Dust Rich Early Galaxy Poses Problems

On 2nd March, 2015, the European Southern Observatory (ESO) issued Science Release 1508 that was picked up by a number of outlets including National Geographic News, which published an article by Michael Lemonick. The relevant URL’s can be found here:

An Old-looking Galaxy in a Young Universe
Astronomers Find a Dusty Galaxy that Shouldn't Exist

The news was about a very distant early galaxy known as A1689-zD1. This distant object was magnified by a factor of 9 using the lensing effect of the much nearer Abel 1689 cluster of galaxies as light from the more distant object passed through the cluster on its way to earth. The ESO used both its Very Large Telescope (VLT) in the optical region and the ALMA array in the sub-millimeter region to obtain the data.

The galaxy A1689-zD1 is small and similar in size to a satellite galaxy of our Milky Way system rather like the Large Magellanic Cloud. The VLT determined that A1689-zD1 was so far away that we are seeing it just 700 million atomic years after the inception of the cosmos. This corresponds to a redshift, z, of 7.5. A galaxy like that so close to the beginning is the first problem. The ALMA complex indicated that there were copious quantities of dust in the system. This consisted of many chemical elements that seemed to have been formed about 200 million atomic years earlier, which was just 500 million atomic years after the universe started. When the cosmos was about 560 million atomic years old, it is suspected that the first stars with a high metal content were formed in this galaxy. These observations pose another group of problems.

Before discussing these problems, it should be noted that these observations are in atomic time. This does not run at a constant rate but is dependent upon the properties of the vacuum. These properties changed as the universe expanded and the fabric of space was stretched. This has a practical outcome because it means that atomic clocks ticked faster in the early universe than they do now. However, orbital clocks, like the time it takes the earth to move once around the sun, tick at a constant rate. More about this can be found in the article, "Zero Point Energy, Light and Time" or alternately in the "The Zero Point Energy and atomic constants" section of "Data and Creation."

The first problem facing astronomers is the very existence of star systems and galaxies so early in the history of the universe. A decade ago, it had been estimated that it would take a galaxy the best part of one billion years to form under the forces of gravity. This process could only start once the initial plasma making up the matter in the universe had started to become neutral atoms. This event is called “decoupling” and is estimated to have occurred around 380,000 atomic years after the moment of the Big Bang. So if it takes a billion years to form a galaxy gravitationally, then a mature galaxy with stars that formed 560 million atomic years after the moment of the Big Bang is a problem. Today, astronomers often see star systems at impossibly early times. They are getting used to that, but their theories cannot account for it.

Astronomer James Trefil put it this way: “It comes down to this: Can the gravitational forces act quickly enough after decoupling [neutral atom formation] occurs to gather matter into galaxy-sized clumps before the Hubble expansion carries everything out of range? One of the great shocks to the astronomical community…was that the answer is a resounding ‘No!’.” (The Dark Side of the Universe, p.60). This problem is side-stepped by invoking the gravitational action of “dark matter” to hasten the process. To achieve all it has to, dark matter must make up 90% of the matter in the universe. However, astronomers and physicists have searched for dark matter for over 30 years and have found absolutely nothing. This is all the more surprising if it comprises 90% of the mass of the universe. So shifting the galaxy problem to a missing mass problem does not really resolve the difficulty.

The second problem is multi-faceted. According to the standard model, only the elements hydrogen and helium, plus a bit of lithium can form in the initial moments of the “Big Bang.” All the other elements are then required to be built up in the cores of stars that are composed initially of hydrogen and helium. These elements are then exploded out into space, and other stars form with these additional elements. It takes a number of generations of such exploding stars to form the vast quantities of dust and other elements that we see in most galaxies. Until these additional elements exist, there is absolutely no dust and therefore there is no solid matter. This also means that space rocks and solar systems cannot be formed.  But galaxy A1689-zD1 shows they have indeed formed at a very early stage. How is this possible on the standard model?

In fact, there are two problems here for the standard model. They need the collapse of a cloud of hydrogen gas with some helium to form a star. As that cloud collapses, the gas heats up and will re-expand. So it cannot happen. The explanation often given is that molecules like carbon monoxide will radiate the heat in the infra-red and so allow the cloud to continue contracting to form a star. This process may work if other elements are already in existence. But, in the early universe, we do not have any other elements such as carbon or oxygen nor do we have carbon monoxide molecules around to do this: there is only hydrogen and helium. So there is a major blockage to the process. It is becoming fashionable to again invoke the action of dark matter to bring about the gravitational collapse of hydrogen clouds to form stars. The action of dark matter is meant to be sufficiently strong to prevent re-expansion due to heating. But, as already noted, dark matter has not been found despite an extensive search. It is simply a theoretical answer to a problem which is not backed up by any observational evidence.

A second problem also exists for the standard model in this instance. If it is accepted that the manufacture of all the other elements in stars can occur, then the star has to go through its life-cycle to build them up. It then finally explodes and spreads these elements out into space. This takes time, and even more time is taken as successive generations of stars are needed for all these extra elements to be present. These extra elements then have to be there in sufficient quantities to form the large amounts of dust that is present in the galaxy under discussion. Simply put, there is not enough time for all this to happen. Huge quantities of dust are present in this galaxy at an impossibly early stage in the history of the cosmos according to the standard model. This suggests that the standard model is in need of serious reconsideration, or an entirely new approach must be adopted.

That new approach has been offered by plasma physicists and astronomers who hold to the plasma model. The standard model requires the formation of neutral atoms before gravity can even begin to act. On the other hand, it is generally agreed that all matter in the early universe existed in the state of plasma. Plasma is considered to be the 4th state of matter; there is solid, liquid, gas, and then plasma. Plasma forms when gas is heated or energized so that electrons are stripped off atoms. This leaves positively charged atomic nuclei (ions) and/or protons and negatively charged electrons moving independently. The surface of the sun is a plasma; auroras are plasma in glow mode, as are neon signs. Lightning is plasma in arc mode, just as in an arc-welders torch. Even flames are plasma. The consensus opinion is that, in the early universe, matter existed entirely in the form of plasma.

Plasma exists mainly in the form of filaments or sheets. The reason is that moving electrons or moving protons or other ions form an electric current. Every electric current has a circling magnetic field. This circling magnetic field constrains the plasma into its filamentary shapes. Therefore, it can be seen that plasma, while not responding to gravity, does respond to the forces of electricity and magnetism. From what we see out in space, it can be calculated that these forces are up to 10^39 times stronger than gravity. Plasma processes can thereby act much more quickly than gravity.

In the Los Alamos National Laboratories, Anthony Peratt has been able to film what happens when two plasma filaments interact and start entwining around each other. Miniature galaxies are formed in the process. Indeed all known types of galaxy can be reproduced by this process with just two or three interacting filaments, even though up to 12 filaments have been used in some experiments. These galaxies form and fully develop in fractions of a second in the lab. When upscaled to cosmos sizes, the same process can produce galaxies in plasma very quickly. It does not need to wait for neutral atoms to form and gravity to start acting; plasma forces are acting from the beginning.

It is also important to note that stars form simply on plasma physics. In the case of plasma filaments, if there is some change in the rate of flow of the current through the filament or a change in temperature, the circling magnetic field pinches in and makes a ball of the plasma at that point. This forms a star; we can see the process acting in our own galaxy in some nebulae where stars are formed like a string of beads along a filament. This, too, does not take anywhere near as long as gravity, and it does not matter what the composition of the filament is or whether dust is present or not, although dusty plasmas are common.

Finally, in plasma filaments, the strength of the electric field is such that fusion reactions occur easily. This means that even if the original filament was only composed of hydrogen and helium, other elements would be built up quickly by plasma processes and the plasma would then become “dusty”. It is not necessary to take millions of years for these elements to form inside stars and then be exploded out; it can happen very quickly.

In a word, plasma physics supplies the answer to the puzzle that standard model astronomers have been looking for for so long. The action of “dark matter” is not needed. So the copious quantities of dust in the galaxy A1689-zD1 is not problematical on the plasma model. Furthermore, the mere existence of such a galaxy so early in the history of the universe is not a problem to the plasma model either.

There is a further consideration. The electric and magnetic properties of the vacuum are dependent upon the Zero Point Energy (ZPE) which fills the vacuum of space. The ZPE originates with the stretching or initial expansion of the universe. As the expansion went on, the ZPE built up, so the ZPE is much stronger now than it was initially. When the ZPE was low, electric currents were stronger and voltages higher. This means that all plasma processes were faster. So in the early universe, not only were plasma processes 10^39 times stronger than gravity as they are today in the dynamics of our own galaxy, they were also considerably faster. Under these circumstances with a much lower ZPE, it is conceivable that a whole universe can be formed by plasma processes within 6 days; the math and physics support this proposition. Further discussion of the ZPE and plasma model and creation can be found on You Tube.

Barry Setterfield.