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No. 109: Jan-Feb 1997

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Too Much Order In The Early Cosmos

Astronomers are becoming accustomed to the idea that many nearby galaxies are concentrated in spherical shells separated from one another by about 400 million light years. This onion-skin geometry is inferred from the fact that galactic red shifts cluster around specific values; that is, they are quantized. Since red shifts are held to be proportional to distance in the expanding universe paradigm: Voila! We have shells! This evidence of nearby cosmic order does not seriously disturb cosmologists, because in the nearby galaxies we are seeing that portion of the universe that is billions of years old. In other words, nearby there has been enough time for some degree of order to have evolved out of the primordial chaos of the Big Bang.

Now though, "deep" surveys of galaxies, looking much farther back in time, still show clustered red shifts -- not the expected increasing chaos required by theory. Although the surveys are incomplete, astronomers are discomfited by this early lumpiness. Their theories say that there was not enough time for galaxies to organize themselves into sheets, shells, and skeins. If further "deep" probings of the cosmos confirm this redshift clustering, we may need a new evolutionary scenario. Good bye Big Bang and expanding universe!

(Vogel, Gretchen; "Goodness, Gracious, Great Walls Afar," Science, 274:343, 1996. Vergano, D.; "New Evidence of Cosmic Architecture," Science News, 150:239, 1996)

In a related news item, Mexican scientists have proposed that most of the matter in the universe (that elusive "dark" matter) may exist in the form of particles they dub "dilatons." Dilatons might also explain the formation of the aforesaid galactic shells.

"The Mexican researchers have explored a situation in which G [the gravitational constant], instead of becoming fixed after gravity separated from the other forces [after the Big Bang], has continued to oscillate by a few per cent. They have found that the mass of dilatons required to allow G to vary in this way could account for all the Universe's dark matter."

A consequence of an oscillating G would be a varying rate of expansion for the universe -- a sort of ebb and flow of the whole cosmos. One can then visualize galaxies gradually clustering together into shells much as sand particles drift into ripples under the influence of waves along a beach.

(Parsons, Paul; "Weird Matter Makes Gravity Wobble," New Scientist, p. 19, October 5, 1996)

Clustering of distant galaxies Clustering of distant galaxies

From Science Frontiers #109, JAN-FEB 1997. 1997-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987