The first dark matter
- Main Article: Vulcan
The first recorded instance of the invocation of anything similar to dark matter was the hypothesis of a planet named Vulcan in the mid-1850s. This planet was supposed to be inside the orbit of Mercury and yet was never directly observed from Earth, for reasons that no astronomer ever explained. Astronomers inferred the existence of this planet because Mercury precessed in its orbit around the Sun by 43 arc-seconds per century faster than expected by Newtonian physics. Many apparently observed transits of unidentified objects across the sun were thought to be this undiscovered planet.
Then in 1915, Albert Einstein solved the problem. He showed that Mercury, at perihelion, passes close enough to the Sun for General Relativity to require a second-order correction. He published the correction and accounted exactly for the precession in the orbit of Mercury, without the need for any planet, asteroid belt, or other object or objects inside that orbit.
The current problemgravity of Sir Isaac Newton, gives the total dynamical mass in any system that is inside the orbit of any given body (for example, a particular star in its galaxy):
where R is the distance of the body from the barycenter, v is the orbital speed of that body, and G is the gravitational constant.
The luminous mass of any galaxy or other object is the mass that corresponds to the measured light from the object.
Jan Oort first determined that the total mass of our galaxy was insufficient by a factor of at least two to account for the galaxy's rotational speed. The swiss astronomer Fritz Zwicky is also credited with the discovery of the discrepancy between dynamical and luminous mass, in 1933. Zwicky examined the Coma supercluster, and found that its dynamical mass exceeded the luminous mass by a factor of ten. They acknowledge, however, that the notion of a new, non-luminous form of matter is difficult to accept. Yet many astronomers insist that they have observational evidence for which dark matter remains the only plausible explanation. One such communication comes from the Chandra X-ray Center, whose astronomers stated in 2006 that they had observed two galactic clusters for hundreds of hours, and that each one clearly showed a rotational speed consistent with far more mass than was visible.
Creationism, of course, declares that any observed effect results from the creative action of God. In 2000, relying primarily on this theory, Don DeYoung, writing in the Creation Research Society Quarterly, concluded that the hand of God was responsible for holding rapidly spinning galaxies and larger systems together, despite the observed mass deficits.
Most creation scientists, however, prefer to assume an economy of miracles. In that spirit, John Hartnett has produced a solution that requires no continuing miracle, but derives from a new understanding of the creation and expansion of the heavens. Hartnett's system builds on the earlier work of Carmeli, who in 1996 proposed an extension of Einsteinian relativity to the cosmic scale (cosmological relativity). The Hartnett system, explained more fully in his work Starlight, Time and the New Physics, predicts that an expanding universe will produce rapidly spinning galaxies and larger systems as a consequence of the expansion and not due to gravity (or any other force) alone.
The key concept of the Carmeli-Hartnett cosmological relativity system is the description of the cosmos, not as space-time, but as space-mass-velocity. The velocity in view here is the radial velocity of objects in an expanding universe, which is always a function of the distance from the center of the expansion, as:
where is a constant (evaluated at 4.28 * 1017 s) that is the reciprocal of the Hubble factor H0 in weak gravity.
More to the point, Carmeli and Hartnett showed that space itself expands in any galaxy or larger-sized object. Hartnett then showed that this expansion predicts a significantly increased rotational speed for any particle in that object. Specifically,
where R = radial position, a0 is a critical acceleration value, G is the gravitational constant, M is the total luminous mass of the galaxy (or group or cluster or supercluster) involved, and depends on the Bessel functions of the ratio R/2a.
where L = luminosity, or
where A = absolute magnitude. The Tully-Fisher relation was empirical, but Hartnett has given it a theoretical basis. Furthermore, the M given in Hartnett's equation is the regular luminous mass and not a Newtonian dynamical mass. Hence, no correction for any dark-matter proportion is necessary.
Hartnett tested his equation against the observed values of circular velocity of tracer gases in object NGC 3198 as a function of radial distance from the center. He found that this equation fit the observations almost exactly, while a traditional Newtonian equation for radial velocity,
predicted circular velocities much lower than observed. Hence Hartnett's conclusion that luminous masses are correct, but the physical model that predicts radial velocity is incorrect. Thus, as Einstein obviated the planet Vulcan, Hartnett now claims to obviate dark matter.
The Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) team at NASA has used measurements of cosmic microwave background radiation to determine that the universe is geometrically flat. According to standard cosmology, the universe should then be at a critical mass density of 9.9 * 10-27kg/m³. The actual mass density of the universe is more than twenty times less than that.
Current theory suggests that the familiar baryonic matter (composed of atoms) constitutes only 4.6% of the total mass-energy in the universe. Dark matter constitutes 23% of the total, while dark energy comprises the remaining 72%.
Proposed explanations for dark matter
Evolutionistic astronomers have generally focused on the following explanations for the discrepancy between dynamical and luminous mass:
- Brown dwarf stars and similarly massive but relatively non-luminous objects. Astronomers have in fact invented a new name for a class of objects that include brown dwarf stars and other massive objects: Massive Compact Halo Objects, or MACHOs.
- Supermassive black holes. Astronomers are now attempting to detect these objects by their relativistic effects on light, in which they act as lenses.
- New, previously unknown forms of matter. Many cosmologists have formed hypotheses that suggest entirely new particles of matter. They call these Weakly Interactive Massive Particle, or WIMPs. Other cosmologists have suggested other types of particles, named axions. The recently sought Higgs boson is another candidate for a dark-matter elementary particle.
- A new theory of gravity. In 1983, Mordecai Milgrom first suggested that Newtonian dynamics was insufficient to explain the gravitational interactions of massive objects like galaxies and galactic clusters. He therefore suggested a Modified Newtonian Dynamic, or MOND, in which gravitational attraction varied inversely to the first power of the orbital radius, not its square as Newton originally assumed.
Tim Thompson has recently suggested yet another possibility to which most astronomers pay scant attention. He suggests that the major attractive force that allows galaxies and systems of higher mass to rotate with such excessive speed is not gravity at all, but electrostatic forces. He reminds his readers that electrostatic forces are stronger than gravity, and also that the strength of a magnetic field varies inversely as the first power, not the square, of the distance from the center. This is very close to Milgrom's MOND, with the advantage of having an underlying theory to explain it, which Milgrom's system does not have.
Don DeYoung challenged the notion of dark matter as a fanciful concept with little justification. He pointed out that none of the conventional explanations popular at the time were satisfactory:
- Non-luminous stars, the usual candidates for MACHOs, would have to be far more common than they actually are, by several orders of magnitude, for them to account for the mass deficit.
- Black holes are a theoretical construct that have not thus far been verified.
- Efforts to detect WIMPs and axions have thus far produced no definitive findings.
DeYoung also challenged the notion that galaxies or galactic clusters were necessarily stable. He did not comment directly on Milgrom's modified dynamic, but he did suggest that gravity was poorly understood.
- Hartnett, John. Starlight, Time and the New Physics. Creation Book Publishers, 2007. ISBN 9780949906687.
- Thompson, Tim. "Missing 'Dark' Matter." The Electric Cosmos, n.d. Accessed July 28, 2008.
- Silk, Joe. "Dark Matter." Department of Astronomy, University of California-Berkeley, ca. 1995. Accessed July 28, 2008.
- Soter S and deGrasse-Tyson N, eds. "[Fritz Zwicky's Extraordinary Vision]." Excerpt from Cosmic Horizons: Astronomy at the Cutting Edge, New Press, 2000. ISBN 978-1565846029 Accessed July 28, 2008.
- Miller CM. "Cosmic Hide and Seek: the Search for the Missing Mass." 1995. Accessed July 28, 2008.
- Authors unknown. "Dark Matter Mystery." Field Guide to X-ray Astronomy, Chandra X-ray Center, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, August 29, 2006. Accessed July 28, 2008.
- Hupp E, Roy S., and Watzke M. "NASA Finds Direct Proof of Dark Matter." NASA, press release 06-297, August 21, 2006. Accessed July 28, 2008.
- DeYoung DB. "Dark Matter." Creation Research Society Quarterly, 36(4), March 2000. Accessed July 28, 2008.
- Evolutionistic astronomers might assume that this value gives the age of the universe; it does in fact give a value very close to the visible radius of the universe, measured in light-years. It probably does represent a value that an observer at the limits of the visible universe might measure for its age—because the Carmeli-Hartnett system also predicts tremendous time dilation at the center of the expansion.
- Hartnett JG, "Spiral galaxy rotation curves determined from Carmelian general relativity," Int. J. Theor. Phys. 45 (2006) 2118-2136. arXiv:astro-ph/0511756 doi:10.1007/s10773-006-9178-0
- Tully RB and Fisher JR, "A New Method of Determining Distance to Galaxies", Astron. Astrophys. 54, 661-673 (1977)
- "The Tully-Fisher Relation," The Astroprof's Page, April 4, 2007
- Hinshaw GF, and Griswold, B. "WMAP Mission Results." NASA, April 17, 2008. Accessed July 26, 2008.
- Hinshaw GF, and Griswold B. "WMAP - Content of the universe." NASA, April 17, 2008. Accessed July 28, 2008.
- White, Martin. "Dark Matter." Department of Astronomy, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, California, ca. 1995. Accessed July 28, 2008.
- The name Axion is a registered trademark of the Colgate-Palmolive Company (USA) and was the name of a once-popular brand of laundry detergent used to pre-soak heavily-soiled garments before washing them with a conventional detergent. The astrophysicists who coined this name suggested that axions performed some kind of cosmic cleansing.