'Cosmic train wreck' baffles Astronomers

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'Cosmic train wreck' baffles Astronomers

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Astronomers have discovered what they're calling a "cosmic train wreck," a collision between galaxies that may change the way they view dark matter, a vital ingredient in the formation and structure of galaxies.

CBC News
A multi-wavelength image of Abell 520 shows the aftermath of a complicated collision of galaxy clusters. <br /> <em>(X-ray: NASA/CXC/UVic./A. Mahdavi et al. Optical/lensing: CFHT/UVic./H. Hoekstra et al.)</em>         A multi-wavelength image of Abell 520 shows the aftermath of a complicated collision of galaxy clusters.
(X-ray: NASA/CXC/UVic./A. Mahdavi et al. Optical/lensing: CFHT/UVic./H. Hoekstra et al.)

NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and optical telescopes revealed a dark matter core that was mostly devoid of galaxies, a discovery that runs contrary to what astronomers currently understand about dark matter.

"These results challenge our understanding of the way clusters merge," said Dr. Andisheh Mahdavi of the University of Victoria in a statement on NASA's website. "Or, they possibly make us even re-examine the nature of dark matter itself."

Galaxy clusters have three parts: the individual galaxies, hot gas in between the galaxies and dark matter. While these clusters sometimes collide, astronomers usually knew what to expect.

"When these clusters move through one another, you would expect that this gas is left behind because you have two clumps of gas coming in opposite directions and so they kind of stop each other," explained University of Victoria professor Hendrik Hoekstra, another member of the research team.

"But you'd expect the galaxies and dark matter to just fly through so you'd end up with two clumps of galaxies and dark matter with some gas in the middle."

But when the team observed the cluster system known as Abell 520, they found a different result.

"Where we see this blob of hot gas, there's also a lot of dark matter and that's the part that we don't understand because that's not supposed to happen," Hoekstra says. "The dark matter is supposed to stay where the galaxies are."

Nearby is a corresponding "light region," a galaxy cluster with little or no dark matter. In the case of Abell 520, it appears that a collision separated one cluster from its other important elements, the gas and dark matter.

"The observation of this group of galaxies that is almost devoid of dark matter flies in the face of our current understanding of the cosmos," University of Victoria researcher Dr. Arif Babul said on NASA's website. "Our standard model is that a bound group of galaxies like this should have a lot of dark matter. What does it mean that this one doesn't?"

No 'comforting explanations yet'

While astronomers would like to shed some light on the matter, Hoekstra admits the situation is a puzzling one and easy answers are not forthcoming.

"We haven't come up with any comforting explanations yet," he admits. "This is by far the most complicated cluster we've looked at."

He admits the team has theories, but they still contradict what is currently understood about dark matter. However, he is quick to say that this event doesn't mean astronomers have been wrong about dark matter in the past, as much as it may not be fully understood.

"Either it says our cluster is right and the other ones are wrong or the basic interpretation that people have done in the past is correct, just more complicated," he said.

In order to confirm what they've seen, the research team has secured further time with Chandra as well as the Hubble Space Telescope.

Results of the team's work are scheduled to appear in the Oct. 20 issue of The Astrophysical Journal.

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Hambydammit
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I suspect that in fifty

I suspect that in fifty years, scientists will look back on this era and marvel at how much we learned in so short a time. To think that dark matter itself has only been commonly accepted for a decade or so, and already, we are being forced to revise our theories!

It's a damn good thing these scientists didn't just stop and call dark matter "god," isn't it! We'd have never bothered to look at the other galaxies, and we'd be just plain wrong about it's fundamental nature! It's awesome that they just admit they don't know, rather than just making up a word, and then calling it the answer.

I'm always thrilled when scientists ignore philosophers and just look for the answers.

 [edited for clarity]

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Hambydammit wrote: I

Hambydammit wrote:

I suspect that in fifty years, scientists will look back on this era and marvel at how much we learned in so short a time. To think that dark matter itself has only been commonly accepted for a decade or so, and already, we are being forced to revise our theories!

It's a damn good thing these scientists didn't just stop and call dark matter "god," isn't it! We'd have never bothered to look at the other galaxies, and we'd be just plain wrong about it's fundamental nature! It's awesome that they just admit they don't know, rather than just making up a word, and then calling it the answer.

I'm always thrilled when scientists ignore philosophers and just look for the answers.

[edited for clarity]

 

y halo thar strawman!

 

We are revising our understanding of dark matter, dark matter still exists.

 

Did you even read my topics? I present why I think God is plausable, I am willing to look at new theories and as a matter of fact that is why I am in university studying physics and reading physics texts. 

 


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See my new sig    The

See my new sig

 

 The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious.... Whosoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed ~Albert Einstein


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Cpt_pineapple wrote: Did

Cpt_pineapple wrote:
Did you even read my topics? I present why I think God is plausable, I am willing to look at new theories and as a matter of fact that is why I am in university studying physics and reading physics texts.

You have a link to those topics? Maybe blogged how you came to your belief? I thought you said once before that you were an atheist one time, although that doesn't seem to mesh well with that topic on your high school experience as a theist.

It might be good to talk about how you came to atheism then back to theism. After all a good way to show someone to you're point of view is to explain how you got to it. (I suggest KEWK for a thread on it)


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Voiderest

Voiderest wrote:

Cpt_pineapple wrote:
Did you even read my topics? I present why I think God is plausable, I am willing to look at new theories and as a matter of fact that is why I am in university studying physics and reading physics texts.

You have a link to those topics? Maybe blogged how you came to your belief? I thought you said once before that you were an atheist one time, although that doesn't seem to mesh well with that topic on your high school experience as a theist.

Keyword:high school.

I started atheism at university 

 

Half way through my first year of university, I 'de-converted' or whatever you call it. This was due to my misconception that God and science are mutually exclusive.

 

Then I was atheist till about third year, I 're-converted'  back to Theism, but not necessarily the one I hold now. This was after a conversation with a friend and reading about Ken Miller and Bernard Haisch.

 

Quote:
 

It might be good to talk about how you came to atheism then back to theism. After all a good way to show someone to you're point of view is to explain how you got to it. (I suggest KEWK for a thread on it)

 

I'll save that for another time. I made a summery above. I want to finish up some of my other topics first. 


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Quote: y halo thar

Quote:

y halo thar strawman!

 

We are revising our understanding of dark matter, dark matter still exists.

 

Did you even read my topics? I present why I think God is plausable, I am willing to look at new theories and as a matter of fact that is why I am in university studying physics and reading physics texts.

My goodness, Captain! Did you think I was talking about you?

Trying on shoes for size, were we?

Oh, and yes, I've read your topics, and I have yet to see a definition for what you think god is.

As far as I can tell, you're trying to find a way to make a millenia-old story fit current scientific theory, as opposed to examining current science and determining logically and/or empirically that there is a theory in which it makes sense for there to be such a thing. Any concept of god I'm familiar with begs the question of cause/origin, and I've yet to see anything you've presented that avoids this.

So, have you spotted the mathematical gap where god resides? With dark matter, it was necessary for it to exist to make physics work. Where is the hole that god needs to fill? The one that isn't just a declaration of ignorance, but is actually a solution to a problem.

Absolutely every definition of god as a mover in "the beginning" that I've ever heard is simply a declaration of ignorance. We don't have an explanation for X, so we postulate a being that is so implausible as to be absurd, and then we blithely declare that this being solves the problem. And then we have the nerve to get angry when other people point out that this is simply a glossy version of "I don't know."

 

 

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Quote: My goodness,

Quote:

My goodness, Captain! Did you think I was talking about you?

Yes. From the tone and the way it was worded.  


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Quote: Yes. From the tone

Quote:
Yes. From the tone and the way it was worded.

Well, frankly, I'm disappointed with you.  You're playing the same "avoid the definition" game that all the other theists on here play, and I have come to expect better from you.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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One of the good Cpt's

One of the good Cpt's threads outlining his hope for room left in the unexplained for his god:

http://www.rationalresponders.com/forum/sapient/atheist_vs_theist/7137

 

And the 'infinite consciousness' attempt:

http://www.rationalresponders.com/forum/sapient/atheist_vs_theist/8288

 

Galaxy mergers are all over the place. I've seen at least 30 per 1,000 images.  Just a matter of time until a natural explanation presents itself with regard to the abnormalities in this one.

If the dark matter is being pulled along instead of remaining stationary then finding the force affecting it might require new tools. That's awesome. 

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Here is a pretty beginning

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