Bursting Big Bang's Bubble

New investigations into a potential light-bending bubble in space may push the envelope on standard thinking about starlight.

Adherents of the Big Bang theory have assumed that measurements from certain supernovae indicate that the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate, thus “stretching” starlight. But not enough visible matter exists to gravitationally pull those stars and their galaxies apart that fast. Hence, an invisible form of matter was proposed to provide the gravity that was necessary to prop up the theory: cold, dark matter, or CDM.

The new study, appearing in the journal Physical Review Letters, explores the possibility that the earth is somewhere inside a giant cosmic bubble of low matter density.1 If space outside this bubble is denser, then distant light entering the “emptier” space in the bubble would be bent and appear stretched. Thus, starlight behavior could be explained without CDM. But this benefit comes at a price: “This idea that we live in a void would really be a statement that we live in a special place,” researcher Timothy Clifton of Oxford University told SPACE.com.2

Creation scientists have long pointed out that the “Copernican (or Cosmological) Principle” is sheer presumption.3 This tenet holds that the earth must not be at or near the center of the universe (i.e., in a “special place”). However, there are several empirical observations that seem to contradict the assumed Copernican Principle. One of these is the observation of concentrically ringed mega-galactic structures surrounding the earth.4

In contrast to those who have built their worldviews on purely naturalistic concepts, the earth occupying a special place in space would be no surprise to those who base their worldview on the Word of the Creator. Genesis portrays a world that was created specifically to sustain life. It would therefore seem fitting for the Creator to have placed the earth in a special cosmic zone, protecting it from violent cosmic processes like supernovae.

Also, the possibility that the structural layout of space is at least partly responsible for bending starlight underscores how standard cosmologies must be more unsound than they are generally perceived to be. Even if the bubble theory bursts, this news stands as a reminder that long-held-as-true theories like CDM are actually speculative. If the bubble sustains scrutiny, then it will confirm what creation scientists have been saying for years: the earth was specially placed in the universe.

References

  1. Clifton, T., P. G. Ferreira and K. Land. 2008. Living in a Void: Testing the Copernican Principle with Distant Supernovae. Physical Review Letters. 101 (13): 131302.
  2. Moskowitz, C. Do We Live In a Giant Cosmic Bubble? Posted on Space.com September 30, 2008, accessed October 1, 2008.
  3. Humphries, D. R. 1994. Starlight and Time. Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 19.
  4. Humphries, D. R. 2002. The Battle for the Cosmic Center. Acts & Facts. 31 (8).

Image credit: NASA/ESA/JPL/Arizona State Univ.

* Mr. Thomas is Science Writer.

Article posted on October 10, 2008.


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