound systems according to the big-bang,…”

      How does the galaxies within a supercluster to exert gravitational attraction? Every single mass in the universe is influence of gravity. If comets, planets, stars, galaxies are influenced by gravity, why not superclusters? What is a little silly here is how does the Big Bang effect superclusters. Variations in the microwave background radiation suggest a foam-like structure, which is what exactly is observed in nature.

      “Dark matter is just not going to be found, and it is hokey, because it does not react with normal matter…”

      Isn’t that is why it is called dark? (Circular argument, actually.)
      Neutrinos do not react with matter. Does this mean it is hokey too?

      “…other then it is a negative pressure which is not gravity, and is observable because superclusters and hyperclusters are forming, and the universe by common sense if far larger and older then anybody can possibly imagine.”

      There are so many errors here, I could write an essay just on this!

      – “hypercluster” are a non-existent term.
      -There is no evidence that superclusters (let alone even larger structures) are still forming
      – Observation not common sense determines the size and age of the universe.
      – There is little to no evidence that the universe extends beyond the echo of the Big Bang (by the 2.7K cosmic background radiation). Even if it did, there is absolutely no observation of an object beyond it. There is no evidence that it is infinite, too.
      – The age of the universe cannot be infinitely old (or as old as you have stated before), because you cannot explain the constraints by stellar evolution or even explain the changes in entropy.

      I could easily go on and on, but it is clear what you say is not true and is not even provable. So why say all this crazy stuff? It is plainly foolishness and simple ignorance.

      Are you sure you live in the same universe as the rest of us, because what you describe does not exit in ours!

      (Apologies for the length, otherwise I’d just again contravene the “Be Nice”
      question by UT.)

      • tripleclean April 16, 2011, 12:51 PM

        HSBC keep it up!

      • Dav_Daddy April 18, 2011, 10:29 AM

        Vorticle Heliospheres? That sounds really cool! But what does it mean. HSBC wait a minute I’m not sure about where your from but in my neck of the woods when a man invents a new word he also gets to make up the definition. Lol you know like pertnerts, or tig bitties. Rofl!

      • Button Pusher April 18, 2011, 1:19 PM

        HSBC, ever heard of the concept “Don´t feed the Trolls” :) love your comments but feeding them will just make them grow you know, even if you feed them the truth :)

        Anyways interesting article and i always love the mini dramas in the comments.

  • sol88 April 16, 2011, 5:08 AM

    @holograph

    Way to go bud! How many days are we going to give in the hunt fo DM?

    • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb April 16, 2011, 6:43 AM

      According to this guy… less than a nanosecond!
      That is also equal to the time it takes to know everything being said is so wrong.

    • Torbjorn Larsson OM April 16, 2011, 9:18 AM

      I note that it is only 99.99 % plasma now. An order of magnitude step in the right direction, perhaps.

      How many days are we going to give

      Fair question. It is only the area itself (with some input from money “investors”) that can answer that. Generally the question ties into the general ideas of the field, how useful the research is if still not complete, how easy it is to test.

      As an example, string theory has been on the table long. It is difficult to test, but has:
      – given vital results as shoring up old results (black hole entropy, say)
      – supported new ideas (holography, supersymmetry, multiverses)
      – given new calculation tools (models of quark plasmas & superconducting materials).

      So you still see people “kicking the corpse” (says some) or “teasing the lion” (says some) while it has been around 1 or 2 generations. (30 ~ 40 years, I think.)

      • Torbjorn Larsson OM April 16, 2011, 9:27 AM

        Oops, I forgot: ~ 96 % of the universe content (besides spacetime itself, natch) is _not_ plasma.

        Which is why the “99.99 %” figure is so funny. I believe it derives from applying the figure for our solar system, 0.1 % of mass non-plasma (Jupiter vs Sun), without considering the standard cosmology. It is “a heliocentric” cosmology, if you will.

        Oh well, at least it isn’t “flat Earth” or geocentric cosmology, it is just pre-relativity. That is pathological science progress, I guess.

  • Lawrence B. Crowell April 16, 2011, 12:25 PM

    The argument that gravitational lensing is an optical effect due to a changing index of refraction is one way of modeling weak gravity. One thing which occurs is that the index of refraction is dependent on the radial distance to the gravity source n = n(r) , which pretty much corresponds to the Schwarzschild g_{tt} metric term

    n(r)^2 = g_{tt} = 1 – 2GM/rc^2

    This means the index of refraction in a weak gravity case (2GM/rc^2 << 1) has the functional appearance of a gravity field. As the saying goes, if it looks like duck, … well this is due to gravitation and the curvature of spacetime.

    The claim negative pressure is not gravity is interesting. Of course this is completely wrong. The condition that pressure and energy density are related to each other by a factor w = -1, p = wE, E = energy density, with implicit factors of c here, is a result of the de Sitter metric in general relativity. I have written considerably on this here at UT, and I lack he time or the inclination to expound on this in detail right now. This energy density is due to the quantum vacuum zero point energy density. That much we are very certain of. What is not so clear is why it is as small as it is, about 10^{-120} times as small as one would naively expect. This indicates our understanding of the Hilbert space spectrum of quantum gravitational states of the universe is incomplete.

    The claim that mass can vary which subjected to a heat source is of course a complete hoot. I fail to understand why such people who make these claims do not give this a bit of a pause to figure that if this were true it would have been discovered a over 200 years ago. The claim of such physics is patently absurd.

    LC

    • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb April 16, 2011, 12:33 PM

      It is a deliberate fraud. (See my last response.)

      • Lawrence B. Crowell April 16, 2011, 5:08 PM

        All of this EU stuff is wrong, and in a sense a fraud. I am not sure what the motivation is for the fraud. It might be that these people have an idea of how they would like the universe to be, which is contrary to how we have come to understand it. This is similar to religion, where the denial of evolution and other aspects of science are ultimately due to the fact these contradict the hopes believers have surrounding their origins, the nature of sin and their eternal salvation from it. By steadfastly promoting EU on these means they are promoting a sort of delusion amongst themselves and trying to project it onto the rest of the world.

        I have looked at the T-bolts website briefly, where it is not hard to see this is all balderdash. It is unclear what there might be that is promoting this, such as whether they have some connection to or maybe a bit of funding by various groups who have it in their interests to promote some sort of confusion with science. The one point of “equal time” for creation in science education is to generate a smoke screen of confusion. Much the same holds for climate denialism. This serves the purpose of creating a popular perception that there is some scientific controversy over something, when in fact non actually exists. As Johnson of the Discovery Institute says this is to create a “wedge,” where that wedge can be used to further other religious and political causes.

        LC

  • Richard Kirk April 16, 2011, 2:21 PM

    I worry that someone who visits UT but does not understand much science (nothing wrong in that in itself – very few of us understand all of it, and I am certainly not one of them) might mistake the strong sentiments expressed herein for some disagreement between scientific cliques. It is not completely unknown for astronomers to disagree. Look up the story of Fred Hoyle: he was a fine scientist, but his arguments may look similar in tone to the ones we see here. For years, he fought against the idea of the Big Bang, and would readily accuse his detractors of fraud and censorship, and used the media freely. Here is a comment of his after he resigned a Professorship at Cambridge…

    “I do not see any sense in continuing to skirmish on a battlefield where I can never hope to win. The Cambridge system is effectively designed to prevent one ever establishing a directed policy – key decisions can be upset by ill-informed and politically motivated committees. To be effective in this system one must for ever be watching one’s colleagues, almost like a Robespierre spy system. If one does so, then of course little time is left for any real science.

    However, people like Fred Hoyle are rare. I cannot think of another example at his level. And Fred Hoyle, for all his ungentle ways, did contribute much to science. Even his fringe stuff, like the idea that flu epidemics could come from space was good fringe stuff. These people saying they can change the mass of an object by 16% by placing it between something hot and something cold are not Fred Hoyle, any more than I am Einstein because my hair sticks up at the back. If they describe their experiments then we could reproduce their results, or not, but all we usually get is some bald allegation that goes against most schoolbook physics. They are making scientific noises, and no more. It like writing random symbols and claiming they are in a language that you do not know. Usually, they appear on UT, have their rant, post a few scornful rebuttals, and then move on, and good riddance. Once you have seen half a dozen or so come and go you get to recognize the pattern. I find it very strange. If it is a fraud, then who are they defrauding? And what do they get out of it?

  • alcyone April 16, 2011, 9:38 PM

    EU = D (D is disinformation). Anti-intellectual, anti-science, religious and political ideas co-mingle on the web and vector in this case to the comments section on UT. This movement, if I can call it that, sees an opening where it takes advantage of the current situation in astronomy and cosmology where things like dark matter and dark energy cannot be fully explained because the tools of science have not yet been developed to observe and explain what they are. In addition, they know cosmological concepts, theories about time and space, relativity are difficult to understand: for a segment of the population, instead of belief, there is a void. That is the target of disinformation. The way the disinformation works is :”Science isn’t perfect, so we will attack it and use it for our purposes”, or more simply “Science doesn’t have all the answers, so we will make up our own answers to fulfill our own needs”. So the void is filled with their own pet theories or favourite religious and/or political ideas. Just have to keep calling these fraudsters out, is all.

    • Olaf April 16, 2011, 10:50 PM

      I agree, EU is the equivalent of the creationists trying to undermine evolution.
      The exact same quote mining, the exact same trying to sneak in doubt, the exact same technique to pretend to be interested with the intention to guide the conversation to the EU outcome, the exact same none-scientific claims… The exact same stupidity to keep on coming back even when they are shot down a 100 times.
      And the EU proponents have become so predictable like clockwork. When they are shot down they stay low and then 2-3 articles later they come back with the exact same message format contianing a question and then a link to some obscure astronomical paper that somehow contain that one word with same outcome that they will get blown out of the water again.

      The parallels are staggering compared to creationists.

      The good thing about it is that the debunking of their claims actually gives great science value and understanding why they are so wrong. It also gives newcomers to astronomy a very good understanding what is Pesudo-science and what is real science.

      • Aqua April 17, 2011, 10:32 PM

        Tra la! Watts that you say? That is, if I apply my voltage squared over your resistance!

        • Aqua April 17, 2011, 10:34 PM

          Shocking….

        • Torbjorn Larsson OM April 20, 2011, 11:24 AM

          That would have been funny if it had any relevance. As it is, there is no potential here, so no energy in the argument.

  • Dav_Daddy April 18, 2011, 11:14 AM

    Personally I give Creationists far more credibility than this PC/EU crap. Creationists often make some interesting observations. You mentioned evolution, assuming we evolved from lower primates that would mean at some point in the past we could survive with neither clothing nor shelter. What possible advantage could come from our species being less hearty?

    Actually I read a paper not long ago that laid out very convincing evidence that the process of evolution is more survival of the luckiest than of the fittest. But back to my point creationists at least put forth a comprehensible argument.

    Vorticle Heliospheres, galactic magnetic fields, along with just about everything else that I have heard is from them is incomprehensible jibberish.

    P.S. Theology along with physics are both interests of mine. (I know couldn’t be more polar opposites if I tried!) It’s not that I believe there point of view to be accurate, I’m a firm believer in letting facts formulate my beliefs never having a belief and trying to make the facts conform to it.

    • Lawrence B. Crowell April 18, 2011, 12:37 PM

      There are large scale magnetic fields with galaxies. They have very small field strengths, around 10^{-6} Gauss, but they extend over vast distances. However, galactic magnetic fields do not play quite the dramatic role EU types think they do.

      LC

      • Aqua April 18, 2011, 7:04 PM

        Since we cannot detect intergalactic magnetic fields very well, except by measuring gamma ray deflection, or at least detect them well enough to know their entire 3D structures or strengths, then who is to say exactly how predominant their effects upon our universe is… due to scale?

        • Torbjorn Larsson OM April 20, 2011, 11:36 AM

          Not “who” but “what”, and that would be the weak field. As opposed to weakness of dark energy, say, the long range force of EM is not pervasive – it is a vector force, not a scalar potential.

          [And the dinky B field goes as r^(-3) anyway. Who would put “-dominant … effects” and “magnetic fields” in the same sentence anyway?

          Like gravity, _local_ effects can be awesome in special cases, say jets. Unlike gravity, _global_ effects are nuttin’, because the universe is uncharged on the whole so magnetic fields are, as matter, mere garnish on the universe. And ‘we’ know these fundamental properties and their difference, and get to know this in early studies, it is pointed out many times over.)

          • Lawrence B. Crowell April 20, 2011, 12:26 PM

            Somebody more acquainted with this research might want to comment in greater depth to complete what I say. There are a number of ways this field is measured indirectly and estimated. It is my understanding that one method galactic magnetic fields are estimated by measuring the energy of cosmic rays associated with some source and the incident angle of deviation of these particles from the source. The force on a charged particle is

            F = q(vxB)

            q = charge, v velocity and B = magnetic field intensity. The charged particle travels on a long arc from the source (the x above is a cross product) and this is used to back out the field. Other methods involve measurements of the heliopause limit. This has recently been an active area of research since the Voyager crafts entered this limit, where the solar wind is zero, and the IBEX studies. The charged particles streaming from the sun reach the limit of the magnetic plasma system of the sun. This point is approximately the distance at which the solar magnetic field is equal to the galactic field.

            The galactic magnetic field is on the order of a millionth of a Gauss, which is to be compared to the Earth’s magnetic field of .5 Gauss.

            LC

  • HOLOGRAPHICGALAXY.blogspot.com April 19, 2011, 1:32 AM

    {Most of this comment was deleted, in violation of Universe Today’s Comment Policy. }

    …. Crumb always says that galaxies do not even have a magnetic field, though it seems weak, the strength is enormous when compared to the sizes of galaxies, and their relative distances apart. I am very nice about him for Nancy…. (for reference to comment below)

  • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb April 19, 2011, 6:30 AM

    No. Most of what you write here is plainly wrong. On first read I found twenty-seven factual errors. Most of this falls into “personally theory”, and nearly of this is both unrelated to the story.

    Also you says; “Crumb always says that galaxies do not even have a magnetic field,” I never said that. Most galaxies are LIKELY to have weak magnetic fields. What I said was that they HAVE NO BEEN OBSERVED to any great extent. That is a big difference.

    You said ““Galaxies are surrounded by huge magnetic fields…”
    That is simply not true.

    it is no OK at all to bumble on about literally in dark when comes to theory on any level, however it has to match real and relevant observation.

    “I am very nice about him for Nancy.” Oh please. Do insult my intelligence.

    • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb April 19, 2011, 6:32 AM

      Correction : HAVE NOT BEEN OBSERVED except in a few galaxies.

  • HOLOGRAPHICGALAXY.blogspot.com April 20, 2011, 2:53 AM

    The facts and observations are blatantly obvious, that the cosmic web of dark matter is not missing any gravity, Everybody can see photos of actual real million degree cosmic filaments where galaxies form great walls, and where galaxy clusters collide. We know these are plasma forces at work in zero gravity outer space. If Crumb was to float into outer space, he would expand and blow apart, just like galaxies are doing ! The cosmic web is labeled as dark matter, just to support the big-bang model, with the intent of searching for missing gravity dark matter particles. Scientists should exclusively try to detect gravity on earth, by analyzing the changing ocean tides from the moon’s pull, instead of wasting money trying to do it in zero gravity outer space. Then, they can have something to look for, instead of hunting foolishly for invisible particles that emit and absorb no light, and don’t react with normal matter. Dark matter is just a plain hokey idea. Crumb is a fool who thinks he is intelligent but who knows nothing at all.

    • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb April 20, 2011, 3:55 PM

      Sorry, but, err, generally no.
      (If you buy me a Virgin Galactic ticket, I could float in space, though. Ta muchly!)

  • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb April 20, 2011, 4:36 AM

    I have been reading up on my dark matter knowledge and the problems faced in detecting it. There is a lot of disinformation and confusion about the experimentation to find it, and most novices kind of think that there is nothing tangible to latch on to the idea. Clearly the idea has not been plucked out of the air nor has it been dreamt up for funding.
    So instead of attacking the naysayers, I went look for an independent article that was both balanced and informative; and importantly gives an historical background.

    I came across and online article that might help others get a better grasp on the topic, that is;
    “Nature of Dark Matter” – by Ricky Leon Murphy. (It helped me understand this article, so it might help some of you guys too!)

    It concludes nicely that; “One thing is certain: we are closer to identifying the constituents of CDM and the mystery of dark matter is certain to be solved in the very near future.”

    …the only thing though, we just might have to be patient.

    Really. Limiting this to 2011 and 100 days isn’t realistic considering the sensitivity required.

    • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb April 20, 2011, 10:51 AM

      ….or at least yet another 100 days.

    • Torbjorn Larsson OM April 20, 2011, 11:49 AM

      Thanks, that was a useful link, duly bookmarked! I can’t remember seeing such a DM collection before, and I learned more detail and certainly history.

      Here is a good place to point out that the DAMA part is (likely) obviated by the more sensitive XENON100 negative result.

  • HOLOGRAPHICGALAXY.blogspot.com April 21, 2011, 1:39 AM

    Murphy’s Dark Matter Website is factual, but they just can’t find the invisible gravity particles. Figure 9 shows the N-Body model, which is the same filamentary structure found in the SDSS 6dFGS view. The Center for Cosmological Physics at the University of Chicago, states that the greatest challenge is to understand these “dark matter” filaments within the framework of the accepted big-bang cosmology. There is actually no need to call it “dark matter”, because the filamentary structure is real and actually exists. They show galaxies and galaxy clusters forming in their simulation along these cosmic filaments. Big-bangers believe the cosmic filaments formed shortly after the big-bang, which lead to galaxies forming before galaxy clusters, and later superclusters (no hyperclusters). Murphy states dark matter is the source of heated debates. Murphy states the best model is the CDM model, which has “PROBLEMS”, notably explaining why dwarf galaxies with a few thousand stars, require so much more dark matter to keep the stars from flying away apart from the galaxy into outer space. Hooke’s Law helps explain how stars orbit a galaxy, however gravity is a NEUTRAL force of acceleration based on two or more non-plasma objects e.g. dusty rocky planets having precise center of mass singularity points, where distances apart can be measured to determine the strength of gravity required by their multiplied masses / square of distances. Since galaxies are not really rounded, as dark matter halos are such devised to be, Newton’s gravitational constant becomes a mere approximation, especially for flat spiral vortex nebulaes and galaxies, that are proven to be essentially entirely composed of charged relativistic moving ions in zero gravity outer space plasma. The error of the big-bang cosmology, is to deny the existance of this filamentary structure, and to apply Newtonian gravity to the large scale structures of the Universe. I hold steadfast to my rejection of the big-bang theory, and am not at all alone in the scientific community of professional astrophysicists, holding such sound reasoning, which far surpasses the intelligence and understanding capable of Crumb.

    • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb April 21, 2011, 4:43 AM

      zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz……

    • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb April 21, 2011, 4:44 AM

      No. Little of this is at all relevant.

    • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb April 21, 2011, 4:46 AM

      “…and am not at all alone in the scientific community of professional astrophysicists,…”

      Oh dear. You’re no astrophysicist.

    • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb April 21, 2011, 4:52 AM

      Nancy, feel quite free to remove Mr. Hologram and my responses.
      Really. Intelligence is one this. Being intelligible is quite another.
      Clearly this latest response here is quite ridiculous and nonsensical.

    • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb April 21, 2011, 5:03 AM

      “Murphy’s Dark Matter Website is factual….”

      That’s why I posted it, you digbat!

    • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb April 21, 2011, 5:18 AM

      “Newton’s gravitational constant becomes a mere approximation,”

      Wow. Is an 6.67259(85) × 10?11 an approximation?

      • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb April 21, 2011, 5:19 AM

        6.67259(85) × 10-11

    • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb April 21, 2011, 5:24 AM

      “…charged relativistic moving ions in zero gravity outer space plasma.”

      Hang on. Before you were saying relativity was wrong and unproven.

      Eh? Ions in plasma. I though plasma was ions, that are highly ionised?

      So which is it?

      • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb April 21, 2011, 5:28 AM

        Ooopsy daisy!
        “I thought”

    • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb April 21, 2011, 5:27 AM

      “…holding such sound reasoning,…”

      You’re kidding are you not?

    • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb April 21, 2011, 5:49 AM

      “Hooke’s Law helps explain how stars orbit a galaxy,…”
      You humour is so drool, isn’t!
      “Hope springs eternal”, as they say.

      Holy cow!! I’d have thought the ol’ lissajous pattern or some spiral animation would be far more useful. Are you trying to hypnotise us into believing Hooke’s law us even relevant? Very strange indeed!

      (Hook here, could be a sly spin on Peter Pan and Tinkerbell… “I do believe in fairies, I do I do”; but I don’t thing your that clever!)

      • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb April 21, 2011, 6:46 AM

        Actually defining spirals is mostly by the constant angular and (β) radial velocities (vr). Motion in polar coordinates is best described as (r, φ) where r(t) = r0 + vr t, and φ(t) = φ0 + βt. The spiral radius maximum (rmax) spans a finite time, where the slower radial motion relative to the faster angular motion. Effective velocity of the spiral is approximately given by the time-variable v(t) = βr(t).

        This has absolutely nothing to do with Hooke’s law, or the funny caveated adoption of bouncy springs!

        • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb April 21, 2011, 6:50 AM

          Oops! “Actually defining spirals is mostly by the constant angular velocity (β) and radial velocities (vr).”
          (Sorry. I’m more error prone today for some reason!)

    • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb April 21, 2011, 5:53 AM

      “Since galaxies are not really rounded,…”
      Some are spirals. Some are even almost perfectly spherical.
      Sorry. ‘Rounded’ is in two dimensional, not three dimensions.

    • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb April 21, 2011, 5:58 AM

      Oops! Wrong place.
      “…flat spiral vortex nebulaes”
      Please, give us at least one or two examples.

      Also the word is nebula, whose plural is nebulae.
      ‘nebulaes’ is just needless tautology.

    • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb April 24, 2011, 1:47 AM

      “I hold steadfast to my rejection of the big-bang theory, and am not at all alone in the scientific community of professional astrophysicists, holding such sound reasoning, which far surpasses the intelligence and understanding capable of Crumb.”

      Psst… Wanna know a real secret? The rejection is not because the Big Bang or not. Its just the utter craziness of what your mixed up and incessant mad ravings. No real prove, no real evidence, just some airy-fairy notions without a semblance of good ol’ common sense.
      The Big Bang is mostly accepted because it best explains the observations and the evidence. Simple. Gosh! That took a lot of intelligence, didn’t it?

  • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb April 21, 2011, 5:57 AM

    “…flat spiral vortex nebulaes”
    Please, give us at least one or two examples.

    Also the word is nebula, whose plural is nebulae.
    ‘nebulaes’ is just needless tautology.

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