Dr. Einar C. Erickson
Ancient Document Mormon Scholar
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Those, Lord, who have come into knowledge but have turned away, what will happen to them? To that place they go to which the angels of poverty will go. They will be received of that place, the place which is without repentance and they will be kept until the day when they shall be tortured. Those who have spoken blasphemy against the spirit they will be punished with eternal punishment.


The last hundred years has been truly amazing, the progress in the development of astronomical techniques and technology and new instruments has been phenomenal. Ground-based optical observatories, such as the KECK TELESCOPE  and the VERY LARGE TELESCOPE  (VLT), the SLOAN DIGITAL SKY SURVEY (SDSS), which used the 2.5 meter telescope at Apache Point Observatory in New Mexico, and many others, have collected observations over many areas larger than their predecessors, the 100 and 200 inch telescopes at Mt. Wilson and Mt. Palomar, which I have been privileged to visit. Every new instrument being developed has to be equipped with much more sophisticated and sensitive instrumentation.  Entirely new wavelength regimes and detectors have been added to the tools of the Cosmologists. Radio astronomy only came into being after World War II as a fall-out from Radar research, and X-ray astronomy began in the 1960's with the development of space missions. Some regions of the spectrum of light, such as the sub- millimeter region, are now being explored and making significant dramatic progress that will be reported in these series.  From time to time we will summarize and review the tools now being used and planned for the future, and the data they provide, and add to the jargon of cosmology.  Also, one will need to master the acronyms for there are very many.


Related to Cosmology is neutrino astronomy; direct detection of the low energy neutrino background. The Neutrino is a chameleon, actually it is a three- personality particle. It will provide important tests for the validity of the BB.  Expensive and hard work is in progress on the detection of gravitational waves.  He or they who announce this discovery will probably get the Noble Prize.  Everything is being driven by the advances in instrumentation,  new planned projects, results of those now maturing, and planned space missions on the drawing board.  What is also unique, now, is the robust theoretical frame work and new mathematical innovations and improvements in theory that permit interpretation of observations, so the emerging consensus model of the universe is more exact in every detail. But we are not anywhere near a complete understanding of the formation and evolution of cosmic structure, or answering all the questions that arise from trying to put all the pieces of the cosmic puzzle of galactic and intergalactic astronomy together.

Operating Neutrino telescopes include the famous Japanese Kamiokande Detector, having detected neutrinos from the sun and from supernova.  The effort is to detect the cosmoogical background of neutrinos, penetrate the fog of the radiation-dominated era. Neutrinos could allow probing back to the earliest seconds after the BB, before the neutrinos join th efog of particles in equilibrium with radiation. (Rowan-Robinson p. 158)  It is evident that great discoveries are yet ahead.  It expands the mind! 


Observational cosmology has a number of important distinctions, though often related, categories: cosmography, such as the surreys completed and in progress now,  of defined areas of space. Distance scale studies. How far away is everything?. When was the beginning? The classical cosmological  tests, number-counts, angular-diameter and magnitude redshift tests. GRAVITATONAL  LENSING, multiple images, arcs and weak lensing, seen on the Hubble deep field photos. Studies of galaxy clusters, morphology, stellar populations, spectrography, kinematics and evolution. Extragalactic radiation backgrounds, infrared and X-Ray, some being churned out by Chandra. Active Galaxies, quasars and radio galaxies. Very massive Black holes and their central role in galaxy formation.  Dark Energy, Dark Matter, various aspects of the intergalactic medium, absorption line studies and the like. The hypothesis of a dominant component of collisionless dark matter forming fluctuations imprinted on the early BB universe. (See SDSS)The formation of cool matter, baryonic material at high redshift, and its incorporation in dark-matter clumps, the formation of stars and the generation of dust and complex chemistry. Very essential is the elemental abundance and chemical evolution.  All of this to form an overarching cosmological framework.  (Coles pp. 147-148)


Theoretical developments, the application of supercomputer simulations help target observational strategies and elucidate the possible links between galaxy formation and internal kinematics.  Huge ongoing redshift surveys are mapping the position of hundreds of thousands, even millions, of galaxies representative of cosmological volumes. The development of integral field units, such as ASAURON, are displaying unprecedented detail about the internal structure of nearby galaxies, and the emerging parameters of a cosmological model that describes the evolution of the bulk properties of the universe, based  upon the COSMIC MICROWAVE BACKGROUND (CMB)  and the role of Type  Ia supernova searches, SDSS has examined more than thousands of supernova, now being published.  All requiring higher sensitivity, higher angular resolution, higher spectroscopic resolution and existing wavelength ranges, allowing more detail to be gleaned and fainter objects to be studied. For some projects, wider field instruments, for probing the extremely high redshift regions. And to unveil more of the hot universe, shorter wavelengths and higher-energy X-rays.  In this study and future studies, we will summarize upcoming and new developments across the electromagnetic spectrum to shed as much light as possible from the data available on the universe and how close the Mormons came to know it before the recent discoveries.  


Extraglactic X-ray astronomy is dominated by two space missions: CHANDRA, the telescope formerly known as AXAF; and XMM/NEWTON.  CHANDRA produces the most detailed picture because it has a high-resolution camera capable of resolving sub-arc-second detail.  XMM is more suitable for survey work than CHANDRA.  They also have different instrumentation. CHANDRA has four pairs of mirrors and a focal length of about 9 m.  XMM/NEWTON has three sets of nested mirrors and a focal length of about 7.5 m. In order to operate in space both require large platforms.  Difficulties  in X-ray imaging are being overcome gradually.  The next missions will have significant gains in sensitivity, gained somewhat    incrementally and obtained at an enormous cost. (Coles pp. 549-450)


The EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY (ESA) mission, XEUS have goals that include: Spectral capability 10 times fainter than the CHANDRA  and 100 times fainter than the XMM.  They will be looking deep.  There will be deep surveys for extragalactic sources in the range of redshifts  of 10-20.  Something absolutely unexpected ten years ago. Their angular resolutions will be extremely limited in order to avoid source confusion at these levels or distances. Important will be the energy resolution in order to detail spectroscopic studies of redshifted line profiles.  XEUS will meet the focal length by using two spacecraft, called the MSC, containing the mirrors, and the DSC holding the detectors. These are held in station or position about 50 meters apart producing a telescope about five times longer than Chandra. Can you imagine the engineering involved in this?  The NASA MISSION CONSTELLATION X, is a flotilla of spacecraft.  XEUS will enable much more detailed spectroscopy to identify the chemical composition and the elements involved of fainter objects than is presently possible. Its imaging capability will still be restricted  with built resolution limits. The success of these missions will determine if higher levels of detail are required in order to  understand the structure of the universe, or if they have reached maximum goals that are achievable. (Coles p. 450)


GAIA is a mission that is a direct descendent of the highly successful ESA astrometry mission HIPPARCOS,   which measured accurate parallaxes and proper motions for stars inside our GALAXY. GAIA's  principal aim is to make an accurate three-dimensional map of more than a billion stars in the MILKY WAY,  including detailed photometric, luminosities, temperature and chemical composition characteristics of  those stars.  SDSS-111 has released massive data about the MILKY WAY, some to be discussed in future PARTS.  Our Galaxy has the mass of more than 2.5 trillion suns. So as big as this survey seems, it is very small portion of the Milky Way. While GAIA is essentially a galactic mission, it will in fact make enormous contributions to extragalactic astronomy in a range of environments.  GAIA will map and analyze millions of stars within the LARGE MEGELLANIC CLOUD, and the SMALL MEGLLANIC CLOUD, (LMC, SMC). They are on the present menu of our galaxy and are being ingested at an amazing rate. It will extend its survey to eight known dwarf satellite galaxies of the Milky Way. They are on the menu for a later date.  It will also study stars in M33 and M31 systems, all to determine details of formational history and compare the dynamics of each of them with our own large Milky Way Galaxy.  During its planned four year or longer mission it will also detect and include in its survey around 100,000 supernovae, the discovery of supernovae in galaxies of very low surface brightness excluded from other surveys.  It will yield a census of around 6 million quasars,  measuring redshifts to a greater accuracy and provide a quasar catalogue about 50 times larger than that resulting from the SLOAN DIGITAL SKY SURVEY  (SDSS) which is making such a tremendous contribution to cosmology; (See PART 3) and the ANGOLO-AUSTRALIAN 3dF GALAXY REDSHIFT SURVEY (AAGRS), complementing those studies by producing an all-sky- magnitude limited survey including multicolor photometry of around a million galaxies. It will obtain information on the distribution of galaxies on scales larger than our LOCAL GROUP  (LG).  (Coles p. 4 51)  "The number of known LOCAL GROUP galaxies, which is presently 35, continues to increase at the rate of four per decade." (Bergh p. 7-8) Since Bergh wrote that, the number now exceeds 40 and counting. As will be noted in a later entry of this series, most of the galaxies of the local group will eventually merge. The SDSS-1 - SDSS-111 MISSIONS will contribute a great deal to advances in our neck of the woods (stars) .


This orbiting observatory  has detected bright clouds of gas in which galaxies, such as the elliptical galaxy NGC 23200, are embedded. The gas is emitting X-rays and is many times the size of the galaxy embedded in the gas. (Parsons p. 66)


The INFERRED SATELLITE  (IRAS) burst on the world in 1983 with its new picture of the sky at far infrared wavelengths, and the concept of "star burst" galaxies, which was soon found to be the dominant type of active galaxy. This deep all-sky,  redshift survey, like the IRAS PSCz Galaxy Red Shift Survey set out to map the three-dimensional galaxy distribution.  Rowan-Robinson has told this story of long years of work in his book Ripples in the  Cosmos. From that survey  they extracted a sample of 15,000 galaxies spread all round the sky and ranging out to 3000 million light years, in an effort to map the galaxy distribution, study large-scale structure and estimate the amount of dark matter in the universe. (Rowan-Robinson p. 55)  Even before this improved tool,  the pioneering work from aircraft and balloons had indicated there were galaxies that were exceptionally powerful at far infrared wavelengths. There were areas of immense star birthing, wombs of the cosmos where stars were being formed by the tens of thousands, but still embedded in the clouds of dust and gas from which they are forming and almost all their light is absorbed by dust and re-emitted at far infrared wavelengths.  Many things were confirmed by IRAS and with larger samples and deeper IRAS surveys even more has emerged, establishing that there is a linkage between the evolution of quasars and radio galaxies on the one hand and starbursts on the others. (Rowan-Robinson pp. 133-134)  Their survey showed that after exclusion of some obvious stars, virtually ALL the sources were GALAXIES.  They were given four weeks of time on the 4 meter WILLIAM HERSCHEL TELESCOPE,  (WHT) on La Palma in the Canary Islands while it was being commissioned in 1983, during which they completed two thirds of the sky. They completed the other third by having observing runs at the ANGLO-AUSTRALIAN TELESCOPE,  (AAT) at Siding Spring, Australia the following summer. This gave them the first ever three-dimensional picture of the galaxy distribution out to significant depths in the universe which established that the direction in which the galaxy distribution was pulling our galaxy agreed well with the determined direction of our motion  and to explain the speed of our motion which involved the critical density. This data helped modify the cold dark matter model. The resultant pictures for the regions examined clearly showed the filamentary form and patterns around huge voids, some 500,000 light years across. (Rowan-Robinson pp. 106-107, 112)  The SDSS surveys suggests gravity created the voids.  (SDSS Aug 17 2008)  SDSS has missions planned through 2014.


The EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY (ESA) launched the HIPPARCOS in 1989, its goal was to monitor the positions of hundreds of thousands of stars to unprecedented accuracy, to place the local distance scale on a firm footing and also revised the estimates of the ages of the oldest stars.  The final stage failed to ignite correctly, the satellite was not placed in its correct circular orbit ending up in a highly elongated orbit. But by redesigning the observing program of the mission, the HIPPARCOS scientists managed to recover almost the full scientific performance planned.  (Rowan-Robinson p. 47)


 The HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE, of considerable fame and  recognized by most literate people, was launched by NASA  in 1990, with one of its goals the measuring distances to much more distant galaxies than was  possible with ground-based telescopes and to help establish the Hubble Constant, that would give an idea if the universe would run out of steam at some future stage and then collapse back on its self due to gravity, or if it might flatten out and proceed to exhaust itself in time.  It was soon realized that the mirror had been polished to the wrong shape and images obtained were horribly distorted. A trivial mistake of a key washer in the eyepiece used to monitor the polishing had been omitted.  Engineering overcame the problem and the corrective mission of 1993 providing a fix which allowed the Hubble space Telescope to achieve almost all of its goals and then some. (Rowan-Robinson p. 47)  Parked in space it has justified its existence and provided data that will take years to digest, and overwhelm the mind.  


The ATACOMA LARGE MILLIMETER/SUBMILLIMEER  ARRAY (ALMA) in Chile, discussed in PART 1, is churning out a lot of new data. Astronomers have made their first STATISTICALLY reliable  survey  of one kind of star-forming galaxy in the early universe. "Knowledge of these distant objects is important for our understanding of these galaxies' formation and evolution, but enshrouding dust usually obscures their details-making them hard to identify with telescopes that collect radio waves or visible light." (Nature 1 p. 401) Jacqueline Hodge at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg Germany, and her colleagues used ALMA to penetrate the dust veil by looking for emissions at submillimeter wavelengths of light-a length between infrared and radio waves, ALMA's main capability. The observed 126 previously unresolved galaxies in the southern constellation FORNEX, where the UHDF mission  worked last year with spectacular results discussed in PART 1. ALMA brought the veiled, blurry objects into sharper focus. At least one-third, and possibly up to one-half of the objects turned out to be multiple galaxies. The photo showed a group of ten blue objects, blue usually donating new star generation, four of the group were bright, two were less bright and four were faint blue, indicating, in part different distances. There may have been more but they were extremely faint. There were also seven red objects, red generally indicates older star formations, two of these were fairly bright, three were less bright, the others were faint, and there again, there may have been more but the quality of the photo did  not permit more clarification. There were also fuzzy objects difficult to classify. These objects are very old and at a very great distance. Close to the earliest events of the galactic forming period of the universe. More information will be forth coming, this was just an early announcement since ALMA has only recently become operational and is already shaping the future of deep observations. (Nature 1 p. 401) Books now in print, or just being published will almost, in some areas, be obsolete, and new books will have to be prepared to interpret the data coming in. The rapid progress of the past 50 years is working itself into a frenzy with all the new production of data from new instruments, and some of the largest and most sophisticated are still a few years away. 


This two billion dollar Cosmic Ray Detector is located aboard the International Space Station (ISS), is the brainchild of Samuel C.C. Ting, a 77 year-old Noble Prize winner in particle physics. It was bolted to the space station on 19 May 2011. For two years Ting and 347 members of the AMS collaboration have measured the ratio of anti-electrons, or positrons, to the total number of electrons and positrons, as Ting reported in a talk on 3 April at the European particle physics laboratory, CERN, near Geneva, Switzerland.  "According to standard astrophysics, that "positron fraction" should be small and should fall as energy increases. Instead, AMS found that the positron fraction increases from 5 % at an energy of 10 gigaelectron volts (GeV) to more than 15 % at an energy 35 times as high." (Ting, in Cho p. 135)  The extra positrons could arise from dark matter, the mysterious stuff  whose gravity binds the galaxies.  They are looking to determine the nature of dark matter.  However, the excess measured by the 6.7 ton AMS could also be subatomic exhaust from a pulsar or some other mundane astronomical object, though such are not obvious. Alternate explanations are not often plausible ones. Determining which explanation is correct may require entirely different types of experiments and could take years. But the scientists are in the game for the long haul, whatever it takes.

Ting and the AMS team do not mention dark matter in a paper in Physical Review Letters as the source of the excess but instead refer to "new physical phenomena."  The positrons could emanate from a spinning neutron star called a pulsar,  suggests Gregory Tarle, a cosmic ray physicist at the University of Michigan.  But his argument requires a limit to the size of the particle accelerating region. But there is no apparent astrophysical object in the region.  John Ellis, a theorist at King's College London, says the details of the AMS results themselves could make it harder to explain the excess in terms of dark matter, but that is part of the problem. But the AMS data shows that the positron excess extends to energies higher than previous measurements could probe. This implies that WIMP's must weight at last 300 to 400 GeV.  Ellis says this strains the theoretical models. (Ellis in Cho p. 135)  New data often stirs the pot and stimulates more observations and research.  Rigidity in ideas must be avoided.

Cosmic Ray physicists argue that the positron excess can never be deciphered by staring at the sky.  They say that one must look for answers from atom smashers, such as CERNS's,  LARGE HADRON COLLIDER (LDC), since some models indicate it ought to be possible to make WIMP's with the LHC.  Such results would clinch a dark-mater explanation for AMS's observations.  This is going to take a while. But now, the LHC is shut down for repairs until 2015.  Alone, it will take the AMS a long time to see if there is a cutoff in the positron fraction.  The uncertainty aside, the results are a triumph for Ting who literally willed the AMS into orbit.  AMC had been first proposed in 1994, the detector made a test flight on NASA's Space Shuttle Columbia in1998, but was grounded when the shuttle disintegrated in 2003. Ting got a congressional mandate that NASA launch AMS with the US as one of 16 contributing nations. AMS acknowledges nine current and former senators and representatives for their support. (Adrian Cho (http://scim.ag/pod_ 6129)  So, AMS was bolted to the space station 19 May 2011.


So, what else are they doing to discover the characteristics of  Dark Matter? Here are a few:


Cryogenic  Dark Matter Search, CDMS,  looks for WIMPS using germanium and silicon crystals chilled to nearly absolute zero. One detector is located in an old mine workings off the bottom of a shaft 713 hundred  meters beneath the surface at Soudan, Minn.  In 2009, it announced the detection of two possible  WIMP  particles, a finding that has not been confirmed. They were criticized for making a premature announcement. It may be that the detections were due to background interference. The search continues. In order to reduce the background from ambient radioactivity, the CDMS experiment has been located 2100 feet deep in the old mine, and behind a thick lead and polyethylene barrier. The precision detectors are made from ultra pure germanium crystals with a mass of 250 grams each. For every particle interaction in the crystal, both an ionization signal and a phonon (heat) signal are read out. Electrons and gamma rays constitute the main remaining radioactive background, manifesting as recoiling electrons. An ambitious attempt.  

Taking data for more than a year, and performing a careful blind analysis of the recorded data, this  CDMS 1 collaboration had expected to observe about one event from background in the predefined signal area but instead they observed two.  While this might be exciting from a statistical point of view, experiments for years have produced null results, proving only upper limits on cross section for WIMP nucleon interactions. Collaboration 1 and Collaboration 11 have raised hopes that more sensitive detectors may soon shed light on dark matter, using this approach. The target materials can be made very pure so most radioactive backgrounds come from the surface of a detector and instrumental effects that are stronger near the edges. CDMS- 11 developed thicker germanium targets and with more efficient phonon collection to better reject surface events. Their thinking was that this would increase the acceptance of these new detectors to dark matter events and allow them to take the next step in sensitivity that is required to clarify the result reported. Scientists do not need success in order to persevere.

Then, at a meeting of the American Physical Society in Denver, 13 April 2013,  physicists working with an ultrasensitive particle detector recorded three blips that could be particles of dark matter. However, the leaders of the on-going CDMS work issued no press release and stressed that three "events" are too few to claim a discovery.  But it has put other physicists on notice. First, they say, the three events are cleaner and more persuasive than earlier ones. Second, if CDMS has spotted dark matter then the beast they've glimpsed, a lightweight version of a so-called WIMP-, should show up during on-going search. Neal Weiner, a Theorist at New York University in New York City Said: "If this is real, we should know soon."  (Science Vol. 340, 26 April 2013 p. 418)  The researchers are now running experiment SUPERCDMS, the earlier ones were CDMS 1 and 11.  They just hope they are not running up a blind alley again.


This detector is located beneath Gran Sasso mountain in Italy, it relies on vats of liquid Xenon.  In 2011,  researchers reported finding no evidence of WIMPS. The search goes on. By using XENON, or liquid noble gases as a target they can read out the scintillation light that is created in a particle interaction.  If electrons liberated in the interaction drift through the liquid they are measured as well, this allows for background discrimination similar to CDMS. The advantage is these liquid target detectors can be made very large, thus decreasing the surface to-volume ratio.  They were first used in 2008.  A large reduction of the radioactive background was achieved by using only the innermost 5.4 kg from a 15 kg liquid xenon target. They had hoped by 2010 to see rapid progress, with a least three major liquid noble gas experiments expected to release data. Sensitivity is the big factor so, one ton-scale detectors are being designed and should soon be in service.  When WIMPS are detected it will generate a new astronomy, because, due to their feeble interactions the energy distribution of WIMPS's in the galaxy, the Milky Way preserves features more than a billion years old that arose during collisions with other galaxies.  The whole objective is to be able to measure WIMP energy distribution with direct dark matter detectors that would open the history book of our galaxy.  There is a lot of hope out there!


CRESST, another Gran Sasso experiment using calcium-tungstate crystals. This team reported a potential signal in September 2011,  that has not yet  been confirmed. CoGeNT with a detector  in the same Minnesota mine as CDMS, but is using a wedge of germanium, reported, in 2010,  hundreds of potential WIMP particles, but still unconfirmed. In 2011, researchers described suspected evidence for a season fluctuation in suspected dark matter, the subject of much debate.  This has been observed by others and is being evaluated.  Those working with the experiment reported an excess of events that could be low-mass WIMPS.  However, the XENON dark mater experiment claimed to have ruled out both the CoGeNT and CRESST signals, but they too may have overstated their results.  (Cho p. 418)   


Also in Italy at Gran Sasso,  using a sodium iodide detector.  They first reported in 1998, then again in 2008 and 2010,  a seasonal dark matter fluctuation, but can this observation be linked to the one CoGNT noticed?  No other group has confirmed these observation as yet.

The suggestion that there may be a wind or seasonal fluctuation in dark matter particles may be the product of Earth's orbit carrying it through the galactic dark matter halo.  But so far the WIMP sightings have been less than definitive, leaving scientists puzzled.  No Earth-based experiment has yet captured the presence of WIMPS, confirming detection.  But it could happen at any time. Don't hold your breath.

There are so many dead ends and unanswered  questions. All of the above arouses the question: "Why can we know for sure that we are understanding the true nature of the universe, and not merely imagining what it might be like?" (Filkin p.80) How does one resolve all of the challenges every step of the way? 


Finally, after nearly two years delay, THE PLANCK SPACE TELESCOPE (PST), a space-based instrument (Grant p. 13) was launched into space May 6, 2009.  It had ambitious objectives and hoped to achieve the unexpected.  And it did. On 21 March 2013 the PST team released the highest precision map yet of the COSMIC MICROWAVE BACKGROUND  (CMB), made by PST. (Nature  2, 417)  "The faint but ubiquitous afterglow of the BIG BANG (BB). Crowning nearly 50 years of CMB study, the map records the precise contours of the nascent [early] Universe--and in doing so pins down key parameters of the Universe today." (Peplow p. 417)  They revised the figures for DARK MATTER, DARK ENERGY, BAYRONIC MATTER, and new estimates for the AGE OF THE UNIVERSE.  The tiny fluctuations embedded in the CMB map revels a universe that is expanding, that was known, but slightly more slowly than had been thought. "That dials back the amount of gravity-countering  'dark energy'  to 68.3 % of the Universe, and adds a little more unseen dark matter to the mix. It also means that the Universe is a little older: 13.82 billion years old, adding a few tens of millions of years to the previously calculated value." (Peplow p. 417).  Those working with the Planck Collaboration,  released in April 2013, that Dark Matter is 26.8 %, Dark Energy is 68.3 %, and Ordinary Matter is 4.9 %.  (Science News, April 20, 2013)  All of these figures will change as observations continue and further interpretation of the PST results are obtained.


"A $2 billion experiment on the International Space Station  (ISS) has released the first data from its unprecedented census of the charged subatomic particles whizzing by Earth." (Grant p. 14)  "This first batch of data from the ALPHA MAGNETIC SPECTROMETER (AMS), published in PHYSICAL REVIEW LETTERS, encompasses about 25 billion particles detected over the course of a year and a half, including 6.8 million measurements of electrons and positrons that have come from dark matter. AMS improved the precision of earlier data, detected particles at higher energy than previous instruments and found that the particles arrive in equal amounts from all directions." (Grant p. 14)  Different theories are adversely affected.


But  where the PST "breaks the most new ground is in its support for the reigning theory that describes the instant after the BB. The theory, known as INFLATION, holds that during an unimaginably rapid expansion lasting  just 1032  seconds or so, the universe grew from a subatomic point to something the size of a grapefruit that then continued to expand at more stately pace. This growth spurt would help to explain why the universe we see today is homogeneous on the largest scales, yet riddled with clumps, filaments, and sheets of galaxies." (Peplow p. 417) Jo Dunkley at the University of Oxford, UK, who has worked on data from Planck and the WMAP said:  "Planck could have found that there was something , majorly wrong with inflation.  Instead we've got new evidence that this expansion did happen." (Dunkley in Peplow p. 417)  The theory of INFLATION, is still just that, a theory.  It does not have the dignity of being a fact as yet.  A lot of money and a lot of people are working on it.

Jan Tauber, based in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, is the project scientist for PST says: For nearly thirty five years  "The thinking of cosmologists has been guided by a theory called inflation, which tries to explain how the Universe evolved in the moments after the Big Bang. Inflation has passed every observational test to date, mainly by predicting the statistics of the temperature variations in the COSMIC MICROWAVE BACKGROUND, CMB seen by PLANCK's predecessors [COBE, and WMAP more on these PARTS 3& 4].  But PLANCK'S extreme sensitivity to the variations will put inflation to its most stringent test yet-and will either vindicate it, or demolish it in favor of some rival theory, of which there are several." (Tauber in Nature 3, p. 820) 

The idea of inflation is so important to modern cosmology that the ultracool, 2 ton, $800 million spacecraft is in a very hot competition with dozens of ground based and balloon-borne experiments-  all pursing the same goal: exquisite measurement of the Cosmic Wave Background  (CMB).  Michael Turner, a cosmologist at the University of Chicago says: "This is Swedish gold." (Nature 3, p. 820)  Of course, referring to the Noble Prize. To summarize:

            THE SINGULARITY: The timeline includes: The Big Bang is born  from a singularity, whatever that i            s, 13.82  billion years ago. There are those  who are working on the             Prehistory of the BB, and creating a great deal of pondering. (Clegg pp. 79-80)  After   fifteen years and  as many or more alternate proposals, the Big Bang remains an          unknowable infinitely dense moment of time and space they call a singularity. How can    we get by on a theory of cosmology without understanding the singularity, suggests Neil        Turok, director of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Canada.      (Nature 3 p. 380)

INFLATION: ''Something'' (?) accelerates the expansion. Some models even inflate the universe by a factor of 1026  in less than 10-32 seconds.

COSMIC MICROWAVE BACKGROUND:  Between 300,000 and 380,000 years,      loose electrons cold enough to combine with protons. The   universe becomes transparent  to light. The CMB begins to shine, but not by photons yet.

DARK AGES: Clouds of hydrogen gas comprised of quarks and sub-atomic particles cool and coalesce. There are no stars and nothing to emit photons of light.

FIRST STARS: Gas clouds collapse under gravity, the heat and pressure within the stars start nuclear fusion, elements start to be born, there is light.

GALAXY FORMATION: Gravity causes star masses to form, merge and form irregular  galaxies, which drift, driven by the expansion that is always on-going. Oversized starts collapse and are so massive black holes are created. Gradually, galaxies attract each other, clusters are formed.  (Based on Nature 3 p.822) 

The above is a simplification of the model most often used.  Paul Steinbardt, a physiist at Princeton University, recognized a big problem with Inflation, "Once it starts it never ends." Steinbardt was one of the inflation's founding fathers in the 1980's , but is now one of its chief critics. He points out that the term Big Bang was originally coined by Fred Hoyle, the supporter of the Steady State cosmos until observational astronomy cancelled it, and staunch opponent of Inflation, as a way of mocking the notion of a cosmos suddenly appearing in the clap of a magicians hand. The term stuck. But creating the  universe out of nothing  grates on the nerves of a lot of theorists, so theories have proliferated. Turok and Steinbardt even proposed a radical alternative, called ekpyrosis, Greek for "out of fire." It was a complicated theory of two universes and mimics many of inflation's appealing features, growing out of discussions over string theory and brane  universes, involving at least 10 dimensions. There was a racetrack inflation, a multi-field inflation, a hyperextended  inflation, and variations of proposals but they were quickly quashed because the shape and duration of the inflationary pulse could not be distinguished with existing data.  However, none of the those alternates were being supported by results of the new observations and experiments. (Nature 3 pp. 821-822)

 Mormon  Cosmology (MC) requires a type of energy and matter to be organized in the beginning into whatever the singularity may be called. This local universe is very late, after many such Big Bangs had already been organized and orderly continued to the  point of their energy dissipation or radical change in their physical constitution.  (Moses l:32, 29, 33, 35)  This activity continues on a regular basis. In the scheme of things, time really is of little consequence.  Daniel Baumann, at Harvard University in 2009 who had worked with Turok and Steinhardt, was a lead author on a paper that mapped out the theoretical landscape of inflation and its alternatives, concluded that the inflation theory, or its role in the  theory is "Something that should be challenged." (Nature 3 p. 822)  For the present, inflation is still the best game in town, and the new results of many observations and experiment will add to and correct the model.  David Spergel, an astrophysicist at Princeton, who was in on the WILKINSON MICROWAVE ANISOTROPY PROBE (WMAP) launched in 2001, which provided the best estimates at that time for the age and composition of the universe, said: "There are people who like making a mess and there are people who like cleaning it up."  (Nature 3 p. 823) The new results from ALMA, PTS, AMS and all the other tools are cleaning up the mess very well, and there are fewer making messes. But that is Science. It all means we are getting a firmer grasp on the reality of the universe all the time.                   


The PLANCK SPACECRAFT was launched and then parked in a gravitational dead spot  l.5 million kilometers from Earth, facing away from the sun,  in 2009.  Charles Lawrence, was the US project scientist for the mission at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena California stated: "No sunshine ever falls on the core, no earthshine, no moonshine. It's completely in the dark'" (Nature 3 p. 823) And it must stay incredibly cold in order to detect the tiny temperature differences between photons which have been moving since then,  and show if some are a ten-millionth of a degree hotter than others. The temperature differences will be extremely important. These are the original photons travelling at least 13.82 billion years to get where the PLANCK can gather them. Now the results are coming in.  Incredible engineering!

A system of three stacked disks start the process of dissipating the heat from Planck's posterior, which faces the sun and reach 380o Kelvin, cooling it down to 50 o.  Three cryogenic coolers nested like Russian dolls turn on, the first, drops the temperature to 20o Kelvin, then a  mechanical compressor kicks in and lowers the temperature to 4o, but it has to be much colder than that, so the final cooler uses the different thermal capacity of helium and a helium isotope with one less neutron to bring molecular movement nearly to a sand still at a tenth of a degree above absolute zero.  In the innermost sanctum are 52 bolometer detectors made from fibers of gold-coated silicon nitride, a hundredth the width of a human hair. They hang in place like the filigree web of a spider, to allow cosmic rays or charged particles to pass through without confounding measurements. These spindly threads are the right size however, to react to cosmic microwave background radiation.  Corrugated antennas poke through the nested cryocoolers  gathering  microwaves at different frequencies and funnel them to the bolometers for processing and measurement.  It takes years to do this. (Hand p. 824)  Remember, it has been parked up there for four years.  Data received has been in process of being interpreted and  readied for release.

The CMB data somewhat constrains the development of new theories, the WMAP data had nearly been wrung dry, but radical theories persisted. The PST includes two tests that will be particularly important and will help weed out hopefuls and imposters.  They will determine, hopefully, now that the data is coming in, when inflation began-if it happened at all- and how long it lasted.  One test for inflation that has scientists building microwave telescopes at the South Pole and sending balloons nearly to space, is the search for B-modes, these are special types of polarization that may be present as markings on the CMB. If they exist, they would be indirect evidence for the gravitational waves that should have accompanied inflation.  The Ekpyrosis predicts no gravitational waves whatsoever, so inflation would be favored. If Planck detects a B-mode and non-Gaussianity, inflation would be downsized in its corner. (Hand p. 824)  Christoph  Rath, of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Gatching, Germany,  is in favor of a non-Gaussianity, bell curve type variation of the CMB, even  Benjamin Wandelt, a Planck scientist from the University of Illinois, concluded to his own surprise that CMB seems to have a significant non-Gaussianity curve.  So one of the tests for the mission of the PST was to determine if a perfect and simple inflation governed the early universe, then these shifts from hot to cold in the CMB data should have the Gaussian shape of a bell curve.  Theories will rise and fall based on the incoming data. (Hand p. 823)


B-Modes are a special type of polarization that may be present as markings on the CMB. If they exist they would be indirect evidence for gravitational waves that should have accompanied inflation.  Andrew Lange, physicist at the California Institute of Technology, says there are limits to how far they can go in detecting B-modes. Lange has done more than anyone to pioneer the technology of bolometers, the high-resolution microwave thermometers used on Planck, and then  improving on them for balloons and on telescopes at the South Pole. But the Milky Way emissions might drown out the signal no matter how good the bolometers or detector are. (Nature 3 p. 824)  For scientists now working on the projects Nature may have put some things beyond reach and the lifetime of some of them. (Hand p. 824)

 PART 3 will continue the summaries of scientists, their tools and results as the details of cosmology are revealed and the Universe and local universe take on their true Character.


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