Dr. Einar C. Erickson
Ancient Document Mormon Scholar
Main Menu
Articles View Hits


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.


PARTS 15 and 16 are still in preparation. A great deal of effort and money is being spent on the search for other worlds. Where the exoplanets, or possibly inhabited planets, are concerned, the hunt is exciting, but we will hold off mentioning details until they can identify a planet close to what our earth is, with an atmosphere, plenty of water, and a moon.  It has to be about the same size as well. There are plenty of new discoveries being made throughout our universe or bubble, but you may have noticed in these entries on the Cosmos we are particularly interested in the events of the first two billion years after the BIG BANG. Because there are things happening in or near our Galaxy; some of which we will mention from time to time.  We are especially interested as we outlined in the first discussion in this series how complete the details of certain aspects of the COSMOS gleaned from the Teachings and revelations of Joseph Smith are confirmed, especially as summarized in the Temple Ceremony (TC).  Two new books (Jim Baggot, ORIGINS: The Scientific Story of Creation, Oxford University Press, 2015; Lisa Randall, Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs: The Astounding Interconnectedness of the Universe, Ecco: 2015)  try to summarize the present Cosmos and events that suggest a beginning but as yet cannot envision what was going on before the Big Bang, though they suspect there may be a cycle of Cosmic evolution. (Turner p. 40) Their story begins with the Big Bang, the Big Inflation follows a burst of expansion that smooths and flattens the Universe and stretches quantum fluctuations and the tiniest of variations in the cosmic micro-wave background radiation, with details yet to be worked out.  The “quark” soup phase lasts a microsecond, followed by nycleosynthesis and the formation of light element in the first 3 minutes. Atoms form at 380,000 years, a preliminary observation that needs to be verified. That is a big gap ow no-knowledge. Then gravity amplifies lumpiness in the distribution of matter to become stars, star cluster, galaxies, galaxy clusters, superclusters at around 800 million years. The Sun forms some 9 billion years later about 4.9 billion years ago,  According to Joseph Smith, that would have been during the third creational period, a remarkable agreement. The fourth day began about 2.55 billion years ago, in agreement with the multicellular organisms, atmosphere oxygenation around 2.5 billion years ago. About this time you get photosynthesis and the development of the organic food web and form there the story is  more clear. But Baggott, like all other synthesizers of the history of the Universe,  fail to ask whether intelligent life is a convergent property of evolution, given that evolution involves dominating local resources, the Universe may teem with ‘dumb’ life, while intelligent life remains exceedingly rare. (Turner p. 41)  Ultimately convergence and explanations will be attained, but there is a way to go yet. . 


More than a year ago astronomers turned to the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy to watch it tear apart a dusty gas cloud called GE.  It was an event widely anticipated, and reported in Discover Magazine for September 2014, April 2014 and Jan-Feb. 2014.  When Stefan Gillessen of the Max Planch Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, first announced it in January 2012, GE was racing for the center of our galaxy, the gas cloud was estimated then o have the mass of three Earths. The extremes of gravity from the black hole, called SAGITTARIUS A*, [read A* as:  a star] already had begun to stretch out and elongate the gas body.  Trying to track its course the best they could with instruments then available, they calculated that GE would make its closest approach in early 2014, plowing through the fog of  magnetic plasma that surround the black hole. GE would stretch like hot soft taffy and glow in X-rays, and some of the gas would spiral down the black hole, spewing radiation as it did so.  So everyone was looking for the chance to observe this meal in progress.

However, USCL’s Andrea Ghez and colleagues had begun to suspect the whole picture would be a flop.  They estimated that the mass of the cloud was 100,000 to 1 million times greater than previously announced, and it wasn’t just a gas cloud, but a star shrouded in gas and dust, and thus Our Black hole would have a harder time pulling material off the object. If that was the case, no wonder that the galactic center didn’t light up as expected. But, is GE really a star hiding in an envelope of gas and dust and zipping along in a gravity determined orbit about the Black Hole? They don’t know yet. But to find out they have to watch how GE’s orbit evolves on its trip through the galactic center. A star-like GE, would barrel through the hot plasma near the black hole, staying on its extremely elliptical 300- year orbit they have concluded, at least temporarily, it is traveling on.  But a cloudlike GE would feel a drag like a feather moving through air on the earth, says Ann-Marie Madigan of the University of California, Berkeley, who’s not affiliated with the teams studying the event. That drag would tilt and shrink the gas cloud’s orbit while also, possibly tearing apart the cloud. Madigan expects at least three to five more years of observations before scientists can say with certainty what GE’s orbit does—and what exactly GE is. (Liz Kruesi, Discover, August 2015)


Astronomers have spotted the glow from one of the most distant galaxies, and therefore earliest, so far ever seen.  They began forming less than one billion years after the Big Bang. The early plasma type matter did not cool down enough to let normal matter to form until after 380 million years after the Big Bang. So early galaxies now being found would have formed within the next 620 million years. In one of the three galaxies under observation clouds of cold ionized carbon was being shifted away from the bright star forming the center.  This matches models of early galaxy formation, which predict that active young stars disperse such clouds. The data will help to test theories about how the universe’s first stars and galaxies formed. (Nature, Vol. 523, p. 505)

There are more than 150 globular clusters, these are very dense spherical groups of ancient stars. They orbit the Milky Way. But how and when they formed is a mystery that may be linked the very first stars. One such cluster is MESSIER 10, in a catalogue of 109 visible objects generated more than a century ago. (Murdin pp. 248-249)   Astronomers used the W.M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii in a multiyear survey capable of examining 200 globulars in a single exposure. Instead of forming before galaxies, as astronomers suspected previously, their findings show the fossil star clusters formed alongside galaxies in two distinct time periods: 12.5 and 11.5 billion years ago.  They were beginning to form within a billion years of the time the hot Big Bang plasm started to cool off so the particles that form matter, such as the up and the down quark, could form atoms. First, essentially Hydrogen. “Now that we have estimated when the globular clusters form, we next need to tackle the questions of where and how they formed.” Says Duncan Forbes of the Swinburne University of Technology in Australia. They will be publishing their results this fall. (Astronomy , November 2015, p. 14)


Scientists have spent decades trying to better understand BLACK HOLES. They are among the most mysterious objects in the universe.  We think we have a handle on them then something is observed that changes things. And more questions are asked.  Especially are the extremely massive ones BLACK HOLES that lie in the centers of all normal galaxies. Cumulative evidence has led to the theory that such supermassive black holes co-evolve with the host galaxies, keeping a relatively consistent relationship of about 0.2 to 0.5 percent of the galaxy’s total mass and having an important direct impact on surrounding star formation. But a routine survey of supermassive black holes in the distant universe will require rethinking and modifying that theory. A theory does not have the dignity of being a fact until it has ceased to be challenged by new observations.  A host galaxy that may have a big wrench to through into the machinery is galaxy CID-647. Astronomers led by Benny Trakhtenbrot of the institute of Astronomy at ET Zurich uncovered a galaxy that formed some 2 billion years after the Big Bang with one of the most massive black holes now known. That black hole is 7 billion times the mass of our sun. But the real shock came when the astronomers measured the mass of CID-647.The measurements of CID-647 correspond to the mass of a typical galaxy.  Therefore they have a gigantic black hole within a normal size galaxy. The result was so surprising two of the astronomers had to verify the galaxy’s mass independently. Both came to the same conclusion. The supermassive black hole the team found is about 10 percent of the mass of CID-647.  That means the black hole grew much more efficiently than its host galaxy. This contradicts the models that predicted a hand in hand development. (Trakhtenbrot Astronomy November 2015 p. 14).   Also contrary to previous studies, despite the behemoth black hole appearing to be at the end of its accretion phase, the galaxy is continuing to form stars. The scientists conclude that CID-647 could be a precursor to the most extreme BLACK HOLE-GALAXY SYSTEMS  found in the local universe today. (Ferron p. 14) 


The recent discovery of a large, luminous filament of cold gas near the quasar UM287 provided a glimpse oif the structure of the cosmic web, a network of filaments with galaxies located at nodes where filaments intersect. This is a giant proto-galactic disk linked to the cosmic web.  A spectroscopic investigation of this filament reveals that the brightest emission region is an extended rotating hydrogen disk. It has a velocity profile that is characteristic of gas in a dark matter halo of 1013 solar masses and a geometry that suggests cold accretion flow. Such a disk is predicted by models of cold accretion flows from cosmic web filaments into forming galaxies. (Nature Vol. 524, 6 August 2015, p. 37)  


The governing board of the planned CHERENKOV TELESCOPE ARRAY, (CTA) announced in July the final sites for the observatory.  The array will consist of roughly 100 dishes in Paranal Chile, and around 20 more in La Palma, Spain, which won out over Mexico as the Northern Hemisphere site. The two sites will ensure good coverage of the sky to detect very high-energy gamma-rays streaming from some of the Universe’s most cataclysmic events. (go.nature.com/1yrq9r; Nature, Vol. 523, 23 July 2015. p. 357).  Almost all of the electromagnetic spectrum is now observable with some type of telescope or detector, and some of these are getting a lot of perfecting.

The governing board of the world’s largest and most powerful gamma-ray observatory (CTA) announced its selection of the two sites that will host the CTA. The sites, in Chile’s Atacama Desert and the other at La Palma island in the Canary Islands, were chosen ahead of rival sites in Namibia and Mexico for the northern and southern portions of the CTA, which is a multi-million facility that will allow astrophysicists to study some of the most energetic phenomena in the universe from the origin of cosmic rays to particle acceleration around black holes. Each site is already home to major astronomical facilities. The board, made up of representatives from 14 of the project’s 31 member countries, did not give final approval for the site selection, that is the job of the CTA Council, but it did vote to start formal negotiations with the European Southern Observatory (ESO) which operates the Paranal Observatory in Chile and Spain. (http//scim.ag/CTAsite; 24 July 2015, Vol. 449, No. 6246, SCIENCE, p. 350) )


There are a number of telescopes and instruments on the top of Haleakala on the Island of Maui. The 4.2 meter solar telescope is under construction there. Seven protestors were arrested at Mauna Kea on the Big Island in the latest escalation in the stand-off over adding the planned THIRTY METER TEELSCOPE (TMT) to the l3 telescopes near the summit of Mauna Kea, which is sacred to Native Hawaiians. Protests over telescope building on Hawaii’s mountains have led to arrests on the night of 30 July of more than 20 demonstrators on the Island of Maui.  Protestors are also expected at the International Astronomical Union meeting in Honolulu held in August. Construction of the TMT remains on hold indefinitely.  (Nature Vol. 524, 6 August  2015, p. 10) It is not the only place where very high places are considered sacred to Native peoples. 

The TMT could one day become the world’s largest. Locals say the land coveted by astronomers on top of MAUNA KEA on the big Island is sacred to their culture and point to the 13 telescopes already built as evidence no more are needed.  Because of primitive beliefs held by moderns today, challenges are made time and time again about sacred areas and the growing need for knowledge of the universe around us. The site has some of the best skies in the Northern Hemisphere and the TMT collaboration spent seven years gaining approval. Protestors halted construction in April. In June activists heaved boulders onto the access road to thwart the restart of building. Officials closed the road to the public entirely, including tourists and amateur astronomers. The closure was lifted in August after law enforcement arrested seven protesters at the summit. The same night 30 more were arrested on nearby Maui, as they halted construction on the unrelated, 4 meter Daniel K., Inouye Solar Telescope soon to be the largest of its kind.  Access to the distant and the close is being challenged.  New emergency rules remain in effect. Hawaiian officials restricted night time visitors to only certain parts of the mountain. The change was designed to stop protestors, but night sky photographer’s and amateur astronomers say it makes some of their activities illegal too. Hawaii’s Supreme Court has taken up the matter as of August 27, 2015. (Astronomy November 2015, p. 15) A judge is, hopefully, going to settle the issue this fall.

Innovative thinking has been generated by obstacles in placing new telescopes.  The new technologies and competition for funds and places to install the instruments are concluding mirror space and the older instruments may turn out to be saving grace by learning how to use science and the new questions being asked by researches, how to recycle by reusing and repurposing older telescopes, so revise, modify, reuse, what is in situ, upgrade in situ; look what happened when this was done to the Hubble!

TMT was slated to join the Mauna Kea Landscape in 2022.  How current friction will change this is not known. The primary mirror is composed of 492 hexagonal mirror segments. TMT, is a collaboration of American, Chinese, Indian, Japanese, and Canadian institutions. TMT will allow astronomers to study the universe with 10 times the spatial resolution of the Hubble Space Telescope. The past year has seen a flurry of controversy on TMT. (Kornet p. 54) 



The president of the GIANT MAGELLEN TELECOPE ORGANIZATION (GMTO) has stepped down. Physicist Ed Moses led the GMTO for less than a year. He left the post to deal with family matters, according to the governing board. Efforts to build the $l billion telescope, scheduled for first light in 2022, will be led by Patrick McCarthy, an astronomer at the Las Companas Observatory in La Serena, Chile, until a replacement is appointed. (Nature Vo. 524. 6 August 2015, p. 11)


Some observers of the Universe with access to the critical equipment are examining areas of the heavens for objects more than 13 billion light years away. Somewhere in space are the first objects, the first stars, the first clusters, the first galaxies, things that materialized out of the cooling plasma and could only take shape after 380 million years of cooling and expansion, after the Big Bang. “These primordial population 111 stars, which are thought to reside in the youngest galaxies, have been notoriously elusive. (James p. 46)   Because of our own galaxy blocking certain areas of the sky for periods of time, there are limitations where such viewing might be productive. Recently a galaxy, now dubbed CR7, has been identified. Astrophysicist David Sobral and his team, of the Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences in Lisbon, Portugal, described their findings last June 4, at arXiv.org, in a paper that will appear in the Astrophysical Journal.  The finding may provide a rare look at how, when and where stars arose out of the pristine gas that was left behind in the wake of the Big Bang. While other galaxies house clusters that could be typical of first generation stars, the new observations provide the most direct evidence of such a population.

Galaxy CR7 is loaded with hydrogen that is blasting out ultraviolet radiation, about three times as much any other known galaxy from that time.  The galaxy is also blazing with light from helium toms stripped of an electron. Sobral says: “We see indications of very, very hot sources, hotter than any star we know of in our galaxy.” To ionize helium, the surfaces of such stars must sizzle at around 100, 000 degrees Celsius. The sun, by comparison, is a mere 5,500o.  Stars typical of the first stellar generation, are known as POPULATION 111 STARS, are prime candidates as the source of all that energy. Researchers Suspect that POPULATION 111 stars are incredibly large possibly up to a thousand times as massive as the sun. Such stars burn hot and die having consumed their hydrogen, lasting at most a few million years. If they die by explosion, then they may generate some heavy elements which will prove they are not the first generation of stars.  

Certain types of dying stars as well as gassy disks swirling round super massive black holes can also provide that much energy.  But what is special about CR7 is the apparent lack of heavier elements such as carbon and oxygen. Such atoms are forged in the centers of stars. The presence of these elements indicates that the gas contains only hydrogen and helium-typical of the gas out of which the first stars formed.

George Becker of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, says CR7 ls “definitely an unusual object.  But population 111 stars aren’t the only or even the most likely possibility.  Scientists think the first stars arose a few hundred million years after the Big Bang. As they die and explode, these stars quickly pollute the surrounding gas with heavier elements fused from Hydrogen. To have a large burst of pristine star formation roughly l billion or more  years earlier after the Big Bang seems unusual. By then typical star formation should have over whelmed the Population 111 nurseries. 

The light could be coming from a group of stars that have trace amounts of carbon and oxygen undetectable with current instruments. Or it could be coming from pristine gas that is cooling off from earlier bursts of start formation, Becker says. “The observations they’re making are very challenging, which is part of why there’re exciting.”

CR7 offers a preview of what the James Webb Space Telescope, scheduled to launch in 2018, could see. A large mirror in space combined with the instruments sensitive to infrared light will be able to tell which stars are members of the first generation and which are not. (Science News, July 25, 2015. p. 8)

Another group of astronomers using a collection of world-class telescopes from the ground and space found the brightest galaxy so far, in the early universe, which may contain the very first generation of stars. Stars are factories for turning the light elements of hydrogen and helium into heavier ones, like carbon, oxygen, and every other natura y occurring element, called metals. While all stars are mostly hydrogen and helium, modern stars, known as POPULATION 1 STARS, also contain at least trace amountS of metals holder.  Stars with more heavy elements are known as POPULATION 11 STARS.  Some of these stars are also known as SUPERNOVA 1b, they generate all the heavier elements. It takes seven to nine generations of these supernova to create an abundance of heavier elements and a cloud of  heavy elements  from which earths could form. So, if some of these stars start showing heavy metals then they were created in the belly of a previous star. So, somewhere near the beginning of the universe there must have existed a population of stars containing nothing but  hydrogen and helium, and perhaps a trace amounts of lithium created immediately after the Big Bang.  The presence or absence of trace heavy elements will identify the earliest  stars.  Until now, this starter group, known as POPULATION 111 STARS HAVE  EXISTED ONLY IN THEORY. POPULATION 111 STARS should have been massive blazing hot monsters that exploded as supernovae after only 2 million years or so. While looking at their super bright early galaxy, astronomers observed strong emissions from ionized helium, but no signs of any heavier elements- exactly what they would expect from the first generation of stars. (Astronomy October, 2015, p. 15) Astronomers observing with different instruments and in different areas of the universe will no doubt observe in that area the first stars and we should expect an array of such observations.  They are not all looking in the sample place.  First Stars and galaxies should be observed in diverse places.


The COMA CLUSTER is one of the nearby clusters to our own super clusterIt is nearly a spherical cluster, and immense one, with increasing density toward the center. (Weinberg p. 67) COMA is a bevy of thousands of galaxies that sits roughly 330 million light –years away in the constellation COMA BERENICES. (The cluster is pictured in figure 6.5-color plate-Keel pp. 393, 87) The Coma Cluster is an x-ray cluster. The cluster is 16 million light years across. (Murdin p. 12) The kenetic energy and mass for the immense clusters yield to mathematical analysis. (Coles  p. 4.5.3. 89). Last year a team headed by Yale astronomer Pieter van Dokkum, found 47 ultra-diffuse galaxies in COMA. They think a larger telescope could find even more dark galaxies, so they dug through images of clusters taken by the 8-meterwide SUBRU TELESOPE in Hawaii, one of the recent great surveys of space.   Observers, by returning to study the vast COMA CLUSTER, are finding that hundreds of shady characters are lurking in the nearby neighborhood of galaxies.  The COMA CLUSTER houses nearly 20 times as many dark galaxies as previously known. These shadowy figures-some as large as our Milky Way, but with just l %  of less, of the number of stars, may reflect a dead end in galactic evolution. So far in COMA, they have found more than 854 of these barely perceptible galaxies, and there could be well over 1, 000. These ULTRA DIFFUSE galaxies appear to have had much of their star-forming gas stolen. Jin Koda, an astronomer at Stony Brook University in New York, and her colleagues, have reported  online,  June 24 in Astrophysical Journal Letters.

These galaxies are relics from an earlier time. They haven’t formed any stars in the last 5 billion to 10 billion years, Koda says. The galaxies aren’t scattered around the cluster haphazardly as would be expected if they were new arrivals falling into COMA randomly, they are instead arranged symmetrically around the heart of the cluster indicating that they have been lurking within COMA for a long time. 

Their longevity is surprising. Star-starved galaxies are gravitationally tugged to and fro by their brighter more massive brethren. With so few starts, the dark galaxies should have been torn apart long ago. “For these fluffy-looking galaxies to survive, they need something like dark matter protecting them.” Koda says.

All galaxies are held together by dark matter, elusive particles that neither emit nor adsorb light, revealing themselves only by their gravitational influence. These murky galaxies, however take it to an extreme. To survive the rough and tumble streets of COMA, the dark matter must be over 99 percent dark matter-a far cry from the roughly 85 percent that’s typical of galaxies. The dark galaxies contain huge amounts of dark matter and only a small number of stars. This suggests that the crowded environment sucks gas away from these galaxies leaving them largely unable to form stars.  “These things were not expected to be there. They could be failed galaxies,” van Dokkum says. Something might have stripped them of their gas, leaving behind a smattering of stars and a massive storehouse of dark matter.  One way to sweep out the gas is with a wave of supernovae explosions. If enough stars exploded fast enough maybe they could have launched all of the spare gas out of the galaxy.  (Crockett p. 11) This could be tested by surveys to see if evidence of heavy elements are loose in the murky galaxies that supernova tend to generate. At any rate, the mystery is where did the star- forming gas go from the dark galaxies.  The study of the murky galaxies continues.


The search for ultralight dark matter continues with the aid of Atomic Spectroscopy.  Ken Van Tilburg at Stanford University, California, and his team measured the energy emitted as atoms of the rare-earth element dysprosium, transitioned between two electronic states of very similar energy over a two year period. They look for fluctuations in this energy over time, which would reveal short term local changes in the strength of the electromagnetic force. These could be caused by interactions with certain ultralight dark matter particles. But no fluctuations were observed, meaning that any such dark matter particles interacting would have to be heavier than 3 x 10-18 electron volts or would have to interact very weakly. The results improve on previous bounds for the strength of such interactions by four orders of magnitude. If similar measurements were performed with atomic clocks the limits might be improved by another order of magnitude. (Nature Vol. 523, 6 July 2015 p. 130)

DARK MATTER is dark because it doesn’t interact except through gravity. Astronomers have published results that   may upset this understanding. They used Hubble and the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope to observe a collision of four galaxies in the cluster. They discovered a clump of dark mater tagging behind its galaxy. This lag is predicted if the dark matter is interacting with itself, which had not been seen before.  (Astronomy August 2015, p. 12)  


The most luminous galaxy identified so far blasts out as much light as roughly 350 trillion  suns. A supermassive black hole lurking in the galaxy’s core probably powers this cosmic beacon.  Chao-Wei Tsai, an astronomer at NASA’S JET PROPULSION LABORATORY in Pasadena, California, and his team, reported they found the galaxy while scouring data from the WISE SATELLITE, which spent about a year surveying the sky for anything glowing in the infrared.  The infrared light from this galaxy comes from dust heated by a blazing hot disk of gas churning around the black hole in the central region. The high temperature and blankets of dust have earned this galaxy and others like it the moniker HOT DOGS, FOR HOT DUST OBSCURED GALAXIES.  The light from THIS HOT DOG, which lurks in the constellation Aquarius, took 12.4 billion years to reach earth. (Christopher Crockett, SCIENCE NEWS,  July 25, 2015, p. 5) This is based on 13.8 billion years ago for the Big Bang clock to start ticking, this massive object was in place one billion years after the Big Bang and cooled down enough to permit ordinary matter to form, suggesting more unusual objects will be found as the search for things formed in the first  2 billion years after the Big Bang continues.


The HUBBLE TELESCOPE looking into the internal parts of the disc of ANDROMEDA, our  closest major galaxy, has photographed a portion of the internal objects in an area 61,600 lights across with some 117 million stars,, and focused on an area of about 4000 light years across, only a very small segment of the Andromeda Galaxy.  It accumulated 414 photos assembled from more than 8,000 separate exposures taken in near-infrared,. In the view were 2,750 STAR CLUSTERS.  They sampled the star clusters at the same distance, 2.5 million light years away. The clusters range in mass by a factor of 10, and range in age from 4 to 24 million years.

Andromeda and our galaxy have a similar percentage of new born stars. Based on mass, an analysis of the mass with in a cluster, the INITIAL MASS FUNCTION (IMF), helps to interpret the light and to understand the formation history of stars in the universe. They have imaged 2,754 young blue clusters so far.

This is part of the PANCHROMATIC HUBBLE ANDROMENDA TREASURY, ( PHT) program.  One of the programs of the great observatory ALMA.  Alma is now disenabling the complex history of massive stars.  (See Astronomy.com/new/2015/09/hubble)

As noted above, the birth of an early Galaxy may have occurred when astronomers detected a glow from one of the most distant galaxies ever seen in the early Universe. Roberto Maiolino at the University of Cambridge, He and his colleagues used the high-resolution Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter0 Array we now know as ALMA, in Chile to observe three faint galaxies that began forming less than one BILLION years after the Big Bang. In one galaxy,  clouds of cold ionized carbon were shifted away from the bright, star-forming center. One of the many models of early galaxy formation predicts that active young stars disperse such clouds. The data will modify the theories about how the universe’s first stars and galaxies formed.


The Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Radio Telescope will devote up to a quarter of its time searching for signs of extraterrestrial intelligence. $100 million has been set aside by the internet investor Yuri Milner and his Breakthrough Prize Foundation announced in July. They will commit the $100 million over a ten year Breakthrough, planned as the most extensive project yet in search for extraterrestrial Intelligence out there somewhere.  From time to time we might mention their progress. What they are looking for is simple. An earth with a moon for seasons, and water and source of light and energy, like our sun. Is that too much to ask for?  It does not have to be near ours, it can be anywhere in the inhabitable zone of our galaxy.

Australia’s Parkers Radio Telescope, the National Radio Astronomy Observatory’s Green Bank Telescope and Lick Observatory all will participate.  The radio telescopes will contribute between a fifth and a quarter of their time to the hunt. Lick’s Automated Planet finder will search for laser signals from other worlds. The huge amounts of telescope time that has become available, will enable a search that covers 20 times the area of sky at 50 times the sensitivity of past efforts. The project’s leaders intend to make all this data available to the public, which means a lot of students will become involved.

Most large SETI efforts in the past have been by necessity blind searches. But this time researchers hope to target stars that the KEPLER mission has already proven to host planets, thereby focusing their efforts.  And they will depend on the pre-existing (( SETI@home). Network, a group of citizen scientists who volunteer their computers’ brain power to sift through SETI findings, to interpret the torrent of new data that is now being generated. (w.w.w. ASTRONOMY.COM.,  Astronomy November 2015, p. 20)


Astronomers have discovered more than 850 faint galaxies in a galaxy cluster that could be made mostly of dark matter. See the discussion above.  There are huge amounts of clusters, do they all have diffuse galaxies with few stars but massive dark matter?

Using archived images from the SABARU TELESCOPE in Hawaii, a team led by Jin Koda, at Stony Brook University in New York, searched for observations of the Coma galaxy cluster, which is roughly 101 million parsecs (330 million light years)  away. They found 854 ultra-diffuse galaxies, a class of faint galaxies that can be as large as the MILKY WAY, but which has only 0.1 %  of the number of stars. For these galaxies to remain gravitationally bound together, the researchers show that more than 99 % of their mass must be dark matter. This suggests that the crowded environment sucks gas away from the galaxies leaving them largely unable to form stars.  But where is the dust? That is a large amount they are talking about..  (2 July 2015, Vol. 523, Nature p. 9)


CHIME is an observatory like no other. It is shaped like the halfpipes of snowboarders, it comprises four 100-meter long, semi cylindrical antennas which lie near the town of Penticton in British Columbia.  Now tasked with plugging a crucial gap in the cosmological record: what the Universe was doing, or did, when it was in its teens. The information it is gathering will allow cosmologists to gauge whether the strength of dark energy, which they think is the force accelerating the Universe’s expansion, which has changed over time, can be determined. This is an unresolved question that governs the fate of the cosmos.  

Typical telescopes have round dishes, CHIME four halfpipe arrays. From 2016, CHIME’S HALF-PIPES, detect radio waves emitted by hydrogen in distant galaxies. These observations are the first to measure the Universe’s expansion rate between 8 to 10 billion years ago.  This was a period in which the cosmos went “from being a kid to an adult,” says Mark Helpern, the leader of chime, and an experimental cosmologist at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. Right after the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago, the rate of the Universe’s expansion slowed. But somewhere during  that period dark energy, which eventually returned the Universe’s slowing expanding into the acceleration observed today, began to be felt. It is a window in time when that has, until now, been closed.. Cosmologists measure the Universe’s past expansion rate using ancient objects, such as supernova explosions and the voids between galaxies that are so distant that their light is only now reaching Earth. Those ancient objects have revealed that the cosmos has been expanding at an accelerating rate for more than 6 billion years. Surveys of quasars, mysterious, super-bright objects that outshine the entire galaxies they lie in, have shown that until 20 billion years or so ago the Universe’s expansion was slowing down. Cosmologists to measure the expansion rate leaving open the question of whether the strength of dark energy’s repulsive force may have varied over time.  For the time being, the age of the Big Bang is 13.8  Billion years, but recently things are being found that will require time to be added to the age.

 “CHIME is designed to fill the gap,” Says Kendrick Smith, an astrophysicists at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Canada,, who will work on analyzing CHIME’S data.  The hal-pipe antenna will allow CHIME to receive radio waves coming from anywhere along a narrow straight region of the sky at any given time. “As the Earth rotates this straight shape sweep out the sky.” Smith says.

To sort out where individual signals are coming from, a custom-built  supercomputer made of 1,000 relatively low cost graphic processing units, the type used for high end computer gaming, will crunch through nearly 1 terabyte of data per second. The team will also use signal amplifiers originally developed for mobile phones without such powerful consumer-electronic components, CHIME would have been prohibitively expensive according to Keith Vanderlinde of the University of Toronto, Canada, who is co-leading the project.

CHIME’S supercomputer will look specifically for radio waves with a wavelength that suggests an age of 2 billion to 7 billion years, emitted by the hydrogen in the interstellar space inside galaxies. At these sources of such emissions have a wavelength of 21 centimeters. Researchers then subtract the radio noise in the same wavelength range that comes from the Milky Way and Earth and get their results .

Although CHIME will not be able to distinguish individual galaxies in this way, clumps of hundreds or thousands of galaxies will show up, says Vanderlinde. This will allow researchers to map the expansion rate of the voids between the clumps and in turn to calculate the strength of dark energy during that time. If the results indicate that the strength of dark energy was the same as it has been in the past 6 billion years, it could suggest that galaxies will eventually lose sight of each other. But if the strength of dark energy has changed over the eons, the Universe could collapse in a ‘big crunch,’ or be ripped apart into its subatomic components.

CHIME also intends to look and detect hundreds of the mysterious ‘fast radio bursts’ that last just milliseconds and have no known astrophysical explanation. It will help other experiments to calibrate measurements of radio waves from rapidly spinning neutron starts, which researchers hope to use to detect the ripples in space time known as gravitational waves.

CHIME will contribute to the growing trend in astronomy of experiments that are now active or in the planning stage, including the greatly anticipated SQUARE KILOMETER ARRAY, planed for sites in Australia and South Africa, designed to look for hydrogen emissions with 21-centimer wavelengths. These emissions untap a trove of cosmological information, says Tzu-Ching Chang, an astrophysicist at the Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics in Taipei who helped to pioneer the hydrogen mapping of galaxies in 2010. She likens the boom in hydrogen mapping today to the end in the 1990’s of studying the relic radiation of the Big Bang, which revolutionized cosmology.  (Castelvecchi  pp. 514-516) It is a very ambitious project with high expectations.

A map of our galaxy, created in 1951 used neutral hydrogen emission at a wavelength of 21 centimeters to plot gas clouds distributed though and along the Milky Way spiral arms, giving a relatively good picture of what would be found later with sophisticated equipment. Such wave lengths penetrate our galaxy’s dust been than visible light, so using them allows astronomers to map spiral arms farther from earth than they can with visible stars.  About the same time, astronomers were mapping the brightest hottest stars, 0 and B types, creating a map of the Sun’s neighborhood. Now with the Hubble Data and more to come, we can compare our Milky Way with other galaxies. Some astronomers  think the spiral galaxy NGC 3953 in the constellation Ursa Major, the Great Bear, most resembles our Milky Way. (Astronomy Magazine, August 2015, p. 53) But more recently, the vote is now for best resemblance of a galasy to our own may be the barred spiral galaxy UGC l258 which spans about 140,000 light years, somewhat less than ou rown, but close, and 400 million light years away. The total mass of our galaxy is now considered to be nearly 2 trillion suns.   (Astronomy December 2015, p. 35)   Many such areas will be revisited with CHIME


Dark Matter often has been observed to influence the dynamics of galaxies. Astrophysicists have great difficulty demonstrating the presence of dark matter with some types of direct detection. Observations made by the EUROPEAN  XMM- NEWTON SATELLITE  (EXNS) of what should be blank sky instead show a variable background X-RAY signal that could result from axions, a proposed component of dark matter. Researchers  explain that these candidate particles-a billionth the mass of an electron- could be produced by the Sun and then converted into x-rays by Earth’s magnetic field. This step forward understanding dark mater still may be supported or refuted by further x-ray measurement and with observatories-MMM. (21 November 2014 Vol. 346 Issue 6212 p. 962) This is only one of the explanations of what may make up DARK MATTER.

Astronomers using the CHANDRA X-RAY OBSERVETORY pinpointed the location of a neutron star system called CIRCINUS X-1. The star is embedded in a thick shroud of gas and dust obscuring the source. Scientists combined the different arrival times of X-rays echoing off these clouds with detailed radio images permitting them  to home in on the star and determines its distance, which is 30,700 light years away. (Astronomy October 2015 p. 12)


Efforts to develop a more detailed chronology of the creational periods have developed Computer models that show Jupiter is 4.5 billion years old, if this theory turns out to be accurate, then Jupiter was created in the third period of the TC chronology, the period was when the sun, moon and certain nearby stars were added to the system. (TC) The earth was organized from heavy element matter during the first period of creation, and after massive star formation.  Supernova are required to make heavy elements and to have a massive amount of matter from which the earth could be made would require the time indicated. There would have been more than 12 billion years before the stars and galaxies formed that would be divided into the first two periods of creation, each of these periods have an unknown or approximate time period. We are looking for evidence for the beginning and the duration of the first period, because in the second period, the earth came up dry, surrounded with abundant water. When the third period commenced, sometime before 7.7 billion years ago, then during the third period the combination of earth, sun, moon (the System) and nearby stars occurred. What was accomplished during the third day, to get our current solar system and its contents in place, it now having a lot of light shed on the events,  which seems to have began before 7.7  billion years ago, 5 billion years for day 3 and then the 2.55 billion years since the activity of the 3 day was finished. This suggests the 13.8 current time for the beginning of the Big Bang, may have been much earlier.  Time, since the system was formed and completed before the count down for 2.55 billion years, which   was consumed in the events of the fourth and the fifth day. Things recorded by Abraham and Joseph set the scene, now current discoveries are finally getting close on some of it but are far from the details of most of it.  (Time and Seasons Dec. 23, 1844, p. 757)

But youthful Saturn is a troubling 2 billion years younger than Jupiter, but that is fine, it is part of the system and would be since it is younger than Jupiter having occurred 3 billion years before the end of the 3rd creation al period. That would place Saturn in earlier part of the third period. After the system was in place, the fourth period and fifth period of Creation has taken the rest of the time of 2.55 billion years. (TC) This suggests that the beginning of the third period of creation began about 8-9  billion years ago The sixth period since the fall of Adam according to the Jewish Colander, has taken less than 5800 years, compared to the other periods, it is a very short one.  On Saturn, Sandia’s 2 MACHINE helped solve the dating in June by the high tech cosmos chemistry methods by showing helium rain could heat the ringed world to hotter than expected levels, permitting their calculate their  conclusions.  (Astronomy October 2015, p. 13)  It has  been centuries that naturalists and astronomers have been modeling (Creating Theories, and there are many)  of how the solar system formed. When it was, it gave or finalized  positions to the solar system and its content. One model now in use is called the GRAND TACK SCENERIO, it posits that Jupiter and Saturn had different orbit distance and then spiraled in toward the Sun, then out again losing and gaining baggages of matter. But astronomers from California Institute of Technology offer a new model, no name given, which involves herds of super earths, close orbital areas, pulsing in and out of the debris field, much of which is smashed and abandoned in eccentric orbits driving much of into the sun, with left over material forming the rocky planets that remain today. What they had to come up with are explanations of the modern solar system’s appearance and its lack of resemblance to the explain systems being observed elsewhere in the galaxy. (Astronomy, July 2015, p. 18) They are still a long way away from the TC outline of the creation.  But as observations progress, the TC outline is being confirmed more than any other model.          


Strange things are happening in a nearby star cluster called CLOUD D, which packs one million bright stars still forming suns for unknown reasons, some 7000  of those are massive 0 Type Stars—the universe’s largest breed.  (Astronomy October 2015 p. 13) Astronomers have also discovered a massive cluster of four quasars-a rare find of galaxies just being born. Quasars are young bright galaxies powered by supermassive black holes and are hard to find because this youthful period is brief. Using the W.M. KECK OBSERVATORY in Hawaii, Joseph Hennawi of the MAX PLANCH INSTITUTE FOR ASTRONOMY in Heidelberg, German, and his colleagues found the quasars at the heart of one of the largest known nebulae-clouds of gas that, if large enough, can give birth to new galaxies. The quasars are illuminating the surrounding gas and are probably evolving into a massive galaxy cluster. This rare grouping together with the size of the nebula, suggests that gas in proto-galactic clusters might be cooler and denser than was thought. (Nature Vol. 521, 21 May 2015, p. 264) They are working on the evolution of galaxies and finding a lot of complex variations.


There are open spaces or voids between galaxy clusters. Observations are being made around the rims or edges of these voids. Now they are naming and numbering the voids.  A spiral galaxy NGC-6503, lurks at the edge of the LOCAL VOID, a nearby empty region of space 150 million light years across. Some voids may be as large as 500 million light years across. The Hubble Space Telescope captured this lone galaxy, ‘lost in Space Galaxy,’ as it is sometimes known, with multiple filters. Red filters identified the gas areas, white and blue reveal young stellar regions, new stars are most often blue. Dark regions where thick dust lanes block background light are dark brown. This galaxy is approximately a third the size of the Milky Way.  (pictured  in Astronomy October 2015,  p. 17) It is a long way from home.


In a study published June 11 in the MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, astronomers announced that they see previously “dead” galaxies [no longer producing stars] in the merging cluster CIZAJ2242.8+5301, nicknamed the ‘sausage,’  flaring up again with newborn stars. The revival will be short lived, so catching the Sausage during an active state is a stroke of good luck.

When two galaxies collide, they stir up vast clouds of gas, triggering explosive bouts of star formation and lighting up with young blue stars, in contrast to the older red population that fill quiescent (dead) galaxies. But when CLUSTERS, of thousands of galaxies collide, astronomers thought that not much would happen. The space between individual galaxies, even in clusters, is so vast that it wasn’t clear that the impact, which does release a giant shock wave, would be felt on the comparatively tiny scale of star forming regions. But they found there is impact and shock when clusters collide, on a vast scale.

Astronomers in a separate group are looking even further back in time to see how clusters formed in the early universe using  the EUROOPEAN SPACE AGENCY’S HERSCHEL AND PLANCK SPACE OBSERVATORIES,  peer back to only 3 billion years after the Big Bang, where they found bright sources densely clustered and churning out new stars. The astronomer believe these could be the precursors of the mature galaxy clusters they see in the modern universe. The details of their observations appeared in March 31, 2015, ASTRONOMY & ASTROPHYSICS.

The merging Sausage Cluster is one of the most massive in the universe. A vast array of galaxies with hot gas between the clusters, and huge shock waves measured over a vast distance, influencing surrounding members of the clusters. The observations clearly show the two clusters as they merge, and the areas in galaxies where new blue stars are being born, pictured in ASTRONOMY, August 2015 p. 16.


Continued study of the milky way, its bar area and the extended arms, leads to new findings that show the MILKY WAY may be 50 percent larger than previously estimated with large scale ripples.(Astronomy July 2015, p. 10) “The first diagram depicting the Milky Way as a spiral was published in in 1900 by C. Easton, an astronomer working in Holland. (Whitney P. 199) By 1981 the diameter  had been determined to be more than 60,000 parsecs (195,600 light years)  suggesting the present size of the Milky Way is about 300,000 light years, and is probably even greater. Andromeda, our sister large galaxy in the local group of 50 galaxies is smaller.  For a while it was thought we were the smaller.  (Bok p. 25)                                                                                                                     


ASTROSAT was launched on 28 September 2015 from the Sriharikota spaceport in the Bay of Bengal. With its five instruments the observatory aims to study star-birth in the early regions of the cosmos, and wherever new stars are being formed. Also  high–energy processes including binary star systems of neutron stars and black holes. During its five year mission ASTROSAT has FIVE  telescopes that will simultaneously study space in VISIBLE LIGHT, ULTRAVIOLET and LOW-and HIGH ENERGY  X-RAYS. It will also scan and monitor the sky to detect TRANSIENT X-RAY emissions  and GAMMA-RAY bursts.  (Nature Vol. 526, l October 2015, p. 10; go.nature.com/ago5tf). 

As astronomers work on evolution of galaxies, they find more details that expands our understanding of the giant collections of stars and objects.  A recent study of spiral galaxies, edge-on, reveal that “halos” of Cosmic rays and magnetic fields,  above and below the galaxies disk are much more common than original thought. The “halo” is a light blue-white, and surrounds the entire galaxy but does not exceed the diameter of the spiral.

ASTROSTAT  with multiple capabilities,  orbiting some 650  kilometers in outer space, scaning large areas of the sky. The Satellite will benefit researchers everywhere. It will orbit earth for five years. It has capabilities not offered by existing space telescopes.  India has had ground based telescopes for decades, including the giant Metrewave Radio Telescope near Pune, and the Indian Astronomical Observatory in the Himalayan cold desert of Ladakh.  But these were limited and could not detect higher frequencies of radio waves, infrared radiation and X-ray and gamma radiation.  India’s astronomical and astrophysical center, the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA) is at Pune. With its five instruments, tuned to detect different types of light, ASTROSAT will observe wider variety of wavelengths than most other satellites.  NASA’s NUCLEAR SPECTROSCOPE ARRAY (NoSTAR) at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, will extend its own research by the use of the lower energy X-Ray and ultraviolet bands that will be available through ASTR0STAT, due to the strength and uniqueness of ASTROSTAT. Black Holes, galaxy clusters, celestial objects that blaze with different wavelengths as different events occur, will e observed by ASTROSAT, which no other observatory has achieved until it went into orbit.  ASTROSTAT will fill the gap left when NASA’s ROSSI X-RAY  TIMING EXPLORER SATELLITE ended in 2012 after sixteen years of operations. ASTROSTAT’S X-RAY DETECTORS can also cope with very bright objects that would saturate other satellites with radiation such as NASA’S CHANDRA X-RAY OBSERVATORY, or EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY’S (ESA) X-RAY MULTI-MIRROR (XXM-NEWTON) instruments, alerting the entire astronomical community to short-lived bursts of X-RAYS. Which indicate something new is happening in space. (Nature Vol. 525, 24 September 2015 pp. 438-439)


BOK, Bart J., & Priscilla F. Bok, The Milky Way, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass, 1981

CASTELVECCHI, Davide, Half-Pipe Array to Map Teen Universe, Nature, Vol. 523, 18 July 2015                         

COLES, Peter, & Francesco Lucchin, Cosmology, John Wiley & Sons, LTD.. 2002

CROCKETT, Christopher,  More Dark Galaxies Reveal themselves, Science News, July 25, 2015

FERRON, Kari, Black Hole Challenges Galaxy Evolution Theory, Astronomy Magazine, November, 2015

KEEL, William C., The Road to Galaxy Formation, Praxis Publishing, Chichester, UK., Springer, 2002

JAMES, Bethan, Primordial Stars Brought to Light, Nature Vol. 526, October 2015

KORNET, Katherine, Big Island Astronomy, Astronomy Magazine,  November 2015

MURDIN, Paul, & David Malin,  Catalogue  of the Universe, Crown Publishers, Inc., New York, 1979 

TURNER, Michael S., A Story of Cosmic Proportions, Nature, Vol. 526, October 2015     

WEINBERG, Steven, Cosmology, Oxford University Press, UK, 2008

WHITNEY, Charles A., The Discovery of our Galaxy, Alfred  Knoff, New York, 1971

All research and opionions presented on this site are the sole responsibility of Dr. Einar C. Erickson, and should not be interpreted as official statements of the LDS doctrine, beliefs or practice.
To find out more about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, please see their offical websites at LDS.org and Mormon.org