Student astronomer finds galactic missing matter

Distant galaxies used as ‘locator pins’ to detect ‘invisible’ cold clump of gas

UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY

Research News

IMAGE
IMAGE: ARTIST’S IMPRESSION OF A THIN GAS CLOUD FORMED BY TIDAL DISRUPTION FROM A PASSING STAR. SCIENTISTS THINK THIS IS ONE OF THE POSSIBLE WAYS THE COLD CLUMP OF GAS DETECTED… view more CREDIT: MARK MYERS/OZGRAV

Astronomers have for the first time used distant galaxies as ‘scintillating pins’ to locate and identify a piece of the Milky Way’s missing matter.

For decades, scientists have been puzzled as to why they couldn’t account for all the matter in the universe as predicted by theory. While most of the universe’s mass is thought to be mysterious dark matter and dark energy, 5 percent is ‘normal matter’ that makes up stars, planets, asteroids, peanut butter and butterflies. This is known as baryonic matter.

However, direct measurement has only accounted for about half the expected baryonic matter.

Yuanming Wang, a doctoral candidate in the School of Physics at the University of Sydney, has developed an ingenious method to help track down the missing matter. She has applied her technique to pinpoint a hitherto undetected stream of cold gas in the Milky Way about 10 light years from Earth. The cloud is about a trillion kilometres long and 10 billion kilometres wide but only weighing about the mass of our Moon.

The results, published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, offer a promising way for scientists to track down the Milky Way’s missing matter.

“We suspect that much of the ‘missing’ baryonic matter is in the form of cold gas clouds either in galaxies or between galaxies,” said Ms Wang, who is pursuing her PhD at the Sydney Institute for Astronomy.

“This gas is undetectable using conventional methods, as it emits no visible light of its own and is just too cold for detection via radio astronomy,” she said.

What the astronomers did is look for radio sources in the distant background to see how they ‘shimmered’.

“We found five twinkling radio sources on a giant line in the sky. Our analysis shows their light must have passed through the same cold clump of gas,” Ms Wang said.

Just as visible light is distorted as it passes through our atmosphere to give stars their twinkle, when radio waves pass through matter, it also affects their brightness. It was this ‘scintillation’ that Ms Wang and her colleagues detected.

Dr Artem Tuntsov, a co-author from Manly Astrophysics, said: “We aren’t quite sure what the strange cloud is, but one possibility is that it could be a hydrogen ‘snow cloud’ disrupted by a nearby star to form a long, thin clump of gas.”

Hydrogen freezes at about minus 260 degrees and theorists have proposed that some of the universe’s missing baryonic matter could be locked up in these hydrogen ‘snow clouds’. They are almost impossible to detect directly.

“However, we have now developed a method to identify such clumps of ‘invisible’ cold gas using background galaxies as pins,” Ms Wang said.

Ms Wang’s supervisor, Professor Tara Murphy, said: “This is a brilliant result for a young astronomer. We hope the methods trailblazed by Yuanming will allow us to detect more missing matter.”

The data to find the gas cloud was taken using the CSIRO’s Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) radio telescope in Western Australia.

Dr Keith Bannister, Principal Research Engineer at CSIRO, said: “It is ASKAP’s wide field of view, seeing tens of thousands of galaxies in a single observation that allowed us to measure the shape of the gas cloud.”

Professor Murphy said: “This is the first time that multiple ‘scintillators’ have been detected behind the same cloud of cold gas. In the next few years, we should be able to use similar methods with ASKAP to detect a large number of such gas structures in our galaxy.”

Ms Wang’s discovery adds to a growing suite of tools for astronomers in their hunt for the universe’s missing baryonic matter. This includes a method published last year by the late Jean-Pierre Macquart from Curtin University who used CSIRO’s ASKAP telescope to estimate a portion of matter in the intergalactic medium using fast radio bursts as ‘cosmic weigh stations’.

###

Ms Wang and Professor Murphy’s research was done in collaboration with CSIRO, Manly Astrophysics, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery, OzGrav.

DOWNLOAD the illustration, photos and a copy of the research at this link.

From EurekAlert!

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RoHa
February 7, 2021 10:34 pm

So not behind the sofa after all.

Greg
Reply to  RoHa
February 10, 2021 2:48 am

Well yes really. They know that they cannot account for 95% of the mass of the house but they’ve found a hint of some light possibly reflected by a ball of fluff behind the sofa. Very encouraging for the total lack of ability to explain the universe.

Last edited 18 days ago by Greg
February 7, 2021 10:46 pm

I wonder what I will find if I do this?
Imagination is the key to science.
She is a true scientist.

Alan Carr
February 7, 2021 10:57 pm

This is the way to do feminism! Just talk about the discovery and what was done, give credit to the person who did what they did, also to the supervisor and to the person who did some earlier work on the same topic – without mentioning that 2 of those 3 have female genitalia.

It’s actually so rare to see such decent reporting that I’m actually breaking my own rule by mentioning it, but credit where it’s due! Well done.

JeffC
Reply to  Alan Carr
February 8, 2021 1:32 am

Since you mention feminism it’s worth noting that it was done in collaboration with Manly Astrophysics! So not all women’s work.

Dave Fair
Reply to  JeffC
February 8, 2021 8:46 am

She’s a Manly woman.

Greg
Reply to  JeffC
February 10, 2021 2:52 am

That disgusting reminder of while male patriarchy is about to get RENAMED.

OldFogey
February 7, 2021 11:28 pm

It is ingenious. Give her ample credit for that.

And it is REAL science – involving taking actual readings, rather than just sitting at a computer and developing a model which is untestable.

However, I really do question the usefulness of this sort of research. Whether we find the missing dark matter or not, it’s not going to make any difference to life on earth, is it? I know what people say “it’s pure science; doesn’t have to be applied science – it’s useful for itself”. If we had unlimited funds and no other more important research, then fair enough. But the fact is that money is short and there are other areas of research that are likely to deliver tangible benefits that could improve the quality of life – worldwide,not just in Australia

Reply to  OldFogey
February 8, 2021 12:58 am

With a handle like “OldFogey” you should be more cautious of advocating utilitarianism. After all, what are we old fogeys contributing to the quality of life? Shouldn’t we be sent off to the recycling centers and not consuming resources that more “important” people can make a “better” use of?

Tom in Florida
Reply to  writing observer
February 8, 2021 5:54 am

Or they can be sent to renew.

TonyG
Reply to  Tom in Florida
February 8, 2021 10:09 am

There is no Sanctuary.

JeffC
Reply to  OldFogey
February 8, 2021 1:40 am

Don’t be too dismissive of pure science. It is often the pure scientist who has shone a light that allows the applied scientist to see the way forward. Remember Newton standing on the shoulders of giants.

MarkW
Reply to  JeffC
February 8, 2021 7:59 pm

I remember reading about a mathematician who’s name I’ve forgotten.
Apparently he felt that for science to remain pure, it had to have no practical uses. As a result he decided to spend his life investigating the properties of imaginary numbers. I imagine the poor guy would be spinning in his grave if he knew that as a result of his work, the science of signal processing (without which much of modern communications wouldn’t be possible) was born.

When Einstein was developing his theories, did he envision that E=mc**2 would eventually result in nuclear power plants?

Kevin
Reply to  MarkW
February 8, 2021 10:50 pm

The mathematician you are thinking about is G. H.Hardy.

Bob boder
Reply to  OldFogey
February 8, 2021 3:11 am

What money is short? The only thing that is limiting the supply of money is all the socialist BS manipulation of the free market like the green new deal.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  OldFogey
February 8, 2021 9:09 am

OldFogey, I’m certain that many people—including many scientists—had your same mindset in the 1920’s through the 1940’s regarding questioning the “usefulness” of the development of quantum physics . . . that is, “It’s not going to make any difference to life on earth, is it?”

Look at what happened subsequently.

Stephen Philbrick
Reply to  OldFogey
February 8, 2021 12:33 pm

I remember (or think I remember, it might be apocryphal) reading a decades old letter to the editor of Popular Science. in response to an article about how to build a laser at home, the writer had done just that and managed to pop some balloons. He was initially excited, but then deflated and wrote in “I’m discouraged. Yes I can build it but other than popping balloons what possible use could there be for a laser”. I realize that’s far more applied than this discovery but sometimes it takes a few decades to learn how research can be applied to everyday life.

Rod Evans
February 8, 2021 12:39 am

As the snow is gently sprinkling down on a lightly frozen land here in the UK, I will turn up the heating a couple of degrees and thank our lucky stars, that we have not banned the use of our own known gas supplies yet. 2025 looms ever closer. At that point we have the un-scintillating prospect of not finding any gas, as we look out. Well done to the team for finding some missing mass. Great to see real science still exists.

Vuk
Reply to  Rod Evans
February 8, 2021 3:22 am

My energy cost: Gas 3.2p/kWh and Electricity 16p/kWh. Electricity is five times more expensive per unit of energy. .

Rod Evans
Reply to  Vuk
February 8, 2021 3:38 am

Quite and which energy source are they determined to ban? Yes the one which is the most plentiful least polluting fossil fuel available and is the one connected to the majority of homes for obvious economic and practical purposes.

beng135
Reply to  Rod Evans
February 8, 2021 10:31 am

Without heat, maybe you’d be able to personally see some of the proposed hydrogen “snow”….

Vuk
February 8, 2021 2:55 am

I am a bit sceptical about this claim
“This gas is undetectable using conventional methods, as it emits no visible light of its own and is just too cold for detection via radio astronomy,”
Radio astronomy observing background radiation at 2.7K + – 0.0001% has very sophisticated equipment and methods studying the coldest stuff in the universe. If there is something there colder than background radiation it would be surprising that it has not been observed, else the theory about evolution of Universe is incorrect, i.e the stuff that apparently was found must be older than the Universe as we know it. 

Vuk
Reply to  Vuk
February 8, 2021 3:57 am

Cosmic microwave background radiation The CMB has a thermal  spectrum at a temperature of 2.72548±0.00057 K

Last edited 20 days ago by Vuk
Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Vuk
February 8, 2021 8:05 am

Vuk, are you sure it’s not ±0.00058 K?

Stephen Philbrick
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
February 8, 2021 12:35 pm

I’ve been waiting for someone to propose that confidence interval should themselves have confidence intervals.

commieBob
Reply to  Vuk
February 8, 2021 4:55 am

I’m puzzled about why it’s necessary to use very low frequencies to detect the gas cloud. Shouldn’t clumps of frozen hydrogen attenuate/disperse much higher frequencies? Shouldn’t molecular hydrogen absorb and re-radiate light?

Isn’t it a characteristic of the missing matter that it doesn’t interact with photons at all? link

I’m skeptical of this finding being the explanation for dark matter.

Last edited 20 days ago by commieBob
Vuk
Reply to  commieBob
February 8, 2021 5:22 am

Indeed, spectral analysis of light passing through this invisible ‘stream of cold gas’ should identify it’s composition.

JimG1
Reply to  commieBob
February 8, 2021 7:34 am

I do not see any reference to this found matter being “dark matter”.

Johanus
Reply to  commieBob
February 8, 2021 7:44 am

@commieBob
“I’m puzzled about why it’s necessary to use very low frequencies to detect the gas cloud. Shouldn’t clumps of frozen hydrogen attenuate/disperse much higher frequencies? Shouldn’t molecular hydrogen absorb and re-radiate light?”

The central frequency of the 36 beams tracked by Ms. Wang was 945 MHz. That is UHF (‘ultra high frequency’).

But spectral composition has little to do with this discovery. The important parameter here is the variability or ‘flickering’ of the 36 beams, in unison, from multiple sources, as they passed through the region of the invisible cloud. She was able to detect this variability in the radiant flux of the beams, which she characterized as a kind of ‘modulation’ of the beam. So coherent modulation of beams from multiple sources is a strong indicator of a common cause of the modulation.

Wang’s paper can be read here:
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/f0y1o3ogmdmzkd0/AAB1RElLLwXU7SgfurQS4eDja?dl=0&preview=Research+paper+-+MNRAS.pdf

Last edited 20 days ago by Johanus
commieBob
Reply to  Johanus
February 8, 2021 7:59 am

In terms of temperature, 945 MHz is a very low frequency indeed. It represents a black body temperature way lower than 1 degree Kelvin.

Johanus
Reply to  commieBob
February 8, 2021 8:12 am

And the cyclotron decametric radio emissions from Jupiter are even much lower, below 40MHz.
https://www.atnf.csiro.au/research/solarsys/jupiter/index.html

The point is that this particular data source was picked because of its variability, not its spectral composition.

Last edited 20 days ago by Johanus
Vuk
Reply to  Johanus
February 8, 2021 8:42 am

Should not compare Jupiter’s polar region aurora generated radio frequency electromagnetic waves ranging from 0.3MHz to 40Mhz with ‘thermal’ microwave radiation of an inter-stellar gas. Long wave radio transmission wavelength might be near 0K temperature equivalent, but the antennas are more likely to be at 300K+.

Johanus
Reply to  Vuk
February 8, 2021 9:38 am

@Vuk
Should not compare Jupiter’s polar region aurora generated radio frequency electromagnetic waves ranging from 0.3MHz to 40Mhz with ‘thermal’ microwave radiation of an inter-stellar gas.

But the temperature of these cold baryonic inter-stellar gas clouds that were studied by Ms. Wang was 10K to 100K, whose radiation is not currently detectable (so they appear to be ‘missing’). That was the entire point of the her study (which was solved by exploiting variability):

“This gas is undetectable using conventional methods, as it emits no visible light of its own and is just too cold for detection via radio astronomy …”

You seem to be conflating this “cold gas radiation” with CMB.

CMB is the ‘echo’ of the Big Bang at the creation of the universe, which has now red-shifted down to about 2.7K. The original temperature was estimated to be 10^^32K one second after the bang, and estimated at 10^^9K 3 minutes later!
https://lco.global/spacebook/cosmology/early-universe/

“…  but the antennas are more likely to be at 300K+.”
Antennas are designed to receive signals above the ambient ‘shot noise’ temperatures. If the signals are too far below the noise level then we can try to construct an antenna system with lower noise level, possibly including cooling to reduce thermal effects.

Vuk
Reply to  Johanus
February 8, 2021 10:54 am

I happen to know what the CMB radiation is meant to be, but even most recent Nobel laureate Roger Penrose has lot of questions regarding its precise meaning.
“But the temperature of these cold baryonic inter-stellar gas clouds that were studied by Ms. Wang was 10K to 100K, whose radiation is not currently detectable (so they appear to be ‘missing’).”
But how would she know that if the radiation is not ‘detectable’ ?

Vuk
Reply to  Vuk
February 8, 2021 11:31 am

 baryonic inter-stellar gas”, baryonic matter (protons, neutrons & atom nuclei) is not gas, gas is made of atoms and molecules and they all have electrons but electrons are not baryions they are leptons.

Johanus
Reply to  Vuk
February 8, 2021 11:51 am

Vuk,
A ‘baryon’ is a particle, such as you cited. But the term ‘baryonic’ is broader, and is used to refer to matter whose main components are baryons, but could also include electrons.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baryon#Baryonic_matter

Johanus
Reply to  Vuk
February 8, 2021 11:57 am

But how would she know that if the radiation is not ‘detectable’ ?”
Because scientists (like Ms. Wang, and others) are now learning innovative ways to detect the presence missing baryonic matter (excluding dark matter, which remains elusive).
https://www.washington.edu/news/2020/05/27/universe-missing-matter/

Vuk
Reply to  Johanus
February 8, 2021 12:12 pm

If there are any gas atoms or molecules around, they would be absorbing and re-radiating hence would not be invisible. Media hype leaves me unconvinced.
A bit puzzled by the annual ‘scintillating rate’ graphs interpretation showing zero or near zero rate at different days somewhere after day 250 or so (p.13 fig 7)

Johanus
Reply to  Vuk
February 8, 2021 2:23 pm

“… they would be absorbing and re-radiating hence would not be invisible. Media hype leaves me unconvinced.”
Don’t worry about the media. Is the paper not convincing enough?

“A bit puzzled by the annual ‘scintillating rate’ graphs interpretation showing zero or near zero rate at different days somewhere after day 250 or so (p.13 fig 7)”

These researchers have found that stellar radiation is modulated spatially and temporally by these cold clouds of gas. The modulation depends on the angle of travel, so they have exploited this anistropy and created models that can characterize the radiation along multi-source paths of motion.

If you read the paper you’ll see that they were not the first to study and build scintillation models. But Wang claims to be the first to classify a large (trillion or so kilometers long) region of space according to the stellar source traversing it.

Of course, as in any ‘proof of concept’ paper, the results are preliminary, and will need further validation. But I find this an interesting approach, which might lead to the development of useful model-based tools for discovering the ‘missing mass’.

Johanus
Reply to  commieBob
February 8, 2021 8:03 am

@commieBob
“I’m skeptical of this finding being the explanation for dark matter.”
Because this phenomenon has nothing to do with dark matter. Dark matter, by definition, does not measurably interact with baryonic matter or radiation, except through gravity.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  commieBob
February 8, 2021 8:11 am

Please re-read the article. There is no claim whatsoever that this is a discovery/explanation for missing “dark matter”. The article is very clear that this is a possible explanation of the missing half of baryonic (i.e., “normal” matter) that scientists say should theoretically be present in the universe, but which astomonomers have not yet been able for find/”detect”.

Baryonic matter will clearly interact with photons.

kzb
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
February 9, 2021 11:12 am

Yes but if you look at the Manly Astrophysics work you will see these small clouds could well make up the totality of the galactic dark matter. They have been working on so-called “extreme scattering events” for many years now, and they are so frequent that there must be at least 10,000 per visible star. They are actually visible in the Helix Nebula and in other planetary nebulae, but they have been wrongly ascribed to be “cometary knots”. The reason they only claim it is the missing baryons and not the whole missing mass is to get published. If these clouds are in fact the whole missing mass, the whole edifice of modern cosmology comes crashing down.

beng135
Reply to  commieBob
February 8, 2021 10:33 am

It’s stated in the post that it’s to explain some of the missing baryonic matter (not dark matter).

Vuk
Reply to  beng135
February 8, 2021 11:28 am

But they also say ‘“This gas is undetectable …‘; baryonic matter (protons, neutrons & atom nuclei) is not gas, gas is made of atoms and molecules and they all have electrons but electrons are not baryions they are leptons.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Vuk
February 8, 2021 12:29 pm

“Both protons and neutrons, as well as other particles, are baryons.”—https://www.britannica.com/science/baryon (amongst many other easily-found references)

Anything “made of atoms and molecules” has one or more protons and, with the singular exception of hydrogen, one or more neutrons and thus is baryonic matter, even if it also happens to have bound electrons.

Vuk
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
February 8, 2021 2:05 pm

misuse of term

Last edited 20 days ago by Vuk
John Tillman
Reply to  commieBob
February 9, 2021 8:22 am

It only applies to the small amount of missing matter which is baryonic. It can’t explain dark matter, which constitutes the vast majority of missing mass.

Mark Pawelek
Reply to  Vuk
February 8, 2021 5:25 am

Boiling point of hydrogen molecules = 20.271 K. All molecular gas has a temperature above the cosmic background radiation. If they’re solid particles, then they’re not “gas”.

Vuk
Reply to  Mark Pawelek
February 8, 2021 5:58 am

A single molecule of any element can’t change from liquid to solid or gas or vice versa. Large batches of ‘contained’ molecules need to recombine in a lattice bonded together by inter-molecular forces..

Mark - Helsinki
February 8, 2021 5:22 am

This is yet another example of “dark matter” simply being a moniker for things we have not discovered yet rather than it being a specific type of matter. This discovery if correct, would prove that point.

So now there must be less of this illusive dark matter if cold gas clouds are as alleged to make up for some missing matter.
Essentially if this is correct, imagined dark matter (fair description) has been converted into physically real cold gas clouds. 😀 Ain’t Astronomy wonderful!

Maybe, just maybe, if we divert all attention from Dark matter to looking for “missing matter” we might make bigger strides in this area.

Felix
Reply to  Mark - Helsinki
February 8, 2021 8:57 am

This explicitly says that they could not find half the expected baryonic matter, and this cloud is hydrogen, which is baryonic matter, not dark matter.

I don’t now how they divide matter into dark and baryonic, but I assume the concept must be sound or it wouldn’t have survived as long as it has.

menace
Reply to  Felix
February 8, 2021 10:00 am

So astrophysicists somehow “know” 90% of the universe is dark matter and 10% is baryonic and for some reason we can only “find” half the baryonic matter out there.

How do they seem to know for certain precisely how much baryonic matter remained after nearly all the matter and antimatter in the early big bang zapped each other out of existence? The remainder of baryons after baryogenesis is supposedly determined to be “on the order of” around 1 in 10^10. “On the order of” doesn’t exactly sound like they know very precisely how much baryonic matter they expect to see out there.

However this statement seems to cast even more serious doubts about the imbalance

Experiments reported in 2010 at Fermilab, however, seem to show that this imbalance is much greater than previously assumed. In an experiment involving a series of particle collisions, the amount of generated matter was approximately 1% larger than the amount of generated antimatter. The reason for this discrepancy is yet unknown.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  menace
February 8, 2021 4:13 pm

menace asked: How do they seem to know for certain precisely how much baryonic matter remained after nearly all the matter and antimatter in the early big bang zapped each other out of existence?”

“They” (the astronomers, astrophysicists and physicists and cosmologists) don’t “know”—let alone, “know” for certain or precisely—but work to the best-available theories that match physical observations.

1) “They” have reached an overall theory that about 95% of the universe is dark energy and dark matter, mostly based on the fact that the “observed” amount of gravitationally-bound baryonic matter (determined by observing a full spectrum of radiation measurements from this matter) falls far short of the total gravitation mass needed to explain the orbital motion in and between galaxies throughout the observable universe. The inherent assumption being, of course, that although dark energy and dark matter are currently undetected by human instruments, these must still create gravitational effects (E=mc^2 equivalence, re-written as m=E/c^2). I further understand that dark energy is needed somewhat independently of dark matter to account for the observed and measured expansion of the universe NOT being consistent with Einstein’s original General Theory of Relatively application to cosmology with its assumption of a zero Lambda value (ref: “Cosmological Constant” and “Lambda CDM”).

2) The best cosmological evolution theories today, mostly aligned with the “Big Bang” followed by “Cosmic Inflation” followed by a non-zero Lambda cosmic expansion, are that the early universe consisted only of a “soup” of various sub-atomic particles and electromagnetic radiation/photons. It was only relatively later that heavier particles such as electrons, protons and neutrons formed. That is, raw energy photons and energetic sub-particles such as free quarks filled the early universe well-before the electron/positron, proton/anti-proton, and neutron/anti-neutron appeared.

3) Also, my understanding is that there is continuing strong debate and uncertainty among the “experts” in the various scientific disciplines mentioned above as to whether or not cosmological evolution requires that matter and antimatter to have ever been created in equal amounts in our universe—let alone that they ever “zapped each other out of existence” (to use your words).

mkelly
February 8, 2021 6:22 am

So how many moon sized objects must they find this way to account for what they call bark whatever? I

Vuk
Reply to  mkelly
February 8, 2021 7:02 am

That number has 1 followed by as many zeros as there are grains of sand on the Bondi beach. Distribution of matter and energy pie chart:comment image

Last edited 20 days ago by Vuk
John Kelly
February 8, 2021 6:55 am

Now this is real science, unlike so much of the crap AGW “science.”

Gordon A. Dressler
February 8, 2021 8:02 am

One Moon-mass equivalent down . . . 99.99999999 % of the currently-missing, baryonic matter comprising about 2.5% of the known universe to go.

It is, as they say, a start.

Posa
February 8, 2021 8:47 am

Almost 25 years ago Rudy Schild, an astrophysicist at Harvard, used gravitational microlensing to detect vast swarms of cold, dark, gaseous, planet-sized objects forming a halo around galaxies. These were dubbed “rogue planets” and comprise the (galactic) missing mass. The mainstream was hooked on the idea of non-baryonic “cold, dark matter”, but that’s proved to be a dead-end.

February 8, 2021 10:50 am

Dr. Fritz Zwicky might have argued that he had discovered this first. He was fond of saying that about most of the important findings concerning discoveries about the universe in the early to mid 20th century. If one didn’t agree with the fine Dr. he might refer to you as a “spherical bastard”. He might be best known for his explanation for dark matter in 1933.

February 8, 2021 11:35 am

I read the first two dozen comments, and after that wonderfully obsequious bit of news (“…This is the first time that multiple ‘scintillators’ have been detected behind the same cloud of cold gas… Using the hypothesis to proof the theory? WTF) all I can say is, if this was a white, middle-aged straight patriotic man, how we would have laughed at his circular thinking!
But now we have a women to point at and sigh “Scie-e-e-ence!” Like the girly who (didn’t) take a “3D photograph” of a black hole. Isn’t that a clever girl!
Sorry, this is climastrology extraordinaire. The reactions are, at best, patronising.

Rud Istvan
February 8, 2021 4:24 pm

For sure this is something I know little about and have no wish to study. But offer a general scientific methodology comment also applicable to ‘climate science’.

So, there is a generally accepted astrophysical theory about how much baryonic matter should have been created by the ‘Big Bang’, itself reasonably supported by the CMB and hypothetical ‘inflation’ . And we are observationally missing half of what that theory theory. But what if the theory calculations are wrong, instead? So we are missing nothing?

This is exactly like saying the climate model ECS is 3.2, but we only observe 1.6, so the other half of ECS is missing and to be found (in deep oceans, or where-ever).

Paraphrasing Feynman on science: It does not matter how beautiful your theory is. If it disagrees with observations, it is WRONG.

The core premises of this paper are scientifically bassackwards.

MarkW
Reply to  Rud Istvan
February 8, 2021 8:11 pm

On the other hand, absence of evidence cannot be assumed to be evidence of absence. Especially when the thing you are looking for is very hard to find.
There are many theories that weren’t “proven” until decades after the theory was first proposed.
Scientists will often stick with the theory that comes closest to explaining the data they see, until either something is found that completely contradicts the theory, or a better theory is proposed.
There is nothing unscientific about this.

Posa
Reply to  Rud Istvan
February 8, 2021 8:35 pm

Sorry Rud. There are huge, gaping holes and paradoxes in Big Bangology. It’s a theory in tatters, resembling in many ways, the holes in AGW – both theoretical and observational.

see this link for discussion of specifics
https://lppfusion.com/science/cosmic-connection/questions-and-answers-on-observations-that-challenge-universal-expansion-hypothesis/

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Rud Istvan
February 9, 2021 7:17 am

Rud, the hypothesis that there is dark matter and dark energy, with only about 5% of the calculated total mass of the universe being baryonic matter is NOT just purely theoretical.

It is supported by a large amount of observational data. As I described in an earlier post:
. . . mostly based on the fact that the “observed” amount of gravitationally-bound baryonic matter (determined by observing a full spectrum of radiation measurements from this matter) falls far short of the total gravitation mass needed to explain the orbital motion in and between galaxies throughout the observable universe. The inherent assumption being, of course, that although dark energy and dark matter are currently undetected by human instruments, these must still create gravitational effects (E=mc^2 equivalence, re-written as m=E/c^2). I further understand that dark energy is needed somewhat independently of dark matter to account for the observed and measured expansion of the universe NOT being consistent with Einstein’s original General Theory of Relatively application to cosmology with its assumption of a zero Lambda value (ref: “Cosmological Constant” and “Lambda CDM”).

This is case of Feynman’s adage being spot-on: alternatives to the dark matter-dark energy theory, in general, do NOT agree with scientific observations (and other well-established scientific theories, such as the General Theory of Relativity at cosmic scale).

As to why scientists have so far only detected about half of the calculated 5% total of baryonic matter in the known universe, scientific discovery is an unending process.

The above article is just one inkling of why scientific understanding can never rest on theory and existing “human knowledge” alone to fully explain the universe and processes therein.

bonbon
February 9, 2021 3:05 am

Strange that this was already discussed here :
Discovery of H2, in Space
Explains Dark Matter and Redshift
http://www.newtonphysics.on.ca/hydrogen/
Cold H2, molecular, is extremely difficult to observe. Dr. Marmet goes even further and debunks the Big Bang.
Not sure if the Lead author knows that angels fear here to tread….

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  bonbon
February 9, 2021 7:23 am

Sorry, bonbon, but cold, molecular H2 is baryonic matter which—as explained in the above article—is distinctly different from postulated dark matter.

Apparently, the folks at the URL you referenced did not understand this simple distinction in creating the title for the article that you linked.

UzUrBrain
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
February 9, 2021 3:41 pm

And how would Vera Rubin, Kent Ford, and Ken Freeman’s work in the 1960s and 1970s progressed if they knew then that 80 – 90% of the mass of Universe was H and H2 in space?
Did you bother reading the article or the articles referenced therein?

UzUrBrain
February 9, 2021 12:34 pm

I have been asking myself and posting on blogs for years as to why no one is looking at the gas in the universe for the “missing matter.” After all I have been told for 50 years that the Universe began as gas.
Finally someone verifies my conjecture.

kzb
Reply to  UzUrBrain
February 9, 2021 6:17 pm

Check out the Manly Astrophysics web site. There they make a good case that the missing matter is in the form of many small clouds, many thousands per visible star. These clouds are detected as so-called ‘extreme scattering events’ in radio astronomy.

Nicholas McGinley
February 10, 2021 11:19 am

“Student astronomer finds galactic missing matter”
Lemme guess…stuck between the couch cushions?

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