Doubts about basic assumption for the universe

Study by the Universities of Bonn and Harvard questions a fundamental principle of cosmology

IMAGE: The blue areas expand more slowly than expected, the yellow areas faster. In isotropy, the image would be monochromatic red.  Credit: © Konstantinos Nikolaos Migkas, Uni Bonn/Astronomy & Astrophysics
IMAGE: The blue areas expand more slowly than expected, the yellow areas faster. In isotropy, the image would be monochromatic red. Credit: © Konstantinos Nikolaos Migkas, Uni Bonn/Astronomy & Astrophysics

University of Bonn

No matter where we look, the same rules apply everywhere in space: countless calculations of astrophysics are based on this basic principle. A recent study by the Universities of Bonn and Harvard, however, has thrown this principle into question. Should the measured values be confirmed, this would toss many assumptions about the properties of the universe overboard. The results are published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, but are already available online.

Since the big bang, the universe has swollen like a freshly formed raisin roll put in a warm place to rise. Until recently, it was thought that this increase in size was occurring evenly in all directions, as with a good yeast dough. Astrophysicists call this “isotropy”. Many calculations on the fundamental properties of the universe are based on this assumption. It is possible that they are all wrong – or at least, inaccurate – thanks to compelling observations and analyses of the scientists from the Universities of Bonn and Harvard.

For they have put the isotropy hypothesis to the test for the first time with a new method that allows more reliable statements than before. With an unexpected result: According to this method, some areas in space expand faster than they should, while others expand more slowly than expected. “In any case, this conclusion is suggested by our measurements,” states Konstantinos Migkas, from the Argelander Institute for Astronomy at the University of Bonn.

Migkas and his colleagues have developed a new, efficient isotropy test in their study. It is based on the observation of so-called galaxy clusters – in a sense, the raisins in the yeast bun. The clusters emit X-ray radiation that can be collected on Earth (in this case, this was done by the satellite-based telescopes Chandra and XMM-Newton). The temperature of the galaxy clusters can be calculated based on certain characteristics of the radiation. Also, their brightness can be measured. The hotter they are, the brighter they glow.

In an isotropic universe, a simple rule applies. The further away a celestial object is from us, the faster it moves away from us. From its speed, we can therefore deduce its distance from us, regardless of the direction in which the object lies. At least that’s what we thought until now. “In reality, however, our brightness measurements seem to disagree with the above distance calculation,” Migkas emphasizes.

This is because the amount of light that reaches the earth decreases with increasing distance. So, anyone who knows the original luminosity of a celestial body and its distance knows how bright it should shine in the telescope image. And it is precisely at this point that scientists have come across discrepancies that are difficult to reconcile with the isotropy hypothesis: that some galaxy clusters are much fainter than expected. Their distance from Earth is probably much greater than calculated from their speed. And for some others, however, the opposite is the case.

“There are only three possible explanations for this,” states Migkas, who is doing his doctorate in the research group of Prof. Dr. Thomas Reiprich at the Argelander Institute. “Firstly, it is possible that the X-ray radiation, whose intensity we have measured, is attenuated on its way from the galaxy clusters to Earth. This could be due to as yet undiscovered gas or dust clouds inside or outside the Milky Way. In preliminary tests, however, we find this discrepancy between measurement and theory not only in X-rays but also at other wavelengths. It is extremely unlikely that any kind of matter nebula absorbs completely different types of radiation in the same way. But we won’t know for sure for several months.”

A second possibility are so-called “bulk flows”. These are groups of neighboring galaxy clusters that move continuously in a certain direction – for example, due to some structures in space that generate strong gravitational forces. These would therefore attract the galaxy clusters to themselves and thus change their speed (and thus also their derived distance). “This effect would also mean that many calculations on the properties of the local universe would be imprecise and would have to be repeated,” explains Migkas.

The third possibility is the most serious: What if the universe is not isotropic at all? What if – metaphorically speaking – the yeast in the galactic raisin roll is so unevenly distributed that it quickly bulges in some places while it hardly grows at all in other regions? Such an anisotropy could, for example, result from the properties of the mysterious “dark energy”, which acts as an additional driving force for the expansion of the universe. However, a theory is still missing that would make the behavior of the Dark Energy consistent with the observations. “If we succeed in developing such a theory, it could greatly accelerate the search for the exact nature of this form of energy,” Migkas is certain.

The current study is based on data from more than 800 galaxy clusters, 300 of which were analysed by the authors. The remaining clusters come from previously published studies. The analysis of the X-ray data alone was so demanding that it took several months. The new satellite-based eROSITA X-ray telescope is expected to record several thousand more galaxy clusters in the coming years. At the latest then it will become clear whether the isotropy hypothesis really has to be abandoned.


From EurekAlert!

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R Taylor
April 10, 2020 6:22 am

Doubts indeed. We don’t know the starting conditions, the ending conditions, the boundary conditions, nor how the properties of what we observe might change over unimaginable distances and times.

Reply to  R Taylor
April 10, 2020 8:41 am

There’s only one possible starting condition which is no space and no time, i.e. exact nothingness. The Big Bang kicked off the arrow of time, space necessarily followed and is continuing to follow as the expansion of space-time. People are frequently misled by considering the expansion to be only one of space, while it’s actually space-time that’s expanding which needs no explanation other than the passage of time.

The entire EM history of the Universe is stored somewhere in the resulting space-time. As time progresses, more EM history is produced. If space-time wasn’t expanding at the rate of time, we would be overwhelmed by a sea of photons.

To be consistent with relativity theory, the arrow of time and hence the expansion of space-time must originate uniquely from each individual particle. The strong and weak forces keep atoms together, while gravity keeps collections of atoms together and charge keeps their respective arrows of time in sync. It’s the combination of forces that keeps matter, space and time locally consistent with itself which then manifests bulk flows relative to other locally consistent collections of matter.

R Taylor
Reply to  co2isnotevil
April 10, 2020 9:32 am

I admit I can’t quantify my preference for something other than all the matter and energy of the universe in an infinitesimally small volume, but even a raisin roll seems to go better with an orbiting teapot.

Reply to  R Taylor
April 10, 2020 10:10 am

The raisins move within the dough as it expands. They measured the raisins’ movements, not the dough.

James F. Evans
Reply to  co2isnotevil
April 10, 2020 10:13 am

I’m not sure whether the above comment is satire or a bed time story for astronomers who subscribe to the so-called “big bang”.

A much simpler and honest answer: “We don’t know how the cosmos started.”

Reply to  James F. Evans
April 11, 2020 4:25 am

It always was, always is, and always will be…it’s a mystery…

Reply to  co2isnotevil
April 10, 2020 10:20 am

An alternative initial condition is an incoherent energy field that became ordered, once, twice, there is no way to know. There was space. There is no time, other than an anthropomorphization of motion, and useful characterization by our mind.

Reply to  n.n
April 10, 2020 11:18 am

Nothingness doesn’t have to be an absolute. It can be an average. For example, consider that before the Big Bang, time and its relationship to space was randomly fluctuating around zero. The direction time ended up going was towards a matter Universe. Had the initial spark set time going in the opposite direction, we would be in an anti-matter Universe, but we wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.

In this context, nothingness as an incoherent field is a chaotic oscillation between a matter Universe and an anti-matter Universe in the limit as the size of each Universe approaches zero. This can also be considered a random fluctuation in a space-time curvature field centered on flat. Being random, it’s destined to eventually curve by so much, it curves in on itself and a Universe emerges.

Reply to  co2isnotevil
April 11, 2020 6:17 am

If nothingness does not have to be absolute then the word loses its meaning.

Reply to  co2isnotevil
April 11, 2020 9:23 am

If nothingness does not have to be absolute then the word loses its meaning.

That could be. There may be no nothingness.

Reply to  co2isnotevil
April 11, 2020 3:13 pm


Nothingness means no arrow of time and no dimensions of space. But if a nothingness time metric is chaotically varying around zero. That is, it goes forward for a bit and then backwards a bit so that the average time is 0, the net result is indistinguishable from time always equal to 0. Note that small amounts of 1-d space (or 1-d anti-space) emerge and disappear, corresponding to forward time and backwards (anti) time around t=0. One difference between this approach and the pedantic approach is that the Universe will become either a matter Universe or an anti-matter Universe, depending on which direction time emerged and not based on an imbalance between primordial matter and anti-matter.

This is the same kind of technique used by String Theory to make singularities disappear by turning them into ‘strings’ which are otherwise finite. I don’t believe that infinities or singularities can exist in nature and the kind of nothingness I’m describing removes the singularity at t=0 without resorting to String theory and instead meshes well with GR by removing the singularity that otherwise breaks it. I should point out that following this through all of the other singularities disappear as well.

Interestingly enough, if the primordial variability is chaotic and the variability around t=0 is specified as a function of curvature between time and space, it’s inevitable that it will eventually curve upon itself and when this happens, a Universe will emerge. In other words, it’s inevitable that a Universe will emerge from nothing.

Consider a 1-d line curving in on itself to form a 2-d circle and a 2-d circle curving in on itself creating a 3-d sphere and a 3-d sphere curved in on itself produces a 4-d space-time manifold. I see this dimensional evolution as what’s driving inflation which started once time became too curved away from space to return to 0 and which for reasons I wont go into here, stopped once the 4-d space-time manifold emerged.

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  co2isnotevil
April 11, 2020 3:57 pm


There are other possible descriptions of the universe. It may always have existed. The Big Bang theory was predicated on the notion, now disproven, that everything was expanding away from a point of origination. Because of the fantastical mismatch between the Bang and the present size of the universe the theorists had to invent “expansion” that happened suddenly and for no reason, to hide the decline in its plausibility.

Well perhaps there was no Bang, big or otherwise. Consider the logic (or otherwise) of inventing dark energy that causes all matter to repel and make the expansion “accelerate”. No longer needed – first check to see if the measurements made were in places that happen to give the acceleration impression. The whole shebang is undermined and we may be able to find a completely different theory that requires fewer inventions of convenience to hide the decline, the expansion and the gaping hole in the Standard Model where the Big One used to be.

Reply to  co2isnotevil
April 10, 2020 4:37 pm

One of the few comments here worth reading.
I guess that’s why we need Lorenz Transformations.

Reply to  co2isnotevil
April 11, 2020 12:06 am

There’s only one impossible starting condition which is no space and no time, i.e. exact nothingness.


Reply to  R Taylor
April 10, 2020 9:43 am

Another simplistic but convenient uniformatarian hypothesis bites the dust.

Another is that Big G is the same everywhere ( when we have trouble even proving it is constant here ).

If Big G is isotropic too you can stop all the talk of fairy dust an magic energy.

Reply to  R Taylor
April 10, 2020 11:00 am

I’ve been told that energy can be neither created nor destroyed. Taking that at face value, there has always been energy, and the big bang was just a transformation. Somehow the energy found a vacant spot which became a focus for an explosion of new creation.

john harmsworth
Reply to  R Taylor
April 10, 2020 11:49 am

They should have ploughed billions more into research and suppressed any findings or researchers who questioned the original Celestial spheres theory. What kinda science is this? If only Cosmology had a giant like Michael Mann to burn a few of these heretics at some stakes and publish the peer reviewed results.

April 10, 2020 7:00 am

I’m voting for “bulk flows”.

Reply to  rbabcock
April 10, 2020 8:10 am

Climate change for sure and it’s obvious they need more dough to study this and work it into the computer models. These are kneady people.

Reply to  observa
April 10, 2020 9:46 am

Very good !

There’s something strangely ying/yang about their graphic.

Reply to  Greg
April 11, 2020 12:10 am

Yeah, NETS out to zero – not even flat.

Reply to  observa
April 10, 2020 10:24 am

The prophecy of [catastrophic] [anthropogenic] climate cooling… warming… change is constructed on a chaotic assembly of perturbations, and belies the normal range of carbon, CO2, temperature, etc. That said, the polar bears are fine, save the seals! Also, save a bird, a bat, whack a wind turbine. Don’t be green, go green, not Green.

Louis Hunt
Reply to  observa
April 10, 2020 12:05 pm

Yes, climate change is the answer to every problem in the universe. Obviously, where global warming is not controlled by resident aliens, the dough is going to rise faster. We must control it in our part of the universe or we are doomed! Why it will doom us, I can’t tell you. I’ll leave that to smarter people like Al Gore and Greta.

Andrew Hamilton
Reply to  rbabcock
April 10, 2020 3:19 pm

All Chemical Engineers do. Everything is Chemical Engineering. Except for how and, most importantly why, everything started.

Doug Deal
Reply to  Andrew Hamilton
April 11, 2020 12:17 am

That’s because we haven’t determined if the universe is a CSTR or a PFR.

Reply to  rbabcock
April 11, 2020 12:13 am

I’m voting for “bulk flows”.

Recommend more fibre.

April 10, 2020 7:14 am

Pity we can’t get a comment on this from Stephen Hawking.

April 10, 2020 7:16 am

For context, (PDF) and…180..317C/0000317.000.html.

James F. Evans
April 10, 2020 7:29 am

This demonstrates the confusion in modern astronomy.

Now a pet idea, the so-called “big bang” (already falsified many times) requires so many assumptions (made-up physical laws) the laws of physics has to be changed to accommodate their ideas.

Sorry, if astronomers’ ideas require the laws of physics to change, then the ideas should be dismissed as falsified.

But you get the picture: group-think astronomers can’t accept their ideas are wrong.

A paradigm shift has to occur before the astronomic field of science will advance… right now it’s no better than when the Ptolemaic Model with epicycles held sway in the minds of men.

There is a crisis in astronomy.

Øyvind Davidsen
Reply to  James F. Evans
April 10, 2020 8:38 am

When you have to invent «Dark energy» in order to explain your theory, you know it’s wrong. You could just as well, use God as the missing energy.

Robert of Ottawa
Reply to  Øyvind Davidsen
April 10, 2020 10:12 am

Epicycles upon epicycles

Reply to  Øyvind Davidsen
April 10, 2020 3:30 pm

Did God stick his finger in the dough to see if it’s ready to bake?

Reply to  James F. Evans
April 10, 2020 8:48 am

The fact that the Universe has a finite age tells us that there was an event that started it and we call this event the Big Bang. The fact that the Universe had a beginning has never been falsified, although it’s very clear that the precise nature of this event is not well understood.

James F. Evans
Reply to  co2isnotevil
April 10, 2020 10:25 am

Pardon, but the assumption the universe has a finite age or that humans know that age is part of the reason astronomy is in crisis.

To validate the assumptions (of an age and what that age is) astronomers are making up new laws of physics that have never been validated in a laboratory and never will be.

This is not science, it’s myth-making to justify itself.

Reply to  James F. Evans
April 10, 2020 11:28 am

There are on new laws being invented to establish that the Universe has a finite age, although it’s actual age is certainly uncertain. However; an ageless Universe would have already consumed all the Hydrogen, all the stars would have died and we wouldn’t be here to notice. So, as an existence proof, that we occupy an ageless Universe can be precluded.

If you think that Hydrogen is continuously created, there’s no evidence of that in the observable Universe and if it were true, we would observe powerful quasars and far younger galaxies much closer to our own then we currently observe.

Jay Michaels
Reply to  co2isnotevil
April 10, 2020 1:17 pm

Flawed reasoning. There is no logic to “something from nothing”. The concept of the universe having a beginning is a product of limited imagination. Maybe it transforms or pulses in and out in some way but it’s always been here.

The second paragraph… quasars are powerful and we do observe them.

You have no idea where hydrogen comes from but it’s everywhere. We observe stellar nurseries in our own galaxy despite that it is very old.

Reply to  co2isnotevil
April 10, 2020 5:58 pm


Initiating the arrow of time it what made something out of nothing and if you think it takes a limited imagination to conceive of how this can be, you are mistaken. The flawed reasoning is to consider that the existence of our Universe had no beginning and hence no end.

If galaxies are continually created, we should see galaxies in all stages of evolution in all parts of the observable Universe and we don’t. Most Quasars are very distant and thought to be an early evolutionary stage of a galaxy where the central black hole is feeding voraciously for a long time. The merging black holes of colliding galaxies and supermassive black holes consuming a large star can present the same signature for a shorter amount of time.

Most of the Hydrogen in our galaxy has already been part of 1 or more stars and is just being recycled. We don’t see any new sources of Hydrogen and if they existed and the Universe was perpetual, then we would be living in a Universe overrun with Hydrogen and the other elements created from an infinite number of supernovae. Forever is a long time and everything that can happen will have already happened an infinite number of times.

Whether other Universes exist or have existed is irrelevant to the existence of ours and it’s quite clear that what we observe to exist is a large, but finite space-time Universe that’s expanding as a consequence of the arrow of time, that has a beginning and one way or another the processes contained within it will eventually end, whether or not time also ends.

Reply to  James F. Evans
April 11, 2020 4:39 am

The galaxies are attracted to each other by a small gravitational field. The change in velocity effect would be inversely proportional to the square root of distance between them. So not much, but enough to throw out their calculations.

Curious George
April 10, 2020 7:31 am

The only settled science is climatology.

Reply to  Curious George
April 10, 2020 8:56 am

Ho ho, u made my day!

Reply to  Curious George
April 10, 2020 10:11 am

I dispute the term science in that statement!

Reply to  Curious George
April 10, 2020 5:23 pm

Science is never settled, otherwise it’s already been relegated to mere engineering. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. Chicks dig it.

Reply to  brians356
April 11, 2020 12:54 pm

Dear Brian, like me, you are a very wise man, and we are supported by a MUCH wiser man;-)

“We can only ever be wrong”.

PS The principal of creating a vague theory you can keep asserting but never prove, and cannot be proved wrong, was been the basic tenet of climate science. Same idea as life after death, which must not be questioned, however daft.

BUT the spectral analysis of temperature records has finally disproved that most or even any significant climate change by AGW is actually happening. The IPCC activist climate “scientists” didn’t think of this approach to testing their bogus models they wanted to use to support their desired theoretical “AGW causes observed climate change” outcome when they created the idea of consensually enforced climate science.

There IS an observation that can test this assertion, and prove it right wrong. AGW must produce a monotonic signal in the Fourier spectrum of the observed temperature record. Simples! There isn’t one. All we see is cycles. No AGW.

Reply to  Curious George
April 11, 2020 12:21 am

Climatology and Cosmology have a fair bit in common regards abundant theory but a lack of testability, though one ‘ends’ a bit further past the doom horizon of the other. And human affect on either is almost but not quite nothing. Though humans may affect the Cosmos more, as observing stuff changes it, whereas climate-change is not-observable, only weather cycles can be observed.

Wayne Townsend
April 10, 2020 7:34 am

It’s wonderful to see a set of scientists acting like scientists.

It’s interesting that a primary testable assumption is only just now being tested. We always start with blinkers on our eyes when we first posit our theories. These can persist a long time until someone new says, “But, is that right? Let’s check it out.”

Reply to  Wayne Townsend
April 10, 2020 11:04 am

For example, large positive feedback that amplifies an insignificant amount of forcing into a climate catastrophe.

Many have questioned this, checked it out and falsified it over and over, yet the IPCC can’t acknowledge this failure as their very existence depends on the errors.

Paul Maxit
April 10, 2020 7:38 am

Missing the fourth and only possibility : no universe expansion, no dark matter, no dark energy, no Bing Bang, no Black Hole, no simple red shift relationship with distance, but with age, plasma everywhere, Birkeland currents that create galaxies, solar systems..

In résumé : the Electric Universe.

At one point, all the current standard universe flaws will lead to it.


Reply to  Paul Maxit
April 10, 2020 4:33 pm

Boken link. Is this the same theme as Ben Davidson’s channel (The Suspicious0bservers)

April 10, 2020 7:52 am

The result sits in opposition to the anisotropy of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) … I know which one I would believe 🙂

Bill Taylor
April 10, 2020 7:55 am

the concept of a big bang is stupid and anti science……the entire universe was in one tiny location then exploded? utter IDIOCY.

Gary Pearse
April 10, 2020 7:56 am

“Should the measured values be confirmed, this would toss many assumptions about the properties of the universe overboard.”

My goodness they should be confirmed! If we have come so far as to be able to consider confirmation why hasn’t this been done? Surely reluctance to face having to toss many assumptions about the properties of the universe overboard isn’t an impediment.

At least having no political agenda, they are unequivocal about the fact that “confirmation” would indeed toss many assumptions overboard. The idea of confirmation in Climate Science actually strikes terror into the heart of researchers. They don’t want to know what the properties of climate are.

Joe Crawford
April 10, 2020 7:56 am

Physicists screwed up several years back when a few stated that Physics was (almost) dead and most of the really big discoveries had already been made. Right or wrong I think they’re probably getting tired of playing second fiddle to the ‘Climate Scientists’ and want to improve their reputations in the eye of the public. I’d vote for more funding for pure physics over climate ‘science’ any day.

On the outer Barcoo
Reply to  Joe Crawford
April 10, 2020 8:52 am

In the words of General George Patton: Never tell men how to do their job; tell them what you want done and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.

Reply to  Joe Crawford
April 10, 2020 9:25 am

Agree, but it’s hard to use pure physics as a means of control over the population like climate “science” can.

Reply to  Joe Crawford
April 10, 2020 12:20 pm

You know that statement was made in the 1890s.

April 10, 2020 8:07 am

There are so many assumptions and assumptions built on other assumptions in our models of cosmology that the models themselves become dubious. Was there really a Big Bang and universal inflation and do dark matter and dark energy really exist? Probably they are real.

But maybe in our vanity we can’t see that all we’ve done is created another mythological story of the gods. I’m banking on it being turtles all the way down.

South River Independent
Reply to  Marty
April 10, 2020 9:41 am

You are correct. The first and most preposterous assumption is that the conditions that caused the big bang came about by happenstance. Physics is no longer science; it is phylosophy.

See recent books by Brian Greene (Until the End of Time) and David Kinsley (The Dream Universe) for some insight into the problems of cosmology.

South River Independent
Reply to  South River Independent
April 10, 2020 10:30 am

That should be David Lindley. Auto error strikes again.

April 10, 2020 8:34 am

“Such an anisotropy could, for example, result from the properties of the mysterious ‘dark energy’”.

Indeed, dark energy was only postulated to explain inconsistencies in the expansion. Using dark energy to explain yet other inconsistencies in the expansion seems circular.

April 10, 2020 8:35 am

Imagine a spherical universe, without friction.


Bill Taylor
Reply to  max
April 10, 2020 9:03 am

or imagine what i do, an infinite universe that we have only seen a very tiny portion of so far.

Robert of Ottawa
Reply to  max
April 10, 2020 10:20 am

Imagine a spherical horse.

Old joke about three punters; statistican, accountant and physicist. The first two admit they cannot calculate which horse will be the winning horse. The physicist states boldly, to the awe of his audience, that he can … assuming a spherical horse 🙂

john harmsworth
Reply to  Robert of Ottawa
April 10, 2020 12:00 pm

And the climate change scientist says he certainly can predict the winner, as he aims his gun at the first horse.

Gary Pearse
April 10, 2020 8:48 am

Actually, one can see structure in the illustration of their results. A “central” apparent high speed yellow, ringed by slower orange, then a ‘ring’ of red, and a ring of slower blue. This ‘target’ effect might be a possible artifact of observational origin (instruments) or gravity lensing perhaps with nearer objects having a stronger effect (actually, how do they sort location of objects out that have been pulled off true by gravity lensing)?

The Starry Night painted by Van Gogh has been thought by some doctors to have indicated the artist had glaucoma (instrument).

comment image

M__ S__
April 10, 2020 8:54 am


How about *Magic*. Oh, wait, they did guess magic and simply called it “dark energy”, or created a complex and convoluted theory involving an untestable, unmeasurable myriad of dimensions


How about “I don’t know” as an answer?

John A Hauenstein
April 10, 2020 9:07 am

Dark Matter & Dark Energy should be renamed Either 2.0, i.e. something that was made up so that current observations would fit with current understanding of Physics. Maybe our observations are wrong, or maybe the Physics used to “explain” the observations is wrong.

Robert of Ottawa
Reply to  John A Hauenstein
April 10, 2020 10:15 am

Look up “epicycles”. The desire to make observations fit theories is not new.

April 10, 2020 9:10 am

I’d go a step further and have previously posted elsewhere on the issue.
However the universe began, the distribution of matter, temperature, pressure and gravity is clearly uneven.
Thus convection away from and towards the centre of mass / gravity must inevitably develop.
Warmer, less dense regions will move away from the centre and cooler, more dense regions will move towards the centre.
Thus, in some regions of space there will be expansion with a red shift and in other regions contraction with a blue shift.
We happen to inhabit an expanding region.
The fundamental error has been to assume that the entire universe is expanding when that assumption is neither necessary nor inevitable.
The universe is likely just the same as any ball of gas around a gravitational centre which is bound to develop convection over time if there is even the most miniscule unevenness in the density distribution. Half will be ‘rising’ and expanding whilst half will be ‘falling’ and contracting.
So, no need to propose any big bang at the outset though that could have happened.
With or without an initial big bang we now have a steady state universe with regions of convection away from and towards the centre of gravity and that is sufficient to explain both what we see in our local region and the recent findings mentioned here.

Craig Rogers
April 10, 2020 9:18 am

You mean they are saying, well we dont really know for sure, but we keep on guessing?
We are all interested in finding out more about the Universe and world we live in. Factual science helps to answer some questions.
Important questions how and why did it all come about, did it happen by chance, if not by whom and for what reason, and if so do we have a purpose and does this life make sense? Where do we turn for the answers?

April 10, 2020 9:23 am

I know little about astronomy and cosmology, so correct me if I’m incorrect in understanding the graph:

From the perspective of the surface of our entire planet, the universe is seen as the inside of a spherical shell that surrounds the planet; so I can understand how the horizontal axis (Galactic Longitude) is labeled to range from 0 degrees to its coterminous 360 degrees with the 180 degrees (which are missing) being at both ends of the horizontal axis. But I don’t see why the vertical axis (Galactic Latitude) only ranges from -90 degrees to +90 degrees instead of a full 360 degrees as seen in the horizontal axis. Was the universe only mapped from one hemisphere?

Of course there are graphical transformations that would map that spherical shell onto a 2-dimensional oval as seen in the graph, but what are the parameters for that mapping?

Reply to  noaaprogrammer
April 10, 2020 10:54 am

When viewed from earth, positions in sky appear to be a sphere from our vantage point. We use the same conventions for positions as we do with terrestrial navigation.

On the earth we pick a North and South Pole and designate them as 0 degrees North or South. We pick an arbitrary starting point as the Zero point in East or West (Greenwich England) and measure degrees from that point.

So if you walk East or West you can walk 360 degrees before you return to your zero point. However, if you walk North or South you can reach a zero point in a maximum of 180 degrees (+ or – 90 degrees from the equator).

In spherical astronomy the apparent North celestial pole is less than a half a degree from the bright star Polaris (the North Star) and measure degrees from that position. The South celestial point has no bright star near it (which makes navigating down under a pain). The celestial latitude is an arbitrary point in the constellation Aries. Distance East or West from that is measured in hours, minutes and seconds. You can convert hours to degrees (1 hour is 15 degrees).

There are many books on spherical astronomy and terrestrial navigation available.

Reply to  Bulova
April 10, 2020 11:12 am

Sorry, I meant ” The zero point in celestial longitude is an arbitrary point in the constellation Aries.”. I find it tough to proof read my own stuff 🙂

Dudley Horscroft
Reply to  Bulova
April 11, 2020 1:10 am

Sorry, Bulova. It is probably another typo, but “we pick a North and South Pole and designate them as 0 degrees North or South. ” should read “we pick a North and South Pole and designate them as 90 degrees North or South. ” 0 degrees refers to the Equator.

Another thing, a point has no dimensions. Hence if the Big Bang relates to the expansion of a ‘singularity’ ie, a ‘point’, in every direction there must have been uniform expansion. But as we know, there was no uniform expansion. So either the BB did not come from a ‘singularity’ but from an inconsistent body, or Someone put His finger in it soon after the initial expansion so as to provide the variety. And if either of these hypotheses is right, then there is no reason to suppose there was, and is, perfectly spherical expansion of the Universe.

Somehow it seems that the Wizards of the Unseen University may have been on the right track, or Genesis 2.


Dudley Horscroft.

Reply to  Dudley Horscroft
April 11, 2020 5:44 am

Dudley, thanks for the correction. Latitude increases from the equator to 90 degrees at the poles as you say. I gotta take more time when I write these things…

Reply to  Bulova
April 10, 2020 3:14 pm

Thanks Bulova,

I understand the coordinates now: Placing one’s self at any point of observation in the universe, once any given “horizontal” axis is swept out over 360 degrees, an axis that is perpendicular to that disc need only vary from -90 degrees to +90 degrees to uniquely define any point projected onto a spherical shell centered about that point of observation.

Reply to  noaaprogrammer
April 11, 2020 5:46 am


You got it!

John Tillman
Reply to  noaaprogrammer
April 10, 2020 11:07 am

The galactic coordinates use the Sun as the origin. Galactic longitude is measured with primary direction from the Sun to the center of the galaxy in the galactic plane, while the galactic latitude measures the angle of the object (in this case, a galaxy cluster) above the galactic plane.

Please see the diagram in this link:

April 10, 2020 9:28 am

“I don’t know” is just not efficient at providing grants, paychecks, and promotions.

April 10, 2020 9:30 am

On the Relativistic Theory of an Anisotropic Inhomogeneous Universe
This is Einstein Cosmology – who said isotropy is “required” ?
Abstract:Here the General Theory of Relativity is expounded from the point of view of space-time as a continuous medium, and the mathematical apparatus for calculation of physically observable quantities (the theory of chronometric invariants) is constructed. Then this mathematical apparatus is applied to set up the basics of the theory of an inhomogeneous anisotropic universe, which profitably contraststhe self-limited theories of a homogeneous universe (most commonly used in modern relativistic cosmology). Owing to such an extension of the relativistic cosmology, we determine the whole range of cosmological models (scenarios of evolution) which could be theoretically conceivable in the space-time of the General Theory of Relativity.Translated from the original Russian manuscript of 1957, in2008 byDmitri Rabounski.

April 10, 2020 9:33 am

Why is it that the edge, end, of the “Universe” is exactly the same distance in any direction from the Earth? [This is implied by the fact that they claim they can see, hear, detect the events from the “Big Bang” at that occurred at that point/time. ] That implies to me, that like in ancient times, we are at the center of the Universe The probability of that is infinite, and Also implies to me how little we actually know. Shouldn’t the distance be far less than ~13 billion years in one general direction and far more than 13 billion years opposite that? shouldn’t the shape be closer to a fat Galaxy?

Sal Minella
Reply to  Uzurbrain
April 10, 2020 10:52 am

We are at the center of the observable Universe. What’s outside of that no one knows or ever will know. Probably “black packaging”.

Sal Minella
Reply to  Sal Minella
April 10, 2020 1:38 pm

That should be “dark packaging”.

Reply to  Sal Minella
April 10, 2020 8:16 pm

Let us be precise. The Universe stretches the same distance in every direction from me.

I am the Centre of the Universe.

Send money to show your respect.

Sal Minella
Reply to  RoHa
April 12, 2020 12:13 pm

You are correct, each of us is at an unique center-of-the-observable-universe, making our observations unique to each of us, however, my universe is superior to yours; bow and grovel to your superior.

John Tillman
Reply to  Uzurbrain
April 10, 2020 11:13 am

Galactic coordinates don’t have the Sun at the center, but it defines a line running through the center of the galaxy. Galactic latitude is the angle above the plane thus defined at which objects, in this case galactic clusters, lie.

Anthony Banton
Reply to  Uzurbrain
April 10, 2020 11:14 am

“Shouldn’t the distance be far less than ~13 billion years in one general direction and far more than 13 billion years opposite that? shouldn’t the shape be closer to a fat Galaxy?”

No, because the BB did not occur within the Universe.
It was the Universe.
The Universe is expanding and not the matter within it.
Everywhere in the Universe is expanding away from every other point in the Universe.

“You might be tempted to say that the location of the Big Bang is the center of the universe. But because space itself was created by the Big Bang, the location of the Big Bang was everywhere in the universe and not at a single point.”

Bill Taylor
Reply to  Anthony Banton
April 10, 2020 4:10 pm

not here to argue but the contradictions in your post are astonishing…one example = there cant be any black holes because they would be drawing points towards them NOT everything going away from everything else.

Robert of Ottawa
April 10, 2020 10:07 am

There is a fourth possibility. Red shift is not due to the Doppler Effect.

Sal Minella
Reply to  Robert of Ottawa
April 10, 2020 11:14 am

Or that galactic redshift is due to the Doppler effect and that galaxies that are farther away (farther back in time) were moving away faster than galaxies that are closer (nearer in time). In fact, galaxies nearer than 75,000,000ish light years are collapsing towards us. This might indicate that the universe was expanding until 75 million years ago.

Reply to  Robert of Ottawa
April 10, 2020 3:25 pm

Makes me think I need to read that recent article claiming “Time is relative” and different in different parts of the Universe. Seems to be saying the same thing as you. Seems to me, if the speed of time is different it would make the color of the stars different.

April 10, 2020 10:13 am

A universe inferred from signals of unknown fidelity. All that we know for certain, is the near-frame observations made at the edge of our solar system.

April 10, 2020 10:17 am

What if much of what we witness, especially at what we think are great distances, is just some sort of illusion that we don’t know yet how it operates? Maybe some of the ancient religions and philosophies should be given more credit, such as the ancient Sanskrit Vedas who had one version of the concept Maya being part of a larger illusion, concealing truth. In later Vedic texts and modern literature dedicated to Indian traditions, Maya connotes a “magic show, an illusion where things appear to be present but are not what they seem”. I am sure they must have been gazing out on the stars when they wrote up their versions of their reality and some things maybe sunk in unconsciously.

Once we know what the true parameters are, and what is actually happening might shed light on what is really going on with the universe and how it all works. The fact that we are still guessing which hypothesis may make more sense than others is a sure sign we really don’t yet fully understand, and why we must have somewhat of an open mind as to new ways of thinking about things. One simple discovery has the ability to completely upend everything we think we might know. We will all probably have to be dragged along, kicking and screaming, but that seems to be how science progresses.

A very simple analogy would be a terrestrial mirage, but to ancient man who didn’t understand light refraction, it would have seemed really miraculous or perhaps even evil omens. What they thought doesn’t really matter to what is actually going on. Same for the present, if we don’t fully yet understand the dynamics of how everything is happening. I am sure we don’t know everything yet, and if history is any guide, then it will take someone to postulate a new hypothesis, take flak for a quarter century as a quack, and then finally be vindicated in the end when everyone finally understands. This is how science has rolled since the ancient Egyptians/Greeks right up to Einstein and beyond, because of group think and the science (religion) is settled BS.

This is the dilemma of climate science presently, and presents a huge danger to mankind, since if we start making public policy based upon fanciful thinking about climate, then we may make huge blunders to the economy and welfare of humanity, just like we might be making a huge mistake relying on the health experts to having the economy shut down because of their only focus being health and not the big picture of life is for the living. Cutting off our nose to spite our face…

April 10, 2020 10:18 am

My old professor of astronomy, the late Dr. Jason Nassau at what was then Case Institute of Technology, would revel in these latest findings.

At the time that as an engineering student I took his one undergraduate course in astronomy in the late 1950’s, he was the first chair of the department of astronomy and later became Professor Emeritus. He was a pioneer in the study of galactic structure and knew both Fred Hoyle and George Gamow personally.

Besides fascinating information about the universe, the main “take-away” we all got from his class was: 1) man will always quest for knowledge about the world and the universe, and 2) each new discovery will open up a new area of knowledge that we hadn’t known existed before. We will never know it all!

In the current environment of computer models and “experts” this message is as important today as it was then. Honest scientists own up to the limits of their knowledge. Our trust in “experts” needs to be based on their honesty.

Mike Bryant
April 10, 2020 10:52 am

The Magisters Ludi shall continue spinning beads ad infinitum…

Doug Huffman
April 10, 2020 1:02 pm

Lee Smolin’s TIME as fundamental and SPACE contingent and emergent solves difficulties for me. The past is infinite and the future is eternal. Then Poincaré recurrence theorem requires everything that can happen to have happened many times. Charles Sanders Peirce’s principles become obvious.

Bill Taylor
Reply to  Doug Huffman
April 10, 2020 6:30 pm

how could there be stars or planets IF every point in the universe is moving away from all other points?

Reply to  Bill Taylor
April 21, 2020 10:59 am

Everything is still there…just increasingly further apart, like a dot pattern on a balloon being blown up.

charles nelson
April 10, 2020 3:03 pm

If the universe is ‘expanding’….how could ‘accretion account for the formation of stars and planets?

Reply to  charles nelson
April 10, 2020 4:45 pm

A constant battle between energy and matter with gravity acting as referee.

April 10, 2020 3:35 pm

Just when you think that you have all the answers, new questions will arise.

Michael F
April 10, 2020 3:55 pm

Well, that’s a bit radical. Changing a theory to fit the facts – it cannot be. Just change the facts to fit the theory there is a tried and test method for this it’s called homogenization.

Robert of Texas
April 10, 2020 4:18 pm

“Standard Candles” – ugh.

It is nothing short of arrogance that makes scientists so sure of something they cannot directly study. Take the Type Ia Super Nova – an incredibly important “standard candle”. They built models to show how their guesses at Type Ia work – so its now settled science – move on nothing to see here.

Its just my hunch my you, I can’t directly study a population of Super Nova Type Ia either, but I am willing to bet they are a lot more diverse and variable then the “models” are programmed for. For one simple point, the amount of metals in the universe continually increase (in astronomy a ‘metal’ is anything bigger than Helium). So all stars in the early universe had less metals in them, and the ones that form later on have progressively more – at least on average. How does this affect the size, density, collapse, or brightness of the super nova? Well, the models don’t know so it isn’t important.

How does spin affect the super nova? What if it makes it brighter on the axis than around the equator? Oops.

So pretending that we know the expansion rate of the universe to any ‘great certainty’ is a joke. The question is not “Why is the universe expanding faster” but “Is the universe expanding faster”? If I were an astronomer, I would be looking into the assumptions used to construct the expansion rate and the ‘certainty’ of it.

I actually agree with the non-isotropic expansion hypothesis – it makes sense to me that the universe is not some perfect sphere of expanding space-time but instead a weird pattern – likely chaotic – of space time that was imparted with different rates of expansion.

You can keep your Dark Energy – I will believe it when someone finds it. Dark Matter? Well now, that’s another thing, we sort of need something to keep galaxies stuck together so there is actually evidence of that.

April 10, 2020 7:03 pm

“There are only three possible explanations for this,” states Migkas.

The big bang and the age/edge of the universe always miss the fundamental point that there must be something before both events.
And that if an event occurred once it is quote possible that it will happen again.

Thus there are no possible, provable answers with our current state of knowledge.

A simple explanation of some of the peripheral phenoma is that other big bangs are occurring all the time and that what we are witnessing is the intrusion of other big bangs onto ours.

“However; an ageless Universe would have already consumed all the Hydrogen, all the stars would have died and we wouldn’t be here to notice. So, as an existence proof, that we occupy an ageless Universe can be precluded.”

Concepts are tricky things.
There is a difference between a finite universe, an infinite universe and an ageless universe.
The very fact that we have time means that the the infinite universe may exist in an everlasting universe but not that things are ageless in the universe that we permit ourselves to imagine.

April 10, 2020 7:06 pm

Just think; If this were a paper that indicated that based on the initial evidence, the claim that human activity is causing climate change may be falsified soon, the authors would be viciously attacked from all angles and in all kinds of media.

Really, considering the great advances in technology since his time, and just how much the field of Astronomy has expanded in the interim, I think it is realty quite amazing that Edwin Hubble’s Cephid based conclusion has gone so long without being challenged in any meaningful way. Really a testament to the genius of the man.

April 10, 2020 7:56 pm

I believe in infinity, and that there is something beyond/outside of the universe…


April 10, 2020 8:15 pm

If the universe is infinite, it has no shape…


Reply to  Jon P Peterson
April 11, 2020 12:02 am

Gotta love observations.

Reply to  Jon P Peterson
April 11, 2020 12:04 am

“If the universe is infinite, it has no shape…”

It also would have no ‘outside’.

Why say “If” when you already said you “believe”?

April 11, 2020 12:05 am

If the universe is infinite, it has no shape…
Almost certainly not a cube

April 11, 2020 12:56 pm

Uzurbrain asks a reasonable question “What are the odds we happen to be in the center of the whole damned universe?? VERY small??”

Yes, of course that’s right. But EVERY place in the universe is at the center of “the observable universe”. Since the whole thing is still such a baby (can’t wait to celebrate the 15 Billion year anniversary!) we can only see about the same amount of it every direction, an that’s the experience we (and any other observer anywhere) would have.

Gary Pearse
April 11, 2020 1:01 pm

The “n” body problem, a generalization of the more famous three body problem (how three objects in space interacting through gravity will move around one another), has been solved. There is no unique solution, but the center of gravity remains unchanged.

If the n-body problem is valid on the universal scale (probably a “body” here is galaxy cluster scale), then there would be a fixed centre of mass to the universe. There would be the complication of the superimposed translation motion of the bodies from the the Big Bang, but it would seem to be logically out from the same centre. To NOT have uniform distribution of the masses that formed the galaxies and their clusters, would suggest some directional differential rates in the motion outward from the Big Bang (initiation of the event proceding from a point off-center??)

Gary Palmgren
April 12, 2020 8:13 am

Mass/energy cannot be created or destroyed. In the case of light consider a very active star forming burning region of the universe. Lots of photons being emitted. Each photon has a fixed amount of energy given by Plank’s equation.

We see see these photons arrive and they are red shifted to much longer wavelengths. We see each photon arrive with much less energy here than when it was emitted. Where did that missing energy go?

Do photons do work on space itself making space expand? I think this might be part of cosmological models but I never seen this question answered directly.

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