View Full Version : Discussion: Why Does the Early Universe Look ...

2004-Jan-05, 05:41 PM
SUMMARY: Until now, astronomers haven't been able to find a lot of data about what happened at an early phase in the evolution of the Universe, when it's thought that the stars were formed. But new research, performed by astronomers using the Gemini observatory in Chile, has revealed several galaxies 8 to 11 billion years ago which are more fully formed than expected. They thought they would see protogalaxies crashing into each other, but instead they found very mature galaxies. Its possible that black holes were much more common in the early Universe and served as anchors to form galaxies rapidly.

What do you think about this story? Post your comments below.

2004-Jan-05, 05:48 PM
Interseting....a galaxy look mature... :lol: I wonder does Black Hole Explode while sucking too much energy?

During the early age of the universe, stars forming, but some fail and turn into black hole...one day it explodes, every parts of cloud keep moving constantly, cloud carrying elements, proton, and electron...Stars forming and turn into Black Hole again, then explode again... everything repeat again and again, until everything was cooling down..

Gerald Lukaniuk
2004-Jan-05, 07:28 PM
Perhaps the "big Bang" was a burst of new creation and expansion superimosed over a previous structiure like a wave of new life and light sweeping through a cold dark dying universe.

2004-Jan-05, 10:45 PM
interesting thought, maybe it is an effect of a previous contraction!

Mike Hutchings
2004-Jan-06, 08:41 AM
Looking at this from the view that was presented on a recent UK TV science programme, this is easily explained if you consider that we are just a model on a higher being's supercomputer and that the AI running the model has not adjusted itself for the progression that the virtual life, that will be us, is making!


yeshwanth from INDIA
2004-Jan-06, 11:06 AM

2004-Jan-06, 11:56 AM
I fail to see how the previous contraction theory really explains anything. As for the "glitch in the matrix" theory presented by Mike Hutchings, we must remember that a good theory both explains observations, and makes reasonable predictions about the future. I love it when a discovery like this sets the cat amongst the pigeons. To be perfectly honest, I don't think there is a complete unified theory, and contradictions like this one add merit to this argument. I don't think the Universe is like a jig-saw puzzle waiting to be solved. Maybe post-modernism and physics will one day be integrated!

2004-Jan-06, 12:02 PM
Of course a post-modernist would argue that they are integrated and always have been...which is true I guess.

2004-Jan-06, 01:43 PM
i'd be interesting in hearing all of the forum's theories

2004-Jan-06, 02:57 PM
Really? Ok you asked for it!
A theory that is new and goes against everything that is currently accepted, but which I favour, is the Electric Universe model.
There was no Big Bang, the Universe is infinite, redshift is no distance indicator so we don't see an early Universe and the force that forms the Galaxies and stars is electricity/plasma.
I could be wrong, but I'd love to see this theory recognized.

2004-Jan-06, 02:59 PM
how about making a separate posting in 'everything else in the universe'? sounds very intriguing

2004-Jan-06, 10:24 PM
I've moved this topic into the Astrononmy section so that it won't get lost in the flood of new articles.

2004-Jan-06, 10:59 PM
good move cause i am intrigued by the electric field concept

2004-Jan-07, 01:45 AM
Are you referring to the "Plasma Universe" concept?

It's been a long time since I read anything on it, but it was an intriguing idea. Hannes Alfven, a Swedish physicist originated the idea, if I'm not mistaken.

Basically, current cosmologies treat gravity as if it is the only force acting at long distances within the universe. The basis for this assumption is that the nuclear forces clearly have limited ranges, and the electric force only affects charged objects, and on the large scale things are electrically neutral (i.e. the charges cancel out). Sounds reasonable, but...

We know that the universe is filled with magnetic fields, from the earth's to the sun's, to the galactic magnetic field. We also know that almost all of the matter we can see in the universe is plasma. It might be electrically neutral, but plasma is a very good conductor. We also know that most of the matter we can see is in motion in some way or another.

When you move a conductor through a magnetic field, you get a current. That's how generators work. Since that's exactly what we see out there, there should be big currents flowing around our universe.

When a current flows through a conductor in a magnetic field, you get forces. That's how motors work. So on a galactic or larger scale, big forces coming into play that no existing cosmology even bothers to consider.

So, Alfven figured we can't just ignore the electro-magnetic influences on the development of the universe. He developed (or at least started to develop) a cosmology that took it into account. And, IIRC, he came to the conclusion that you didn't really need a "big bang" to explain everything we see out there when you start to look at things this way.

It really is interesting. If he's right, it turns everything upside down. And the guy's no crackpot. He has a Nobel Prize in the field of plasma physics.

A link:

Plasma Universe (http://www.newscienceparadigms.com/astro/plasma_universe.htm)

(google "plasma universe" or "hannes alfvin" for dozens more)

2004-Jan-07, 02:13 AM
now that is interesting...

I never even considered this possibilities! and i can see that it would throw the whole current theory upside down

2004-Jan-08, 12:09 AM
Hi there,
Hannes Alfvén was indeed the Nobel laureate who came up with the Plasma Universe idea, lately (he passed away some 15? years ago sadly) the ideas of a plasma (or electrical, basically the same) model have been worked on by Anthony Peratt and co-workers and a book, "The Big Bang Never Happened" by Eric lerner (1990 appr.) was published bringing the work to a bigger audience. There is a lot more going on at the moment, because Don Scott and Wallace Thornhill have extended the Plasma Model to include an Electric Sun model. I've been following their comments on their websites, where every possible way to explain what this model really means is explored.
On these websites the history of the Plasma Model can be found and it makes for interesting reading.

2004-Jan-08, 04:31 AM
This theory would certainly explain the question at the start of this thread - why does the "early" universe look so mature? Because it is mature. The universe is infinitely old.

BTW, in your first post on the subject you said "and red shift is no indicator of distance". From my reading, this is incorrect. Even in plasma cosmologies, red shifts are recognized as related to distance, they just don't accept that they are caused by the doppler effect. They have even identified other mechanisms that can cause red shifts to increase with distance which hubble did observe, and which everyone else interprets to be doppler shifts caused by the universe expanding.

Check out this link. (http://www.newtonphysics.on.ca/hydrogen/index.html) For one example, which gives an alternate explanation for both the red shift and "dark matter".

One of the things I really like about plasma cosmology is that it doesn't appear to be necessary to postulate weird things like WIMPS and "dark energy" to make it work.

2004-Jan-08, 09:19 AM
I have problems with dark energy and dark matter too. A theory of the universe that relies on 95% of the universe being "invisible" feels to me like a fudge. Reality doesn't always work out neatly but most scientific explanations to feel "right" once you've understood them. It seems to me that dark energy and dark matter were required to fill in the gaps, just like the cosmological constant that Einstein added to his theories.

Maybe it's just my human-centric bias but I would expect a theory of everything to have more links to the human-observable world.

2004-Jan-08, 10:00 AM
I think dark matter, and especially the failure to find out what it is, is one of the incredible results when math is mistaken for reality and common sense goes out the window in favour of "counter-intuitive" explanations.
The reason I mention redshift is not because the Plasma cosmology dictates it, but because of the work of Halton Arp. At this moment there is no sactifactory explanation for high redshift. Arp correlates it with youth of the object which is formed "massless" and gains mass while maturing. His model relies on ejection phenomena. Quasars are ejected from active galactic nuclei in a pairwise fashion, after which they evolve towards "normal" galaxies. He has written 3 books on the subject and in my opinion this is all based on reliable data. There is one other component added to the story, which is the Electric Star (Sun) model. For any star to shine, no invisible fusion generator in the star's core is necessary, the surrounding interstellar medium carries enough current (Birkeland currents) to power the star. This is hinted at in the Plasma model but it still has a fusion generator in the star's core. The formation of stars and galaxies is helped by the Birkeland currents and the Z-pinch effect, bringing matter together much more efficiently (faster) than gravity, after which gravity takes over.
The Electric Star model (see www.electric-cosmos.org and www.holoscience.com) tells us that no stellar fusion is necessary, helping explain the strange (highly variable) phenomena at the Sun's surface. It also states that planets are not created through gravitational collapse of gas and dust in a proto-planetary disk, but are formed by "fissioning"; the ejection of stellar material due to the fact that the current density of the interstellar medium is too for the star's surface. Binary systems are also formed by fissioning, what we see is a nova or supernova event. It would be nice to see single stars becoming binaries after the (super)nova event.
There is a lot more, even planetary weather systems are powered through electrical currents and comets are not the dirty icy-balls they are believed to be.
Okay, more later,

Mike Hutchings
2004-Jan-09, 09:54 AM
I hesitate to offer another solution . . . no I don't, so here it is:

Following the assumption that all matter is a compilation of energy in the form of strings of varous types and, therefore, that energistic forms react with others, "life as we know it Jim", being composed of these energy forms, must influence the energy structures that we assume is our Universe. So . . . I am thinking that what I see in the Universe must be real so, through the aforementioned energistic interaction, it is. Once again, my and the majority's ignorance of what happened at the beginning of time has influenced the perceived structure of the Universe bringing about this anomaly. Of course, the way out of this is for the strong thinkers, who it might be suggested have greater energistic influence, think to bring about a change in the energy patterns to explain this!!! Evidence for this theory extends throughout history. Yes, the Earth was flat until we thought it round to explain other issues that would not fit in our expanding world and so on!

. . . OK nurse, you can turn my light out now . . .

. . . but before you do, I like VanderL's dialogue that puts the arguments into more eloquent words than I can achieve and he does bring into the frame the part that energy, in its various forms, plays in the whole picture.

This dialogue is real meat for the philosophers amongst us.

Mike :blink:

2004-Jan-09, 10:51 AM

If I understand your proposal correctly, wouldn't that mean the laws of physics could change? So if someone proved the earth was flat, someone else who was a "stronger thinker" would perceive, and then prove, that it was round. Then the first person would re-test and find his previous results had changed and it was now round?


2004-Jan-11, 11:22 AM
I guess when you let go of the "laws of nature" you're opening a whole new can of worms. To understand anything, you need something to measure with. Changing the rules (rulers) is the ultimate fudge factor.

2004-Jan-12, 03:40 AM
What if a super massive black hole absorbed all of the matter in the universe (as long as the universe is finite). Then exploded suddenly, into an already exsisting universe, just filling it with matter. Radiation would spread through the universe at c, and so current discrepancies about the fact the the universe looks bigger than its age would disappear because the universe would seem to be the same size as its age (ie. 14 billion years old = 14 billion ly radius).

How plausable this idea is, I don't know.

2004-Jan-12, 09:32 PM
Is Black hole the oldest object in the Universe or the Super Red Giants?

2004-Jan-13, 05:43 PM
The whole concept of a "Big Bang" and an expanding universe seems to be based upon the "red shift" in light from distant galaxies being entirely caused by a "Doppler effect." What if light waves, after billions of years of travel have weakened with a smaller ampitude and a greater wave-length and that they would eventially flatten out all together. Such a change in light would be impossible to measure in a laboratory. The red shift in light caused by this weakening would be direct measure of the distance to the distant source of light. Superimposed on the weakening of light would be the "Doppler effect caused by the relative speed of the light source, either away or towards us. If this were the case, there could be a red shift in light from a nearby galaxy caused almost entirely by a "Doppler effect" and a red shift in a distant galaxy caused almos entirely by the weakening of light. This could upset the whole idea of an expanding universe and a Big Bang beginning. I guess I'm wondering how astronomers know that light does't weaken after billions of years of travel and that in time it would eventially weaken to nothing?

2004-Jan-13, 07:59 PM
There is even a theory on what you propose JESMKS, the "Tired Light" hypothesis, I guess some googling will give you an idea on why it is out of favor.

2004-Jan-14, 01:20 AM
So, galaxies appear to be more mature than we imagined they should be at a particular time post Big-Bang. That merely indicates that, if observations are correct, we must modify our theories to match observation. Galaxies must have evolved faster than we thought. What's the problem?


2004-Jan-14, 04:18 PM
Modifying theories is ok when only minor changes are needed, currently a lot of ad hoc explanations are thrown on top of the existing theory, and when you need to revise your theory every few months, you can be sure there is a more fundamental problem.

2004-Jan-15, 12:42 AM
In philosophy and science, ad hoc often means the addition of corrollary hypotheses or adjustment to a philosophical or scientific theory to save the theory from being falsified by compensating for anomalies not anticipated by the theory in its unmodified form. Philosophers and scientists are often suspicious or skeptical of theories that rely on continual, inelegant ad hoc adjustments. (Shamelessly taken from Wikipedia (http://en2.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hoc) ).

Unobserved "dark matter", never detected mysteriously repulsive "dark energy", and my personal favourite, a totally unobservable inflationary period where the universe expanded faster than the speed of light. You figure any of those would qualify as "ad hoc" under that definition?

2004-Jan-15, 06:23 AM
Originally posted by damienpaul@Jan 7 2004, 01:13 PM
now that is interesting...

I never even considered this possibilities! and i can see that it would throw the whole current theory upside down
I wouldn't get overexcited, sir. I have a horrid suspicion that the plasma universe theory will be the stupidest thing we've heard since Lord Nelson's famous signal at the Battle of the Nile: "England knows Lady Hamilton's a virgin. Poke my eye out and cut off my arm if I'm wrong."

(Blackadder reference)

2004-Jan-15, 08:12 AM
I have that same feeling about the Big Bang. How about I'll keep you on the level on the Electric goings-on and you tell me why it is such a stupid idea, and hopefully somewhere along that line either I stop bothering you, or you start seeing what I see. OK?

2004-Jan-15, 08:28 AM
VanderL, that is by far and away, and without a shadow of doubt, the worst and most comtemptible plan in the history of the universe. :D

2004-Jan-15, 09:46 AM
Meaning I should shut up? Or you already made up your mind and aren't interested in this alternative?
I think I'll just keep on arguing and try to make sense of BB and Electric models, and see what happens.

2004-Jan-15, 11:02 AM
Perhaps The Urantia Book is right, and the universe is organized as alternating rings of galaxies in rotation about an enormous mass at the center. This would eplain the huge string of well formed galaxies far in the distance, and the streams of galaxies recently discovered. Granted, when we see maps of the cosmos, we don't see such a structure, however, all such maps are based on red shift as the indicator of distance, and if the universe has alternating rings, then red shift is a highly imperfect indicator of distance, and hence the discrepancies with luminosity that require dark energy in the big bang model.

http://www.urantia.org/papers/paper12.html -- The Universe of Universe
http://www.dur.ac.uk/john.lucey/dpress.html -- Galaxy stream


2004-Jan-15, 12:27 PM
Originally posted by VanderL@Jan 15 2004, 08:46 PM
Meaning I should shut up? Or you already made up your mind and aren't interested in this alternative?
I think I'll just keep on arguing and try to make sense of BB and Electric models, and see what happens.
Science isn't about making one's mind up. I'm going to make a thread for you I think. That way you can talk about electricity shaping the universe to your heart's content!

Happy hunting!


2004-Jan-15, 01:36 PM
I hope you don't shut up just yet, VanderL. :) The electric model sounds intriguing and, on the face of it, no more unbelievable than the dark energy/dark matter/inflation additions to the big bang. As soon as I find time, I'll look at the details of the theory. Then I'll be able to decide for myself whether it's plausible or unprovable rubbish. But we all should be willing to listen to any clearly-presented theory that adds to the total of our knowledge (even if it turns out to be wrong)

2004-Jan-15, 04:25 PM
Thanks Sp1ke,
Ok, Kashi I'm glad you agree that science isn't about making one's mind up. Making a new thread on the electric model is no real solution I think, it really is all about discussing and arguing about the merits of the different models that will bring me what I'm looking for. My guess is that soon (within a couple of years) this model will have become either accepted or debunked to the point where some people would already have it. The new data from the various telescopes/probes and the neutrino/gravity wave-work will soon give us reason enough to take a hard look at where the Big Bang stands anyway.

2004-Jan-15, 11:31 PM
Sooo....why does the early Universe look so advanced...?

2004-Jan-16, 08:23 AM
We think we are looking at the early Universe (because we mistake high redshift for distance and at the same time think we are looking at a beginning), while in reality we are looking at the visible part of an "infinite" Universe. That way the Universe looks the same in every direction.

2004-Jan-21, 03:42 AM
Let's see-

Our telescopes can only see into the past.

We observe the uinverse with telescopes.

Therefore we observe the past.

That's cool.

What's the problem?

Best regards,

2004-Jan-21, 04:03 AM
Exactly! We know they are far away not only because they are red-shifted, but because of the difference in perspective as Earth revolves around the sun...the same way we measure the distance to any astronomical object. This is pretty basic stuff!

2004-Jan-21, 05:11 PM
You mean parallax measurements? They don't work for objects that are far away, I don't know exactly what the distance is that can still be measured by using parallax measurements but it certainly is not billions of lightyears. So we do have to rely on the redshift data for the early Universe.

Dave Mitsky
2004-Jan-26, 08:10 AM
Originally posted by VanderL@Jan 21 2004, 05:11 PM
You mean parallax measurements? They don't work for objects that are far away, I don't know exactly what the distance is that can still be measured by using parallax measurements but it certainly is not billions of lightyears. So we do have to rely on the redshift data for the early Universe.
Parallax measurments can determine distances to 100 parsecs with good (90%) certainty.

http://www.astro.wesleyan.edu/~kvj/wes_onl.../2.2_Milky_Way/ (http://www.astro.wesleyan.edu/~kvj/wes_only/astr221/2.2_Milky_Way/)


Dave Mitsky

2004-Jan-26, 10:37 AM
We think we are looking at the early Universe (because we mistake high redshift for distance and at the same time think we are looking at a beginning), while in reality we are looking at the visible part of an "infinite" Universe. That way the Universe looks the same in every direction.

Just curious, are you suggesting that light travels instantaneously, so that when we look at distant galaxies we are seeing them as they are right now, not as they were in the distant past?

I don't think cosmic distance measurements are on such a precarious footing. Maybe in the early days. But nowadays they've gone back & re-measured over & over again, using new innovative methods, and are getting consistent results...

It's important to remember that we can, in fact, push our telescopes right up to the "cosmic horizon", where light hasn't even reached us yet. It's not a case of fine-tuning the resolving power of our lenses, so that we see back further & further, ad infinitum. There is a definite limit to just how far we can observe...the cosmic "event horizon".

We're living in a black hole!

The "electric-cosmos" model sounds interesting, it's always good to keep the scientific establishment on its toes by throwing alternative theories at it. But tho' there are some "fuzzy" areas in science & cosmology that still need to be ironed out, I don't think there's anything that actually threatens the very foundations of our cosmic picture.

I don't think our science is one big "castle in the air". But who knows, I could be wrong.

2004-Jan-26, 09:31 PM
This has been a fairly amusing, and somewhat educational thread so far. But I think it very interesting that no one has brought up Steven Hawkin's interpretation of the Big Bang. I find this interesting because he more or less defined it in certain mathematical terms. He also defined Black Holes before we had any emperical eveidence of them as well. Just because we now see well formed galaxies that are far older than we expected, does not rule out that the Universe was created in a hot Big Bang. Even Steven Hawkins admits that, at present, we have no mathematical way of describing what was before (?) the Big Bang, or outside (?) our Universe. But then, that is why his thesis is that time itself began with the Big Bang. and that our Universe is both infinite, and without boundary. Mathematically speaking, any other possibilities are both irelevant and irrational. As for Black Matter, and Black Energy, until somebody comes up with a beter mathematical model, I'll use that one. :D

2004-Apr-02, 01:20 PM
Hi folks,

I'd like to bring this thread back to the fore with this post.
I came across the so called CREIL effect (Coherent Raman Effect on Incoherent Light) which could (if true) explain why redshift is not a measure of distance. If the authore are right there is no cosmological redshift.
A discussion on this topic can be found in the Bad Astronomy forum
http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopi...p=234686#234686 (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?p=234686#234686)

The article (or one of them) with the description of the effect is here Arxiv:astro-ph/0401529

I can't tell if this CREIL effect is genuine, but I think it is important to discuss it here and find out if it true.


2004-Apr-02, 02:12 PM
I've just been reading about how the age of the universe has been calculated, using parallax, redshift and other methods. The relevant thing for this discussion is that the measurements are consistent with each other (within their respective error limits). If redshift was an illusion (the "tired light" proposal), then any distance calculations based on this would be a different order of magnitude to the calculations that did not depend on redshifts.

So I think the weight of evidence points towards redshifts being real. It could be that the CREIL effect introduces errors in calculations that are based on redshifts but since there are so many unknowns, these errors often balance out.

2004-Apr-02, 02:36 PM
Parallax can't be used one large scales, and I'm not aware of other methods than redshift for large distances.
The importance of the CREIL effect, as I understand it, is that there is no cosmological redshift, meaning that quasars are not billions of lightyears away. This seems to be a mechanism that has first been found in the laboratory and is now extrapolated towards astronomical objects.
It basically means that redshift is not a distance indicator.
Sp1ke, I know of Cepheid variables but could you tell more about other distance indicators for large distances?


2004-Apr-02, 03:47 PM
Originally posted by VanderL@Apr 2 2004, 02:36 PM
I know of Cepheid variables but could you tell more about other distance indicators for large distances?
Hi VanderL,

There are some astronomy subjects that you seem to really have deep knowledge about. So I am not sure whether your question is a broad request, or just a quiz for Sp1ke.

There are a lot of distance indicators of varying precision, brightness and rarity. Certainly the long-distance one in the news most recently are the Type 1A Supernovae.

Are you really looking for a list?

2004-Apr-02, 04:08 PM
Yes, I'm slowly gathering useful knowledge, I read a lot, but when I'm posting I don't remember the stuff I need. And to get a good understanding of the CREIL effect I must "read up" on a lot of different subjects. What better way than being pointed towards relevant infromation than a forum?
People like you and Tim Thompson and Duane and others are very important. You provide the relevant sites/info and that saves me buckets of time. I want to know everything (fat chance) and this way; UT news plus forum is, for me at least, the best and most fun way to gather that knowledge, although sometimes it is more ideas, suppositions and theories.


2004-Apr-02, 04:27 PM
One of the other measures I can think of is that if we know how bright an average galaxy is, the apparent brightness is an indicator of distance. It is assumed that our galaxy is fairly typical, and for those galaxies where we can measure distance by parallax, we can correlate their apparent brightness with the predicted brightness.

The use of redshift is complicated by the fact that local galaxies are sometimes actually moving towards us since any universe expansion is overwhelmed by local relative movement.

VanderL: Like you, I read a lot but never seem to remember the useful stuff at critical times. I'm just interested in getting an overview of how things are and how the universe might work. Unfortunately I've got too many other distractions to delve into the details most of the time :)

2004-Apr-02, 06:16 PM
Originally posted by VanderL@Apr 2 2004, 04:08 PM
You provide the relevant sites/info and that saves me buckets of time.
I did a Google search on "Cosmic Distance Scale" and found a few sites of interest.
Try this one:

There are other mechanisms that have been used in some specific cases. I vaguely recall a study done with some radio interferometry in which the size and rotational velocity of an accretion disk around a Central Black Hole [I think it was in M87] gave a distance that was reliable to within a few percent.

I recall also that there was a Gamma Ray burst several years ago that was gravitationally lensed into four apparent bursts, two pair about a year apart. It was suggested that with more data about the lensing galaxy this could have given some precise distance information, but I don't think it has been resolved yet.

So, in addition to the usual methods, sometimes nature gives us a special way that only works once.

Note also that every one of the methods mentioned sometimes gets a paper written challenging its precision, or application to a specific place. For example: Current Cepheid science says that the brightness of the Cepheid is not simply dependent on its period, but also on its heavy element abundance. There is some discussion that rotational period and axis may also be a small factor in Cepheid brightness. This does not mean they can't be used. It means that once we know the factors well enough Cepheid data will give very reliable distances.

2004-Apr-02, 07:45 PM
Thanks Antoniseb,

That's all well and true, but redshift is more than just a distance indicator, it's the foundation of the pillar of the Big Bang edifice. It's the reason why the consensus in science is that we're living in an expanding Universe (some even say accelerating). Suppose cosmological redshift disappears, than that's enormously important for cosmology. It would mean that Arp was right to point out that high and low-redshift object can be connected. It's re-opening a can of worms that most thought would never be opened again.
On the other distance measurements, as stated in another thread, there is a tendency for "confirmatory bias" in science, meaning that all the distance markers that were way off, were discarded much earlier or never made it to a publication.
So before we're throwing out redshift as recession velocity/distance indicator I want to be absolutely sure (as far as possible) that this CREIL effect is really what is claimed.
I'll keep an eye on the Bad Astronomy discussion, and hopefully in this forum some people want to hold this CREIL effect up to the light.


2004-Apr-03, 01:05 AM
The book "The Birth Of Time" by John Gribbin is an interesting summary of all the different ways that cosmological distances are measured. Redshift is only one of these techniques but it does produce similar answers to the other techniques. If it was not correct, you'd expect it to give completely different results.

Some of the different ways of measuring distances are

1) Parallax - triangulation using the earth's orbit to see nearby objects move relative to the background.

2) Estimating absolute magnitudes based on star colours from the Hertzsprung-Russell sequence.

3) Comparing red/blue shift of star clusters against their apparent angular movement to calculate their distance geometrically.

4) Statistically comparing the average absolute magnitudes of stars, novae, galaxies and clusters of galaxies against their apparent magnitudes.

5) Measuring the apparent brightness of Cepheid variables - their periods are proportional to their absolute brightness.

6) Redshift of spectra based on the hubble constant for the universe's expansion.

7) Variations in the cosmic microwave background when it passes through clusters of galaxies.

8) Gravitational lensing - the path of multiple images is slightly different around a gravitational lens.

In summary, there are at least three bases for calculating distances - geometric (1,3&8), apparent vs absolute magnitudes (2,4,5&7) and redshift (6). All three methods produce similar results so I think this backs up the validity of the redshift theory.

2004-Apr-03, 08:27 PM
Thanks Sp1ke,

The only real distance measurement that can be 100% trusted is the parallax method, I think, but that method only works for a relative short distance. The rest is based on one or more assumptions that could be proven false in the future. Hmm, there's a lot of uncertainty when redshift drops out, but then we would have to start with a new cosmological model anyway. Let's first see what the experts have to say about the CREIL effect, there's a conference right now where the authors will present their data.


2004-Apr-03, 10:53 PM
Originally posted by VanderL@Apr 3 2004, 08:27 PM
The only real distance measurement that can be 100% trusted is the parallax method, I think, but that method only works for a relative short distance.
The ESA's Gaia probe will be launched in a decade or so, and should result in good parallax measurements out to about 5 kiloparsecs. This should allow better confirmation of the methods you don't trust by putting more samples in the directly measured distance range.

If you are really only have faith in solid parallaxes, perhaps we should support a Gaia-like mission to be sent on a fission powered ion-drive deep space mission. Once it is out around 30-300 AU, it should be able to get directly measured distances to the Magellenic clouds and all the local globular clusters.

2004-Apr-03, 11:17 PM
Well Antoniseb, It's not the locals I worry about, it's the notion that we think we can see quasars at the "edge of the Universe" that must consequently be extremely energetic, while in reality they could be just more "normal" objects. I could live with an infinite Universe (a lot more to explore) and maybe one day we can say that "the objects in Hubble's mirror are closer than we think".;)


2004-Apr-04, 12:27 AM
Originally posted by VanderL@Apr 3 2004, 11:17 PM
while in reality they could be just more "normal" objects
I'm not sure how local you think they might be, but a deep-space Gaia-like device at 5000 AU could rule them being within the local group.

The nearest one that I know about is 3C-273 which by the usual red-shift measurements would be about 640 megaparsecs away. If they are only a few megaparsecs away, such a probe could measure the distance directly to within a few percent.

2004-Apr-04, 01:41 PM
I'm not sure how local you think they might be

I'm not sure either, it wouldn't surprise me to find that some quasars are distant objects, but I think some should be quite close (if Arp's ejection theory holds). Is this GAIA probe specifically designed to do these measurements?

Since we need to wait on the verdict of the experts on the CREIL effect, what do you think will happen when it becomes clear that cosmological redshift is not caused by an expansion of spacetime? What will be the first model that replaces the Big Bang model? Or do you think that BB cosmology can handle something like this. There were earlier instances where challenges were incorporated into the theory (inflation, lensing, dark energy), can we expect BBers to come with a major revision and still call it Big Bang, New Big Bang?


David S
2004-Apr-06, 11:54 PM
There where some people in here with questions on how we know that red-shift actually measures distance, and here is a brief history on how we have been able to measure progressivly furthur and furthur into our universe, evenuatlly using red-shift techniques.

Parallax- This was the first way we measured distances to stars, and we can reliably measure parallax out to about 1,000 light years. This is a direct measurement using simple geometry, and therefore is highly accurate and dependable.

HR diagrams- Within 1000 LY of earth there are a LOT of stars. So, astronomers spent the early days cataloging all of them, and eventually noticed a pattern with regards to size, color, and luminosity (remember, if you know a stars luminosity then you can find exactly how far away it is just based on how dim it looks).

Cephid Variables- Once the HR diagram of stars was compiled, we notcied a very odd group of stars call Cephid Variables. These are stars that brighten and dim regularly over a period of several months, and there brightness is DIRECTLY related to how long that period is. In other words, if you know a cephid variables period, then you know how bright it is and therefore how far away it is.

When Hubble did his famous study in the 1930's, the largest telescope at the time could resolve single stars out to a distance of several 10's of millions of light years (granted, at the time they didn't know this since they hadn't plotted the distances to galaxies yet. This is actually what Hubble was doing at the time). This gave Hubble the ability to find cephid variable stars in other nearby galaxies, and since we know how to find the distance to these stars, we could therefore find out how far away it's galaxy is. To Hubbles great suprise, these galaxies were MILLIONS of light years away! He was able to plot the distance to about 100 of our closest galaxies using these very accurate markers.

He was also able to look at the spectra of light from these galaxies. If the motion of galaxies was random (which is what he expected), you would find an equal number of blue and redshifted galaxies. However, he found only 2 blue shifted galaxies (one of which was the Andromeda galaxy), both of which where among the closest to us. All the other galaxies where moving away from us at varying speeds. When he plotted the distances to the galaxies next to the redshift from the galaxies, he found that the furthur away the galaxy was, the larger it's redshift. Which leads us to the next tool for calcualting distance:

Redshift - It would be very odd indeed if only the galaxies with the range of hubbles telescope behaved this way, and once you got furthur away the galaxies once again started moving randomly. And with the development of larger and larger telescopes since the 1930's, we have been able to detect and measure cephid variables in furthur and furthur galaxies, and the distance always lines up with the redshift. Even recently though, more distance markers then cephid variables where discovered.......

Supernova type IA - There is a very specific type of supernova, called type IA, which explodes with a very predictable brightness, and then fades over a period of a few months. Like a cephid varibale, these can be used as markers for measuring distance, and since they are much brighter then cephids, they can be measure at much greater distances, out to about 7 BILLION light years. Remember that this technique in no way uses redshift to measure the distance. It is a direct measurement based on the known brightness of this type of supernova. By happy chance, this measure also agrees with the redshift measured for those supernova. And whenever you have 2 independent methods for measureing something, and they both agree, that is very strong evidence that your data is correct.

2004-Apr-07, 01:47 AM
I think there are a number of topics getting run together here.

1) Red shift appears to be related to distance for a lot of objects, and that seems to be pretty well established as AstroWannabe details. I'd call this the cosmological red shift, because any cosmology has to be able to explain it. Other people may use that term differently.

2) This "cosmological" red shift is interpreted as a doppler effect by most cosmologists, and would be a direct result of the Big Bang. There are several lines of evidence that really support the idea that it IS a doppler effect - i.e. that the universe is expanding - but that, to my way of thinking, is less well established than the distance/red shift relationship. There could be some other effect that gives light from distant stationary objects a red shift (eg. "tired light", this CREIL effect that I haven't read up on yet, etc.) Myself, I think that the red shift is still "cosmological" even if it is a "tired light" shift, because it is still inherent in the nature of the universe on a large scale.

3) It is possible that some nearby objects show a non-cosmological red shift (i.e. one that is not related to their distance) either of the doppler variety (eg. the ejection hypothesis?) or for some other reason (I've personally speculated on a gravitational red shift from objects that are nearly massive enough to be black holes, - i.e. a photon that can just barely escape from a massive object would lose energy climbing out of the gravitational well, which would show up as a red shift - but I've never seen anyone else speculate on it, or develop the math that would say how much). So as long as we're dealing with "special" objects (like quasars) there could be a non-cosmological origin for their red shifts, but the red shift of distant galaxies is pretty clearly distance related.

BTW, VanderL earlier in this thread you commented that parallax is the only really reliable way to measure distance, and all the others are based on it, and that it is only good for a short distance. There is one other very good method of direct geometric measurement of distance (which Sp1ke missed in his list) - light echos. The light echo around SN1987A, in the Large Magellanic Cloud, for instance, gives us the distance to the LMC (168,000 light years) directly and accurately, with nothing more than the assumptions that space is approximately euclidean on the scale we're looking at, and that the speed of light is a constant. Parallax uses those same assumptions plus the assumption that we know the diameter of the Earth's orbit which is not necessary for a light echo calculation. See this site for details. (http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Thebes/7755/ancientproof/SN1987A.html)

Unfortunately, light echos are rare, but once we have the distance to the LMC, we have the distance to thousands of cepheid variables in the it, which confirms the cephied period/luminosity relationship with a lot of confidence. So we can skip AstroWannabe's HR diagram step now, (we couldn't before 1987, but we can now), which makes the chain one link shorter, and stronger. With cepheids, we can get distances to lots of more distant galaxies (100 million light years or so nowadays), and confirm that type 1A supernovas are of constant brightness, also with a lot of confidence, which gives us a yardstick out to 7 billion light years. No need to invoke red shift for distance measurement out to 7 billion light years, so we make the chain one link shorter again.

But all those objects that we can measure distances to give us a lot more data on the red shift/distance relationship than Hubble ever dreamed of, and it is all confirmatory (with a few exceptions like the ones Arp pointed out that must be of a non-cosmological nature - those are fun to speculate on, but I don't think they bring the other mass of data into question.) That's why I think the distance/red shift relationship is well established.

Whether or not it is a doppler shift (i.e. due to recession velocity) is a different matter, although there are effects that look a lot like time dilation in strongly red shifted objects which are consistent with a doppler red shift.

2004-Apr-10, 01:03 PM
Thanks Thorn,

My comments on the distance scale are based on the assumptions that underly most of the methods used. Parallax is simply geometry, others have a number of assumptions that seem proper but could very well be proven untrue in the future (or present). The light echo is indeed a way of measuring distances, but that is a very complex method that also relies on assuming that the material was previously expelled and also the size of the object influences the outcome.

Redshift can indeed be explained by velocity, but my problem (or the problem I wanted to point to) is the cosmological redshift. If Arp's list of anomalous redshifts is considered (they need to be explained one way or another), there is reason to believe that "intrinsic" redshifts are possible. Intrinsic, meaning that another mechanism than velocity is responsible.

I found another webpage that explains the CREIL effect (http://eunomie.u-bourgogne.fr/elearning/Quasars-BigBang.html#adeb) in less technical terms that the article, I previously mentioned.

Maybe this is a better starting point, and it also explains in plain English (scroll to the second half of the page, the first is in French) why this effect can be tremendously important for cosmology.

I hope you or someone else can comment on the validity of the propositions.


2004-May-06, 08:25 AM
Halton Arp introduces two types of redshifts:
- The intrinsic redshifts, which are very large for the quasars
- The redshifts corresponding to the Hubble's law.
In the CREIL theory, the intrinsic redshifts are produced by relatively dense clouds of atomic hydrogen in the first excited state. Hubble's law results from the hypothesis of an homogeneous density of redshifting gases (neutrol or ionized compounds of hydrogen and deuterium) in the intergalactic space.

2004-May-08, 07:07 PM
Hubble's law results from the hypothesis of an homogeneous density of redshifting gases (neutrol or ionized compounds of hydrogen and deuterium) in the intergalactic space.


Is the cosmological redshift due to expansion of the Universe not the same as the redshift in Hubble's Law?


2004-May-09, 05:40 AM
At least a part of the redshift which gives Hubble's law is produced by the CREIL Is an other part produced by an expansion ? I do not know

2004-May-09, 10:47 AM
Originally posted by VanderL@Apr 10 2004, 01:03 PM
I found another webpage that explains the CREIL effect (http://eunomie.u-bourgogne.fr/elearning/Quasars-BigBang.html#adeb) in less technical terms that the article, I previously mentioned.

Maybe this is a better starting point, and it also explains in plain English (scroll to the second half of the page, the first is in French) why this effect can be tremendously important for cosmology.

Thanks, VanderL, for giving us this link to an excellent presentation on the CREIL effect.

With kind regards,


2004-May-09, 12:34 PM
Originally posted by JMB@May 9 2004, 05:40 AM
At least a part of the redshift which gives Hubble's law is produced by the CREIL Is an other part produced by an expansion ? I do not know
I'm reproducing this quote in the CREIL thread down in alternative theories so it won't get lost or misplaced. This topic is not an inappropriate place for it, but I think the general forum is served better by concentrating the CREIL explanation into one thread. If you think this is a bad idea, just ignore my replication in the CREIL thread, and I'll follow it here with everyone else.

2004-May-10, 06:03 AM
Originally posted by antoniseb+May 9 2004, 12:34 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (antoniseb @ May 9 2004, 12:34 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-JMB@May 9 2004, 05:40 AM
At least a part of the redshift which gives Hubble&#39;s law is produced by the CREIL Is an other part produced by an expansion ? I do not know
I&#39;m reproducing this quote in the CREIL thread down in alternative theories so it won&#39;t get lost or misplaced. This topic is not an inappropriate place for it, but I think the general forum is served better by concentrating the CREIL explanation into one thread. If you think this is a bad idea, just ignore my replication in the CREIL thread, and I&#39;ll follow it here with everyone else. [/b][/quote]