picture of the day
The European Space Agency recently revealed this illustration
of galactic regions as part of its announcement
of the new GIRAFFE spectroscope for analyzing motions of objects in
space. The second column shows
the enigmatic "velocity fields" deduced from GIRAFFE observations.
Oct 11, 2007
Galaxies Behaving Badly
Results from GIRAFFE, a new spectroscope attached
to the Very Large Telescope, have caught astronomers by
surprise—again. It seems that many galaxies do not behave in
the ways theoreticians expected.
Space Agency (ESO) spectroscope GIRAFFE was recently
installed as part of the Very Large Telescope (VLT) at the
Paranal Observatory in Chile. Francois Hammer, a leader of
the investigating team, reports it has given astronomers
their first opportunity to obtain simultaneous spectra of
discrete areas within large objects in space—nebulae,
galaxies, and even galaxy clusters.
"GIRAFFE…is the only instrument in the world that is able to
analyze simultaneously the light coming from 15 galaxies
covering a field of view almost as large as the full moon,"
said Mathieu Puech, lead author of a recent paper presenting
The technology is extraordinary, but the investigators'
theoretical assumptions can only invite more contradictions
and unanswered questions. The astronomers say that GIRAFFE
enables them to determine the velocities of small
areas within distant galaxies. But this claim is based on
the most shaky assumption of the Big Bang theory—that the
redshift of a galaxy provides a reliable measure of velocity
and, therefore, of distance. It is assumed that 'high-redshift
galaxies' means 'distant galaxies'. Of course, the farther
away a galaxy is, the longer time its light must travel to
reach us. Therefore, distant galaxies should show us what
the universe looked like long ago.
The illustration above gives results obtained with GIRAFFE
on 'distant' galaxies. (See larger illustration
here). The first column shows images obtained
with the Hubble Space Telescope. The second column is the
"velocity field" deduced from GIRAFFE observations: the
reddish parts "show material moving away from us with
respect to the mean velocity of the galaxy, while the blue
parts are moving towards us". The scale in kilometers per
second is shown on the right.
The last column is a map of electron density per cubic
centimeter. The first object "corresponds to a spiral galaxy
forming stars at a frantic rate of 100 solar masses per
year". The electron density map allows the astronomers to
localize the region of star formation as the black region on
the left. The second object, the investigators say, is a
galaxy that is clearly "out of balance" and therefore shows
"a very perturbed velocity field". The third object appears
to show an outflow—"matter being ejected perpendicular to
the plane of the galaxy".
The investigators did not see what they expected. They
report that GIRAFFE brought "the surprising
discovery that as much as 40% of distant galaxies
were 'out of balance'—their internal motions were very
disturbed—a possible sign that they are still showing the
aftermath of collisions between galaxies."
Or perhaps their theoretical starting point (their
assumptions about redshift) has already led the GIRAFFE team
Halton Arp — and by now many others — have shown
that high-redshift galaxies typically cluster around and are
companions of lower-redshift galaxies. If these
critics are correct, there is something fundamentally wrong
with astronomers' unyielding assumptions about redshift.
Arp has repeatedly pointed out that redshifted galaxies
often reveal 'peculiar' features indicating a 'disturbed'
state. The observational evidence suggests they are young
galaxies in the process of
development from quasars. And quasars, the most
strongly redshifted objects in the sky, are not the
exceedingly remote objects astronomers have assumed: They
were born by ejection from active galactic nuclei. As
newborn quasars age, they begin to look like normal galaxies
and their redshifts drop in 'quantized' steps (jumping from
one level down to another).
Like Arp, a growing number of plasma cosmologists say that
conventional astronomers, in applying Big Bang assumptions,
are misinterpreting the galaxies' youth as distance. They
are misinterpreting 'disturbed' motions as 'out of balance'
dynamics. And because of their severely limited toolkit,
they invariably cite (what
else could it be!) 'collisions', with barely a
thought as to the contradiction posed by incessant galactic
collisions in an ever-expanding Big Bang universe.
Plasma cosmologists see a much different universe.
Recognizing that 99% of the universe is plasma, they see
ejecting parent galaxies, their infant quasars, and their
peculiar adolescent galaxies as normal and coherent
electricity in space.
To observe the
electrical properties of plasma is to recognize that
electrical forces can easily and often overwhelm
gravitational forces. The conventional appeal to dark matter
is an excuse for the failure of gravitational theory to
account for galactic motions—
"Dark matter, which composes about 25% of the Universe, is a
simple word to describe something we really don't
understand", said Hector Flores, co-leader of the team
investigating the 'distant galaxies'. "From looking at
how galaxies rotate, we know that dark matter must be
present, as otherwise these gigantic structures would just
But decades of
laboratory experiments and computer simulations
have demonstrated that the observed galactic structure and
predictable results of plasma interactions. In a
plasma universe, the astronomers' dark matter is simply
faulty perception. It is not the galaxies, but the theory
that "would just dissolve" in the light of recent
observations, were the data considered objectively. Archaic
assumptions, formulated long before the emergence of the new
technologies, are the greatest constraint on scientific
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