Studies of universe's expansion win physics Nobel

Oct 4, 2011 | Posted by: roboblogger | Full story: WHDH

Three U.S.-born scientists won the Nobel Prize in physics Tuesday for discovering that the universe is expanding at an accelerating pace, a stunning revelation that suggests the cosmos will eventually freeze to ice.

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1 - 18 of 18 Comments Last updated Oct 6, 2011

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#1
Oct 5, 2011
 
(from the article):

"For almost a century the universe has been known to be expanding as a consequence of the Big Bang about 14 billion years ago," the citation said. "However the discovery that this expansion is accelerating is astounding. If the expansion will continue to speed up the universe will end in ice."

Well not 'ice' literally except in isolated pockets where water had existed. Another term some astronomers use is that the Universe will die a 'heat death'.

Either way it would be depressing to contemplate ... if we expected to be around to witness it. No life form, however advanced, would escape.

"Meanwhile back at the ranch", local areas still experience not expansion but contraction. For example Andromeda, our nearest neighboring galaxy is racing toward us at a few million kph. In a couple of billion years our Milky Way and Andromeda will have met and combined into a super Galaxy.

So it seems that the day that scientists postulate will come when we can look to clear night skies and see no stars because the last one has retreated out of sight will have to wait until long after our Andromeda merger. However, whole Galaxies at the extreme boundaries of our Observable Universe may have already begun to vanish from sight by then.

As some Astronomers have said already, now is the best time in Human history to study the Universe, while it's still there to see.
Elias

Glen Waverley, Australia

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#2
Oct 5, 2011
 
The ADELAIDEAN wrote:
(from the article):So it seems that the day that scientists postulate will come when we can look to clear night skies and see no stars because the last one has retreated out of sight will have to wait until long after our Andromeda merger.
By which time our sun would have gobbled up the Earth.

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#3
Oct 5, 2011
 
Elias wrote:
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By which time our sun would have gobbled up the Earth.
Quite! Hopefully by then our distant descendants will have found a new home somewhere less gobblesome.
Elias

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#4
Oct 5, 2011
 
The ADELAIDEAN wrote:
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Quite! Hopefully by then our distant descendants will have found a new home somewhere less gobblesome.
Dibbs on this one then
http://www.eso.org/public/news/eso0722/

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#5
Oct 5, 2011
 
Elias wrote:
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Dibbs on this one then
http://www.eso.org/public/news/eso0722/
It's interesting as a possible habitat for life evolved locally. If Humans were to set foot on it however, they would weigh 5 times as much as on Earth, because the mass of that planet is 5 times Earth's. We could not evolve to physically cope within a reasonable timeframe.
Beady

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#6
Oct 5, 2011
 

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Has the Goolwa lifeform died a 'heat death'? This is not him.
Elias

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#7
Oct 5, 2011
 
The ADELAIDEAN wrote:
<quoted text>
It's interesting as a possible habitat for life evolved locally. If Humans were to set foot on it however, they would weigh 5 times as much as on Earth, because the mass of that planet is 5 times Earth's. We could not evolve to physically cope within a reasonable timeframe.
Gravity
Oxygen to Nitrogen to carbon ratio
surface temp
microbes

any number of little hurdles before we ask the locals to "take me to your leader"
TBA

Caringbah, Australia

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#8
Oct 5, 2011
 
I like the Electric universe theory.
Of course it doesn't have the funding or reputation of the Big bang, but nevertheless it does explain many things the BB can't.

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#9
Oct 5, 2011
 
Elias wrote:
<quoted text>
Gravity
Oxygen to Nitrogen to carbon ratio
surface temp
microbes
any number of little hurdles before we ask the locals to "take me to your leader"
That's right. But instruments used to detect "other Earths" are being constructed that are increasingly sensitive, giving an ever finer-grained view of exoplanets.

It's only a matter of time before they can look beyond the bigger and more obvious ones to smaller bodies resembling ours in size, mass, atmospheric composition etc.

The next hurdle then will be to find "another Earth" whose life-expectancy is an improvement on our present Earth's, else there would be no advantage in it as a refuge.

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#10
Oct 5, 2011
 

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TBA wrote:
I like the Electric universe theory.
Of course it doesn't have the funding or reputation of the Big bang, but nevertheless it does explain many things the BB can't.
Interesting. Can you expand on that a little?

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#11
Oct 6, 2011
 
The ADELAIDEAN wrote:
<quoted text>
That's right. But instruments used to detect "other Earths" are being constructed that are increasingly sensitive, giving an ever finer-grained view of exoplanets.
It's only a matter of time before they can look beyond the bigger and more obvious ones to smaller bodies resembling ours in size, mass, atmospheric composition etc.
The next hurdle then will be to find "another Earth" whose life-expectancy is an improvement on our present Earth's, else there would be no advantage in it as a refuge.
In fact there is a further hurdle too ... information delay. Suppose our instruments detect a planet that seems an ideal match for our potential colonizing, and it is far away. By the time that information has reached us the planet and its solar system could have aged considerably, and not necessarily for the better. By the time we could travel to it, it would have aged even more, deteriorating to a point where it is a dead loss for our purposes.

We really need to confine our search for alternative habitats to our own backyard, cosmologically speaking. The nearer the better.
TBA

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#12
Oct 6, 2011
 
The ADELAIDEAN wrote:
<quoted text>
Interesting. Can you expand on that a little?
Basically they believe that electricity plays a more important part in the universe than acknowledged by the BB theory.
From the electric universe website
http://www.electricuniverse.info/Electric_Uni...

The Sun and stars are electrically powered by drift currents (see Electric Sun theory)
Planetary surface features such as some craters, dendritic structures and rilles are caused by super-lightning (see electrical scarring)
Certain cosmic phenomena are electrical in nature, including:
Comet tails (See comets)
The plumes of Enceladus
Martian dust devils
Galaxy formation and dynamics (circumventing the need for black holes and dark matter)
Another interesting website is thunderbolts.com

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#13
Oct 6, 2011
 
TBA wrote:
<quoted text>
Basically they believe that electricity plays a more important part in the universe than acknowledged by the BB theory.
From the electric universe website
http://www.electricuniverse.info/Electric_Uni...
......
OK. Thanks for the info. I see where they are coming from now.

I've no doubt that electric charge and flows play a vital in in the Universe, but I'm not sure that that they are quite the driving force that this theory suggests. To me it seems more likely that those charges and flows are consequences rather than causes of many cosmic events. For instance the Aurauras at poles of planets make electrical activity visible, but that activity in turn results from thermonuclear activity in the Sun.

Some of the electrical discharge argument put forward for the markings extending outward from Moon craters can be better explained by the debris 'splash' of asteroid impacts. They are too neat and tidy. I have seen the scorch marks left by lightning striking the ground for example and they tend to be more rambling and 'dendritic' in appearance.

While I'm becoming less a fan of the Big Bang theory as I learn more, I'm not yet ready to elevate the electrical life of the Universe above the status of an outcome of more fundamental processes.

BTW, the second link raises a "page failed to load" message repeatedly for me.

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#14
Oct 6, 2011
 
* second line : " ... plays a vital *part* in the Universe ..."
TBA

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#15
Oct 6, 2011
 
The ADELAIDEAN wrote:
<quoted text>
OK. Thanks for the info. I see where they are coming from now.
I've no doubt that electric charge and flows play a vital in in the Universe, but I'm not sure that that they are quite the driving force that this theory suggests. To me it seems more likely that those charges and flows are consequences rather than causes of many cosmic events. For instance the Aurauras at poles of planets make electrical activity visible, but that activity in turn results from thermonuclear activity in the Sun.
Some of the electrical discharge argument put forward for the markings extending outward from Moon craters can be better explained by the debris 'splash' of asteroid impacts. They are too neat and tidy. I have seen the scorch marks left by lightning striking the ground for example and they tend to be more rambling and 'dendritic' in appearance.
While I'm becoming less a fan of the Big Bang theory as I learn more, I'm not yet ready to elevate the electrical life of the Universe above the status of an outcome of more fundamental processes.
BTW, the second link raises a "page failed to load" message repeatedly for me.
The EU theory has its shortcomings, as does the BB.
Let's face it, most of what we know is really only theory until we can get out there and see for ourselves. Also, so few people have access to the huge telescopes and space programs that we are dependent upon their information, be it accurate or biased.

I think this theory better explains comets. Astronomers insist they are dirty snowballs which ignores their electrical components.
BTW the other link is now http://www.thunderbolts.info/wp/ after a major overhaul of the site.

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#16
Oct 6, 2011
 
TBA wrote:
<quoted text>
The EU theory has its shortcomings, as does the BB.
Let's face it, most of what we know is really only theory until we can get out there and see for ourselves. Also, so few people have access to the huge telescopes and space programs that we are dependent upon their information, be it accurate or biased.
I think this theory better explains comets. Astronomers insist they are dirty snowballs which ignores their electrical components.
BTW the other link is now http://www.thunderbolts.info/wp/ after a major overhaul of the site.
Thanks again, and for the updated link, TBA. I've read several pages and it's fair to say that they contain thought-provoking material. I look forward to reading more as time allows.

The question that lingers for me is: even if these electrical and magnetic charges and fluxes play the role that these articles suggest, where did these energies come from? What generated them and what perpetuates them?

The general thrust of the Electric Universe school of thought seems to be that every physical event in the Cosmos is painted on a pre-existing canvas of electro magnetic energy.

At present I would need more convincing.

One reason is that in the structure of atoms we now know that Atoms stripped of Electrons are Plasma (referred to in the articles). Their compelling rush to re-acquire their quotas of Electrons generates highly energetic events until equilibrium is restored. To break that equilibrium and again liberate orbiting Electrons from their atomic nuclei takes even more energy as it 'goes against the grain'. To do so would therefore require some force even greater than those holding Atoms stable. To me, that greater force, whatever it is, is even more fundamental to Cosmic events.
TBA

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#17
Oct 6, 2011
 
The ADELAIDEAN wrote:
<quoted text>
Thanks again, and for the updated link, TBA. I've read several pages and it's fair to say that they contain thought-provoking material. I look forward to reading more as time allows.
The question that lingers for me is: even if these electrical and magnetic charges and fluxes play the role that these articles suggest, where did these energies come from? What generated them and what perpetuates them?
The general thrust of the Electric Universe school of thought seems to be that every physical event in the Cosmos is painted on a pre-existing canvas of electro magnetic energy.
At present I would need more convincing.
One reason is that in the structure of atoms we now know that Atoms stripped of Electrons are Plasma (referred to in the articles). Their compelling rush to re-acquire their quotas of Electrons generates highly energetic events until equilibrium is restored. To break that equilibrium and again liberate orbiting Electrons from their atomic nuclei takes even more energy as it 'goes against the grain'. To do so would therefore require some force even greater than those holding Atoms stable. To me, that greater force, whatever it is, is even more fundamental to Cosmic events.
I'm heading out now, but will get back to you.
I suppose I should admit that while I have an extensive knowledge of armchair and amateur astronony, my knowledge of physics is lacking.

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#18
Oct 6, 2011
 
TBA wrote:
<quoted text>
I'm heading out now, but will get back to you.
I suppose I should admit that while I have an extensive knowledge of armchair and amateur astronony, my knowledge of physics is lacking.
You're not alone. About Science I too am more interested than informed.

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