Are the planets growing?

Beyond the boundaries of established science an avalanche of exotic ideas compete for our attention. Experts tell us that these ideas should not be permitted to take up the time of working scientists, and for the most part they are surely correct. But what about the gems in the rubble pile? By what ground-rules might we bring extraordinary new possibilities to light?

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Re: Are the planets growing?

Unread post by Vasa » Wed Jan 09, 2013 6:12 am

promethean wrote:Mack 71 said :
This video`s heading is hollow earth but im looking at it more with a view of a gassius plasma core, intresting experiment. ... re=related

Apparentley all bodies grow on an exponential curve so the earth has been growing along time very slowley at first and said to grow to about the size of the gas giants and stop, not sure why this is yet! or of course if its true!
Cant help thinking though that the process would be accelerated by planets being in close proximity and if we did indeed have saturn, jupiter, venus and mars in line with earth then that could help accelerate such a process.[/quote ]

If this internally driven expansion can continue without reaching the "exploding planet" stage of Tom VanFlandern's theory,will it be due to "blow valves" like Yellowstone ?
3 days and i've finally completed this thread. Hallelujah! Now i can go back amd read all the links.

As far as TvF is concerned, EPH made successful predictions but with a flawed model, i.e. As far as i kniw he was unaware of EDM role in creating the rocky bodies in the Solar System. He was on the right track as well regarding instability in the solar system, but he was looking for a mechanism to explain something that is explained much better by EDM and EU theory in general. I'm sure it's possible for planets to explode if the electrical forces become too great

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Re: Are the planets growing?

Unread post by Vasa » Wed Jan 09, 2013 6:17 am

My phone doesnt like posting on this forum, this is a continuation of my above post.

...if the electrical forces become too great (think Earth suddenly getting the brunt of the Sun's current) but it would be a rare event. Perhaps a gas giant fissioning like stars are theorized to could achieve the same effect as a rocky body exploding. Either way TvF is one of my heroes. I spent alot of time on his forum when i was younger. It's too nad he was marginalized during his life. He was a brilliant man. RIP.

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Re: Are the planets growing?

Unread post by Vasa » Wed Jan 09, 2013 6:33 am


Is it possible in your eyes that Saturn and Sol were part of a binary system? People have been looking for Nemesis...maybe we already found it. It does not seem farfetched to me that a larger star could eventually capture it's binary companion, especially since we know things aren't as clockwork as the mainstream would have us believe.

I also take the view that Saturn could have lost it's power source at some point which in my mind makes it seem logical that it could be captured by another star (instead of bubbles merging it would only be objects entering a bubble).

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Re: Are the planets growing?

Unread post by allynh » Wed Jan 09, 2013 7:01 pm

Vas, you will find that most of your questions will be answered once you go through the links. A lot of the thread simply points to related threads and other sources.

It will take a while. We will probably hear back from you in the Spring. HA!

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Re: Are the planets growing?

Unread post by allynh » Sat Jan 19, 2013 1:46 pm

This is a fun article about finding submerged cities. Harvest it while you can.

SPLASHCOS: Submerged Prehistoric Archaeology and Landscapes of the Continental Shelf
Geoff Bailey, Dimitris Sakellariou & members of the SPLASHCOS network

Figure 1. Map of Europe and the Mediterranean, showing the extent of the continental shelf exposed at maximum sea level regression (shown in red) at the Last Glacial Maximum. Courtesy of Simon Fitch and Ben Geary, University of Birmingham. Image is derived from USGS NED and ETOPO2. ... re1big.jpg

For most of human history on this planet—about 90 per cent of the time—sea levels have been substantially lower than at present, exposing large tracts of territory for human settlement. Europe alone would have had a land area increased by 40 per cent at the maximum sea level regression (Figure 1). Although this has been recognised for many decades, archaeologists have resisted embracing its full implications, barely accepting that most evidence of Palaeolithic marine exploitation must by definition be invisible, believing that nothing has survived or can be found on the seabed, and preferring instead to emphasise the opportunities afforded by lower sea level for improved terrestrial dispersal across land bridges and narrowed sea channels.

In the past decade, opinions have begun to change in response to a number of factors: evidence that marine exploitation and seafaring have a much deeper history in the Pleistocene than previously recognised; the steady accumulation of new underwater Stone Age sites and materials, amounting now to over 3000 in Europe, and often with unusual and spectacular conditions of preservation (Figure 2); availability of new technologies and research strategies for underwater exploration; and the growth of targeted underwater research (Erlandson 2001; Bailey & Milner 2002; Anderson et al. 2010; Benjamin et al. 2011).

Figure 2. Part of a wooden paddle from a submerged Ertebølle site off the island of Hjarnø in Horsens Bay, Denmark, showing detail of working and decoration. Scale in centimetres. Photograph by Derrick Butler, courtesy of Claus Skriver. ... re2big.jpg

Above all, it has become ever clearer that coastal regions generally support larger concentrations of population than hinterlands, with greater ecological diversity, better groundwater supplies, more equable climatic conditions, more productive conditions for plant and animal life on land, and the availability of marine resources. Since most of the great transformations of world prehistory took place when the sea level was lower than at present—including the global dispersal of archaic and anatomically modern humans, the origins of fishing and seafaring, the origins and dispersal of early farming economies, and the roots of the earliest civilisations such as those of Mesopotamia and the Aegean—it follows that existing syntheses of world prehistory are likely to be seriously incomplete.

SPLASHCOS and Deukalion

These circumstances provide the stimulus for SPLASHCOS, a research network (2009–2013) funded by the European Union's COST scheme (Cooperation in Science and Technology) to coordinate and promote research on the underwater landscapes and archaeology of the continental shelf drowned by the sea level rise at the end of the Last Glacial. It began with a proposal in 2008 by Nic Flemming and Dimitris Sakellariou to convene a European group to seek funds for a large-scale international project—the Deukalion Project—from the EU's Framework Programme. The complexities of such an undertaking led rapidly to an expansion of the network and the birth of SPLASHCOS.

Figure 3. Remains of a wooden fish trap exposed on the seabed at the site of Havang in southern Sweden. Photograph courtesy of Arne Sjöström. ... re3big.jpg

COST Actions are inter-governmental coalitions, rather than centrally directed projects. Each participating government nominates two members to a Management Committee, which oversees a work programme set out in a publicly available Memorandum of Understanding, and which can recruit additional members for specific tasks. COST does not support salaried researchers or new primary research, but funds meetings to coordinate and plan new research, publications and training of early stage researchers.

SPLASHCOS is a trans-domain Action which has grown to include over 100 regular members from over 60 institutions in 26 European States, and a wider corresponding membership. It is inter-disciplinary as well as international, including archaeologists, cultural heritage managers and marine geoscientists. It has four Working Groups (WGs), concerned with coordinating existing knowledge and research planning on Submerged Archaeology (WG1), Submerged Landscapes, including the taphonomy of underwater preservation (WG2), Technology and Training (WG3) and Public Outreach and Commercial Collaboration (WG4). Meetings twice a year in different European centres promote the work of the Action, and the original Deukalion group continues to work within the SPLASHCOS framework on long-term strategy and funding.

Preliminary results

It is clear that new finds are being made in increasing numbers, not only in Denmark and Israel, where the earliest discoveries were pioneered (e.g. Galili et al. 1993; Fischer 1995; Skaarup & Grøn 2004), but in all the major European sea basins, and these include not only sites and artefacts but reconstructions of submerged landscapes (Figures 3–5). As the evidence base expands, so new intellectual problems are coming into focus, such as the impact of sea level change on past human societies and the nature of their response.

Figure 4. Reconstructed street plan at the submerged Bronze Age town of Pavlopetri, Greece, based on sidescan acoustic survey. Image provided by Dimitris Sakellariou. ... re4big.jpg
Figure 5. Reconstruction of the coastline of the Golfe du Lion on the Mediterranean coast of France at the Last Glacial Maximum, showing a river delta and other features. Courtesy of Miquel Canals. ... re5big.jpg

The involvement of geoscientists in the Action, who are familiar with the demands of offshore work, is stimulating new survey work using existing seismic, acoustic and coring techniques, remotely operated vehicles and submersibles and the development of new ones. The costs and difficulties of underwater research should not be underestimated. However, a variety of strategies are being employed to minimise these, including collaboration with scientists conducting offshore ecological and geological research, and with industrial companies engaged in trawler fishing, gravel extraction, oil and gas exploration, and construction of offshore windfarms and other industrial facilities (e.g. Gaffney et al. 2007, 2009; Tizzard et al. 2011; Hafeez et al. 2012; Weerts et al. 2012), work that has involved many tens of millions of Euros that would not otherwise have been available for archaeological research (Figures 6–8).

Figure 6. Excavations in progress in the Yangtze harbour in Rotterdam, Netherlands. The sediment grabber is located on a pontoon. It is specially designed to close horizontally, scrapes about 20cm of sediment off the surface, and deposits it in large bags whose entire contents are sieved on the quayside through a 10mm and 2mm mesh. Photograph by D.E.A. Schiltmans, courtesy of Port of Rotterdam and City of Rotterdam Archaeological Service.

These examples also underline the policy-relevant nature of continental shelf research. Geoscientists are interested in making common cause with archaeologists in obtaining more precisely dated and located palaeoshorelines that feed into improved models of sea-level change and prediction; and commercial companies are increasingly bound by legislation to protect the underwater heritage and to undertake impact assessments and mitigation work.

SPLASHCOS itself has stimulated new national, bi-lateral and international projects with €14 million of funding, including underwater exploration, outreach work, and participation in pan-European initiatives to develop common standards of seabed mapping; a further €6 million was made available in 2011 to develop new technology for the investigation and management of submerged archaeology and the underwater heritage including Stone Age settlements. SPLASHCOS members have contributed to 14 international conferences during the past year, including dedicated sessions in 2012 in Brisbane, Australia, and Helsinki, Finland, both of which will be published (Fischer et al. in press; Harff et al. in prep.). The Action is also supporting edited publications summarising the work of WG1 and WG2 (Bailey et al. in prep.), a website with information on techniques and technology, and training schools for a new generation of archaeologists and geoscientists keen to explore this new discipline. The 2013 meetings include a workshop with the North Sea offshore industry in Esbjerg (14–15 March) and the final conference of the Action, which will be open to all, at the University of Szczecin, Poland (23–27 September).

Figure 7. Examples of worked flints and bone fragments recovered from the Yangtze harbour in Rotterdam. Photograph by D.E.A. Schiltmans, courtesy of Port of Rotterdam and City of Rotterdam Archaeological Service. ... re7big.jpg

Figure 8. Group of Lower Palaeolithic handaxes recovered during gravel extraction from Area A240, 11km off the coast of eastern England in the North Sea. Subsequent acoustic survey and sediment sampling in the area of the handaxe finds has demonstrated the presence of channel fills including fine sediments and palaeoenvironmental data, showing that high resolution data can survive several cycles of inundation and exposure by sea level change. Photograph courtesy of Rijksmuseum van Oudheden (RMO)/National Museum of Antiquities, Leiden. ... re8big.jpg

Above all, SPLASHCOS is generating momentum in developing what is in effect a new discipline, drawing on the expertise of a wide range of specialists and a younger generation of enthusiasts to focus on the human dimension and relevance of the continental shelf, out of scientific and intellectual curiosity in its own right, as a contribution to work of high policy relevance to modern society, and as a topic that attracts wide public interest. Arguments that underwater research is not worth pursuing because the evidence has been destroyed, or is too difficult and expensive to recover, and that in any case the funding would be better invested in new research on land, still linger as the rearguard defence of an outdated archaeological mindset. This is rapidly being superseded by a new generation of research, and a growing body of new evidence and results.


SPLASHCOS is COST Action TD0902, and we thank COST ( for funding and continued support of our activities. We thank all our members for their enthusiasm and hard work, our rapporteurs, Daniela Koleva (St Kliment Ohridski University of Sofia, Bulgaria) and Ipek Erzi (Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey, Tübitak) for their support and advice, and Cynthianne DeBono Spiteri the Grant Holder and Administrative Secretary of the Action for her unfailing patience in negotiating its financial and bureaucratic complexities. Members of the Management Committee are listed at ... management, and the full list of active members (including additional members of Working Groups and Early Stage Researchers) is on the SPLASHCOS website (
Then there is the classic Graham Hancock Underworld video.

Graham Hancock - Underworld: Flooded Kingdoms Of The Ice Age

When you read through the stuff, and watch the Hancock video, they keep mentioning the continental shelf being flooded after the last "ice age". What if the flooding had nothing to do with "ice" melting and everything to do with the last major growth cycle drowning the older coastline. HA!

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Re: Are the planets growing?

Unread post by GaryN » Sat Jan 19, 2013 2:28 pm

What if the flooding had nothing to do with "ice" melting and everything to do with the last major growth cycle drowning the older coastline.
I was looking at the Monterey Canyon, and it, like many other underwater canyons around the world, appears to have a sedimentary fan at the lower extents, down at 2 or 3 miles. So how the canyon gets cut in the first place, and then what a fan is doing at the bottom is very puzzling to me, as there can be no erosion under water, anything sliding down a slope under water would lift up if any amount of speed were achieved. It seems that either the sea level was 2 or 3 miles lower, or the canyons/fans are not from erosion. The idea of the polar water column dropping its load every now and then, during or after a good electrical catastrophe that also created the canyons and other landforms, might be the answer. The supposed ice age melting did not raise sea levels IMO, the water is coming from outside, so the next time it happens maybe another 4-600 feet of coastline might disappear? :shock:
In order to change an existing paradigm you do not struggle to try and change the problematic model. You create a new model and make the old one obsolete. -Buckminster Fuller

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Re: Are the planets growing?

Unread post by allynh » Sun Jan 20, 2013 3:32 pm

That's what's scary. I always went with the dogma of various "ice ages" raising and lowering the ocean levels. That there would be periods when the continental shelf was above sea level, warm, well watered, while the continents were dry and cold. Then the ice would melt, and everyone in the kill zone would be wiped out, forced up onto the dry continent, then the cycle starts all over again.

Right now we are still at the end of a warming. Once all the ice melts the water level goes up another 200 feet. That means there is a 600 foot kill zone where 90% of all people tend to live.

That was the dogma, now all that changes if there were no "ice ages", only growing earth with land popping up a mile high here in New Mexico, about 8000 feet for Machu Picchu, or being drowned around the English isles, and India, and Indonesia, wiping out vast populated areas.

You have a combination of water being stripped from Mars or being made in the crust as it grew, all the while wiping out each successive wave of population growth.

I need to buy Graham Hancock's Underworld book just to have access to the maps and ideas that he's talking about.

I would love to see what somebody like Hancock could do by making sense of the Saturn Event, Anatoly Fomenko's New Chronology, and the Growing Earth Theory. I would buy that book in a heartbeat. HA!

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Re: Are the planets growing?

Unread post by promethean » Tue Jan 22, 2013 11:37 am

Velikovsky may have been wrong regarding portions of his theory, but not as wrong as others...
The chapters beginning with the above link bear on the current discussion.

Jno Cook has other ideas re: "The Flood". :?
"History teaches everything,even the future." Alphonse de Lamartine (1790-1869)

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Re: Are the planets growing?

Unread post by allynh » Wed Jan 30, 2013 10:36 am

I was watching Attenborough and the Giant Egg the other night about his search for the Elephant Bird. I checked the wiki page and found a nice comparative graphic that I wanted to point out.

Elephant bird
Size of Aepyornis maximus (centre, in purple) compared to a human, an ostrich (second from right, in maroon), and some non-avian theropod dinosaurs. Each gridline is one meter in height ... ds.svg.png

What I noticed is that the large birds have no tails for balance the way the theropods do. The Elephant bird and the ostrich both run rather than hop. The theropods are clearly designed to hop, using their tail to balance. The tail would have made it impossible to run. That much mass swinging back and forth would destabilize the system. A heavy tail works best moving up and down while hopping.

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Re: Are the planets growing?

Unread post by promethean » Sat Feb 02, 2013 1:38 pm

Pliny described the changes in land and sea distribution. “Land is sometimes formed . . . rising suddenly out of the sea. Delos and Rhodes, islands which have now been long famous, are recorded to have risen up in this way. More lately there have been some smaller islands formed,” and he names them: Anapha, Nea, Halone, Thera, Therasia,4 Hiera, and Thia, the last of which appeared in his own time.5

Pindar said that “the isle of Rhodes was not yet to be seen in the open main, but was hidden in the briny depths of the sea” ; then it was born in the darkness—the sun was absent. When the sun finally lighted the earth again, a plot of land was seen “rising from the bottom of the foaming main.”6

Under the heading Lands Which Have Been Separated by the Sea Pliny mentions: “The sea has torn Sicily from Italy,7 Cyprus from Syria, Euboea from Boeotia,” and other similar instances.

Under the heading Islands Which Have Been United to the Main Land Pliny mentions Antissa which was added to Lesbos, Zephyrium to Halicarnassus, and the like in other places.

the preceding is from:

A smaller diameter crust on a larger diameter core (GROWING !) will deform in every way; rising,folding,collapsing,
venting,tearing...YIKES !
"History teaches everything,even the future." Alphonse de Lamartine (1790-1869)

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Re: Are the planets growing?

Unread post by allynh » Wed Feb 13, 2013 2:18 pm

Here is a follow up on the earlier post about the Solar Swarm.

The helical model - our Galaxy is a vortex
The helical model - our Galaxy is a vortex - YouTube

Full info and ongoing research: ... -a-vortex/

Notes & comments on this video

The Milky Way

- The Milky Way itself travels through space at appr. 600 km/s
- The image used for texturing the Milky Way is NOT a picture of the Milky Way. There are no pictures of the outside of the Milky Way.
- There could either be a black hole or a central sun in the center of the Milky Way. I went with the texture image and made it shine.
- A complete revolution around the galaxy takes 226 million years
- Do not confuse the Galactic Plane with the Galactic Equator: the Sun never "crosses" the Galactic Equator because the Sun is always on the Galactic Equator, by definition.

Precession cycle

- One precession cycle takes 25,920 years
- Since one revolution takes 226 mln years, this would mean that there are appr. 8692 precessional cycles in one revolution. In this animation there are only 60.

Scale & distance

- the Sun is 109 times bigger than the Earth. If this animation was to scale, the planets would be invisible.
- Our Solar System should be a gazillion times smaller compared to the Milky Way. If this animation was to scale, you could not see the Solar System, the Sun or any of the planets.
- The software used to create this animation is unable to work with extreme sizes and distances.

Sound & music

- The sound track is called "Enter The Stream" and I created it specifically for this animation.
You can listen to it on my website: ... trumental/

More info & reserach at ... -a-vortex/
Look at the video, and realize that every star system is going through similar swarm motion. He simplified his example, yet every star system is a Solar Swarm, and if he showed the motion of the galaxy as well, you would see a galactic swarm. I'm getting dizzy thinking about it. HA!

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Re: Are the planets growing?

Unread post by allynh » Mon Mar 04, 2013 1:11 pm

I would suggest a different interpretation to what was found. The Pacific near New Zealand was the fastest growing part of the planet, so that part of the crust is still cooling.

'Supervolcano' forming near New Zealand ... ew-Zealand
MICHAEL S THORNE/University of Utah
BENEATH THE CRUST: Earth’s surface superimposed on a depiction of what a new University of Utah study indicates is happening 2900 kilometres deep at the boundary between Earth’s warm, rocky mantle and its liquid outer core.

A "supervolcano" forming deep below the Earth's crust north of New Zealand, will have the power to destroy the world, but scientists are urging people not to worry - it could be 100 million years away.

University of Utah seismologist Michael Thorne has been studying seismic waves beating through the Earth's crust, and says the ingredients are there for a "cataclysmic" eruption.

"What we may be detecting is the start of one of these large eruptive events that - if it ever happens - could cause very massive destruction on Earth."

But Thorne cautioned people not to cancel their cruises just yet.

"This is the type of mechanism that may generate massive plume eruptions, but on the timescale of 100 million to 200 million years from now."

The study has found that deep beneath the Pacific Ocean, near Samoa, two or more continent-sized piles of rock were colliding as they moved at the bottom of Earth's thick mantle and atop the thicker core.

Published this week in international science journal Earth and Planetary Science, the study has found a huge zone of partly-molten rock is forming which had the potential to end in two ways.

It could end in a "hotspot plume supervolcano eruption", similar to one two million years ago in Wyoming, which covered North America in ash.

Otherwise, the likely alternative was a "gargantuan flood basalt eruption", which created large areas of igneous rock, like the Pacific Northwest's Columbia River basalts 17 million to 15 million years ago.

"These very large, massive eruptions may be tied to some extinction events."

Thorne said high resolution seismic imaging showed an ongoing collision between the piles of rock was merging in a "spongy blob of partly molten rock" underneath the volcanically active hotspot.

Seismic imaging uses earthquake waves to make images of Earth's interior similar to the way X-rays make CT scan pictures of the inside of the human body.

The study has pieced together the largest set of data ever used to map the lower mantle in the Pacific region by using 4,221 seismograms from hundreds of seismometers around the world that detected 51 deep earthquakes originating more than 100 kilometres under the surface.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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Re: Are the planets growing?

Unread post by allynh » Thu Mar 21, 2013 6:38 pm

There is a new so called "map" of the Universe just released from the Planck spacecraft.

The Planck spacecraft is located at the L2 point, still well within the tail of Earth's magnetosphere, so anything it is measuring is from the Earth, not the edge of the Universe. If they set up instruments past Pluto's orbit, it would still only measure the Sun's atmosphere. Outside the Heliopause it would measure the Milky Way's atmosphere.

The reason things are different with Planck vs. COBE, is that COBE was in near Earth orbit, only 900 km out, vs. Planck which is 1.5m km inside the tail of the Earth's magnetosphere. They are measuring slightly different parts of Earth's atmosphere, thus getting different "ages" for the Universe.

They are chasing their tail, in the tail. HA!

I highlighted the parts that I think are the "Smoking Gun". Planck has found that the Universe is lopsided.

What is ironic about this report, is that you will notice that it was written by the Bad Astronomy guy.
BadAstronomyGuy wrote: Planck has been scanning the entire sky, over and over, peering at the radio and microwaves pouring out of the Universe.
Wrong! HA!

The Universe Is 13.82 Billion Years Old ... years.html
By Phil Plait
Posted Thursday, March 21, 2013, at 2:46 PM

The Universe is a wee bit older than we thought. Not only that, but turns out the ingredients are a little bit different, too. And not only that, but the way they’re mixed isn’t quite what we expected, either. And not only that, but there are hints and whispers of something much grander going on as well.

So what’s going on?

The European Space Agency’s Planck mission is what’s going on. Planck has been scanning the entire sky, over and over, peering at the radio and microwaves pouring out of the Universe. Some of this light comes from stars, some from cold clumps of dust, some from exploding stars and galaxies. But a portion of it comes from farther away…much farther away. Billions of light years, in fact, all the way from the edge of the observable Universe.

This light was first emitted when the Universe was very young, about 380,000 years old. It was blindingly bright, but in its eons-long travel to us has dimmed and reddened. Fighting the expansion of the Universe itself, the light has had its wavelength stretched out until it gets to us in the form of microwaves. Planck gathered that light for over 15 months, using instruments far more sensitive than ever before.

The light from the early Universe shows it’s not smooth. If you crank the contrast way up you see slightly brighter and slightly dimmer spots. These correspond to changes in temperature of the Universe on a scale of 1 part in 100,000. That’s incredibly small, but has profound implications. We think those fluctuations were imprinted on the Universe when it was only a trillionth of a trillionth of a second old, and they grew with the Universe as it expanded. They were also the seeds of the galaxies and the clusters and galaxies we see today.

What started out as quantum fluctuations when the Universe was smaller than a proton have now grown to be the largest structures in the cosmos, hundreds of millions of light years across. Let that settle in your brain a moment.

And those fluctuations are the key to Planck’s observations. By looking at those small changes in light we can find out a lot about the Universe. Scientists spent years looking at the Planck data, analyzing it. And what they found is pretty amazing:

What does all this mean? Let’s take a quick look, one at a time, at these results.

The Universe is 13.82 billion years old.

The age of the Universe is a little bit higher than we expected. A few years ago, the WMAP spacecraft looked at the Universe much as Planck has, and for the time got the best determination of the cosmic age: 13.73 +/- 0.12 billion years old.

Planck has found that the Universe is nearly 100 million years older than that: 13.82 billion years.

At first glance you might think this is a really different number. But look again. The uncertainty in the WMAP age is 120 million years. That means the best estimate is 13.73 billion years, but it could easily be 13.85 or 13.61. Anything in that range is essentially indistinguishable in the WMAP data, and 13.73 is just in the middle of that range.

And that range includes 13.82 billion years. It’s at the high end, but that’s not a big deal. It’s completely consistent with the older estimate, but Planck’s measurements are considered to be more accurate. It will become the new benchmark for astronomers.

The Universe is expanding a bit slower than we expected.

The Universe is expanding, and has been ever since the moment it was born. We can measure the speed of this expansion in various ways; for example, looking at distant exploding stars. We can measure how fast they are moving away from us, swept along with the expansion of space, by seeing how much their light is redshifted (I have details about how this works in an earlier post on redshifts and the expansion of the Universe). We can measure their distance, too, using various methods including how bright they appear to be, and with both their speed and distance we can calculate how fast the Universe is expanding.

The farther away you go, the faster the Universe expands, and what Planck found is that the Universe is getting bigger at a rate of 67.3 kilometers per second per megaparsec. A megaparsec is a unit of distance equal to 3.26 million light years (which is convenient to astronomers). That means that if you look at a galaxy one megaparsec away, it appears to be moving away from you at 67.3 km/sec. A galaxy two megaparsecs away would recede at twice that speed, 134.6 km/sec, and so on.

This is called the Hubble constant. Various methods have been used to measure it for the past century, and some of the best found it to be about 74.2 km/s/Mpc. Planck’s measurement is smaller, so the Universe appears to be expanding a little more slowly than we thought, which is why the age is a bit higher than measured before, too.

Part of the reason the number is smaller from Planck is that it’s looking at light that is very old, and came from very far away, so they extrapolate forward in time to see how fast the Universe is growing. Other measurements use light from objects that are closer, and scientists extrapolated backwards.

Since the two numbers are different, this may mean the Hubble constant has changed over time, though that’s way too preliminary to tell. I’ll just note it here as an interesting development. The Hubble constant is notoriously difficult to measure, and I imagine astronomers will be arguing about it for some time yet to come.

The Universe is 4.9 percent normal matter, 26.8 percent dark matter, and 68.3 percent dark energy.

I love this bit. The amount of the fluctuations in the light from the early Universe as well as how they are distributed can be used to figure out what the Universe is made of. The ingredients and amounts of the universal constituents are:

Normal matter is what we call protons, neutrons, electrons; basically everything you see when you look around. Stars, cashews, dryer lint, and books are all made of normal matter. So are you.

Dark matter is a substance we know exists, but it’s invisible. We see its effects through its gravity, which profoundly alters how galaxies rotate and clusters of galaxies behave. There’s more than five times as much of it as there is normal matter.

Dark energy was only discovered in 1998. It’s very mysterious, but acts like a pressure, increasing the expansion rate of the Universe. We know very little about it other than the fact that it exists, and it’s a bigger component of the universal budget than normal and dark matter combined.

The best estimates for these numbers before Planck were a bit different: 4.6, 24, and 71.4 percent, respectively. That’s neat: there’s less dark energy than we thought, so the Universe is made up a little bit less of that weird stuff, if that makes you feel better. But there’s still a lot of it!

The good news is that having better numbers for all these means astronomers can tune their models a little bit better, and we can understand things a little better. Different models of how the Universe behaves predict different ratios for these ingredients, so getting them focused a bit better means we can see which models work better. We’re learning!

The Universe is lopsided. Just a bit, just a hint, but that has profound implications.

Of all the results announced so far, this may be the most provocative. We expect the Universe to be pretty smooth on large scales. Those early fluctuations should be random, so when you look around at this ancient light, the pattern should be pretty random.

And it is! The distribution of the fluctuations is quite random. It may look to your eye to have patterns, but our brains are miserable at seeing true randomness; we impose order on it. You have to use computers, math, and statistics to measure the distribution to test for true randomness, and the Universe passes the test.

Kindof. The distribution is random, but the amplitudes of the fluctuations are not. Amplitude is how bright they are; like the height of a wave. It’s hard to see by eye, but in the big map made by Planck, the fluctuations are a wee bit brighter than they should be on one side, and a wee bit dimmer on the other. It’s an incredibly small effect, but appears to be real. It was seen in WMAP data and confirmed by Planck.

A simple model of the Universe says that shouldn’t happen. The Universe is lopsided on a vast scale! What can this mean?

Right now, we don’t know, and there are far more ideas for why this would happen than we have data to test for. It could mean dark energy is changing over time, for example. Another idea, and one that is terribly exciting, is that we’re seeing some pattern imprinted on the Universe from before the Big Bang. I know, that sounds crazy, but it’s not completely crazy. My friend and cosmologist Sean Carroll has some detail on this.

We may be seeing something so big in extent it’s happening over scales we literally cannot see. It’s like having a house built on a slight incline. Standing in one room you might not notice it, but measuring the elevation in a room on one side of the house versus one all the way on the other side might show the discrepancy. And even then, it only gives you a taste of how big that hill might be.

We’re seeing that on a cosmic scale. The Universe itself appears to be slightly canted, and we only get a hint of it when we take the measure the entire Universe.


I am entirely and thoroughly delighted by these new results.

As a scientist, of course, I like it when we get better measurements, more detail, refined numbers. That’s how we test models, and it helps us understand our ideas better.

But I’m human, and a big part of my brain is still reeling from the fact that we can accurately measure the age of the Universe at all. We can figure out what’s in it, even when most of it is something we cannot see. We can determine not only that it’s expanding, but how quickly.

And best of all, we see that the Universe is doing things we still don’t understand. It’s showing us that there is still more out there, things occurring on so vast a canvas that it both crushes utterly our sense of scale and expands ferociously our imagination.

Every day, we get better at learning what the Universe is doing. And the work continues to find out how. It may even lead us to the answer of the ultimate question of all: why?

If that answer exists (if the question even makes sense), and we can understand it, then we are making our first steps toward it right now.

I still hear some people say that science takes the wonder out of life. Those people are utterly and completely wrong.

Science takes us to the wonder.
This is the NYTimes. They mention that the Planck is measuring "microwaves", and because the Planck is in Earth's magnetosphere it could only be measuring our "microwaves". HA!

Universe as an Infant: Fatter Than Expected and Kind of Lumpy ... verse.html
Astronomers released the latest and most exquisite baby picture yet of the universe on Thursday, one that showed it to be 80 million to 100 million years older and a little fatter than previously thought, with more matter in it and perhaps ever so slightly lopsided.

Recorded by the European Space Agency’s Planck satellite, the image is a heat map of the cosmos as it appeared only 370,000 years after the Big Bang, showing space speckled with faint spots from which galaxies would grow over billions of years.

The map, the Planck team said in news conferences and in 29 papers posted online Thursday, is in stunning agreement with the general view of the universe that has emerged over the past 20 years, of a cosmos dominated by mysterious dark energy that seems to be pushing space apart and the almost-as-mysterious dark matter that is pulling galaxies together. It also shows a universe that seems to have endured an explosive burp known as inflation, which was the dynamite in the Big Bang.

In a statement issued by the European Space Agency, Jean-Jacques Dordain, its director general, said, “The extraordinary quality of Planck’s portrait of the infant universe allows us to peel back its layers to the very foundations, revealing that our blueprint of the cosmos is far from complete.”

Within the standard cosmological framework, however, the new satellite data underscored the existence of puzzling anomalies that may yet lead theorists back to the drawing board. The universe appears to be slightly lumpier, with bigger and more hot and cold spots in the northern half of the sky as seen from Earth than toward the south, for example. And there is a large, unexplained cool spot in the northern hemisphere.

Those anomalies had shown up on previous maps by NASA’s Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe, or WMAP, satellite, but some had argued that they were because of a bad analysis or contamination from the Milky Way.

Now cosmologists will have to take them more seriously, said Max Tegmark, an expert on the early universe at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who was not part of the Planck team. He described the new results as “very exciting.” It could be, he said, that “the universe is trying to tell us something.”

George Efstathiou, of Cambridge University, one of the leaders of the Planck project, said in the European Space Agency news release: “Our ultimate goal would be to construct a new model that predicts the anomalies and links them together. But these are early days; so far, we don’t know whether this is possible and what type of new physics might be needed. And that’s exciting.”

The Planck satellite was launched in 2009 and has been scanning the sky ever since, recording the faint variations in a haze of radio microwaves that fill the sky.

Microwaves are a form of electromagnetic radiation used in the kitchen for heating leftovers; that they are important for cosmology was discovered by accident back in 1965 by a pair of Bell Labs radio astronomers, Arno Penzias and Robert W. Wilson, who later won the Nobel Prize in Physics. Using balloons, a U-2 spy plane and a series of satellites like the WMAP, astronomers have been teasing out the detailed features of this radiation.

The microwaves detected by the Planck date from 370,000 years after the Big Bang, which is as far back as optical or radio telescopes will ever be able to see, cosmologists say. But the patterns within them date from less than a trillionth of a second after the Big Bang, when the universe is said to have undergone a violent burst of expansion known as inflation that set cosmic history on the course it has followed ever since. Those patterns are Planck’s prize.

Analyzing the relative sizes and frequencies of spots and ripples over the years has allowed astronomers to describe the birth of the universe to a precision that would make the philosophers weep. The new data have allowed astronomers to tweak their model a bit. It now seems the universe is 13.8 billion years old, instead of 13.7 billion, and consists by mass of 4.9 percent ordinary matter like atoms, 27 percent dark matter and 68 percent dark energy.

Marc Kamionkowski, an astrophysicist at Johns Hopkins University who commented on the work at a news teleconference sponsored by NASA, called Planck “cosmology’s human genome project,” saying, “It shows the seeds from which the current universe grew.”

David N. Spergel, a Princeton University cosmologist, described the new results as “beautiful.”

“The standard cosmological model looks even stronger today than yesterday,” he said. “The universe remains simple and strange.”

The biggest surprise here, astronomers said, is that the universe is expanding slightly more slowly than previous measurements had indicated. The Hubble constant, which characterizes the expansion rate, is 67 kilometers per second per megaparsec — in the units astronomers use — according to Planck. Recent ground-based measurements combined with the WMAP data gave a value of 69, offering enough of a discrepancy to make cosmologists rerun their computer simulations of cosmic history.

The fact that astronomers once would go to war over a factor of two in measurements of this parameter shows how cosmology has progressed over the past 20 years. Pressed for a possible explanation for the discrepancy, Martin White, a Planck team member from the University of California, Berkeley, said it represents a mismatch between measurements made of the beginning of time and those made more recently, and that it could mean that dark energy, which is speeding up the expansion of the universe, is more complicated than cosmologists thought. He termed the possibility “pretty radical,” adding, “That would be pretty exciting.”

The data also offered striking support for the notion of inflation, which has been the backbone of Big Bang theorizing for 30 years. Under the influence of a mysterious force field during the first trillionth of a fraction of a second, what would become the observable universe ballooned by 100 trillion trillion times in size from a subatomic pinprick to a grapefruit in less than a violent eye-blink, so the story first enunciated by Alan Guth of M.I.T. goes.

Submicroscopic quantum fluctuations in this force field are what would produce the hot spots in the cosmic microwaves, which in turn would grow into galaxies. According to Planck’s measurements, those fluctuations so far fit the predictions of the simplest model of inflation, invented by Andrei Linde of Stanford, to a T.

Dr. Tegmark of M.I.T. said, “We’re homing in on the simplest model.”

Cosmologists still do not know what might have caused inflation, but the recent discovery of the Higgs boson has provided evidence that the kinds of fields that can provoke such behavior really exist.

Dr. Tegmark and others said that another clue to the nature of inflation could come from the anomalies in the microwave data — the lopsided bumpiness, for example — that tend to happen on the largest scales in the universe. By the logic of quantum cosmology, they were the first patterns to be laid down on the emerging cosmos; that is to say, when inflation was just starting.

He compared it to walking in on a fight. If the fight has been going on for a while, he said, it is impossible to tell who started it or who was hurt first. But if you come in only a few seconds after it started, you have a better chance of figuring out who did what to whom.

“It may be,” he said, “we’re coming in early to the cosmic brawl.”

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: March 21, 2013

An earlier version of this article misstated the percent of the universe by mass that is made up of dark energy. It is 68 percent, not 71.

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Re: Are the planets growing?

Unread post by ranmacar » Sat Apr 06, 2013 6:00 am

There goes a subduction zone, how many left? ... 09236.html

seriously though, is there some source for the 'vertical pile of oceanic crust segments'? Seems growth-defying, would love to chew on that :)

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Joined: Fri Aug 22, 2008 5:51 pm

Re: Are the planets growing?

Unread post by allynh » Sat Apr 06, 2013 9:22 am

Thanks, ranmacar.

I tried to highlight the crazy parts of the article, but ended up highlighting the whole thing, so I left it as is. HA!

North America Geologic History Revised In New 'Subduction Zone' Study ... 09236.html
By: Becky Oskin, OurAmazingPlanet Staff Writer
Published: 04/03/2013 02:18 PM EDT on LiveScience
It's time to redraw the map of the world during the reign of the dinosaurs, two scientists say.

Picture the U.S. West Coast as a tortured tectonic boundary, similar to Australia and Southeast Asia today. Erase the giant subduction zone researchers have long nestled against western North America. Drop a vast archipelago into the ancient Panthalassa Ocean, usually drawn as an empty void, the kind on which medieval mapmakers would have depicted fantastical beasts.

"Now it fits together," said Karin Sigloch, a seismologist at Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich, and lead study author. "We've come up with a pretty different solution that I think will hold up."

With a spectacularly clear look at the remnants of ancient subduction zones under North America, Sigloch and her colleague Mitch Mihalynuk have revised 200 million years of geologic history. The results of their study are published today (April 3) in the journal Nature. [Have There Always Been Continents?]

The old West

The story begins 200 million years ago, just before the Atlantic Ocean basin first opened. North America was crammed into the Pangaea supercontinent and the vast Panthalassa Ocean covered the rest of the planet.
The breakup of the Pangaea supercontinent.
Panthalassa's ocean floor has almost completely disappeared under North America as Earth's tectonic plates have shifted, so its history is somewhat cryptic. A few geologic clues led scientists to the prevailing model, contested by the new study. The puzzle pieces include the few remaining bits of Panthalassic ocean floor, rocks scattered along western North America, and remnants of the old oceanic crust seen under the continent, where the plate disappeared into the mantle, the layer of Earth beneath the crust.

After North America started shifting to the west 185 million years ago, away from Africa and Europe, the prevailing model placed a subduction zone along the West Coast that consumed Panthalassa's huge oceanic tectonic plate, the Farallon plate. Imagine a setting like today's Andes in South America. Like a giant conveyor belt, the subduction zone delivered exotic terranes that built out the western continent.

But for some scientists, the puzzle pieces just didn't fit this picture. Sigloch and Mihalynuk think they know why.

What lies beneath

Sigloch looked deep into the mantle, at the remnants of oceanic crust that remain beneath North America. In a subduction zone, two of Earth's tectonic plates collide and one slides into the mantle. The plates are colder and denser than the surrounding mantle rock. Seismic waves change their speed as they pass through the plates, revealing their location. No one had seen these old pieces of crust in this detail before because it requires powerful computers and very dense arrays of seismic monitoring equipment, both of which came about in the last decade.

Sigloch discovered a vertical pile of oceanic crust segments stacked on top of one another like bricks. The massive wall runs from northwest Canada to Central America, and is 250 to 375 miles wide (400 to 600 kilometers) and extends from between 500 to 1,200 miles (800 to 2,000 km) beneath the surface.

These former slabs, as geologists call subducted crust, fix the position of Panthalassa's ancient subduction zones in time and space, the study shows. The slabs sunk vertically about 0.4 inches (1 centimeter) per year and have not shifted in space. Because geologists know the travels of North America in detail, thanks to magnetic stripes in the Atlantic Ocean, the researchers can pull back the continent and compare it to the position of subducted crust.
A cartoon illustrating how a vertical slab wall could form under North America after Pangaea.
"What this does is provide us with a time machine. The slabs are telling us the sites of past ocean trenches and the locality of island arcs, which are the building blocks of continents," said Mihalynuk, a geologist with the British Columbia Geological Survey in Canada.

Two new plates

What the mantle evidence shows is that as Pangaea broke up, out in the Panthalassa Ocean, a vast archipelago sat far offshore of North America. It was shaped like an arrowhead, 6,200 miles (10,000 km) long, with its tip pointing to the proto-Pacific Northwest. Two ocean basins sat between the archipelago and North America, called the Angayucham and the Mezcalera. On the other side of the archipelago, further to the west, was the Farallon plate.

Instead of an Andes-style subduction zone, with the Farallon plate sliding to the east under North America, there was a westward-dipping subduction zone, with North American crust sliding beneath the Angauychum and Mezcalera plates.
The geologic history of western North America since the Jurassic, based on subducted oceanic crust. The left shows time slices of subducted oceanic crust, and the right shows an intepretation of the position of geologic features based on the position of the subducted slabs.
"It makes perfect sense," said Robert Hildebrand, a geologist at the University of California, Davis, who was not involved in the study. "If there was eastward subduction, as most people would suggest, it would leave a bread crumb trail strewn out across the mantle. That's not what you see."

As North America plowed westward, with its margin sinking the two plates, it rammed into the arrow point about 150 million years ago. This impact was responsible for raising the initial Rocky Mountains, Mihalynuk said.

Further west of the archipelago, the Farallon ocean plate was descending into its own subduction zone, the mantle evidence indicates.

Violent tectonics

In fact, the entire western Panthalassic was more like the Southwest Pacific, where northeast Australia collides with islands, microcontinents disappear into the Earth, and there are flip-flopping subduction zones, the study authors said.

"The ocean basin was not a vast abyssal plain," Mihalynuk told OurAmazingPlanet. "The situation is much more like the Southwest Pacific than offshore South America." [World's Biggest Oceans and Seas]

Over time, collisions with the different subduction zones smeared exotic terranes along the continent's western margin, a rock record that has long hinted at North America's violent tectonic history. The history revealed by the mantle slabs helps explain some baffling geology, such as rocks carried 1,200 miles (2,000 km) from Mexico to Canada. "I would say that this model comes very close to fitting the geology," Hildebrand said.
A cross-section of a portion of the Cascadia subduction zone.
Sigloch also found another, more westerly slab wall connected to the Cascadia trench off Washington and Oregon, into which the last remnant of the Farallon plate, now called the Juan de Fuca, is subducting.

Mihalynuk said the new model will make waves, as it overturns 40 years of accepted wisdom about the evolution of western North America. "It will take a while to turn people around. That intellectual ship has a lot of inertia," he said. But for Mihalynuk, "this is one of those eureka moments."


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