Big Bang, Big Bewilderment
    By Johannes Koelman | February 24th 2010 07:53 PM | 75 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
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    I am a Dutchman, currently living in India. Following a PhD in theoretical physics (spin-polarized quantum systems*) I entered a Global Fortune


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    We live in an expanding universe. Distant galaxies move away from us, and these galaxies see us moving away from them. If we reverse time and trace back this expansion, it follows that the universe has evolved from a dense primeval/primordial state.

    The big bang concept summarized in three sentences.

    Sounds easy?

    History shows that the concept of a big bang is difficult to swallow. That even holds for the brightest minds in the history of science. For thousands of years, mankind has struggled with the basic question “Does the universe have a beginning?” In hindsight, the answer was up for grabs more than three centuries ago.

    Missed opportunities

    When Isaac Newton discovered the law of motion and gravity, he struggled with the fact that these laws render the universe unstable. Celestial bodies behave no different than an apple close to earth. Material bodies do not remain in a stable separated configuration just like an apple does not float above earth. Inevitably, the earth and an apple will collapse together, and so will the celestial bodies that make up the universe.

    Newton''s appleNewton could have argued that his laws are time-reversible, and that a reversal of a collapse would yield an expanding universe that is fully compatible with his laws of physics. He could even have concluded that three different models for a dynamical universe are possible: 1) a universe that expands forever (the reversal of an apple hitting the earth like a meteor), 2) a universe that undergoes an expansion followed by a contraction (the reversal of an apple thrown in the air with velocity below escape velocity), and 3) the in-between scenario in which the universe decelerates but never contracts (the reversal of an apple falling to earth starting from a standstill at infinity).

    More than two centuries later, another true giant in science had an even better chance to predict an expanding universe, but also blew it. Even worse, when Albert Einstein discovered that his theory of gravity did not allow for a stable universe, he started tweaking his equations. Even for a scientist as bold as Einstein, a big bang universe was a too far-fetched concept.

    Accepting the big bang

    Key is that both Newton and Einstein lacked direct observational evidence for a cosmic expansion. Apparently, without such hard evidence it is virtually impossible to consider a cosmic expansion. And even with such evidence, acceptance of a big bang cosmology is far from a done deal. In 1929 Edwin Hubble made the discovery that distant galaxies move away from each other with velocities proportional to their distance. Yet, it took many tens of years and the observation of a true relic of the big bang (the cosmic microwave background) in the 1960's, to get the big bang widely accepted as the standard cosmological model.

    If the brightest minds have wrestled many years with the concept of an expanding universe, who can blame a lay person struggling to accept the big bang? To make things worse, the treatment of cosmic expansion in the popscience literature is confusing and often inconsistent or even misleading.

    In his recent book 'From Eternity to Here', Sean Carroll makes the statement: “[..] of all the confusing aspects of modern cosmology, probably none has been the subject of more misleading or simply untrue statements [..] than the big bang”.

    Five years ago, Scientific American ran an article with the title “Misconceptions about the Big Bang”. The authors of this article, Lineweaver and Davis, state: “Renowned physicists, authors of astronomy textbooks and prominent popularizers of science have made incorrect, misleading or easily misinterpreted statements about the expansion of the universe. Because expansion is the basis of the big bang model, these misunderstandings are fundamental.”

    I agree with these sentiments. In fact, I consider it a small miracle that so many people seem to accept a concept as ill-explained and miscommunicated as the big bang.

    Visualizing the big bang

    How do you visualize the big bang? If I ask you to draw the big bang, would you attempt to draw an explosion similar to this?

    A not entirely correct Big Bang

    As a representation of the big bang, this picture is severely flawed. Imagining the big bang as an explosion originating at a specific location in space, represents a gross violation of the cosmological principle. This principle states that the universe has no preferred location, nor a preferred direction. You can think of the cosmological principle as nothing more than the Copernican debunking of geocentrism driven to its ultimate consequence: from a cosmological perspective our place in the universe is not special, and neither is any other places. Therefore the big bang did not happen at a particular place. It happened everywhere. The big bang represents a temporal singularity rather than a singularity in space.

    Can we create a visualization of the big bang that is understandable, yet honors the  key physics? Key challenge for any big bang visualization is that in some way it needs to translate Einstein's laws of general relativity, which dictate the cosmic expansion in terms of metrical spaces, into a more easily understandable kinematic description of galaxies flying apart. People can grasp an explosion of galaxies flying apart, but struggle with abstract mathematical concept like a Robertson-Walker metric.

    Let's start with a uniform explosion in a one-dimensional space. It looks like this:

    1-D universe

    You can think of the dots representing galaxies flying apart. Each galaxy sees the others moving away, and galaxies at larger mutual distance move proportionally faster away from each other. This is exactly the expansion observed by Hubble.

    There is a problem though. Galaxies that are further separated, recede from each other more rapidly, and beyond a certain distance, galaxies will fly apart faster than the speed of light. To correct this, we need to bring some relativistic concepts into the picture. First, we represent the one-dimensional galactic explosion in spacetime:

    1-D explosion in space-time

    Spatial separation is indicated horizontally, and time runs vertically. In this picture the slope of the galaxy trajectories represent their velocities (as observed from the galaxy in te center of the picture).

    To render this picture relativistically correct, we need to 'bend' the trajectories such that the angle with the vertical (time) axis stays smaller than the angle corresponding to the speed of light. This bending corresponds to the well-known relativistic time dilation: time runs more slowly for fast moving objects. So we imagine that each of the galaxies carries a clock that started ticking at the moment of the big bang, and plot the positions of the galaxies when all galactic clocks show the same time. We get the following picture:

    Relativistic 1-D explosion

    Notice that the time indicated along the vertical axes is associated with the central galaxy in this picture. From the perspective of this central galaxy, galaxies further away move faster and their clocks tick slower, and therefore they reach a given position only when the clock of the central galaxy indicates a much later time. This causes the 'bending up' of the line of galaxies. By plotting all galaxies at synchronized proper (cosmological) times, we effectively have relativistically mixed space and time and created a curved space (yellow band) that stretches itself more straight with time:

    Expanding space

    Notice that in this picture the big bang (cosmic time zero) is represented by two straight lines: two opposing flashes of light filling whole space.

    We are now ready to indicate the visible universe as seen from the galaxy central in the picture. These are nothing more than the rays of light traveling from the past and ending at the central dot. In a one-dimensional universe there are two such light rays, indicated by the green line segments in below figure. To render this visualization more complete, the early opaque phase of the universe (denoted in yellow) is distinguished from the transparent phase. The interface between the two represents the 'surface of last scatter'. This surface marks the visible depth of the universe. It is visible as the cosmic microwave background, the afterglow of the big bang discovered in 1964 and mapped out by the COBE and WMAP satellites.

    Big Bang Model

    Again: the Cosmological Principle

    Ok, so if you want to imagine the big bang as some sort of explosion, the correct picture is shown above. It honors the theory of relativity, yet is a caricature of 'the real thing' as only one space dimension is represented, and the effects of gravity are ignored. Its qualitative features, however, are correct.

    But wait a second. What about the cosmological principle? Surely this principle is grossly violated: the galaxy in the center of the picture surely occupies a very special place in this one-dimensional universe. Ptolemy would perhaps like this model, but Copernicus and Galilei certainly wouldn't.

    Not too quick! This is where the magic of Einstein's theory of relativity comes into play. In the above picture the central galaxy seems special, but that is only so because we have represented the universe from the perspective of this particular galaxy. We can 'scroll' through this one-dimensional universe and experience a universe that looks the same from each alternative perspective:

    Scrolling through the Big Bang

    Clearly each galaxy occupies an equivalent position. Our one-dimensional model universe obeys the cosmological principle in the most detailed way possible. Each point in this universe is at the center of it. It is just a matter of perspective.

    Also obvious from this picture is that the 'scrolling' can be continued indefinitely. This universe is truly infinite. However, from the perspective of each galaxy, the observable universe (the green light rays emanated from the surface of light scatter and illuminating the galaxy) is finite. Note, however, that different galaxies have different observable universes associated with them.

    There is much more to be said about this model universe. But let me stop here, and ask you a concluding question: do you accept the big bang? Do you consider it a truth like you consider a non-flat earth a truth?

    If not, have you ever wondered why the night is dark?


    Big thumbs up! Thanks for the article.
    No, I don't accept the BB. Does that make me a flat-Earther, as your trite ending suggests?
    Well, I guess I'm in good company - Edwin Hubble didn't believe it either.
    Just so you know.

    I learned about the Big Bang with the metaphor of spots on a balloon that is blown. All the spots see the others moving away with a speed that increases with distance.

    This is a non-relativistic picture though. But I did not care a lot about the relativistic correction. I could believe that you would not see super-luminal speeds without all the fuss.

    I know that one Dutch novelist, Harry Mulish, got it wrong completely and wrote about an astronomer who succeeded in seeing an image of the pre-bang universe (heaven+angels) reflected on galaxies. I never understood what kind of warped idea he had of astronomy.


    Great article. Also really liked the earlier one about entropy and gravity.

    The line near the end where you wrote, "Note, however, that different galaxies have different observable universes associated with them." intrigued me the most.

    I'm definitely a layman around this stuff, but that statement opens all sorts of questions for me.
    I'm interpreting your statement as meaning that from the perspective is a galaxy most distantly visible to us, they would see a universe that included some of the same galaxies we see (where our respective light cones intersect), but they would also see a lot more that we could not. In turn the galaxies most distant from them (and further away from us) would have a view that included only galaxies that we can not see. etc etc etc.

    Do you have any reason to expect that the same starting singularity applies equally to all of these perspectives or anything to suggest that there is any bounds to the progression of such perspectives?
    i.e. Is this a case of the universe being infinite, but most of it being out of view due to limits on light speed?

    Johannes Koelman
    Thanks Andrew.

    What this model highlights, is that the term 'observable universe' is subjective (observer dependent). We do not know whether or not the total universe is infinite. All the current cosmological hard data we have, certainly is compatible with an infinite universe. Yet, the total universe could be finite, but it has to be at least many times the size of our observable universe.

    So it is definitely true that,most of the universe is out of view.
    "Newton could have argued that ..."

    Newton was much too smart for that. Big bang model relies on great many assumptions many of them experimentally untestable and therefore unscientific. The main problematic assumption is that we already have all the relevant knowledge needed to understand past evolution of the Universe. This assumption is unacceptable to anyone who is well aware of not only what is known but also of what is still unknown, the letter trumps the former.

    As long as there are huge gaps in our understanding - by which I mean things like dark energy, dark matter (we cannot explain 95% mass-energy content of the universe ffs!), inflation, inability to reconcile quantum mechanics with general relativity, lack of explanation of countless parameters of SM, lack of mathematically rigorous theory of matter, etc, etc - those who make grandiose statements about the beginning of the Universe are either very naive or very dishonest. Luckily for us not much depends on such predictions being correct but let me tell you if the life of your family depended on their correctness you would certainly be much more skeptical about modern cosmology.

    For example the expansion of the universe is mostly based on redshift, which is though to result from expansion of space, but there is no experimental evidence for that phenomenon. Besides there is another just as valid explanation - that redshift is an intrinsic property of all electromagnetic radiation. This possibility has never been ruled out experimentally due to obvious technical problems. The only arguments against it are based on our ignorance - we don't know how it could work, but that doesn't prove anything, besides we don't know how dark energy works either.

    Another example is the assumption that law of physics which hold here and now can be generalized to everywhere and all time - this is a breathtaking generalization based on very little evidence.

    Science is based on a scientific method which in turn is based on experimentation and this is where all the power of science comes from. Scientific knowledge is only as solid as the experiments which back it up, unfortunately in cosmology only a very limited experimentation is possible which makes the knowledge acquired much more questionable then in other fields of natural science - it's worth keeping in mind.

    As a layman, I have to admit that I was not aware of all the problems that you presented, but I would like to propose a flaws in one of your arguments. Concerning redshifts, they do not directly say anything about an expanding universe. Redshifts are considered as an example of Doppler shifts which would lead to the conclusion that galaxies are moving away from one another. There are various reasons why redshifts are considered to be a Doppler effect, and I think the most convincing of this is the argument that if this wasn't the case, then every galaxy would have its own physics.

    Although I realise that you consider this to be a possibility, it is highly unlikely. Consider for instance a galaxy very similar in structure, age and composition to our own. It turns out that the spectra of such galaxies are almost exactly like our own except that it is shifted a bit to the red spectrum. If the Doppler effect couldn't count for this, we would have to conclude that star formations in each galaxy had its own unique properties, even if the starting material is the same - If hope this explains the flaw in your logic..

    The alternative argument about redshifts you make is that they are an intrinsic property of EM radiation. I think this is the least convincing of all your statements, simply because if it is an intrinsic property of EM radiation, then blue-shifted galaxies wouldn't exist, but sadly - they do (Andromeda as well as others).

    Either way - this proves nothing about expansion - only about movement of galaxies. The reason that redshifts support expansion is because of this: if there is no preferred direction of motion of galaxies, then there would be statistically equal examples of both red and blue shifts. This is not the case. The overwhelming majority of galaxies are redshifted i.e. moving away from us. This lends us towards the idea that since things are moving away from one another, it is likely that in the past they were closer together. These are all very sound physical and mathematical conclusions.

    None of these ideas prove the big-bang. I think the biggest support of the big-bang is cosmic background radiation. It is unnecessary in the universe if the universe didn't expand from something similar to the big-bang.

    The other problems that you mention are interesting, but I think flawed in that you do not really require a complete understanding of all aspects of a situation to draw conclusions about it. For example if you go past an accident and see skid marks on the road, you are safe to make the logical conclusion that someone lost control of his/her car which led to the accident. You do not need to know the mental state of the driver, or the status of the brakes of the car to make that conclusion - it is valid regardless.

    By intrinsic redshift I mean some effect which would have the wavelength increase with distance - it would not lead to equal amount of blue-shift as distance can only be positive. Besides this effect would be in addition to normal gravitational and Doppler shift.

    Yes, CMB does agree with Big Bang cosmology, but is that the only possible explanation? For example is there any experimental proof that CMB is really global and not local? We can only see it from one location at one time, perhaps it is a local background of our Galaxy produced by light on light scattering or some other as yet undiscovered process.

    The problem with your skid-marks analogy is that accidents are very simple - the amount of possibilities is limited so you can quickly rule out most of them, in the case of the Universe we don't know what the possibilities are and so we cannot use simple elimination to conclude which explanation is right, there could be explanations we haven't discovered yet. In other words the fact that we cannot come up with better physical theories is not a proof that our current ones already capture everything.

    That our present theories are not final should be obvious when one considers how poorly they work in some areas - we can only explain 5% of the mass-energy content of the Universe and have no idea what the other 95% is made of! This alone is more then enough to prove that our understanding of cosmology is inadequate and that our cosmological model do not deserve much confidence. But there are other problems, our two best theories or matter - Standard Model and General Relativity - cannot be reconciled; we are unable to calculate vacuum energy (it comes out absurdly high or infinite); we don't know where parameters used in our theories come from and why they have the values they have; we don't know if those parameters can change in time or from place to place, and so on and on, to put it another way our ignorance is simply immense and dwarfs our knowledge. Considering all this the confidence with which people proclaim that our Universe originated in the Big Bang is rather surprising.

    What we need is a more humble attitude, like the one exemplified by Newton: "I was like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me."

    OK, let me start of by saying that I am not convinced with your arguments about an intrinsic redshift based on distances. If that was the case, you would naturally be able to test that hypothesis. It really isn't as difficult as you suggest. A laser fired from 2 locations to the same observer should be able to detect it. If the shifts are so small as to be only visible on really large scales, then you still need to account for the lack of such observable evidence when viewing different stars within our own galaxies - the effect needs to be at least testable.

    Regarding the background radiation, if it is a local phenomenon, you need to find a mechanism that allows our galaxy to emit such radiation while preventing other galaxies from doing so. I think such an explanation would be far too complicated and I think its far simpler to consider it the remnants of something akin to the big bang.

    I do agree that the universe is complex, but when it comes to the question of universal expansion or lack thereof, there are only 3 options - stable, expanding or contracting. Of course, a cyclic model is also possible, but on a local scale this would be seen as either expansion or contraction. Currently the evidence points to expansion. Its that simple!

    Also, I do not think that you quite understand the current model of cosmology - if you reject an expanding universe, then the problem with dark energy disappears - so think about it. Also there are explanations for Dark matter - look up MACHOs and WIMPs. There are reasons why both of them are difficult to detect, but to suggest that we have no idea of the mass-energy content, thats an oversimplification.

    Regarding the other problems - you are suggesting, like you did before that not knowing everything disqualifies the theory completely. That is really not the case and the skid-mark analogy that I made earlier is still valid. What we know is reasonable - there is still lots we do not know - no one is suggesting otherwise. The other problem with your argument is that you are suggesting that lack of knowing the exact parameters involved in a theory makes the theory unusable. If science really worked that way - we would never have had any real progress in knowledge.

    Oh, and one last thing - I really don't think Newton was a humble person - even his statement regarding "the shoulders of giants" was meant as a sarcastic remark. He was a great scientist, but arrogant, hard-headed and he even considered himself a prophet. So scientists modelling themselves on Newton might not be the ideal view that you are suggesting.

    As a final statement, I do want to say that I do agree with you that the big bang might not be the answer, but it is the best explanation we have at the moment, and to simply say that its wrong without giving an alternate theory that is consistent with the available data is a pointless endeavor.

    1. "It really isn't as difficult as you suggest"
    The distances involved are far to great to do the test of such intrinsic redshift on Earth, the experiment would be pretty much the same as the one needed to directly measure hypothetical expansion of space - as soon as it will become possible we will know about it.

    2. "Regarding the background radiation, if it is a local phenomenon, you need to find a mechanism that allows our galaxy to emit such radiation while preventing other galaxies from doing so"
    Other Galaxies could have their own local microwave background, you wouldn't see it from Earth due to distance.

    3. "I do agree that the universe is complex, but when it comes to the question of universal expansion or lack thereof, there are only 3 options - stable, expanding or contracting"
    I'm not sure what that refers to, did I say that there are other options? I'm only saying that there is not enough evidence to make definite statements about the Universe as a whole and especially how it started.

    4. "Also, I do not think that you quite understand the current model of cosmology - if you reject an expanding universe, then the problem with dark energy disappears - so think about it. Also there are explanations for Dark matter - look up MACHOs and WIMPs. There are reasons why both of them are difficult to detect, but to suggest that we have no idea of the mass-energy content, thats an oversimplification."
    I am not rejecting expansion, I am only saying that it's too early to make definite statements about the evolution or origin of the Universe as a whole. Also what I said is certainty not an oversimplification, we have no idea what 95% of the mass-energy content of the Universe is, this is the inconvenient truth of cosmology. What you mention are some speculative hypotheses for dark matter for which there is no experimental evidence at all.
    I am not sure you realize how big an issue this really is. Would you trust a professional advise from a lawyer who doesn't understand 95% of the law? Or a diagnosis of a doctor who doesn't know about 95% of human diseases? Not knowing what 95% of the mass-energy content of the Universe really is is a very serious problem for cosmology and greatly undermines the authority of it's predictions.

    5. "you are suggesting, like you did before that not knowing everything disqualifies the theory completely."
    I've never said anything like that, can you cite a passage containing it? What I said is that we know far too little to use the argument that "since we don't have a better explanation current one has to be right."

    6. "The other problem with your argument is that you are suggesting that lack of knowing the exact parameters involved in a theory makes the theory unusable"
    Again what are you talking about? I've never said that, what I said is that we don't know enough to be sure those laws and their constants are valid everywhere and at all times.

    7. "Oh, and one last thing - I really don't think Newton was a humble person..."
    I am not saying he was a humble person (although the idea that his giants quote was to make fun of Leibnitz is silly at best), I am saying we need more of the humble attitude exemplified by his quote - appreciation of one's own ignorance.

    8. "As a final statement, I do want to say that I do agree with you that the big bang might not be the answer, but it is the best explanation we have at the moment, and to simply say that its wrong without giving an alternate theory that is consistent with the available data is a pointless endeavor."
    Emphasizing uncertainty is certainly NOT a pointless endeavor, understanding uncertainty is critically important, the only reason cosmology gets a free pass is that not much depends on it. Take credit crisis for example, would you say that exposing the flaws of financial models used to assess risk of credit securitisation was a pointless endeavor if one couldn't offer a better alternative?
    Or climate, would you say that exposing questionable assumptions in climate models on which the future of world economy depends is a pointless endeavor if one cannot offer a better model?
    It's in cosmology best interest to be honest about uncertainties involved, it will make it much less awkward to change stance when new data arrives and suddenly rules out our current best explanation.

    Johannes Koelman
    This is an interesting discussion that highlights different opinions on what constitutes "the scientific method".

    Key, I think, is this comment:
    "... the assumption that law of physics which hold here and now can be generalized to everywhere and all time - this is a breathtaking generalization based on very little evidence."
    This remark is at odds with 'the scientific method'. Surely everyone applies such 'assumptions' every day. My actions today are based on the 'assumption' that tomorrow the sun will again rise. And if indeed it rises, I expect it not to shine in a bright pink color.

    True, I have not experienced tomorrow yet, I have no photographs of tomorrow's sun, and indeed different laws of physics might apply tomorrow. Yet, me assuming the laws of physics to be the same tomorrow as they are today represents by no means a breathtaking generalization. On the contrary, assuming that tomorrow the sun will not shine its normal thermal white light is a breathtakingly wild assumption.

    The burden of proof is with the person throwing aside Occam's razor. Someone who claims tomorrow the sun will shine in bright pink has some explaining to do. This is at the hearth of the scientific method.
    >>.. the assumption that law of physics which hold here and now can be
    generalized to everywhere and all time - this is a breathtaking
    generalization based on very little evidence.

    >"This remark is at odds with 'the scientific method'. Surely everyone applies such 'assumptions' every day. My actions today are based on the 'assumption' that tomorrow the sun will again rise. And if indeed it rises, I expect it not to shine in a bright pink color."

    It's a "breathtaking generalization" not because it is generalized at all but because it is generalized to "everywhere and all time." Yours is a great example why, yes, it makes sense to assume the Sun will rise tomorrow but the generalization to everywhere and all times is obviously wrong. Sun did not rise always and will not rise always, it also does not rise on every planet. This is a perfect example of why the fact that something seems perfectly constant to us does not mean that it is indeed a perfect constant - it may very well be an artefact of our own limitations. This is my main point and it is applicable to both physical constants and physical laws.

    This does not mean that our law are useless or anything of that sort, it only means that when they are generalized to completely different conditions then the ones in which they were tested they lose their experimental support and credibility.

    Johannes Koelman
    Yours is a great example why, yes, it makes sense to assume the Sun will rise tomorrow but the generalization to everywhere and all times is obviously wrong. Sun did not rise always and will not rise always, it also does not rise on every planet.
    Well, that is not what I said. If a sun shines today with a bright white light, then my (and I honestly believe also your) base assumption is that it will do so tomorrow. The sun will not evaporate overnight, nor will it change its color to bright pink. And yes, this base assumption so far works everywhere in the observable universe.

    So what is your working assumption? If you believe some sun, sometime, somewhere in the universe might suddenly switch its color from white to bright pink, then the burden of proof is on you. And it doesn't suffice to make remarks like "we don't know all the laws of physics, and who knows, a yet unobserved physical mechanism might turn all suns in the universe into bright pink stars". You have to come with a viable alternative theory.

    The scientific method is a powerful guidance, the immense success of which is undeniable.
    Hi P

    I think that no matter what anyone says to you to explain the validity of the Big Bang as a scientific theory, you would not be convinced by the arguments. However, I do want to give you a bit of background onto how the theory developed to show you that a lot of the problems you mentioned developed as a byproduct of the theory, and were not simply disregarded when making the theory.

    Again, I am not going to give a complete picture of the development of the Big Bang theory, but rather, only the main points that I can remember off-hand (not in chronological order). OK, so here it goes:

    1. Newton's laws leads to instabilities with the universe.
    2. Einstein's equations indicate the same.
    3. Einstein develop's correction factor (cosmological constant) to his equations to give the possibility of a static universe. He later described this idea as his biggest blunder.
    4. Hubble discovers red-shift of galaxies are affected by their distance from our own.
    5. There was debate of the interpretation of this data - Hubble supported the idea that this effect was best explained by the Doppler Effect.
    6. Interpreting the red-shift as the Doppler effect shows that an overwhelming number of galaxies are moving away from one another.
    7. Naturally the idea developed that if things are moving away from one another, they were probably a lot closer in the past - and possibly all on top of one another at the beginning.
    8. Ideas developed that showed the possibility of the universe originating from a singularity at the beginning of time.
    9. Cosmic background radiation was discovered showing what could best be described as the remnants of such an originating event.
    10. The Hubble telescope takes the longest exposure picture of a small region in space - the hubble ultra deep field (HUDF).
    11. The HUDF shows progressively less galaxies the further you look into space implying that there were far fewer galaxies in the past to eventually when none were visible.
    12. Viewing the structure and motion of galaxies it is clear that visible matter cannot account for the interactions of galaxies
    13. Possibilities for the ultimate fate of the universe - unlimited expansion eventually reaching a fixed rate; unlimited expansion with exponential increase; expansion to a fixed point; expansion followed by contraction.
    14. Recent discovery of increasing rate of universal expansion.
    15. Cosmological constant re-introduced to account for this increasing rate of expansion.

    This is by no means a complete list, and various other discoveries and observations have occurred in fields dealing with quantum mechanics; black holes; stellar formation etc. But to illustrate the points I am trying to make, the above is more than enough. OK, another list now:

    1. The originating dimensions of the event would require that gravitational and quantum effects be reconciled. Hence the search for the so-called theory of everything.
    2. The homogeneity of the Cosmic background radiation implies a time period where all points were causally connected, in violation with the speed of light limit for information transfer between points - Hence inflation.
    3. Dark matter is introduced to account for point 12 - objects/matter whose main identifying force is gravity alone.
    4. Point 15 above has been translated in lay-man's terms into dark-energy.

    As you can see from the points above, Infation, dark-energy, dark-matter, and the theory of everything are all integral to the big-bang model and not ignored to make the theory. I do not expect you to agree with the idea that the big-bang is valid, but I would at least expect a bit of respect for the idea as being scientific - The ideas were based on evidence - the idea poses challenges, makes predictions and has unknowns, but it is the best model for the universe at present.

    Better models might be developed in the future, but don't expect that these will be flawless or have no problems of its own. And to some extent, I think that we have to contend that some of the parameters involved have arbitrary values, with no explanation, none of those would take anything away from the idea itself.


    You forgot that the high Z (old age) distribution of H, He, and Li and their isotopes can be accurately, and numerically, explained from a hot dense Big Bang phase.

    Also, the isotropic nature of the microwave background reaching us from opposite directions points towards inflation (an addition to the Big Bang). This is important, as the microwaves coming from opposite directions have no causal relations.

    I know of no alternative theory that can explain these two facts more accurately or with less assumptions.


    BB theory already assumes different laws at different times - the first five 'epochs' of the universe (about a trillionth of a second) operated under different laws than we currently have. GUT was active, then electric and nuclear forces were combined, then just electroweak, then four forces. And of course - inflation happened, not possible in our observable universe now.
    for the record - I think BB is psuedo-science. It's got more holes than a net.

    I wouldn't go so far as to say that the universe operated with different laws, just that the laws of the universe manifested themselves in different ways because of the extremely high energies moments after the big bang. 
    I really enjoyed your article, and I think that it explained the conceptual idea of the big bang quite well. That being said there are 2 main questions that I think really needs to be answered.

    The first one is about baryogenesis. As a layman with a bit of knowledge about statistics, I just cannot wrap my head around the idea that matter should exist instead of antimatter (not my favourite term). If only Baryonic matter existed I think I could accept that more easily, but since both baryonic and antibaryonic matter can exist, it does beg the question about why one should exist over the other.

    The second question, and I think more importantly, is the question of what exactly space is. I apologize if this question sounds ridiculous, but this is one thing that has puzzled me. For instance, if space is expanding, shouldn't everything physically expand with it. My notion is that if we already exist within space (including the space between particles in our bodies), and that space expands - in a closed system shouldn't we also expand with it, or is the notion of space excluded from closed systems. and if it is, is the universe really a closed system. I kind of find it arbitrary developing concepts such as the big bang and expanding universes without a proper definition of what exactly space is.

    I would appreciate if you could help me with answers to these questions, and help me understand more about the universe.

    Johannes Koelman
    You pose two very good questions:

    1) where is the anti-matter? Why is there not a 50-50 distribution of matter and anti-matter in the universe?

    Answer: various models and mechanisms are proposed to answer this question. Currently there is no consensus on what is the right answer. (See Wikipedia on baryogenesis.)

    2) what is space? If space expands, why doesn't everything (including meter sticks) expand with it?

    Answer: In many popscience books the cosmic expansion is represented by galaxies imagined to be glued on a giant balloon that gets inflated. In above blogpost, I have carefully avoided the whole idea of expansion of space. One of the reasons is to avoid this question! (A second reason is that this analogy gives rise to superluminal expansion, a third reason that this model tends to create aether-like construct in people's mind, and a fourth reason that this analogy makes people believe that the universe is expanding into some higher dimensional hyper-universe.)
    For those who do want to understand the cosmic expansion in terms of an expansion of space:  this expansion of space is most effective at large distances (interpreted as a repulsive force, it is proportional to distance). At short distances, it is not very strong. The cosmic expansion does cause galaxies to expand a bit, but it is not strong enough to pull them apart. And this expansion is certainly not strong enough to overcome electromagnetic forces that hold clusters of atoms and molecules (you, me and meter sticks) together.
    I would just like to add to Johannes' wonderful explanation concerning the expansion of space that the gravity of individual galaxies is more than enough to counteract any repulsive force responsible for the expansion of space. Even in between two or more galaxies in a cluster, the net effect is that gravity prevails. That is why the galaxies in the local group are moving towards each other, e.g. why M31 and the Milky Way will one day merge.

    But, Johannes is absolutely correct. On a small scale this repulsive force is insignificant, especially when compared to much the stronger electromagnetic forces.
    Johannes and Eric, I thank you for the explanations you have provided, but I still think the idea of space is quite vague - I am still looking for a more appropriate idea of it.

    But regardless of that, there is one last thing about spacial expansion that I do not quite understand. Currently the rate of expansion of the universe is increasing, and to account for this scientists use the ambiguous term "Dark Energy." Intuitively for me, the energy required to expand something of size '2z' would be more than expanding something of size 'z'.

    So at least to me this suggests that more and more energy is used for expansion. This goes against everything I've learnt about closed systems, and the universe is supposed to be the all-encompassing closed system. So my question is how do you take account of that.

    I do kinda get what you say about the scale of forces involved, but let me just ask if you think that the rate of expansion of the universe would reach a point where the interacting particles of forces such as the electromagnetic and gravitational forces couldn't reach one another? If so what happens to the particles themselves - I find it hard to think that they just disappear.

    Well, to be perfectly honest with you, there is a theory in cosmology that states that in time everything including atoms, protons, neutrons, quarks, etc. will be ripped apart by the accelerating expansion of the universe. The theory in fact is called the Big Rip! LOL

    But it is just a theory and a highly controversial one at that. Mainstream scientists don't believe that this is what is really going to happen.....well, some do.

    When things get this abstract and so far away from empirical verification, it's almost impossible to say which theory is correct and which theory is dead wrong. What can I say?
    Johannes Koelman
    Samshive -- you seem to insist on understanding the big bang based on the concept of 'expansion of space'. A perfectly valid ambition. However, I do hope that in the above article I have convinced you that the big bang can (at least conceptually) be interpreted as an explosion of galaxies flying apart. When done carefully, a relativistically correct infinite explosion can be derived (and visualized) that satisfies the cosmological principle. All of this without utilising the concept of 'expanding space'.

    On your question of energy conservation in an accelerating space-time: see here.

    Newton could have argued that his laws are time-reversible, and that a reversal of a collapse would yield an expanding universe that is fully compatible with his laws of physics. He could even have concluded that three different models for a dynamical universe are possible: 1) a universe that expands forever (the reversal of an apple hitting the earth like a meteor), 2) a universe that undergoes an expansion followed by a contraction (the reversal of an apple thrown in the air with velocity below escape velocity), and 3) the in-between scenario in which the universe decelerates but never contracts (the reversal of an apple falling to earth starting from a standstill at infinity).

    This particular example I have a problem with in the context in which you are presenting it, and I'll tell you why. True, during Newton's time the solar system and the stars were considered the entire universe. They weren't even aware that they were living in an "island universe" (i.e. a galaxy). But even if they had been, it wouldn't have made any difference to the argument.

    The expansion of the universe and the stretching of space-time are moot points in our solar system and our galaxy since the gravity from the mass of each pretty much negates any stretching of space. The instability with which Newton was faced was of an entirely different nature. The instability of our solar system is due to perturbations due to tidal interactions between all of the bodies in it.

    Now in all fairness to Newton even though he worked out his three laws of motion and by combining them with Kepler's three law of planetary motion worked out his law of universal gravitation, he did so using the calculus which he privately developed. But when he published his laws of motion and his law of universal gravitation in his seminal treatise, Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica or just The Principia for short, he did not present it in the calculus with which he had developed these laws, but rather in the more crude form of geometry which was not suitable for the subtleties of tidal perturbations. I know, because I own a copy of the Principia, and have read it from cover to cover.

    It is also true that Newton didn't believe that there was a mathematical solution to the inherent instability of the complex tidal interactions in our solar system and simply attributed the apparent stability of it to the Divine. A cop-out? Probably! But the expansion of the universe would have had no relevance to this problem whatsoever.

    Now it's true that Pierre-Simon, marquis de Laplace during the time of Napoleon did manage to work out a mathematical solution to the instability of our solar system. But here's the thing; it was all in vain. Why? Because recent Lagrange-Laplace (LL) secular theory has shown that, in the long term, all planetary systems are inherently unstable, including our own solar system. Eventually our solar system will become dynamically unstable, long before our sun becomes a red giant.

    Now Einstein is an entirely different matter all together. His own theory of general relativity contained within it predictions that our universe was dynamic and either had to be expanding or contracting--something which he didn't realize at the time. It was pointed out to him by a colleague.

    But in fairness to Einstein the prevailing idea at the time was that the Milky Way was the entire universe--this view spearheaded by Harlow Shapley of the Mount Wilson Observatory. This was the consensus at the time. Einstein was only going by what the astronomers were telling him that the empirical data was telling them. So as a consequence, he introduced the extraneous term to his equations, which we know as the cosmological constant, to make his dynamic universe stand still. It was only when Edwin Hubble and his then night assistant Milton Humason proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that the universe was expanding did Einstein realize that he had made a terrible mistake and that his theory in its original form was correct.

    The irony of it all if you believe in the existence of dark energy, is that Einstein came to the right conclusion but for the wrong reasons based on a premise that was eventually proved wrong! If indeed dark energy is the cause for the acceleration of the expansion of the universe, then the cosmological constant is correct.

    Other than that, Johannes I found your article to be extraordinary! : )
    Johannes Koelman
    Hi Eric -- you are perfectly right: no-one can blame Newton that he didn't come up with the idea of an expanding universe. In fact, in light of the observational evidence at that time, it would have been silly if he would have done so.

    It was not my intention to suggest that Newton should have concluded that the universe is dynamic, but rather that Newton's laws in itself are sufficient to come to this conclusion. (Several introductory text on cosmology incorrectly suggest that one needs Einstein's theory of gravity to understand the concept of cosmic expansion.) In fact, Newton's law of gravity can be used to derive the Friedmann equation that describes the cosmic expansion for flat space. Key is the effacing principle that was derived by... Newton himself. (A nice description of this can be found in Tony Zee's book 'An Old Man's Toy'.)
    Einstein is indeed a different story. Already in 1912, Visto Slipher had measured redshifts of 'spiral nebulae' and found that these were receding with very high velocities (likely high enough to escape Milky Way's gravitational field). And in 1917 Heber Curtis discovered faint novae in spiral nebulae. All of this strongly suggests that the then-called 'island universe' model of the universe (with the milky way not being the whole universe, but an island in a larger universe) to be correct.

    I agree that we can not blame Einstein for having decided to ignore all of this. The whole debate on whether the universe extended beyond the Milky Way was certinly controversial at the time when Einstein constructed his theory of gravity.
    Hi Johannes, That's an interesting point you make about Newton's laws. You could in fact conclude from his laws that the universe is expanding. If Newton had had, Edwin Hubble, Milton Humason, Heber Curtis of the Lick Observatory, Vesto Slipher of the Lowell Observatory, George Ellery Hale to build Mount Wilson Observatory, the 100" Hooker telescope and a little luck, Newton probably would have concluded that the universe was expanding. LOL ; )
    It is also true that Newton didn't believe that there was a mathematical solution to the inherent instability of the complex tidal interactions in our solar system and simply attributed the apparent stability of it to the Divine.

    Newton had no reason to assume the universe was more than 6000 years old. So there probably would not have been enough time for instabilities to build up. No need to tweak the formulas.

    Only after Lyell and Darwin was it possible to conceive of a universe millions of years old. Only after Hubble and the discovery of stellar physics we get into the billions of years.


    Are we limited to just one bang? Could we not have, perhaps, a small bang within a big bang?

    A cosmic gangbang?

    It seems to me that one must wrap one's mind around infinity mathematics to even begin to understand what is happening in this Universe. We think in terms of a beginning and an end, of a start and stop, backwards and forward. In infinity mathematics, there is nowhere in the Universe that you can go and still be closer to infinity. The big bang theory is just another item to look at on our path of continuing evolution. I think that one day in the distant future, people will look back and laugh about a big bang theory. It's fun to think about it, but there's no solutions in it.

    Quite an interesting article Johannes, but you didn't mention other dimensions, as mathematicians do.
    I think it was the 26 August edition last year in New Scientist that discussed this.
    Why do cosmologists have such a problem with other/more dimensions, whereas mathematicians don't?

    Johannes Koelman
    I don't think cosmologists have a problem with other/more dimensions, it's just that they (currently) don't need such extra dimensions.

    On the contrary, there is a likelihood that cosmologists need to prune the number of dimensions they carry (by one fewer, to be precise). But that is another story.
    There is a problem though. Galaxies that are further separated, recede from each other more rapidly, and beyond a certain distance, galaxies will fly apart faster than the speed of light. To correct this, we need to bring some relativistic concepts into the picture.

    Johannes is absolutely correct about this. And this presents a problem for astronomers who work in extragalactic astronomy. The problem of course is that when you're measuring redshifts of galaxies billions of light years away from us you have to account for the relativistic effects that Johannes mentioned above. Otherwise you're going to end up with a distance that is considerably greater than the age of the universe, which of course is impossible, i.e you can't have a galaxy 21 billion light years away if the universe is only 13.7 billion years old. Well actually, you could have a galaxy 21 billion light years away from us, but you would not be able to see it, since it would have taken 21 billion years for the light from the galaxy to have reached us, and only 13.7 billion years have past since the Big Bang. So that galaxy would be outside the "visible" universe, and therefore out of our range of observation.

    When measuring a Doppler shift of an object in our own galaxy where relativistic effects are not a concern and objects are moving through space as opposed to moving with space, the equation used is quite simple: Δλ/λ=v/c. In plain English, all this equation is saying is that the change of the wavelength of light as a result of moving toward or away from us in our line of sight divided by the initial wavelength of light when it was first emitted is equal to the velocity of the object, either towards or away from us, divided by the speed of light. And that will give you either the redshift, if the object is moving away from us or a blue shift, if the object is moving toward us.

    If, however, you're measuring the redshift of a galaxy billions of light years away, then you have to account for relativistic effects in your equation and you end up with this: Δλ/λ=[(c+v)/(c-v)]^½-1 or z=[(c+v)/(c-v)]^½-1 where 'z' symbolizes redshift.
    Hi Eric

    I just want to point out a flaw with your statement - you can see galaxies that are currently further than 13.7 billion light years from us. The light just took 13.7 billion years to reach us. The reason for this is that the universe is expanding. Even if physically for the light particle, it took less than 13.7 billion years to reach us, the expansion of space would imply that the actual distance to the originating light source is significantly more.

    The actual edge of the observable universe is about about 46 billion light years.

    Thank you, Samshive. You are absolutely correct! I had forgotten about that. The edge of the observable universe is now located at about 46.5 billion light-years away from us. I'm still half asleep. I was up most of the night, so I'm not thinking clearly.

    What I meant to say is that if you don't take into consideration relativistic effects when measuring redshifts of distant galaxies "the age" of the galaxies you are viewing is going to be off. In other words, the cosmological redshift tells you how old the light of the object that you're measuring is and thus what the object looked like at that particular time in the history of our universe.

    Thank you for catching my error. Good catch, btw! ; )
    If Big Bang is some kind of giant black hole?

    And time as a curved space (yellow band) that stretches itself more straight with time: it will mean that time has an end. If the expansion accelerates it will mean time change; compare to subjective experience.

    Johannes Koelman
    "Is the Big Bang some kind of Black Hole?"

    A deep question,
    Mark Changizi
    Thanks, Johannes, now we're all going to have to do little videos!

    Very nice.  I do note that ever-present Starbucks are consistent with the Cosmological Principle.
    The problem I have with the big bang theory is that scientist presume that space already exsisted before the "big bang"
    Would you not first have to explain where the space came from in order for the big bang to take place in.
    Space would have to of been created at the same time as the explosion, that way all matter/energy would be distributed evenly in each and every direction.
    Did the first explosion, at it's first instant before exploding colapse it's nucleus to create negative space, which in turn would then create the necessary outward force needed for the explosion or did it just implode creating all negative space (it is said that outer space is a vacuum, which would explain it)?
    When people mention black holes, isn't a hole only on a single plain? why would it not create negative space in a three dimensional perspective (black hole sphere) that way all energy from every conseivable angle and facet would be drawn into it? (that's the way gravity works on a planet, doesn't it).
    And also the atoms/molecules emitted from the big bang would also need the knowledge of creation/attraction other wise how would it even be conceivable for a single atom/molecule to even be able to form into a star, planet , galaxy etc and make/utilize the energy/matter of each and everything around it to grow?

    Scientists presume space was 'created' along with the Big Bang, know too little to answer your second question (however outer space is not a vacuum) and use misleading visualizations of black holes which are indeed spherical (if they have no angular momentum). Still the accretion discs found around a black hole are more or less planar, just like our solar system.
    For atoms to 'know' about each other they need to be in 'causal contact'. This last point is illustrated using the light cones, which you can see in this article.

    Amateur Astronomer
    My problem with Friedman–Lemmatize–Robertson–Walker metric is that it is incomplete because of omitting the electric and magnetic terms from the energy momentum tensor. Where is the background of microwaves, plasma, or photons? It seems to me that the metric for isotropic and homogeneous space must be extended with electromagnetic terms in the same way Reissner–Nordström metric extended the Schwarzschild metric for the regions of a central mass.

    The tools have been available for along time and some scientists appear to actually use them. Einstein’s stress energy tensor can very well contain the entire matrix of Maxwell relationships such that the curvature is much different from the standard model in the early universe where radiation dominated space.

    The tendency is to lump the additional terms into a cosmological constant that was never correct and can’t possible describe a final theory of the early universe.

    All you have to do to get a correct metric is to add the electromagnetic stress energy tensor to the (gravitational) stress energy tensor to get the correct curvature. Then a cosmological constant should not be needed unless there is a fifth force like dark energy that isn’t gravitational or electromagnetic.

    Notice that the electromagnetic stress energy has a negative sign which opposes the curvature of gravity, and can bend space backward in deep space between the clusters of galaxies. This is rather old well established science from the main stream of physics that a lot of students don’t learn in college.

    If you get the stress energy tensor right, you don’t need a cosmological constant or a dark energy force. Then the metric can contain accelerating galaxies, worm holes, and parallel universes in any number that are required for a particular region in space. Also you get a robust metric that can explain the straight bar segments in 50% of nearby spiral galaxies, without a lot of subtleties.

    Friedmann–Lemaître–Robertson–Walker metric treats radiation as a minor component of higher order that can be ignored. That might be fine in nearly flat space, but in a radiation dominated epoch of the early universe it isn’t very convincing. Galaxy centers have radiation dominated regions too.

    What does the early universe model look like in radiation dominated space?

    Hint: It doesn’t require as big of an explosion as the big bang.
    Other hint: The time lapse and age of the universe are much different ( but still very old ).

    Speaking of black holes, here's something that's bothered me lately:

    Moving backwards in time, the density of the universe would be increasing . . . if you go back far enough, wouldn't the density be high enough to form a black hole, containing everything, and preventing expansion in the first place? Why didn't it?

    "if you go back far enough, wouldn't the density be high enough to form a black hole, containing everything, and preventing expansion in the first place? "

    Going backward, we would end up inside the black hole. Expanding, we would still be inside the black hole. And a black hole can expand. It does so when it increases in mass.

    But how does it look inside a black hole? What happens there? How do distances and time work on the inside? You cannot get in and cannot get out (in finite time).


    I haven't taken the time to read all the comments, and most of it is above my understanding, but I was wondering how the 1997 Nobel Prize for Physics winner, Stephen Weinberg's The First Three Minutes, would confirm or refute some of these ideas about the big bang?

    Amateur Astronomer
    “I was wondering how the 1997 Nobel Prize for Physics winner, Stephen Weinberg's The First Three Minutes, would confirm or refute some of these ideas about the big bang”?

    You touched on the main problem in science. The great scientist of recent times (I think of Stephen Weinberg as recent) have avoided the topic of electromagnetic stress energy tensor. Even Peter Bergmann avoided mentioning it in his book on gravity, after introducing the world to it in 1945.

    There are other main stream scientists (mostly younger bright scholars) who do use the stress energy correctly with electromagnetic components, but they don’t usually get the recognition they deserve.

    For 50 years before 1993 and the proof of entangled wave functions, a lid was put on physical science in public, but not in secret research facilities.

    The science we are talking about is powerful and dangerous. It leads to star travel and time travel at the same time and with the same technology. It also has a chance that we could use it badly to destroy our selves.

    The result is a part of science that is left out of college studies, but rather well understood by the teachers. They pass the information to their brighter students who ask about the missing part of science, but teachers do not encourage students to pursue the topics.

    Science in college doesn’t account for how entropy became small in the past, although the science has been in print for decades. Also college science does not account correctly for the stress energy tensor although the correct information is available in public. A large part of the main stream is opposed to discussions about the vacuum in public, because it is too dangerous and could easily get out of control.

    To answer your question Stephen Weinberg's The First Three Minutes, would not confirm or refute some of these ideas about the big bang. It simply ignores them and in doing so gets a wrong answer and hinders the progress of science. You need to look for some younger scientists who have come of age since 1993. They are able and willing to rewrite the first three minutes.
    Amateur Astronomer
    If the big bang or some related creation event occurred in a flash of light, as is commonly believed, then the gravity field was counteracted by the light, and might have been completely nullified. This is possible when the stress energy tensor is correctly composed with electromagnetic terms in addition to the gravitational terms.

    The first three minutes were completely different than the standard model, because the model was censored to leave out the most dangerous part of science.

    The censor’s seal was broken when entanglement was proven in 1993, and since that time the best young scientists realize that the generations before them were deceived by a defective view science. They have reconstructed the missing parts from old published work of the great pioneers in physics.
    Amateur Astronomer
    The mass of a star will always appear to be somewhat less than it really is, when the correct stress energy tensor is used and electromagnetic components are included.

    The electromagnetic radiant energy inside the star counteracts gravity in the same way elecrromagnetic energy counteracts gravity in the Reissner–Nordström metric.

    Then most of the published work on stellar structure needs to be redone with field equations of general relativity.

    This topic is not opposed by anyone in the main stream of physics. It is simply ignorred because it leads science into new dirrections that the established scientists want to avoid.

    Astrophysics is often looking for missing mass in the universe.

    I suggest that a lot of the missing mass is inside the stars, but concealed by the radiant energy that bends space backward and opposes gravity. It is the same science that causes galaxies to accelerate.
    @Jerry Decker:
    "I suggest that a lot of the missing mass is inside the stars, but concealed by the radiant energy that bends space backward and opposes gravity. It is the same science that causes galaxies to accelerate."

    A bold statement. However, it is easy to back up. Just calculate for us how much mass we "miss" due to the radiant energy.


    Amateur Astronomer
    Bold? Yes, and maybe a bit outrageous, but rather well supported in General Relativity.

    I’m working on the calculation for the Sun in a numerical integration inserted into to a published table of the standard model.

    It will take a day or two to get the first draft.

    The result will be a different density profile and temperature profile from the standard model, with a real mass and an apparent mass.
    "It will take a day or two to get the first draft."

    That is great. I am really looking forward to it (and I hope I will understand). Will it be an arXiv paper?

    However, I get the distinct feeling that the main reason no one wants to get involved in this "when the correct stress energy tensor is used and electromagnetic components are included" is more about the complexity and intractability of the tensor and less about its "political" implications.

    Amateur Astronomer
    Here is the calculation result for solar mass hidden by the gravitational induction of radiant electromagnetic energy. That is the tendency to counteract gravity in a way similar to the electromagnetic field in the Reissner–Nordström metric.

    A standard model of the sun was obtained some years ago from.

    A Poynting energy flux Sp was estimated in all directions from the Stefan-Boltzmann constant s and temperature T, which makes some assumptions about the radiation processes that are otherwise very complicated in the rigorous models.

    Sp = 2 s T^4

    Local gravity acceleration g(em) for the electromagnetic induction component is calculated from gravity G and light speed c.

    g(em) = SQRT( 8*Pi*G*s/c) T^2

    When electromagnetic induction is applied to the standard model of the Sun, the central density is estimated to be 71.49% higher than was given in the standard model. For the Sun an average density was calculated 2.21% higher than the standard model.

    I had a long standing objection to the central composition in the standard model, because of diffusion rates and thermodynamic consistency in disagreement. So a larger concentration of heavier elements in the center would be a welcome result, and is the least disruptive option for explaining the results.

    As an added benefit the results for g(em) /T^2 gives roughly the same acceleration of galaxy clusters ( for microwave background of 2.725 degrees K) as did the previous gravitational calculation of the local cluster of galaxies by a different method.

    I believe the results are significant, but far from complete. Larger hotter stars would have a larger hidden mass fraction, while smaller cooler stars would have less hidden mass fraction.

    This is just a first draft of a much more complicated model. So far I didn’t change the temperature and pressure profile, because it wasn’t necessary to demonstrate the order of magnitude in a short time, when heavier elements are invoked for the center. Then a higher temperature is off set by greater induction to some extent.

    So there is a whole other standard model of the Sun in the works, and it takes a long time to write. My work will not be an arXiv paper. I’m a bit too far from center for the main stream. I usually just write the results in a book and share it with friends.

    The main stream of astrophysics should either refute Reissner–Nordström metric or embrace induction. Just ignoring a major topic is not good for science. Another Bold statement.

    Complexity and intractability of the tensor can be handled by numerical integration on most computers. I personally prefer to operate with differential equations as Feynman did instead of trying to get an integrated solution. Then the results are local and measurable.

    Considering how few tools the pioneers had in 1918, it is really surprising how far they got. There are a few younger scientists who are using the complete tensor. Any topic can be researched as long as caution is used to avoid the more sensational words in public. Verlinde gave a good example of how a really complicated topic can be handled to make some progress and avoid a dispute.

    The concept of induction is not terribly difficult, but it isn't popular in research. The inertia of research together with serious budget problems is what I believe is hindering the progress. Induction is hard to produce in a laboratory because a large electric power supply can only produce a feeble gravity induction field.
    Amateur Astronomer
    Rob's comment about complexity of the stress energy tensor deserves a better explanation than I gave in the previous message.

    There are a sizeable number of top rated physicists who understand the situation of gravity induction and are able to calculate the field equations with a complete stress energy tensor. Most of the capable people are working on related topics but with more than 4 dimensions.

    My concern is not so much with the specialists who generally know what they are doing and why they are doing it. I'm more concerned with the wide gap between the specialists and the general practitioners, some of whom are called on to make decisions about funding of research and the directions that research is moving. Our education system fails to bridge the gap.

    Adding enough dimensions to a non linear function tends to restate it in a linear form. So the complexity is less but the explanation is more complicated about why it should be done that way.

    For example Kaluza–Klein added only one new dimension and got a much easier calculation, from which emerged the complete classical electromagnetics of Maxwell. Then it took a long time to discover a physical basis for having added the fifth dimension. So is it really interesting to do the harder calculation on a 4 dimensional universe?

    At this point I could reach into string theory to justify the additional dimension as much of the scientific community has done, but on this occasion general relativity is sufficient to justify a 6 dimensional space time continuum. The argument for 6 dimensions is that when a 4 dimensional system is approaching light speed it must make a dimensional transformation from space like to time like coordinates. The transformation is eliminated by a 6 dimensional coordinate system. The concern then centers on how to measure 6 dimensions. It can be done when the coordinate system is defined by three velocity vectors or three base units of velocity type. Then a different clock can be assigned to each spatial direction , and the 6 dimensions can be measured. It leads to something like a Minkowski space intended to three dimensions of time, each of which is paired with a spatial direction to make it measurable.

    Returning to Rob’s comment about complexity, I believe the better answer is that the people who could be solving the difficult case of a complete stress energy tensor in 4 dimensions, have found their time better spent in solving a more complete and less difficult case in a larger dimensional space, where the interactions of gravity and electromagnetics emerge as a consequence of fundamental concepts instead of being arbitrarily added to the stress energy tensor. Emergent features are preferred when possible.

    My continuing concern is that the concept of gravity induction is not taught to the general practitioners who tend to get disoriented with a feeling that something important is missing from science. Then there are the cases where people are partly specialized, but not fully aware of the deficiencies of one theory or the merits of another.

    Your explanation is appreciated. I had not expected the GR corrections to be so large inside our solar system.

    Amateur Astronomer
    Here is the calculated density near the center of the sum with gravity weakened by electromagnetic induction at high temperature about 15.68 million degrees Kelvin.

    Calculated solar density modified by induction fields
    The graph shows that the induction drops quickly with temperature and becomes very small in the outer layers of the sun where a larger part of the solar mass contributes to the gravity. The graph extends to 13.47 million degrees Kelvin on the right side, and a density difference of 5.12% compared to the difference of 71.49% near the center.

    Radiant heat from ordinary Earth temperatures and other normally encountered electromagnetic fields are not significant in the modification of gravity.

    An extension of this representation predicts that white dwarfs will gain apparent gravitational mass as they age and slowly cool down from their super hot beginnings. Some of them could eventually convert to neutron stars or black holes. There is also the chance of a Type Ia Supernova explosion during the conversion. Eric wrote an article about that type of supernova for the case of two white dwarfs merging.

    From the graph there appears to be the chance of a Type Ia Supernova explosion occurring in a higher mass single white dwarf if the loss of induction by cooling causes the apparent mass to increase enough to cross the Chandrasekhar limit. Prevailing opinions in astronomy are that white dwarfs cool very slowly. The heavier ones should be regarded as potentially unstable.

    Again, nice work. I like the white dwarf connection.

    I will now try to read Eric's post. I never went beyond a bachelor in physics (where none of this was covered), so it will take a little.


    I was thinking. If you would extend your graph quite some more, say close to a black hole.

    Could it not be part of the process that generates relativistic jets? Generating a huge pressure, whit extremely high temperatures and ~1% (10%?) of matter converted to photons.


    OK, guys....
    Here's another spanner......
    Good article, Johannes, and interesting follow up from Jerry.....however, I note that like most theories, there are still many anomalies.....
    Like for example the ideas of certain 'constants' needed to make everything glue together - I realize relativistic modelling is an ongoing process, but a long way to go, IMHO
    What if planets AREN'T solid and don't have uniform mass/density?
    What if lightspeed is not a constant?
    What if space DID exist before the 'Big Bang' - what event was the cause of the 'Light' ?
    Where did the consciousness inherent in the cosmos begin, in relation to this wonderful construction, that even allows us to exchange ideas of our cosmos?
    Don't the same scientists recognise the danger in a 'Big Bang model' that many scientific ideas are taken by politicians and their military counterparts to create power structures, and an attempt to RECREATE the 'Big Bang'?
    The LHC could be one such experiment.......

    It seems to me that for the same reason that the 'name of god' cannot be spoken, the origin of the cosmos cannot be known, by creating a model from within it - that's like being inside a box and modelling outside the box.....what CAN you know?.....guess, dream, estimate, imagine, YES, but know - not until you are yourself consciously beyond the bounds of the cosmos you are referring to - it is a problem of meditation, rather than one of science

    My opinion, FWIW, is that you are still applying exoterics to an esoteric quandary, and are making the illusion of our 3 dimensional apparition, a reality, which can be absolutely identified, boxed and labelled

    I believe the ANSWER to this quandary, may well be on its way to us from a different event horizon interaction, than the one where everyone is looking - there may just be a totally different perspective needed as to what our problem really IS

    Amateur Astronomer
    What if light speed is not a constant?   Aitch,

    I'm convinced that light speed is not constant in a strong gravity field, and I produced a cosmology based on that belief. To hold light speed complete constant under all situations requires infinite power to be dedicated for that purpose everywhere at all times. A small variation in light speed removes that requirement.

    None of the constants that glue the popular theories together are constant in my cosmology. They change locally under stress as rapid variables, and more slowly over time as cosmic parameters. They represent different types of energy in space and how the different types of energy work together.

    Some of your questions are probably not answerable. In mathematics there is a special branch that deals with unanswerable questions and how they are constructed. Sometimes a suitable answer can be found by changing the question. More often the question with an answer is changed to make it unanswerable.

    For most people the task is to decide how to select questions that are answerable. Other people specialize in finding questions that are not. Your comment about describing the box from out side assumes that the box has an outside and the human consciousness has an existence that can exit from the box.

    About your concern for 3 dimensional thinking, I believe there are many other dimensions that look very small to us because they travel near light speed. To explore them we have to learn how to travel near light speed, so they will look large enough to measure. Then some unanswerable questions become answerable, but we get new questions that keep the scientific community employed.

    My interest is mostly in the present time and space, slightly extended into the near future, especially on topics about renewable energy, star travel, and time travel. I look into space and backward in time to get an understanding of what we are doing now, and what we should be doing next. The question I ask most often is "What comes next in human development, what are the obstacles, and why were they not overcome in 1920." The graph I produced is from science that was published in 1918, widely accepted as valid, not refuted by any major scientific movement, occasionally reprinted in obscure journals, worked on by a handful of specialists, but otherwise totally ignored. The reason I use it is that it is the only known physical science that offers a path forward in human development.

    The other main topic of my interest is the vacuum energy, described by Paul Dirac as a sea of energy. An understanding of it is essential in the path forward of human development, because there is no other known energy source that comes close to having enough power to run a star ship under the space warp science of 1918. Antimatter and dilithium crystals don’t come close to bending space far enough for travel near light speed. The Dirac sea has more than enough energy, but it cannot be taken, except as a loan under Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, and it must eventually be repaid one way or another.

    Travel near light speed will open the new age of science. Other new age writing about supernatural things doesn’t have a clue about how to move the human race forward. If people who promote those other things had the insight they claim to have, they would be running the world instead of holding conventions in the meeting rooms of low budget hotels.

    Eventually you get answers to some of your questions, if you live long enough and construct your questions so that they have answers. I assemble my thought with a mix of scientific and mystical opinions, that somewhat work together. It isn’t expected to be a complete answer or a final theory. It is just a path forward and a few next steps.

    The reason space bending science of 1918 has not been widely applied on earth is because it is too dangerous, and far more risky than the LHC. Notice in the previous graph how high the temperature has to go before the induction takes control. By comparison the program at LHC is a small stepping stone for timid people. The next stepping stone in direction of space bending science of 1918 is a big one, but at a far distance. You have to jump for it. If you make the jump then you can’t come back to the Flatland of small stepping stones.

    It’s a path forward.
    You get answers.
    Amateur Astronomer
    To Rob,
    Here is the space bending science of curvature approaching a black hole.

    Calculated Induction Radiant Temperature Versus GravityNotice that the temperature scale goes far higher than anything that has ever been observed. It predicts there is a maximum temperature that a black hole can achieve and still remain black. The graph represents the radiant heat temperatures that would be required to make space flat at the edge of a massive object like a white dwarf, neutron star, or black hole.

    A Jet of antimatter positrons has been observed near the Milky Way center, which I interpret to be the protons in a star being converted to neutrons under a strong gravity, but a gravity that is not able to form an event horizon with the positive electrical charges inside. The galactic center has so much radiant energy, that part of the mass there is not able to be expressed in a gravitational field. So the galaxy rotates differently than a solar system does.

    The temperatures are so extreme in my graph that a word of caution is taken from Roger Penrose. When a theory is pushed to extreme orders of magnitude it is unwise to assume nothing new will be discovered.
    "It predicts there is a maximum temperature that a black hole can achieve and still remain black."

    That was first posed by Sakharov I understand. But I have never been able to find the paper where he described that. Anyone can point me to that, or any other paper, discussing that?


    Amateur Astronomer
    Sakharov’s writings are hard to find, and out of favor with some Hawking supporters, but to my thinking make a better representation.

    Sakharov, S., A., JETP Letters 3, 288, 1966.
    The topic is called Sakharov’s Temperature Limit.

    A recent reference is here[1].pdf 

    Some related writings are at this link[1].pdf 

    Original work on gravity induction from entropic states leading to recent work on holographic universe is found here.

    Sakharov derived a type of reduced Planck temperature limit from Boltzmann’s constant. This is the kinetic theory point of view in an isotropic universe. But he described it as a black body radiative process. It is either radiative, or kinetic, but not both. I took the radiative point of view and derived my temperature limit from the Stefan Boltzmann’s constant, not for the Planck temperature, but for a black hole equivalent.

    Both methods give high temperatures, but differ by 19 orders of magnitude, the Planck temperature being higher than a black hole. Kinetic theory applies to particles but also to waves one at a time and the related temperature of one single wavelength. It is based on a Schwarzschild Metric modified by a Cosmological Constant.

    Radiative theory is the integrated form of the same equations summed over the predictable wave lengths. Another difference is that my method used the background temperature as a reference point, but the main reason for using Stefan Boltzmann’s constant is that local gravity induction requires a Poynting power flux that is not derived from Planck temperature. It is based on the Reissner–Nordström Metric that does not require a Cosmological Constant. The cosmological constant just takes the place of the missing Electromagnetic Terms, and not in a satisfactory way.

    The file of related writings refers to both metrics and some aspects of the same subject.
    I have looked for them too, thanks.

    Amateur Astronomer

    By now you might realize that Sakharov was supporting the Dirac Sea of Energy with his temperature limit. Power in the Dirac sea is the only way to get a Planck Temperature 1.4E+32 Kelvin. Hawking led the scientific community the other direction toward extremely low temperatures, even lower than the background radiation, to describe small black holes.

    Sakharov’s work was suppressed by opponents of Dirac, and that situation still exists in all sorts of public media. I believe that will change rather soon, and there will be a Sakharov restoration movement to collect his work and put on public view, because the Dirac argument has prevailed in a big way, even in general relativity, leading to partition of the vacuum and a rewriting of a lot of physics. Sakharov restoration has already started in some commercial services.

    Amateur Astronomer
    To complete the topic on gravity induction, notice in the Reissner–Nordström metric that the curvature of the electromagnetic term varies with the inverse square of the distance, but the curvature of the gravitational term varies linearly with the inverse distance. It makes the force fields more interesting over long distances.

    Then there are possible systems where the gravity of a central mass is stronger at a distance than it is up close to the mass when the central region also has a powerful electromagnetic field that diminishes more quickly with distance.

    Something like that appears to operate in galaxies, and might explain why the outer regions have stronger gravity than the visible mass predicts. Johannes had a discussion of those things on a previous page. I believe the dark matter theories resulted from a failure to represent the electromagnetic induction in a correct way.

    For example if the central electromagnetic induction field is 5/6 as strong as the central gravitational curvature, then the distant gravity expressed by the central mass will be 6 times stronger than is predicted by Newtonian Methods and by cases of General Relativity that neglect induction fields. The galaxy center would have about 6 times more mass than is apparent in the motion of the core, the bar, and the spiral arms. In this case radiant heat is probably not supplying all of the induction field. More likely the induction is created by movement of ionized plasma. driven by photon scattering, gravity stratification, and a lot of other activities in the galaxy nucleus.

    With mass hidden by electromagnetic induction, there is no need for theories about dark matter. The same equations that predict induction fields also predict acceleration of galaxy clusters from a slight excess of background microwaves that have been measured and published.

    Thanks for the Sakharov papers.

    "With mass hidden by electromagnetic induction, there is no need for theories about dark matter. The same equations that predict induction fields also predict acceleration of galaxy clusters from a slight excess of background microwaves that have been measured and published."

    This opens up new problems. Large ones.

    If I understand you correctly, the "missing" dark matter is in the centers of the galaxies after all. Just "screened" by the negative terms of the EM induction. But what is it made of?

    Cosmology seems to be unable to accommodate much more baryons or photons. And even mini black holes were made of other stuff before they became black holes.

    So what is, or was, all the stuff that makes up the mass in the center of galaxies?


    Amateur Astronomer
    These are good questions.

    Cosmology gets rewritten every few years, so you don't need to conform to the previous version. The next version will accommodate as much mass as can be measured or postulated. The old version was restricted because the theories and observations didn't provide as much mass as the researchers were expecting to find.

    Locating some hidden mass is a good thing. Science has been looking for missing mass for a long time.

    The hidden part is just ordinary hydrogen and helium with a few heavier elements mixed in. It expresses it's gravitational curvature, in the normal way, but that curvature largely is reversed by electromagnetic induction fields in the area. So from a substantial distance there looks like less mass. In contrast, at a very great distance the electromagnetic curvature goes to zero by the distance squared, so the full mass can be expressed in the curvature.

    I chose a factor of 6 as an example, because Johannes said that large a factor was missing in his previous article about astronomical observations. 

    If he had said a factor of 5 was missing, then I would have given that example instead.

    When you look at photos of galaxy centers they are very bright almost as bright as stars, even with big black holes swarming there. The stars are close together, and the gas between them is hot and ionized by radiation. It is plasma like what the stars are made of.

    The Q2 term in the r2Q derivation causes both positive and negative electric charges in plasma to contribute to the induction, even if the net charge is zero.

    I believe galaxies centers are governed by electrical currents of moving plasma, and the magnetic fields that result, as well as control by the gravitational fields. Without all of these things there is no way to describe all of the observations.

    Certainly there are problems. For one thing we don't have enough data to map the electrical currents and force fields in more than a few galaxies. Also the galaxy structure requires a new type of scientific team to be assembled to combine general relativity with electrical engineering on a large scale. Some efforts in that direction are falling short because the teams don't have enough of the right type of skills and diversity.

    I'm not too worried about the problems. The lack of problems would be a larger concern. I am concerned that college doesn't teach students all of the science they need to know, before sending them out to create theories about how things fit together.

    Amateur Astronomer
    Verlinde didn't say whether or not his hologram was stationary, had mass, or moved at light speed. Either way his use was correct for the thermodynamic function dE. For the abstract stationary case dE is just the internal energy, but for the moving cases dE also contains all of the dynamic terms. From microwave background radiation, there appears to be a horizon moving away from Earth slightly less than light speed, or at least there was when the radiation was emitted. It couldn't radiate to us if it was traveling at light speed. It has to have some mass to travel less than light speed.

    Physical evidence favors a horizon with properties of a hologram that has a rest mass, expanding near light speed, in all directions. From the inside it looks like a temperature of 2.725 Kelvin, but on the horizon it probably looks more like 71 degrees Kelvin. To an external observer the temperature would be blue shifted to about 1855 degrees Kelvin. It would look like a big red giant star expanding near light speed and cooling down as it expands. Mathematically the model can be projected backward in time to an earlier epoch when the external view would have been white hot.

    Dark energy and dark matter are not necessary to describe the universe. It can be described as acceleration balancing a force as Johannes showed in a previous article. The acceleration is driven by the residual background microwave radiation that dominates deep space between galaxy clusters. The magnitude of acceleration is about the same as the equivalent power in the microwave field.
    you said universe is infinite, because its a compulsion for an universe, where every point of matter (you used the word galaxies instead of matter) is in the center of universe, this also implies that our universe must be in an orderly and uniform state which is obviously not, there is non uniformity and is the reason for the formation of stars and galaxies.
    hope u explain this...thanks
    we are in a vacuum,a universal orbit if you will,geared by other universes,we cant see it but it is the most logical explanation to me.,we will continously whirl around just to return to a starting point eventually and then do it again.well our universe anyway there may be no earth by that time.but,if we go by what gos up must come down,or even the baloon theory,we are in trouble,we could pop like a baloon,or fall back to where we were and that could be even more devistasting,hell it could happen. but i think, that we really are on a long ride and will arive back at the station we started from. Wun-Yi Shu 11 Jul 2010.
    Cosmological Models with No Big Bang

    In the late 1990s, observations of Type Ia supernovae led to the astounding discovery that the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate. The explanation of this anomalous acceleration has been one of the great problems in physics since that discovery. In this article we propose cosmological models that can explain the cosmic acceleration without introducing a cosmological constant into the standard Einstein field equation, negating the necessity for the existence of dark energy. There are four distinguishing features of these models: 1) the speed of light and the gravitational "constant" are not constant, but vary with the evolution of the universe, 2) time has no beginning and no end, 3) the spatial section of the universe is a 3-sphere, and 4) the universe experiences phases of both acceleration and deceleration. One of these models is selected and tested against current cosmological observations of Type Ia supernovae, and is found to fit the redshift-luminosity distance data quite well.

    Comment at

    The big bang theory is bullshit

    this is pointless,

    well,first off i am no scientist,however i have always been fascinated with space and where we come from and how it all started,well,i wish i could live another 5000 years or so i wish we all could so scientists can finally crack the hidden code as to how it all happened.but until then,yes there was a big bang and always has been,even if we go back 100 trillion years ago,just not in the same space we believe ourselves to be in today.we are expanding in space but if you believe the balloon theory,oh crap when are we gonna pop or even exhaust.think about this,every thing has an orbit as far as we can tell,the earth, the solar system, the galaxy,the other galaxies even our universe and other universes if you can think outside the box for a moment.what the bigbang could be is a portal that opened from something catastrophic and forced creation outwards from another time and place but like newtons law,what gos up must come down,in a sense,that law isnt as effective everywhere,similar but different. anyway,we are just cruising around till we get back to the point where we started,and it will all happen again and again and again,like it has for longer than our minds or any computer can calculate.who created all this,well thats easy god,my god your god our god however you imagine him or believe in him and everyone believes in something.what are you trying to tell me that that god is only as old as the bigbang theory,i think not,but some of you will perceive that as only speculation. is there other life out there ,hell yeah there is,our universes are many,and to big to wrap our minds around,our minds anyway...I have a great appreciation for scientists and cosmology,but give us something better,as far as our technology has gotten still seems primative to the mayas,what is holding nasa or any other space agency and scientists back. with whats going on in the world today,i am sure we can handle it,so just tell, or are yall just as children trying to put a 100 piece puzzle together and if the piece fits you go with it. its weird to me that the technology we have today isnt something we didnt have 10,000 years ago we were smart enough,what the hell was holding us back.oh well. i have another explanation about our so called big bang theory ,but for another time .we are the weakest link,goodbye.....

    our scientsts look at or try to find facts by measurements,i understand that,they measure our planet other planets the sun of course,and the spaces inbetween everything.but,get rid of physics for a moment,close your eyes and forget everything you know and clear your open your eyes and tell me that bang and 14 million years later we are watching t.v and taking vacations by plane,automobile and boats.why in the world could we not do this 1 million years ago.ha ha, we did. evolution buddy. i believe in it,but i believe we were created by a superior being,and mine is god.and to think that the facts state that existence as we know is only roughly 14 billion years ago is a crock of crap.why are scientists stuck. i want to know what happened to our technology when we migrated from mars was it destroyed never to be used or found again.did we screw up there,got as many people to earth as we could and never used it again ,are we doing it again here on earth.damn.far fetch huh.why did we have to start over,how come we didnt have t.v 150 years or more is it that our technology has only had about 75 strong years of inventions and promise.why did it only happen now.what makes the inventors so smart is it encoded in them.was it a secret(s) kept til now.where would we be now if we had the technology today about 2000 years ago.or even 15000 years ago.i think, that we had all this and more and i also think that there are humans just like us our brothers sisters fathers and mothers spinning around on another planet somewhere,but are just to far away to reach us,or just forgot about that time,through ages.there is no evidence other than there are to many of us that look to different to have evolved from the same planet unless aliens were messing with our dna,i really dont know where i am going with this,so i will close now

    are some kind dark theory included the cosmology of Big Bang? and, where the source on the relation? concept to know how modal claim each other