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    Cosmic Alignment - Not Just For Ancient Religions Any More
    By News Staff | November 5th 2010 12:05 AM | 19 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    The Herschel Space Observatory is the largest telescope in space.   It's capable of detecting longer-wavelength light than the human eye can, light in the far-infrared portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, which is the type emitted by galaxies lined up behind other ones in the foreground.

    The result is that scientists are discovering hundreds of new galaxies through brighter galaxies in front of them that deflect their faint light back to the massive Herschel telescope, an effect identified by Albert Einstein a century ago known as cosmic gravitational lensing.

    When such a lineup occurs, it creates a cosmic magnifying lens, with a massive galaxy or cluster of galaxies bending light from the more distant galaxy into a warped and enlarged image. Sometimes, light from the farther galaxy is so distorted that it appears as a ring – called an Einstein ring because he first predicted the phenomenon. The effect is similar to what happens when you look through the bottom of a glass bottle or into a fun house mirror.

    The new galaxies are in the far reaches of outer space and are being viewed at a time when the universe was only 2 billion to 4 billion years old, less than a third of its current age.   The galaxies have dust so thick they cannot be seen at all with visible-light telescopes but Herschel can detect the faint warmth of the dust because it glows at far-infrared and sub-millimeter wavelengths. With these galaxies magnified, astronomers can dig deep into their dusty reaches to learn more about how the universe was created.



    University of California-Irvine astronomer Asantha Cooray in front of an image of galaxies he and the team helped unearth with the Herschel telescope.  Credit: Michelle S. Kim / University Communications

    A new study reports that five new galaxies have been found using this technique, but astronomers suspect they've just scratched the surface. "We can probably pick out hundreds of new lensed galaxies in the Herschel data," said Paul Goldsmith, the U.S. project scientist for Herschel at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.   The researchers estimate that 200 more have been discovered since the article went to press, all awaiting confirmation by ground-based telescopes.

    Numerous telescopes around the world helped verify the initial findings, including the National Radio Astronomy Observatory's Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia and three telescopes in Hawaii at the W.M. Keck Observatory, the California Institute of Technology's Submillimeter Observatory and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory's Submillimeter Array.


    Citation: Mattia Negrello, R. Hopwood, G. De Zotti, A. Cooray, A. Verma, J. Bock, D. T. Frayer, M. A. Gurwell, A. Omont, R. Neri, H. Dannerbauer, L. L. Leeuw, E. Barton, J. Cooke, S. Kim, E. da Cunha, G. Rodighiero, P. Cox, D. G. Bonfield, M. J. Jarvis, S. Serjeant, R. J. Ivison, S. Dye, I. Aretxaga, D. H. Hughes, E. Ibar, F. Bertoldi, I. Valtchanov, S. Eales, L. Dunne, S. P. Driver, R. Auld, S. Buttiglione, A. Cava, C. A. Grady, D. L. Clements, A. Dariush, J. Fritz, D. Hill, J. B. Hornbeck, L. Kelvin, G. Lagache, M. Lopez-Caniego, J. Gonzalez-Nuevo, S. Maddox, E. Pascale, M. Pohlen, E. E. Rigby, A. Robotham, C. Simpson, D. J. B. Smith, P. Temi, M. A. Thompson, B. E. Woodgate, D. G. York, J. E. Aguirre, A. Beelen, A. Blain, A. J. Baker, M. Birkinshaw, R. Blundell, C. M. Bradford, D. Burgarella, L. Danese, J. S. Dunlop, S. Fleuren, J. Glenn, A. I. Harris, J. Kamenetzky, R. E. Lupu, R. J. Maddalena, B. F. Madore, P. R. Maloney, H. Matsuhara, M. J. Michaowski, E. J. Murphy, B. J. Naylor, H. Nguyen, C. Popescu, S. Rawlings, D. Rigopoulou, D. Scott, K. S. Scott, M. Seibert, I. Smail, R. J. Tuffs, J. D. Vieira, P. P. van der Werf, and J. Zmuidzinas, 'The Detection of a Population of Submillimeter-Bright, Strongly Lensed Galaxies', Science 5 November 2010 330: 800-804 DOI: 10.1126/science.1193420

    Comments

    Very interesting. … That the light from the lensed galaxy, created so soon after the big bang, can seem to have been created before a lensing galaxy even existed.

    Hank
    The universe is moving.   The universe is only 13 B years old but it is at least 100 B light years in size because of the movement.   What we see is a snapshot.
    13 billion becomes 100 billion. … So, somewhere in that 13 billion years, faster than light travel was possible for the entire universe.

    Hank
    I suppose, if you also believe that if you boil water and the steam dissipates into the entire room it is moving faster than light.
    Not necessarily... I don't think that the expansion of spacetime itself constitutes a relativistic movement of objects embedded init... But I might be wrong...

    What we see, in no way, resembles a snapshot. Unless you are looking at a single distance bubble/time, then you might consider that a snapshot. … What we really see is an infinite set of moments of past time, between the oldest visible light up to the hands in front of our faces, in a freeze frame of all time, not a specific time. What we see is the subset of all time moments focused on the viewer for the viewers moment

    Hank
    You can certainly object to use of the term 'snapshot' - what it isn't is a jumble of distance and time meaning the image traveled faster than light to reach us.
    I never said it was a jumble. What I said was that it seems like, when using words, that some things could seem to happen out of order. … I was not stating fact. …
    But there is the fact that some things do seem contradictory. … For example 13 billion years old, and 100 billion light years across. … It seems that something, the whole universe, moved faster than the current speed of light. … What changed? Where is the truth in these seeming contradictions? Did the universe expand faster than the speed of light for a little while, and then slow down? How do we explain the mind warping numbers if we say that the speed of light per year is ly, and the oldest things in the universe are 13 billion years old, light would seem to travel 13 billion ly, but in the reality of our perceptions they seem to be 50 billion ly away? Is the speed of light only a seeming constant, but slowly changing over time?

    Hank
    Ah, a much different thing and, really, the million dollar topic in cosmology.    The quick answer is that expansion is not just an issue of velocity but rather velocity and distance, plus the fact that while matter cannot move faster than the speed of light, space is not matter so it certainly can.

    Our friends at Scienceblogs.com had a really wonderful ant-on-an-expanding-balloon example of how the universe is 13 billion years old but we can see 45 billion light years.
    So if I run through the math of this ant walking at 1 cm/second to a point 2 cm away on this expanding balloon, it doesn't take 2 seconds to get there. In fact -- doing the math correctly -- it takes just a shade over 3 seconds for the ant to reach her destination. Moreover, the balloon has continued to expand, so when she looks back at her starting point, do you know how far away it is? Over 6 cm away! When she looks back at her starting point, not only is it more than three times as far away as it was when she started, but the entire balloon is bigger than it was before.
    But, really, Ethan Siegel does a much better job making the topic fun and insightful than I can in a comment so give his piece a try.  
      
    gee...who'da thunk it...those ancient people were on to something.../snark off/

    Amateur Astronomer
    The galaxy we see at 13 billion light years distance has been moving farther away from us for the 13 billion years that it took for the light we see to arrive. Theories in the past predicted that the expansion is slowing down, so the separation speed in the past was thought to be greater than it is now. That’s how we got the 45 billion light year number. Now with new science for acceleration of galaxies, there are different opinions about how fast the separation was in the past. So you get a different answer depending on who you ask. None of these cases require anything to travel faster light speed in relative measurements. The universe is bigger now than 13 billion light years radius, because we see it as it was, not as it is now. Now that’s not so difficult, is it?
    Aitch
    None of these cases require anything to travel faster light speed in relative measurements. The universe is bigger now than 13 billion light years radius, because we see it as it was, not as it is now.

    So we haven't really got any idea, just wild ass guesses as far as I can see

    I think they'll soon re-evaluate using a variable instead of a constant for both light speed and expansion, if that is what the universe is doing

    It might just be sitting there,  laughing at our puny attempts to 'understand it' ;-)

    Aitch
    Hank
    I am not sure why you think it is a guess.    Again, matter cannot travel faster than light but space certainly can.  It's sort of funny that you are willing to philosophically accept every kooky health claim on the planet but the one thing in cosmology that is rock solid smacks to you of speculation.
    Amateur Astronomer
    It is easy to change the speed of light by passing it through a piece of glass. Remember the first fiber optics cables were made with flexible glass fibers. They would have been made of flexible rocks if the rocks were transparent. Mineral wool is a popular type of flexible high temperature fiber insulation made from rocks. Rock solid is just not what it used to be. It is also easy to prove that nothing travels faster than tight in the relative measurement by calculating the proper velocity and doing the Lorentz transformation. The proper velocity of matter has no upper limit except the possible incineration from an extreme blue shifted horizon. No one objects to this. It just isn’t mentioned very often. Saying the speed of light is a constant is like saying Gibraltar is rock solid. For most purposes it is. In the extreme case it isn’t. When light speed is constant in vacuum space we get some calculations with a conclusion that the human race will die out when the sun dies or maybe later when the universe has exhausted it’s energy if you are optimistic. In mathematical form it reduces to an equation about the increase of inertial mass at high speed. m’ = m / SQRT( 1 - v^2/c^2) I call this the (Camp 1) opinion that was shared by many scientists in the past. It has lost a lot of support in the recent decade. From work with refractive indexes it is well accepted that light speed is not always constant in every medium. So the equation is not always true. The speed of light is a variable controlled by electrical and magnetic properties of the medium through which it passes. Nothing travels faster than relative speed of light, but it is possible to change the speed of light. No one objects to a refractive index. When light speed is variable under the most extreme situations then there is a brighter future for the human race that goes beyond solar systems, galaxies, and universes. It is also reduced to just one equation for momentum. p’ = p / SQRT( 1 - v^2/c^2) I call this the (Camp 2) opinion that is shared by many scientists. The momentum equation can be derived by differentiating a Lagrangian function. In fact both equations are solutions to the Dirac equation of energy and momentum, but in different cases, not both at the same time. The momentum equation leads to predictions that light speed increases in the vicinity of a star ship as it accelerates at extreme speed. The only way to test the predictions is to launch a star ship and measure the light speed in route. NASA has a new project financed by the Military Research Organization DARPA. It was secret, but NASA leaked it. http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/10/29/nasa-cover-up-hundred-year-sta... They call it the 100 Year Starship. I suspect it will be the 35 Year Starship before the program ends.
    "The proper velocity of matter has no upper limit except the possible incineration from an extreme blue shifted horizon. No one objects to this. It just isn’t mentioned very often."

    I do. I object to this. If it were so, I wonder why they don't use this fact in the design of Large Hadron Collider. It would make things so much easier! Protons in the LHC reach a speed of 0.999999991 c, but it's that next decimal place that always kills you.

    "In fact both equations are solutions to the Dirac equation of energy and momentum."

    There is no such thing as the "Dirac equation of energy and momentum." The relationship between energy and momentum has nothing to do with the Dirac Equation, and in fact nothing at all to do with quantum mechanics. You are probably thinking of E^2 = p^2c^2 + m^2c^4, which was written down by Einstein when Dirac was still in diapers.

    "The momentum equation leads to predictions that light speed increases in the vicinity of a star ship as it accelerates at extreme speed."

    This is complete horseradish.

    "The proper velocity of matter has no upper limit except the possible incineration from an extreme blue shifted horizon. No one objects to this. It just isn’t mentioned very often."

    I do. I object to this. If it were so, I wonder why they don't use this fact in the design of Large Hadron Collider. It would make things so much easier! Protons in the LHC reach a speed of 0.999999991 c, but it's that next decimal place that always kills you. Basic issues like this were settled 100 years ago.

    "In fact both equations are solutions to the Dirac equation of energy and momentum."

    There is no such thing as the "Dirac equation of energy and momentum." The relationship between energy and momentum has nothing to do with the Dirac Equation, and in fact nothing at all to do with quantum mechanics. You are probably thinking of E^2 = p^2c^2 + m^2c^4, which was written down by Einstein when Dirac was still in diapers.

    "The momentum equation leads to predictions that light speed increases in the vicinity of a star ship as it accelerates at extreme speed."

    This is complete horseradish.

    Bill K,
    Proper velocity is measured in the frame of the particle. The LHC can’t do this measurement. All other measurements are the relativistic type, less than light speed.

    Most references try to avoid saying who first developed the energy momentum equation. No published references are given by the few who do.

    Relativistic energy momentum can be derived from the Einstein equation of energy and mass by applying a relativistic mass transformation. One writer tried to give the credit to Tolman’s book endorsed with a forward by Einstein. Credit for relativistic energy and momentum can be given to Einstein in retrospect, but I have no published article from him that claims credit.

    Relativistic mass was popular at one time but has fallen out of favor. I remember it was argued in the 1960’s with particle experiments predicted to resolve the issue. The experimental data favored a non linear momentum. Relativistic mass fell out of favor at that time. So the credit to Einstein via Tolman seems weak. Non linear momentum can also be used in the derivation.

    The earliest reference I have is from Dirac. In fact the Dirac equation is derived from the energy momentum equation by a simple substitution of wave functions for classical variables. So in fact they are the same equation when speaking of a system or more than 30 microscopic particles.

    Jerry has pushed the argument for Dirac a bit too far, but that is just his style. Other writers have given Dirac most of the credit also. In Jerry’s case he is bring back relativistic mass, but combined with variable light speed under the most extreme conditions. I think his approach toward General Relativity has a better chance than the usual interpretation from Special Relativity. However in bringing back relativistic mass, it seems he has given Einstein and Tolman a chance to get the credit.

    Not even Wikipedia has published references to resolve the history of relativistic energy momentum.

    Aitch
    HankSurely you remember I'm a fan of the Mayan Lunar Timeline, which kinda makes things like 'speed of light' a bit different to mainstream conventions,, as from that perspective, time is a variable, so you cannot rely on MPH even if it's in light years instead of hours, as 'time' is a relative term, speeding up
    Also, As Jerry and I have discussed before, even using Solar time 'light speed' is variable, as he has often stated
    So the reason I say it's wild ass guesses, is because people take too many 'constants' for granted, when at philosophical/theoretical perspectives, they become unreliable or unknown, so we hazard 'best guesses' - which are more wild assed than many of the health things I have experimented with, or environmental projects I have worked on, despite them being far enough away from 'Science' to please people who should, IMO, have broader vision, or, know better 
    I've never disputed that Matter can't travel 'faster than light' whatever that means, because it ignores space where there is no matter, and too much of our universe - 90% or so, AFAIK, is not matter at all
    If the best minds are still struggling with a TOE which takes proper account of it all, what else have we....wild ass guesses, or a rock solid basis?

    Aitch

    I've never understood what the big deal about things in space lining up.

    it's kinda like rainbows - they are visible only on the one side where the light is refracting and is meaningless unless you're in the right spot - but at least the rainbow is an interaction between water and light

    2 cosmic bodies lining up from our narrow view, they don't do anything when they get into proximity, except the closer one obscures the farther one.

    I'd be more interested if we can find a veiw where the stars line up and spell out a baaaaaad word

    that would be much more interesting than connecting dots with a line