Dr. Einar C. Erickson
Ancient Document Mormon Scholar
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Professor Sod had an interview for three and one-half hours with President McKay here at the Church Offices.  At the end of this interview President McKay asked him, "What happened to the people who wrote the scrolls?"  Professor Sod was going to defer to the expert but he was the expert.  He said, "President McKay, they joined the Church."  And President McKay said, "I like that."


In PART 1, we began to identify those areas of Mormon doctrine that have permitted some Mormon scholars to anticipate and preempt geological, biological and cosmological discoveries that have been made just during the past 180 years, essentially the last 15.  A preliminary list of sixteen such themes with their sources was provided to present those points.  Many of them go back in Mormon history to the period 1829-1844.  Mention was made of others that would be added at a later date. In this study, PART 4, we will add Theme 17:  What is truth?

D&C 93:24:  "And truth is knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come."  The thrust of cosmology is the observation of the content of the universe back to as near the beginning as one can detect, unraveling its present and predicting its future as absolutely as  possible. Mormons accept and seek out the truth in all endeavors so whatever is true is Mormon Doctrine.  Truth is absolute, it is not a belief.


The success in learning about the cosmos and our particular BB bubble  has been stunning.  From this little pestiferous rocky speck of dust we call earth we have surveyed the universe around us to ever greater depths and distances, discovering  planets, their moons; birthing areas of new stars, stars of all kinds, galaxies of all types, clusters and  super-clusters  and mega-clusters of galaxies woven into fantastic webs of filaments stretching across the depths of space, black holes, monsters of every variety, and patterns which show the seeds from which all subsequent structure developed and the origin of all of the elements, with surprises at every turn, and new detecting telescopes of a variety of capabilities. We have seen so much that it makes us tremble and gasp, and increases the desire to see more and more and more, to expend great sums to detect a whisper of a particle and to be overwhelmed with all we have found, we can scarce take it all in.  From all of this and even more, those with an eye on the sky  "have constructed a quantitative theory for the universe that passes every test to which it has been put. [so far]. It can be tested and found wanting  (falsified) on many levels, but it has not been falsified, yet.  Every time there is new, more precise observations or a new calculation of expected properties, we find better and better congruence between expectation and the real world. This is a pretty impressive list of successes...The origins of both of the major components of the universe and their seed fluctuations that grew to become the things we see about us continue to baffle us...but it is obvious to all that the undertaking has succeeded  beyond the wildest dreams of the early scientists who led the way, while leaving ample room for the discoveries by future generations of cosmologists."  (Ostriker p. 262)  What follows is the latest update on the model the astronomers are using to plug in the ongoing analysis of results of the activities of all the instruments we have been identifying. It is subject to change without notice. It is called:


The LAMBA COLD DARK MATTER MODEL (LCDM-MODEL) is now the PREFERRED  MODEL and STANDARD which holds sway in cosmological circles.  It is the modern paradigm of cosmology. Ostriker states:  "This model has the matter density that is observed; it is geometrically flat and it predicts a universe consistent with the supernova studies...and the timing arguments. It is the modern paradigm of cosmology. All of a sudden it became clear that every observation that had been made was consistent with this model, and in  particular, the careful analysis of the  COSMIC BACKGROUND RADIATION FIELD [CDMF]  by the WMAP satellite...gave empirical justification for it to a higher accuracy than two significant decimal places.   [For the moment it stands in center stage.]

"It would be stretching the truth to say that doubt has ceased, and that all students of the problem are now convinced of the accuracy of the flat LCDM model containing dark matter plus dark energy that adds up to the critical value. But today the burden of proof has moved to those who doubt its validity; the consensus is strong that the Modern Cosmological Paradigm  (MCP) is right."  (Ostriker p. 243)

"The Lambda-Cold-Dark-Matter flat model of the universe (LCDMF) works. It works really well. Every prediction that has followed from it, when tested, has come out true. But there are fundamental questions that remain unanswered...those left for future generations of students to decode." (Ostriker p. 252)  Question such as What was before the Creation?  What is the end of the universe?  And nearly all in between these two questions seem to be expected to yield to the work in progress and planned for the future. Astronomy's brightest future is still yet ahead.


There are a number of speculative possibilities explored by physicist for the origin of our inflating universe. Studies of the COSMIC MICROWAVE BACKGROUND (CMB) suggest, almost confirm, that inflation is likely, or something like it is required, but details of how it got started have yet to be worked out. THE GOTT-LI MODEL is one of those  that shows the creation of multiple universes from a time loop, with each funnel representing an inflating universe that is growing larger with time into an infinite size and sprouting branches.  Physicist Andrei Linde has shown that , once started, this branching process will continue forever, creating an infinite fractal tree of universes. (Gott p. 235)  Instead of encores you get branching funnels and loops. The model needs a lot of work, though it may be dead-ended already.


Sanchayeeta Borthakur at Johns Hopkins University, and her colleagues used the HST to probe 20 nearby galaxies. Each galaxy had gone through  burst of star formation within the past few hundred million years.  They found that winds flowing from the newborn stars ionize gas particles some 200 kilo-parsecs  (l parsec - 3.26 light years)  from the galactic centers. This is the first observations of such long-distance changes.  What happens in a star forming galaxy does not stay in a star forming galaxy. Powerful outflows  from newborn stars can energize space well beyond the main boundaries of a galaxy.  The out flows may modify galactic material in ways that suppress future star growth.  (Borthakur  p. 161)


This is another one of the big projects peering into the deepest depths of the sky.  It covers an area the size of Rhode Island. You cannot see the entire array at once, except from the air. It is located some 185 miles south of the regional capital of Mendoza in the never ending grasslands or pampas, broken only by the snow-capped Andes Mountains, the border of Chile, to the west; the nearest town is Malargue. The site was chosen because of its remoteness.  In 1972 an airliner crashed in the nearby Andes, a dozen survivors were stranded for 72 days, and resorted to cannibalism to stay alive. In winter the region is a ski resort.  Malargue is five miles off the southwest edge of the big site. It has a population of  about 25,000.  Here is a site of scientific instruments where humans have encountered the most energetic particles in the universe opening a wild new frontier in particle astronomy. 

The observatory comprises 1,600 sophisticated water tanks,  .6  of a mile apart,  covering an area of about 1,200 square miles, with four fluorescence detectors arranged at critical locations around the site almost forming a square, designed to record the air showers produced when Ultra High Energy Cosmic Rays (UHECR) strike the  atmosphere.  The water tanks can pinpoint an air shower's arrival time to within nanoseconds, information then is sent to the observatory headquarters in Malargue. The instruments regularly detect several thousand garden-variety cosmic rays, but a new UHECR turns up every other month permitting the scientists to develop ideas about where they come from and what they are made of, but some of the hints are more perplexing than anyone expected.

Countless subatomic particles, Cosmic Rays, bombard earth every day. tiny bits of matter that have traveled at nearly the speed of light spewed out from the Sun, exploding stars, supernovae, active galaxies and myriad other sources on a regular basis. The Austrian physicist Victor Hess discovered cosmic rays during a series of balloon flights he made between 191l and 1913, but was far from understanding them at that time. Many of the particles pass through Earth unscathed, others can cause mutations in human tissue or flip a bit in a computer's memory. Every astronomer is familiar with the occasional streak of light on a CCD image created when a stray particle hits the camera.

Each of the 1600 tanks is 11.8 feet across and 3.9 feet high holding 3,170 gallons of purified water. Air shower particles propagate at close to the speed of light in a vacuum, which is far faster than light travels through water. This creates electromagnetic shock waves and a flash of light that the sensors mounted on the tank record.  A second set of detectors help in the hunt for cosmic rays. Charged particles in an air shower excite atmospheric nitrogen. The molecules subsequently release this energy as ultraviolet light through a process called fluorescence. The Auger Observatory includes the four main buildings housing fluorescence detectors that search for the faint ultraviolet glows from these showers. At each of these is a 3.5 meter telescope attached to a camera that scans the sky looking for the faint ultraviolet light emitted when a cosmic ray creates an air shower of rays and particles.


There is a 4  million-solar mass BLACK HOLE at the center of our Milky Way, confirmed in 2008 after a 16  year study that tracked the movements of stars near the galactic center. However, when a black hole strips material from a nearby star or a merging galaxy, the liberated gas from an accretion disk before it falls into the black hole. Friction within the disk raises its temperature to millions of degrees, generating a huge amount of light across the electromagnetic spectrum. The incredible energies released in the form of X-rays are one of the signatures of a BLACK HOLE. (Hawkings p. 122) It is called Hawkings Radiation. Astronomers call this special type of accreting super-massive  black hole as an ACTIVE GALACTIC NUCLEUS (AGN), the brightest continuous sources of radiation in the universe. But many mysteries still surround them. AGN eject mater at velocities approaching the speed of light, but Astronomers still don't know exactly why or how they do that. These giant jets often occur in pairs that spurt in opposite directions toward the poles of its host galaxy. So astrophysicists were elated in 2007 when those at Pierre Auger announced that they had found a tentative correlation between the highest energy cosmic rays and the positions of a nearby AGN. It was the breakthrough for that year.  Since then and now they are looking for the smoking gun. 

The PIERRA AUGER OBSERVATORY  is an immense project, costing about $50 million, and  requires a unique collaboration.  More than  500 scientists from 55 institutions and from 15 countries spread over five continents work on the project. During a collaboration meeting the remote town of Malargue  becomes a jam packed place, the local paper devoting  several pages to list every author describing the results being obtained. Greg Snow, a physicist from the University of Nebraska says "Auger is run like a company. We have a hierarchy, but we must keep ourselves a democracy." A great expense is involved. 

Most researchers assumed that ULTRA HIGH ENERGY COSMIC RAYS (UHECRs) would turn out to be protons, the hydrogen atom stripped of its electrons. (Bernstein pp. 78-79) These subatomic particles make up the great majority of LOW-ENERGY COSMIC RAYS (LECRs). They are trying to formulate a theory of how nature might be able to accelerate a proton to such high energies. None of their ideas, however, could possibly work with heavier elements, and some of the observations at AUGER  indicate that some of the observed UHECR's are made of iron nuclei. This complicates the theories because it requires a heavy iron nucleus to reach such speeds, and any mechanism that could likely do this would tear the nucleus apart in the process. And where are the iron particles coming from? They may need help in the precise identification of sources.  But maybe they are not iron? If not,  then that means that the physics isn't well understood.  Is it a clue that particle physics might be different at much higher energies? So they watch and wait for the next high energy particles to arrive. The researchers are ready to tackle the mysteries.  It is all in a day's work when you are exploring the frontiers of astronomy from the remote plains of Argentina. (Cendes pp. 29-33)


CHINA'S LARGE SKY AREA MULTI-OBJECT FIBER SPECTROSCOPIC TELESCOPE,  (LAMOST), or the GUA SHOU JING OBSERVATORY, named after the 13th century Chinese astronomer is located at KINGLONG OBSERVATORY in the mountains only 71 miles north from the center of Beijing.  When telescope construction began in 2001, the site was remote, but the lights and pollution from today's nearly 20 million residents of Beijing, coupled with unfavorable weather and seeing, make the site less than ideal for conventional astronomy. We had thought the pollution in the air and sky was difficult to accept as early as1981 when we visited Beijing. But now?  Nether-the-less, LAMOST has the potential to be a uniquely powerful observational tool with capabilities that will be unmatched for years to come. LAMOST is just one of many new projects highlighting China's increased astronomical presence. (Kelly p. 45)  Light pollutions will not affect LAMOST.

LAMOST is designed to do one thing only and to do it superbly and that is to analyze the spectra, or light, of 4,000 objects at a time over a wield field of view equal to the same area as 100 full moons.  It's unique design is a meridian reflecting Schmidt telescope.  The classic Schmidt telescope gets its wide field of view from a spherical primary mirror. Such a design requires a corrector, a lens placed at the front of the telescope. This limits the size of the instrument, most such telescopes have openings of less than  l meter, but LAMOST is the first large Schmidt telescope to use a mirror as the corrector, allowing for a 4 meter aperture that sees a 20-square degree field of view. The LAMOST design collector can collect light from celestial objects during the few hours around the time when they cross the meridian, the imaginary north-south line through the sky. The mirror then reflects the light up a long tube to the primary mirror, which directs the light to 4,000 optical fibers that funnel the starlight into 16 spectrographs. The impressive abilities of LAMOST overcome the disadvantages of a less ideal site. The $37 million project was finished in 2008 and was commissioned in June  2012. It embarked on its first main five year spectroscopic survey mission nearly a year ago.


One of the most active fields of research in astronomy is "galactic archaeology."  Some fraction of the Milky Way, our galaxy, was formed by the merging of smaller star clusters or little galaxies.  This was mentioned in PART 3 of this series. Many of these ingested or accreted assemblies of stars  are now disrupted, with their stars scattered across the MILKY WAY.  These streams of stars are spatially mixing with lots of other stars, making them difficult to pick out by their positions alone.  But they have maintained their original momentum and direction of motion, LAMOST will measure their location and their velocities and thus dissect the origins of portions of the MILKY WAY.  LAMOST will reveal the details of these streams of stars. One such stream is near our location within the galaxy. Future PARTS of this series will discuss the star streams a little more. Thus, LAMOST will be the world's most efficient machine to measure the line-of-sight velocities of millions of nearby and distant stars .  LAMOST  will achieve its full potential when it eventually combines its data with that from the  EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY, (ESA) space bound  GLOBAL ASTROMETRIC  INTEFEROMETER FOR ASTROPHYSICS, (GAIA) launched in 2013.  Together the two telescopes will be able to create a catalogue of three-dimensional velocity information for millions of stars and unravel the history of our MILKY WAY and the LOCAL GROUP.  (Kelly p. 46)  No doubt other such instruments will be added by others in the future to achieve like results and more details.

The SLOAN DIGITAL SKY SURVEY (SDSS) discussed in PART 3  of this series, is focusing  mostly on extragalactic studies and has measured velocities and distances for more than  600,000 stars, and a lot, lot more.  One area of this survey captured  a spectacular image of the Perseus cluster of galaxies located in the  North Circumpolar chart. (Gott p. 61)  Also spectacular is the continuous panorama by Lorne Hofstetter and J.R. Gott of the eastern end of the Sloan Great Wall, it shows the fantastic filaments and gaping empty spaces nearly 10 Billion light years away. (Gott pp. 115-117)  More on these items in the future.   

Throughout all of world history many civilizations have contributed to our knowledge of the cosmos. Centuries ago astronomers of China recorded their observations as part of this great tradition. Indeed the most accurate eclipse predictions in the 11th century came not from astronomers in Europe or Babylon in the Middle East, or Persia where Thales, a Phoenician, (624-546 BC) who had spent at least 55 years on the heaving deck of ships. He had obtained his knowledge in Persia in 600 BC, so he could predict the eclipse of May 28, 585 BC.  Egypt was not the source for this ability either. (Ridpath,  p. 209)  But it came from the skygazers of the SONG DYNASTY who recorded also recorded the supernova of 1054 AD in China. (Ridpath p. 205)  A student of Thales, Anaximander, (610-546 BC) was the father of astronomy who put forth the first known cosmological theory.  (Ridpath p. 10)  Nearly a thousand years later the growing economy of China resulted in the dedication of significant resources to fundamental sciences including astronomy, especially the recording of supernovas.  Now China has ambitious plans to make itself a world leader in astrophysical research once again. In August of 2012, scientists worldwide converged on Beijing to attend the XXVIII General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union. It was evident that China was making large investments in science, and that, in the case of astronomy,  range from commissioning mega-projects within its borders to joining various international collaborations. China is poised to achieve major advances in astronomical research.  Look for many of its highly specific and specialized ground-based projects now in various stages of completion to make a big impact in the coming decade.  But where are they getting high quality sites in China? "American observatories long ago left the comfort of eastern campuses for the darker and drier skies of Arizona, New Mexico, and ultimately  Hawaii and Chile. China possess  many  high and dark sites for instance in the Himalayas-but none has consistently clear weather or exceptional seeing. So lacking an optimal astronomical location they can compare to the world's best, new Chinese optical facilities have required careful planning to optimize their future scientific output. (Peng p. 44)  The type of instrument is the main concern because they do wish to make an impact.


FAST, is a Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope using a concept pioneered successfully by the 1,000-foot-diameter (105 Meters) Arecibo Radio Telescope (ART) in Puerto Rico. FAST is just a little under five times the size of  ART and improves on the design of ART. Both telescopes are non-steerable dishes set into a natural limestone depression.  This is another of China's astronomy mega-projects. It is in southwest China  in the very scenic subtropical province of Guizhou. The karst limestone topography in this much photographed region provides natural depressions, one of which was selected for this large dish to be located. The ground shape provides the basic framework for the dish, allowing for a much larger and less expensive structure that is impossible with a full steel support system.

"Observing at long radio wavelengths, FAST is sensitive to neutral hydrogen gas, the most abundant element in the universe. One of the main project goals is to create new maps of the gas in the MILKY WAY, and the various streams of stars, as well as to detect thousands of distant galaxies through their hydrogen emission. FAST also will discover thousands of new pulsars, spinning neutron stars that remain after stellar explosions. Construction of  FAST, a $110 million project, has already begun, and first light is expected in 2016." (Peng p. 47) Part of its objective is to study the streams of stars from merged galaxies.


More than 10,000 rooftop television antenna are combined in the 21CMA,  a radio telescope assembly also sensitive to the emission of neutral hydrogen gas from the era before the first stars formed. These antenna assembled and built in a remote radio-quiet valley in northwestern China, point unwaveringly toward the North Celestial Pole. The job of correlating the signal from all the antennas and constructing the images goes to a cluster of off-the-shelf computers. The modest budget requires that the project focus on a specific concept and make the best of any design or geographic advantage. The science goals for such projects, however, are not lacking in ambition, and results will be important contributions to the knowledge of the beginning of the universe. It is also called the PRIMEVAL STRUCTURE TELESCOPE, (PST)  because it has its primary mission,  as a radio array, to detect the emissions from atomic hydrogen at rest wavelength of 21 centimeters at the beginning of this local universe.  This corresponds to the cosmic epoch BEFORE the FIRST stars. This radiation is the same emission that FAST will observe locally, but the 21CMA will detect it in a different form at extremely large distances. (Peng p. 47)  It will make an extremely important contribution to the understanding of what happened when the BB cooled down enough for hydrogen to form. And all of the hydrogen that would ever be formed in this universe would be formed at that time.

"Because of the expansion of the  universe, the emission's wavelength has stretched so much that it is the same as that of commercial television broadcasts. The downside of this is that any faint celestial signal will be drowned out by terrestrial emissions anywhere with TV reception. The upside is that you can use standard rooftop antennas to build your telescope, which they did,  in a remote valley in western China, shielded from TV signals and other RFI, the 21 CMA team has built a huge array using off the shelf rooftop antennas at a fraction of the cost of a standard radio telescope. " (Peng pp. 47-48)

The 10,286 antennas are laid out in two "arms"  one 2.5 miles and 3.7miles long. It requires no drive motors, and the computationally intensive task of interpreting and correlating the signals between all the antenna goes to a relatively inexpensive cluster of computers running free Linux software.  Plainly it will not be a multipurpose telescope, like the low frequency array in Europe or Argentina, but it costs just a fraction of those projects at $6.5 million. It is now at work generating 4 terabytes of data every day. (Peng pp. 47-48)  In time there will be results to report.


The Stellar Observations Network Group (SONG) is a Danish-led-International Collaboration that will study star variability with high precision. It will place one of its eight nodes in Qinghai Province;  a l-METER TELESCOPE (l-MT), in western China. This site, at an elevation of 10,500 feet,  where it will host a 1-MT identical to seven others around the world.  SONG'S node in Qinghai will be completing its construction in late 2013.  The next generation of optical telescopes, the extremely large telescope, will have apertures of  24 to 39 meters or more, depending on the project, and most will be the results of international partnerships.

Astronomers increasingly need 24 hour observing coverage, any optical observatory has just eight to 10 hours of observation per day, so continuous coverage requires a network of observatories around the globe, situated to cover all time zones. China may not have a world-class optical site like Hawaii or Chile, but it does have the best spots in its longitude range. East of southern Africa and west of Australia, the most ideal areas for optical astronomy are in western China, making China the country for an ideal partner in any global monitoring program. China is stepping up to the plate to get in on this action.

The 1-MT will continuously monitor bright stars for minute variations to their velocities and temperature.  It can detect small pulsations, or "starquakes" to help probe the interior of the stars. Using this data SONG will produce stellar parameters for more than100 naked-eye stars in the solar neighborhood, expanding our knowledge of stellar structure and evolution.  China is largely focused on domestic programs, but it is increasingly integrating with global research efforts. The rise of global monitoring networks such as SONG is a natural fit and likely a sign of future international agreements. ( Peng pp 48-49)


In 2012, China joined the THIRTY METER TELESCOPE (TMT) project.  This is a multinational partnership, including the California institute of Technology, the University of California, Canada, Japan, and India, to build a 30-meter optical -infrared telescope atop Mauna Kea in Hawaii. One of the technologies developed for LAMOST, the ability to polish mirror segments for the primary mirror, when completed, in 2018, China's astronomers will for the first time have direct access to one of the world's best optical-infrared facilities. Compare this with the largest multipurpose optical telescope in China today which only has an aperture of  2.4 meters, not including special survey telescope like LAMOST. The jump from 2.4 to 30 meters will be an enormous one.  In order to develop large-aperture science and cadres, China has recently negotiated access for approximately 50 nights each year on telescopes in both the United States and Chile with apertures between 3.6 and 6.5 meters.  Some projects are global in scope because, like SONG, they require continuous sky coverage. Many others however, are simply too complex for just one country and therefore require international consortia. (Peng pp. 48-49) 


The PLATEAU OBSERVATORY (PLATO) experiment is one of many taking place at the Dome A site in Antarctica. This is the highest point on that continent, but it does not rise steeply like a mountain summit. Instead, it has a gradual slope, giving the impression of a plateau more than a peak. PLATO contains site monitoring equipment as well as four 5.7 inch telescopes that make up the CHINESE SMALL TELESCOPE ARRAY (CSTAR).  (Xu Zhou p. 48)


This bi-national telescope located in Puebla,  Mexico, began its first scientific observational mission the third week in May 2013.  It is perched on the summit of a 4600 meter dormant volcano, Sierra Negra. LMT will study regions of star, galaxy, and planet formation that cannot be explored by optical telescopes.  Like several other nations, by choosing a special instrument, with limited, but specific objectives, Mexico can join the exclusive club of modern observers studying the cosmos. The LMT's 50 meter antenna makes it the largest single-dish STEERABLE,  millimeter-wavelength telescope in the  world.  Its wide field of view will complement the Atacama Large Millimeter Submillimter Array (ALMA) with its 66 antenna inaugurated in March 2013 and discussed in PART 2  of this series. Alison Peck, an astronomer at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Charlottesville, Virginia, who works on ALMA, expects LMT will really help in being able to image a much larger region in the same part of the sky.  LMT's first mission will be for 10 weeks, then that will be followed by another longer season beginning in November 2013. http://scim.ag/MexLMT (Science, 10 May 2013, p. 664)  LMT is the result of a bi-national collaboration between the university of Massachusetts, Amherst, in the US, and Mexico's National Institute of Astrophysics, Optics and Electronics, which provided about 70 % of the $180 million construction budget for LMT.


Use of the GREEN BANK TELESCOPE (GBT) has confirmed the presence of neutral hydrogen at levels of a few times  1017  cm-2  existing between the two large galaxies in the LOCAL GROUP, the MILKY WAY and ANDROMADA,  (our Galaxy  and M31).

Spiral galaxies, of which M31 and the Milky Way, are classified, must acquire gas to maintain their observed level of star formation beyond the next few billion years.  One source of the gas may be gas that resides between the galaxies.  Initial studies suggest this may be a possibility for these galaxies. Radio observations of the LOCAL GROUP of some 50 galaxies, mostly small ones,  have revealed  hydrogen gas filament extending from the disk of the galaxy M31 halfway to our galaxy. This feature has been interpreted to be the neutral component of a condensing intergalactic filament, which would be able to fuel star formation in M31 and our galaxy. Radio observations show that about  50 % of the gas is composed of clouds, at least seven, with the rest distributed in an extended, diffuse component, and have properties suggesting that they are unrelated to other members of the  LOCAL GROUP.   The clouds are likely to be transient condensations of gas embedded in an intergalactic filament and are therefore a potential source of fuel for future star formations for the two large galaxies. The results so far obtained are from only about half the surveying time. The region studied is only a fraction of the area around M31 reported to have diffuse gas. The clouds and filament may be the first representatives of a much larger population and presence of gas. (Wolfe p. 224-226)  Andromeda and the Milky Way may converge in several billion years, and most of the smaller objects in the Local Group,  and hydrogen gas, however present,  will be scooped  up during that merger.  For a time that will provide a bright future.  The report  provides heads up for others studying the LOCAL GROUP.  They discuss several possible origins of the gas and clouds.  (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)                                                 


In 1957,  Princeton physicist Robert Dicke published a scientific paper in which he placed constraints on the size of our universe, based on biology. He showed how the universe had to be of a certain size if life as we know it were to have evolved within it. The idea was that whatever goes on in the universe must, by the fact of our existence, be consistent with the emergence of life, now known as the anthropic principle.  (Parsons p. 92)

Also in 1957, a team led by British astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle used the principle to predict correctly the existence of a hitherto unknown nuclear reaction. When this reaction (fusion) occurs inside stars it produces carbon. Without Carbon in huge amounts, needed for all life on Earth, life cannot be produced.  (Parsons p. 92)

In 1999 British Astronomer Royal Professor Sir Martin Rees of Cambridge University, took  the idea further.  In his book, Just Six Numbers,  he argues that biological factors so constrain the properties of the entire universe that it appears to be 'fine tuned' so that life can emerge within it. Rees believes that the large-scale Universe is defined by six  PARAMETERS or NUMBERS, which are actually denoted by letters:  D, the number of  space dimensions of the universe that aren't compactified, N, the relative strengths of electro-magnetism.  E,  the energy released by nuclear reactions.  Q,  the size of the irregularities in the microwave background from which the early stars and then galaxies grew. Lambda, the Greek letter, which represents the amount of dark energy pervading space, and OMEGA, the cosmic density parameter.  Rees argued that if any of these parameters differed greatly from their observed values, WE WOULDN'T EXIST.  (Parsons pp. 92-93)  The critical numbers keep on being expanded as we come to understand the cosmos in detail. We are finding all that was necessary in order for life as we know it could exist. 

Later that same  year  Michael Rowan-Robinson published his book, Nine Numbers of the Cosmos, probably unable to incorporate Rees' interpretation because both books were being prepared for publication about the same time.  His work brings together much of what was known about the numbers of the cosmos, what the viable universe models are, how close we are to final determinations of these numbers, and where the uncertainties and enigmas remain.  Just ahead in observational astronomy, were the great advances in knowledge by NASA's MAP (Launched in 2001),  ESA'S PLANCK SURVEYOR (LAUNCHED IN 2009) and the  SLOAN surveys of about the same time, in part discussed in these series, (See  PART 2) that produced so much information.  (Rowan-Robinson pp. 149-160)  But an overwhelming flood is ahead of us. Then in 2011, James D. Stein published his book, The Cosmic Numbers, the Numbers that Define our Universe, wherein Stein discusses thirteen numbers and their origin, history and development.  Progress is being made all the time, fine tuning of many of the numbers continues to challenge the field of cosmology.


 There is a quadrennial event that needs to be noticed.  It is the quadrennial report of the COMMITTEE ON DATA FOR SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, known as CODATA.  The efforts of this group probably have far more long-lasting significance than other highly publicized events, though it garners less attention. The next report, which will include the latest fine tuning of the numbers and mention any new ones found, will be out in 2014.  From interim publications some data will permit evaluation of some of the numbers, some are now as good as they are ever going to get, and so can be treated as such.  Others, they are still working on them.  (Stein p. 203-204)  In future PARTS of this series frequent mention of CODATA will be made.

Basic science  "is often the results of discovering that existing theories are wrong. A theory may be right to a number of decimal places but a discrepancy might show up in the next decimal place.  Better scientific theories mean better technology, better technology means a better life!" (Stein p. 204)  So, only in a universe, in which fine-tuning would be a big coincidence, there are many, we couldn't exist anywhere else. We can understand some things in the universe, and trying to understand the rest, that makes us something very special. (Parsons pp. 92-93)


BERNSTEIN,  Jeremy, A Palette of Particles, The Elknap Press of Harvard University Press,        Cambridge Mass, 2013

BORTHAKUR,  Sanchayeeta, Baby Star Wind Travels Far, Nature Vol. 497, 9 May 2013

CENDES, Yvette,  Cosmic Rays, the Pierre Auger Observatory, Astronomy,  March 2013

GOTT,  J. Richard & Robert J. Vanderbei,  Sizing up the Universe, the Cosmos in Perspective,      National Geographic, Washington D.C., 2011

HAWKING, Stephen, A Brief History of Time & The Universe in a Nutshell, Bantam Books,        New York, 2001

KELLY, Roen, Licai Deng, Xiangping Wu, in Eric Peng, Chinas Race to Study the Cosmos,         Astronomy March, 2013

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