Skip to content

Universe, you really let me down: astronomers disappointed after observation doesn't fit model

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
4/7/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Well this is embarassing.

Two professors say they are disappointed with the universe after learning that it is "smoother" and "flatter" than they expected. The compared the discovery to a trip to Switzerland that was switched for a trip to the Netherlands.

Galaxy clusters such as these should be more common throughout the universe than they are.

Galaxy clusters such as these should be more common throughout the universe than they are.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
4/7/2014 (2 years ago)

Published in Technology

Keywords: astronomers, model, universe, clusters


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Instead of majestic soaring alpine peaks, two astronomers say the universe resembles more the countryside of the Netherlands. The British astronomers compared recent observations of the cosmic background radiation to the number of galaxy clusters in the universe. Their study shows that the leading model of how the universe is formed does not match what is actually observed, specifically, there should be more galaxy clusters in the universe.

Astronomers agree that the universe was formed over 13.7 billion years ago in an event known as the Big Bang. This cosmic explosion, which represents the instant in which the universe was created, still echoes in the form of the cosmic background radiation, a faint afterglow of the Big Bang. This afterglow is uniformly seen no matter where astronomers look.

From that epic event, matter clumped together, forming stars, then galaxies, and galaxies formed into clusters of galaxies.

Based on the models that are used to describe the events following the Big Bang, we expect to see a large number of galaxy clusters throughout the known universe. However, the number of clusters we can actually observe is lower than what the model predicts, by a factor of at least two.

That discrepancy was discovered by Astronomy professor Chris Collins and Dr. Ian McCarthy from Liverpool's John Moores University. Professor Collins used an analogy to convey his disappointment:

"Have you ever booked a holiday to Switzerland expecting to trek the Alpine mountain ranges only to be disappointed by ending up walking the flat countryside of Holland? Similar disappointment was felt when Dr. McCarthy and I conducted an experiment to measure the number of large massive clumps in the Universe, called clusters of galaxies."

He continued, "Science is at its most interesting when prediction and experiment disagree and so although our cosmic landscape is smoother than we thought, this may mean we need to re-think bits of our cosmological theory and such progress is good for science in the long run."

"Although the perceived wisdom was that we would find lots of big clusters, in fact, when we looked, the Universe did not live up to our expectation and we found far fewer of these really huge structures than expected."

So what does this mean?

It means that either the professors made a mistake in their work, that we cannot identify all of the clusters that are out there and we may be missing some, or it means that the models used to describe the formation of the universe are incomplete.

Which is correct will require the work of other scientists who will analyze their methods and repeat their tests. If Collins and McCarthy are correct then cosmologists will need to account for the discrepancy and either locate the missing factor or revise their models.

If nothing else, this shows the self-correcting power of science. Mistakes can be made, however they are also corrected over time and each new discovery adds to our body of knowledge. We still have a great many questions about our physical universe, but as long as we wonder, we will continue to find new answers that will excite us and drive at the very core of our being.

---


'Help give every student and teacher Free resources for a world-class moral Catholic education'


Copyright 2017 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for FEBRUARY 2017
Comfort for the Afflicted.
That all those who are afflicted, especially the poor, refugees, and marginalized, may find welcome and comfort in our communities.


Comments


More Technology

NASA announcement: Could it be aliens? Watch

Image of What is the great discovery? The world waits.

The world waits with bated breath for a big announcement due from NASA on Wednesday. The announcement will take place at 1 PM Eastern time. ... continue reading


Mark of the Beast? Nevada Senator moves to STOP forced RFID chip implants Watch

Image of Is the RFID chip the Mark of the Beast? Some scholars think so.

A Nevada state senator has proposed a bill that would protect citizens from being implanted with RFID chips. The bill, proposed by a ... continue reading


FOUR CLOSE CALLS in four weeks: Scientists wonder what's going on as four asteroids pass dangerously close to Earth Watch

Image of Asteroid BS32 is passing Earth now, in the fourth close call in four weeks.

Whoa, that's close! As the world worries about an asteroid due to pass Earth on February 25, a much closer shave is happening right now. ... continue reading


What is dark matter and why is there an entire galaxy full of it? Watch

Image of Dragonfly 44 is a dark twin of the Milky Way, it gives off no light, but it's there.

Astronomers think they have discovered a galaxy that is 99.9 percent dark matter. If true, the discovery is unprecedented. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Where are the world's nuclear weapons, and how likely is it they will be used? Watch

Image of Pakistan launches a missile capable of carrying a nuclear weapon. What is the likelihood of one of these weapons being used in the next few decades? And answer above zero is unacceptable.

The world is closer to nuclear war than it has been in decades, and few people are paying attention. The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists have ... continue reading


Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.