Grey Matter vs Dark Matter

“And pray that there’s intelligent life somewhere up in space, ’cause there’s bugger-all down here on Earth!”
—Eric Idle from The Galaxy Song.

On August 21the Chandra X-Ray Observatory website released the news:

NASA Finds Direct Proof of Dark Matter

So-called proof of dark matter

Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/CfA/M.Markevitch et al.; Optical: NASA/STScI; Magellan/U.Arizona/D.Clowe et al.; Lensing Map: NASA/STScI; ESO WFI; Magellan/U.Arizona/D.Clowe et al.

This composite image shows the galaxy cluster 1E 0657-56, also known as the “bullet cluster.” This cluster was formed after the collision of two large clusters of galaxies, the most energetic event known in the universe since the Big Bang.

Hot gas detected by Chandra in X-rays is seen as two pink clumps in the image and contains most of the “normal,” or baryonic, matter in the two clusters. The bullet-shaped clump on the right is the hot gas from one cluster, which passed through the hot gas from the other larger cluster during the collision. An optical image from Magellan and the Hubble Space Telescope shows the galaxies in orange and white. The blue areas in this image show where astronomers find most of the mass in the clusters. The concentration of mass is determined using the effect of so-called gravitational lensing, where light from the distant objects is distorted by intervening matter. Most of the matter in the clusters (blue) is clearly separate from the normal matter (pink), giving direct evidence that nearly all of the matter in the clusters is dark.

Astronomers think that galaxy clusters form as clumps of dark matter and their associated galaxies are pulled together by gravity to form groups of dozens of galaxies, which in turn merge to form clusters of hundreds, even thousands of galaxies. The gas in galaxy clusters is heated as the cluster is formed. This heating can be a violent process as gas clouds enveloping groups of galaxies collide and merge to become a cluster over billions of years.

From the New York Times:

”This is really exciting,” said University of Chicago physicist Sean Carroll, adding that the observations demonstrate the existence of dark matter ”beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Physorg.com confidently headlined: “A Matter of Fact: NASA Finds Direct Proof of Dark Matter.” This echoes the remark by Doug Clowe of the University of Arizona at Tucson, and leader of the study: “These results are direct proof that dark matter exists.”

“Direct ” means “having no intervening conditions or agencies” — implying that dark matter has been observed. But it hasn’t. The pretty image above gives the impression that dark matter radiates blue light. It doesn’t. The mass of dark matter that astronomers “find” is fabricated from assumptions and calculations. The telescope images have had an artefact superimposed—a blue “lensing map” that paints in what NASA scientists believe should be there. They’ve done this before: They painted hot lava fountains onto images of Io where the camera pixels were inexplicably overexposed by intense light. Digitally superimposing some imagined thing or mathematical virtual reality over an image is an artistic activity. It isn’t science. Positing unobserved matter to account for physical phenomena is tantamount to a belief in fairies. If a theorist is unable to discover real objects, which cause the observed effects, it is unscientific—indeed, it is fraudulent science—to invent unreal objects and present them as a “factual” discovery of the cause of those effects.

“Criticism and dissent are the indispensable antidote to major delusions.”
– Alan Barth, Professor of Political Science, University Of California, Berkeley.

When a crowd—a consensus—believes something, any doubt appears unreasonable. A crowd of scientists is not exempt from having “major delusions.” This spurs my criticism and dissent. What follows is, I hope, the outline of a remedy for some of the most obstinate delusions of modern science.

The Real Science Behind the Bullet Galaxy Cluster

The description of the Bullet galaxy cluster as “the collision of two large clusters of galaxies, the most energetic event known in the universe since the Big Bang,” introduces two hypothetical events as if they were facts. But the Big Bang is contradicted by many direct observations, and the observations that are called “galaxy cluster collisions” are more consistently explained by contrary ideas. If there were no big bang and no galaxy cluster collision, there would be no need for dark matter, and the energy estimate would be wildly inflated. How would that fit the picture? As it turns out, it fits perfectly. And it doesn’t require any added blue fuzz.

Astronomer Halton Arp

The Astronomer Halton Arp, known best for his Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies, published his most important work in "Seeing Red: Redshifts, Cosmology and Academic Science" and "Catalogue of Discordant Redshift Associations." His breakthrough was to recognize and prove that Edwin Hubble's "other" explanation for the redshift/faintness relationship was the correct one.

Hubble wrote:

“If the redshifts are a Doppler shift … the observations as they stand lead to the anomaly of a closed universe, curiously small and dense, and, it may be added, suspiciously young. On the other hand, if redshifts are not Doppler effects, these anomalies disappear and the region observed appears as a small, homogeneous, but insignificant portion of a universe extended indefinitely both in space and time.
—(Royal Astronomical Society Monthly Notices, 17, 506, 1937).

Arp has shown empirically, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that founding assumptions of the Big Bang and Expanding Universe theories are wrong. Redshift is not an exclusive indicator of velocity, expansion, or distance. In other words, we cannot project backwards a redshift/expansion to a hypothetical “big bang.” The universe is of unknown age and extent. In our current state of ignorance we cannot even frame a sensible question about the origin of the universe. We should not meekly submit to the conceit of big bang cosmology, with its belief in a miraculous creation event documented in abstract mathematical scripture. Arp demonstrates that we need to humbly look at the universe without the distortion of the redshift = distance lens.

[Note: The redshift (z) is defined as the change in the distant object's wavelength of light divided by the rest (laboratory measured) wavelength of the light, as z = (observed wavelength - rest wavelength)/(rest wavelength). A redshift of z = 0.3 means that wavelengths in the line spectrum of the observed object have been stretched by a factor of 1.3]

So, what is redshift really about? Simply, Arp’s empirical observations show that the higher the redshift of an object, the younger it is. He has found that parent, active galaxies, spawn infant galaxies in the form of faint, highly redshifted quasars. The quasars are ejected from the parent galaxy’s nucleus, most often along the spin axis but sometimes in the plane of the galaxy.

By a process that is not understood by present particle physics, the redshift of quasars decreases in discrete steps, or quanta, as they age, grow in brightness and move away from the parent galaxy. At the same time, the ejected quasar becomes more massive and slows down, eventually becoming a companion galaxy of the parent. Arp can trace several galactic generations from charts like the one he is seen holding. It is curious yet somewhat fitting that the visible universe exhibits such a “biological” pattern.

Arp outlines the empirical relationships between active galaxies, quasars, BL Lac objects and galaxy clusters:

1. High-redshift objects (such as quasars) are aligned on either side of low-redshift eruptive objects (often active galaxies). The pairs have equal positive and negative dispersions from a redshift periodicity value. This implies that quasars are ejected with quantized intrinsic (not Doppler, i.e., velocity) redshifts from active galaxies.

[In 1967 Geoffrey and Margaret Burbidge noted the preferred values of redshifts of quasars. In 1971 K. G. Karlsson derived a formula relating those values: (1+z2)/(1+z1) = 1.23 (where z2 is the next higher redshift from z1). This gives observed quasar redshifts of z = .061, .30, .60, .96, 1.41, 1.96, etc. Arp comments wryly that this is one of the truly great discoveries in physics, for which Karlsson "was rewarded with a teaching post in secondary school and then went into medicine."]

2. The youngest ejected objects appear to have the highest redshifts. As distance from the active galaxy increases, the objects decrease in redshift—stepwise, in consonance with Karlsson’s periodicity. This implies that intrinsic redshift decreases with age in quantum jumps.

3. The objects also tend to increase in brightness and to slow down with distance. This implies that they gain mass as they age.

4. At about z = .3 and about 400 kiloparsec from the parent galaxy BL Lac objects appear. They are rare, highly variable, and very bright in optical and X-ray luminosity. Some show evidence of star formation, which quasars do not. This implies that they are a transition from the compact quasar phase to a galaxy phase.

5. Clusters of galaxies, many of which are strong X-ray sources, tend to appear at comparable distances to the BL Lac’s from the parent galaxy. This implies that the clusters are the result of the breaking up of a BL Lac.

6. Clusters of galaxies in the range z = .4 to .2 contain blue, active galaxies. This implies that they continue to evolve to higher luminosity and lower redshift.

7. Abell galaxy clusters from z = .01 to .2 lie along ejection lines from galaxies like Centaurus A. This implies that they are the evolved products of the ejections.

8. The strings of galaxies which are aligned through the brightest nearby spirals have redshifts z = .01 to .02. This implies that they are the last stage of the ejection of quasars and their evolution into slightly higher-redshift companions of the original ejecting galaxies.

Galaxy evolution

A schematic diagram incorporating the empirical data for low redshift central galaxies and the higher redshift quasars and companions, which have been found since 1966 to be associated. It is suggested that the most evolved companion galaxies have relative intrinsic redshifts of only a few hundred km/sec and can have fallen back closer to the parent galaxy. —From Seeing Red by Halton Arp, 1998, p. 239.

How does the Bullet Cluster match up with Arp’s schema? Very well it seems.

Arp writes:

“empirical observations …tell us that the BL Lac’s break up and they tell us how they do it! Just as in the ubiquitous ejections that accompany the formation of young stars in our own galaxy, the BL Lac’s eject material in opposite directions. Apparently they eject a lot of it, and it eventually ages into somewhat higher-redshift companion galaxies and finally into clusters of similar redshift objects.
[Emphasis added.]

The Bullet Cluster has a redshift of z = 0.3, which is exactly one of the redshift quantization values. Significantly, z = 0.3 is also the redshift of BL Lac objects, which spawn galaxy clusters like the Bullet Cluster. Arp published the evidence for these quantized redshifts and the BL Lac connection in 1997!

The Bullet Cluster emits X-rays, which fits naturally with Arp’s observations of similar galaxy clusters. It is not necessary, or even likely, that a collision is required to explain the X-rays or the bullet shape of the emission. The shape is typical of the “bow shock” of many jets, as is the “trailing” pink clump, somewhat arc-shaped. The jet is evidence of “eject[ing] material in opposite directions,” and the clumps of galaxies at each end are evidence of “it eventually age[ing] into … clusters….”

Even the “hot gas” is not required: The x-rays are synchrotron (non-thermal) radiation, produced by fast electrons spiraling in the strong magnetic field of the jet.

Instead of colliding, the cluster is forming, exhibiting expected features of such clusters: x-ray jets, arcs, and filaments; a profusion of irregular and disturbed small galaxies; discrepant redshifts.

The Bullet Cluster is therefore much closer than astronomers calculate from the erroneous redshift/distance equation. That means the X-ray energy emitted is far less than calculated and it is not unusual. The cluster is not “the most energetic event known in the universe” but a minor ejection event in nearby galactic space.

To get some idea of the cluster’s likely location, you must take a wider view than the narrow Hubble field. You must look for the cluster’s possible relationship to the major “ejection family groupings” in the sky. Because of its faintness, the first place to look is the Local Group. If you draw the line of the Local Group from M31 through M33 and along the string of QSOs, clusters, hydrogen clouds and smaller (high-redshift) galaxies, including 3C120, and on to the Milky Way, the Bullet Cluster is within this “cone of ejection” from M31. It is likely a member of our Local Group.

It is significant that the first data from the new UK Infrared Deep Sky Surveys (UKIDSS) Deep eXtragalactic Survey (DXS), which is designed to map the faint z = 1 to 2 universe, has already found what I predict will become a critical anomaly for conventional cosmology. Five galaxy clusters have been observed, all of them with redshifts close to z = 0.9. There is only 1 chance in 6 of the WFCAM field finding a supercluster of the same redshift where the clusters are. A redshift of z = 0.9 is one of the quantized redshift states. We can predict that the DXS will only find cluster redshifts grouped around z = .91, 1.41 and 1.96.

What about Gravitational Lensing?

Gravitational lensing became fashionable when astronomers discovered an excess number of quasars around bright galaxies. They argued that the quasars, which were assumed to appear faint because they were distant, became visible due to the bending of light by the gravity of the nearby bright galaxy. Every quasar in the vicinity of a galaxy could then be attributed to multiple lensed images of only one distant quasar, reducing the excess of quasars to an acceptable number. (Of course, this subterfuge was never tested.)

Arp wrote, “When I heard that the gravitational microlensing calculations required a steep increase of quasar numbers with fainter apparent magnitudes, …I protested that the observed numbers flattened off as they became fainter.” Arp’s schema predicts that quasars will be distributed in the same way as bright nearby galaxies. He found that the match was “extraordinarily good” and “even the details fit well.” His paper* detailing his analysis “lists five independent reasons why gravitational lensing cannot account for the excess number of quasars around bright galaxies. But most decisively, it demonstrates that the observed number counts for quasars can only be accounted for by their physical association with bright nearby galaxies.”

* Astronomy and Astrophysics, 229, 93, 1990.

The most celebrated case of “gravitational lensing” is that known (for obvious reasons) as the Einstein Cross.

Einstein Cross

Credit for dated inserts: Geraint Lewis and Michael Irwin, William Hershel Telescope

In the mid-1980′s, astronomers discovered these four quasars, with redshifts about z = 1.7, buried deep in the heart of a galaxy with a low redshift of z = .04. (The central spot in this image is not the whole galaxy but only the brightest part of the galaxy’s nucleus.) When first discovered, the high redshift quasar in the nucleus of a low redshift galaxy caused a panic. To save the redshift/distance conviction, gravitational lensing had to be invoked despite Fred Hoyle’s calculation that the probability of such a lensing event was less than two chances in a million!

A change in brightness of the quasars was observed over a period of three years. Arp’s explanation is that the galaxy has ejected four quasars, which are growing brighter with age as they move farther from the nucleus. The lensing explanation is that the bending of the light varies when individual stars pass in front of the quasar. If the lensing explanation were correct, the quasars should brighten briefly and then fade as the star moves out of alignment.

Einstein Cross. At the wavelength of redshifted hydrogen Lyman alpha emission there is connecting material between the quasar D and the central galaxy core

Hubble Space Telescope picture, in false color, of the Einstein Cross. At the wavelength of redshifted hydrogen Lyman alpha emission there is connecting material between the quasar D and the central galaxy core

With access to the primary data, Arp was able to show (above) that the high-redshift quasar was connected to the nucleus of the low redshift galaxy. The image shows trails of material from ejection and the tendency for orthogonal ejection from the parent galaxy.

Einstein Cross theoretical calculations by Peter Schneider et al.

Theoretical calculations by Peter Schneider et al. of what gravitationally lensed quasars should look like. If resolved, the luminous isophotes should be extended by a factor of 4 or 5 to one along a circumference.

Instead of being extended along the circumference, the well resolved quasars are extended toward the galactic nucleus. They are not gravitationally lensed images.

Arp reports other professional scandals associated with the Einstein Cross. One is that the central galaxy would need so much mass concentrated in its central region that it should outshine by 2 magnitudes the supposedly brightest objects in the universe— conventional quasars. As an authority on galaxy classification, Arp points out that the central galaxy in the Einstein Cross is in fact a small, dwarf galaxy! There is no way it could satisfy the gravitational lens requirement.

But perhaps the major scandal is the suppression, by peer review and editorial connivance, of papers that show flaws in accepted theories—and the consequent misuse of billions of dollars of public funds in ill-advised experiments and wasted telescope time. When the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) was being developed, Arp and a number of his colleagues were of the opinion that “what was needed was a wide field optical survey of the dark sky from above the earth’s atmosphere (a space Schmidt). That would have revealed the crucial relationships of different kinds of objects to each other. We would not now be in a position of looking at exceedingly faint objects in a tiny spot in the sky without the faintest notion what they really are.” The space Schmidt was estimated to cost between 10 and 20 million dollars. The HST cost between 3 to 5 billion dollars!

In the image purported to provide “direct proof” of dark matter, the blue fuzz superimposed on the telescopic images was drawn to reflect the distribution of matter required to provide sufficient gravity to distort the images of background objects to form arcs like those shown in the diagram above.

But arcs are a natural phenomenon in clusters of galaxies. It was the high redshifts of the arcs that mandated the notion that they must be gravitationally lensed distant background objects. However, Arp realized that very small, nearby Abell galaxy clusters, that also exhibit arcs, had such low mass that it was impossible for them to act as a gravitational lens. He also mentions that a casual inspection shows that some of the arcs look like an ejected shell. But the shock comes when we see that some of the arcs are radial and not tangential!

Arp concludes from his observations that “active galaxies eject high redshift quasars and also eject diffuse material, some of which is in the form of arcs.” The radial jets and tangential arcs have nothing to do with gravity and dark matter.

Arp’s View of the Universe

Hubble deep field

Hubble Site caption: One peek into a small part of the sky, one giant leap back in time. The Hubble telescope has provided mankind's deepest, most detailed visible view of the universe. Gazing into this small field, Hubble uncovered a bewildering assortment of at least 1,500 galaxies at various stages of evolution. Credit: R. Williams (STScI), the Hubble Deep Field Team and NASA

The Hubble site reports:

“Most of the galaxies are so faint (nearly 30th magnitude or about four-billion times fainter than can be seen by the human eye) they have never before been seen by even the largest telescopes. Some fraction of the galaxies in this menagerie probably date back to nearly the beginning of the universe.”

From Arp’s point of view, the notion that we are looking back in time to “nearly the beginning of the universe” is wrong on two counts. First, the highly redshifted objects in this view are close and faint. They originated at various times from various parent galaxies. Second, therefore, we can say nothing about the beginning of the universe or when it happened.

As the leading authority on peculiar galaxies, Arp was ideally placed to recognize “that while 95% of the nearby galaxies have normal, regular morphologies, only 11% of the Deep Field galaxies could be considered normal in appearance…. My friend and classification expert, Sydney van den Bergh, added another important result, namely that there were almost no normal, grand design spirals in the deep field…. We would generally expect the most luminous objects to be the most massive and therefore the most relaxed, equilibrium forms. This is one thing the Hubble Deep Field objects are not.” Arp notes that “the tendency for young, nearby, low luminosity objects to break up, eject material, show jets and disturbances could explain the prevalence of linear, knotty objects and multiple objects as shown in the Hubble Deep Field.” The evidence suggests “…that all objects we can be sure of are within the rough confines of the Local Super Cluster.”

Arp’s perspective of the universe must be investigated before cosmology can claim to be a science.

Just like biological systems, the energy source to “grow” galaxies cannot be internal. It must be supplied from outside. Here, Arp’s universe meets plasma cosmology. Plasma cosmology shows empirically and experimentally that the energy required to form galaxies and light the stars comes from intergalactic power transmission lines in the form of cosmic Birkeland current filaments. That is why the universe has a “stringy” appearance, with galaxies arranged like beads on a necklace. And the engine at the center of galaxies is a simple “plasma focus” or “plasma gun” effect. No incredible black holes are required.

As for quantized galactic redshifts, it shows that our understanding of one or both of those two incompatible pillars of big bang cosmology—quantum physics and relativity theory—is flawed. The Electric Universe has offered a simple solution.

When empirical observation is combined with experimental plasma cosmology and the Electric Universe, we may begin to see our small corner of the universe clearly for the first time.

Is there Intelligent Life Down Here on Earth?

If there were a modest degree of intelligent life on Earth you might think that a theory that rests upon empirical observation, without resorting to invisible dark matter and other abstract inventions and beliefs, would be the focus of attention. Alas, Eric Idle’s forlorn assessment seems to be accurate.

Evidently a PhD and a large number of published papers do not signify an individual’s intelligence. The techniques we use to judge intelligence are skewed toward cleverness, conformity and a good memory. But there is one important facet that is never considered—emotional intelligence. Yet it requires a high degree of emotional intelligence to respond rationally to information that threatens our sense of personal power or of how things are. Judging from the rejection of Halton Arp’s discoveries, it is a crucial lesson we are missing. Irritation or dismissal in response to a well-argued case is a signal that emotion has overruled reason.

For those who will not learn from it, history repeats itself. Halton Arp is to the 21st century what Galileo was to the 17th. Both were respected scientists, popular leaders in their field. Both made observations that contradicted accepted theory. Seventeenth century academics felt threatened by Galileo’s observations and so, backed by ecclesiastical authority, they ordered him to stop looking. Twentieth century astronomers felt threatened by Arp’s observations and so, backed by institutional authority, they ordered him to stop looking.

Both refused. Both published works geared to the non-specialist when specialists would no longer take note. Galileo’s paper, “A Dialogue on the Two Chief Systems of the World,” favored a heliocentric model of the solar system and undermined the accepted geocentric model. Arp’s books, Quasars, Redshifts and Controversies, Seeing Red, and Catalogue of Discordant Redshift Associations, favor an ejection model of the universe and undermine the accepted big bang model.

The Church responded by placing Galileo under house arrest: his peers would not even look through his telescope and the Church judged his books heretical. The modern astronomical community responded similarly to Arp. Observatory officials cancelled his telescope time and astronomical journals refused to publish his research.

Historians of science are fond of using today’s theories to expose the theoretical blind spots of earlier thinkers. However, in a review in Science of Exceeding Our Grasp: Science, History, and the Problem of Unconceived Alternatives, Tim Lewins writes:

“P. Kyle Stanford …tries to show that past scientists have typically failed to consider (let alone evaluate) important alternatives to the theories they have ended up espousing. …Stanford’s aim is not to congratulate modern scientists on how much more perceptive they are than their predecessors. He argues that there is no reason to think that we are any better …at avoiding cognitive oversight. According to Stanford, history suggests that modern scientists, too, are currently overlooking alternative theoretical options of a wholly alien sort, which will only be apparent to scientists of the future. This persistent failure of the scientific imagination means that we should expect the truth to lie in the vast space of theories to which we are presently blind, rather than in the small areas that we are able to survey.”

To get a glimpse of the science of the future, I have found it useful to seek out the courageous individuals who face academic rejection and disrespect for their heresies. Ostracism is a familiar human response to uncertainty. But then it is necessary to use your own judgment and to deal with your own uncertainties when evaluating the work of outcasts. It is demanding to behave intelligently— but the rewards in new and better understanding of our world and ourselves are worth the trouble.

With appreciation to Mel Acheson for his editorial contributions.

Wal Thornhill

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