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Posted: 29 August 2006 03:00 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Glenn’s post mentions gravitational lensing.  I (layman that I am) heard about gravitational lensing (in a different context) for the first time while reading this weeks issue of Time Magazine.  They are peering back into the mists of time with powerful telescopes in search of what happened during the “Dark Ages.” 

Known as the Dark Ages of the universe, it’s the 200-million year period (more or less) after the last flash of light from the Big Bang faded and the first blush of sun-like stars began to appear.

Fascinating stuff.  They are waiting for the next generation of telescopes to come on line to really see what happened back in time.  In the meantime, I enjoyed this quote:

Indeed, observations often take theorists by surprise.  Last fall ...the European Space Organization’s ground-based Very Large Telescope in Chile revealed the existence of a galaxy dating to about 1 billion years after the Big Bang that was far larger and more mature looking than the primordial dwarf galaxies everyone assumed they would see.  “It was unexpected,” admits Mark Dickinson of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory, in Tuscon, Ariz., who worked on the project.  “But maybe it shouldn’t have been.”  The theorists might have things all wrong.  But it could also simply be that any population will have a few individuals that are way outside the average - humans who stand over 7 ft. tall for example.

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Posted: 30 August 2006 05:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I think the last point you brought up was what really got me thinking that the current assumptions about the Big Bang Theory are wrong. It was when they showed that image from the Hubble Deep Field a few years back. According to the theory, what was shown shouldn’t have been there. It showed fully formed, mature galaxies, not a proto-universe. Galactic formation, just based on the fact that the speed of light is the max speed things can go at, says that there wasn’t enough time for the universe to coalesce into what we clearly observe today.

For that to not be front page news told me that there is either huge groupthink in the wider physics community or that people are holding on to the current concepts because they can’t believe guys like Hubble and Lemaitre might be wrong. There are too many anomalies.

As a physics “smatterer,” as Newton would put it, I don’t have the background to really back up any of my personal feelings on this. But I wonder now about dark matter, interstellar plasma, and gravitational lensing, and its effect on how we gauge the redshift of objects. Can we be so certain that the apparent redshift is telling us the truth? If electromagetic/electroweak forces hold much more sway over the universe that previously thought, and light itself is an electromagnetic phenomena, do we really know how to figure the effect on light by these forces over extremely large distances?

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Posted: 21 August 2007 03:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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DOES THE REDSHIFT TELL THE TRUTH - that is, tell the truth about the distance and the recession rate of a (galactic scale) object?

The major sceptic on this point is Halton Arp who dismisses redshifts primarily on the basis that he has found material that bridges galaxies to quasars. Let us accept his claim here for the sake of argument - as he does seem to have some good evidence. Let us also reject the tired excuse of ‘tired light’ however. In such galaxy-quasar ‘pairs’ the redshifts of the galaxy and quasar are different, hence, concludes Arp, the redshift is meaningless at detecting galactic distances since the galaxy-quasar pair is at a certain fairly precise distance from us.

I have not found any explanation by Arp for the differing redshifts within the galaxy-quasar pair, but, given that his evidence for such pairings is sound, I present an explanation here which, although I worked it out rather than reading it in a book, does I think fit the normal explanation of redshifts and reinstates the reliability of redshift measurements while explaining his variant observations as peculiar to quasars.

A quasar, as Eric Lerner has suggested and others have found further evidence for, is a galaxy in formation. At the magnetic poles of this galaxy in formation (BBNH p. 251) matter is being ejected. However, at the equator of such a protogalaxy material is falling inward into the bright centre of the galaxy. As this material falls inward it blocks some of the light emerging from the core of the protogalaxy. This infalling material imprints its characteristics on the spectra. Since the material is infalling its spectral characteristics are redshifted relative to an observer stationary with respect to the protogalaxy. This infalling material is of course moving away from the external stationary observer - away towards the core of the protogalaxy. Upon this ‘falling material induced’ redshift there is then imposed the further ‘cosmic’ redshift, i.e. the redshift of the protogalaxy relative to us on earth. Hence the protogalaxy/quasar has two different causes for its redshift. This accounts for the mismatch in redshifts between galaxy quasar pairs - and also negates Halton Arp’s claims that redshift is unrelated to galactic distance if not recession rate.

Yours faithfully

Mark Lofts

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