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Supposed dark matter distribution in the Bullet Cluster, 1E0657-558.
Credit: HST/Chandra X-ray telescope/Spitzer Space telescope/Magellan telescope.



Dark Matter Recreations Part Two
Mar 18, 2009

A great mathematical edifice in the form of the Lambda Cold Dark Matter (ΛCDM) standard cosmological model has been built on shaky underlying assumptions.

An integral component of the standard model is non-baryonic cold dark matter (CDM). While there is abundant mathematical content about CDM, how much does that translate into real physical understanding?

The ΛCDM is based on six primary parameters, and a great deal of quantitative astronomical activity is currently focused on determining the values for those parameters. However, it is important to note that the ΛCDM model has a number of problems: there is no clue yet what particles comprise “non-baryonic” CDM, no explanation for the underlying physical nature of dark energy, and to a large extent it is really a “parameterization of ignorance.”

In part one of this article we reviewed a paper by Xu and Siegel about dark matter in our solar system. Siegel cited previous papers by others that claimed to categorically establish dark matter as a physical reality. The references included observations of the cosmic microwave background (CMB), the power spectrum of the Universe, and colliding galaxy clusters.

Siegel lists a key paper by Kamatsu et al (2008), a highly mathematical paper. Yet hidden under the dense computations is a set of assumptions concerning the cosmological model. The 5-year WMAP data used by the paper needs to be understood first. This is not data about dark energy, or dark matter, or spatial curvature, it is data about the temperature of the background cosmic radiation.

Through long term measurements, the WMAP study has accumulated a higher resolution image of the cosmic background radiation that radiates at about 3 Kelvin. Roughly isotropic, in detail it is slightly anisotropic. Determining the parameters for the ΛCDM model is based on fitting theoretical predictions on a measured power spectrum.

The determination of the ΛCDM parameters from the WMAP data is essentially a curve-fitting exercise with all the hazards that come with the use of complicated, highly parameterized mathematical models. Regardless, one key point is that redshift data is fundamental to the interpretation in the context of the standard model.

As it happens, redshift is not directly related to distance. Halton Arp’s book, “Seeing Red: Redshifts, Cosmology and Academic Science,” effectively refutes the long-held assumption about redshift as evidence for an expanding Universe. Without redshift and the Hubble parameter (a basic parameter in the ΛCDM model), then all the intricate mathematical superstructure of the standard model collapses. One cannot overemphasize the magnitude of Arp’s accomplishment or the extent of his ill-treatment by the astronomical community.

In support of the power spectrum of the Universe, Siegel cites another mathematical paper that uses redshift data from the Luminous Red Galaxy survey. The power spectrum is best described as an attempt to map the power per unit volume of space. To quote an interesting discussion of power spectra and the cold dark matter model:

The galaxy power spectrum is determined “ performing galaxy redshift surveys and computing the clustering of galaxies as a function of scale size. This produces a set of correlation functions which essentially define the probability of another galaxy occurring within a radius of X from a given galaxy.”

Therefore, the power spectrum work supporting the standard model and CDM is also based on the assumption that redshift translates into recessional velocity (or rather its close cousin, redshift velocity) and distance. As pointed out above, this is a shaky foundation for the standard model.

Regarding colliding galaxy clusters, Siegel points to Clowe et al.(2006). In this paper, Clowe reports on an approach to directly observe dark matter through a unique arrangement of matter in the Bullet Cluster (1E0657−558).

Clowe makes a number of fundamental assumptions that color the interpretations. Perhaps the most important assumption is that most of the mass of the clusters is dark matter. Clowe also assumes that between 1% and 2% of the galactic mass is stellar matter and that 5% to 15% of the mass is plasma. We are left to assume that the remaining 83% is dark matter (which is certainly different from the 22% predicted by the ΛCDM model, so this is not even internally consistent). In essence, he is looking for what he already assumes is present, which is dangerous territory for an objective investigator.

Next Clowe assumes that galaxy clusters behave like collisionless particles, but the “fluid-like” X-ray emitting plasma experiences ram pressure. Therefore the plasma is concentrated along the collision plane while the stellar matter passes through. In essence there is a physical separation of the intracluster plasma and the stellar and dark matter.

The intracluster plasma is not fluid-like, it is a plasma. The plasma Clowe is referring to probably has a density in the range of 10^-19 to 10^-20 kilograms per cubic meter, which is about 1 atom in every cubic centimeter. This plasma will organize according to electromagnetic forces, not gravitational forces and it certainly does not qualify as a fluid.

As Professor Don Scott points out: “You do not need to place your electric coffee maker at a lower level than the electrical wall outlet into which it is plugged so that electrons can flow downhill into it. Charges in a wire constitute a (dark mode) plasma and gravity has nothing to do with their motion.”

The entire double cluster is permeated with plasma. The notion that the “dark” portions on the two sides are plasma-less is unwarranted. It happens that the plasma in the central area is under greater current density and is in glow mode (up to X-ray energies).

As Electric Universe commentator Mel Acheson points out in an earlier article about the Bullet Cluster:

“From an electrical vantage point, the Chandra x-ray image clearly shows the bell-shaped terminus and following arc of a plasma discharge 'jet'. The strong magnetic field of the current causes electrons to emit the x-ray synchrotron (non-thermal) radiation captured in the image. Synchrotron radiation is a normal electrical discharge effect.”

Therefore, if there has been no preferential sorting of plasma along a collision boundary, then a primary assumption of the paper is called into question. Concerning weak gravitational lensing, this technique is rife with statistical pitfalls and other errors. In addition, weak gravitational lensing is dependent on distance calculations usually based on redshift.

In descriptions about the ΛCDM model, there are assertions about the model’s accurate predictions. However, it is important to note that over time the model has been mathematically tuned to match observation. There are many observations it does not predict, most notably the large scale structure of the Universe. Even what is more important, its entire mathematical foundation rests on a single assumption, that higher redshift equals greater distance. This is not the case, as Arp has made abundantly clear. Halton Arp has held the telescope there for his peers to observe the real Universe, but they have turned away in favor of mathematical recreations.

In an interesting philosophical aside, if 96% of the Universe is unobservable dark matter and dark energy, then why bother looking at the real thing anymore? Perhaps this is the unfortunate logical dead-end to a ΛCDM model.

Tom Wilson



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