Galaxy Defies Current Wisdom

When did the Big Bang stop being a theory? Did the Doctor bring us back footage of the event? If he didn’t, then what basis do we have (in fact) for the following:

Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope have discovered the oldest known spiral galaxy, a 10.7-billion-year-old anomaly that by all rights shouldn’t exist. The galaxy was present in the early universe, about 3 billion years after the Big Bang, at a time when galaxies were still forming and normally looked clumpy and irregular. “The vast majority of old galaxies look like train wrecks,” said UCLA astronomer Alice E. Shapley, one of the discoverers of the unusual spiral galaxy. “Our first thought was, why is this one so different, and so beautiful?” [emphasis added]

Perhaps it is different and beautiful because it was made that way.

“The fact that this galaxy exists is astounding,” [David R.] Law said. “Current wisdom holds that such grand design spiral galaxies didn’t exist at such an early time in the history of the universe.”

Perhaps the current wisdom is wrong. After all, such a thing has happened a time or two in the history of humanity.

4 thoughts on “Galaxy Defies Current Wisdom

  1. Except you left this part out: The reason this one does exist may be the companion dwarf galaxy that appears to be merging with it. Computer simulations by co-author Charlotte Christensen of the University of Arizona suggest that such a merger could produce the spiral pattern observed. The calculations also suggest, however, that the merger would be rapid and that the spiral would disappear after a relatively brief 100 million years. Apparently, astronomers just happen to be looking at BX442 at the right time.

    If you had been catching up on all the latest Through the Wormhole episodes, you would have seen Ms Christensen’s models showing exactly how a spiral galaxy is formed.

    Notice that the reporter didn’t make they mystical leap I think you are trying to push.

    1. Yes, I left out several sections of the article, including the part you mention above. And, no, I’ve not seen the Through the Wormhole episodes.

      But I must confess that even had I watched them, I would not know how a spiral galaxy is formed. Rather, I would know how one model explains how they might have been formed.

      Models, particularly of highly complex systems, are only models–guesses as to how something might have occurred or might occur in the future.

      I push no mystical leap. I do wonder why scientists (or science-covering journalists) are not more honest with statements regarding theories instead of making massive logical leaps.

  2. What in the paper did you deem to be a conclusion that wasn’t qualified?

    You should at least watch the episode she is on which I think is the one about Super Massive black holes. There is something interesting on that show for dilettante theologian in every episode, and I don’t mean that in a pejorative sense.

    She clearly understands the implications of her work. What she did was build a model with supercomputers that calculated “Einsteinian” Physics from the beginning of time and watched what happened to matter post Big Bang. Eventually black holes and galaxies form, but they are obviously different than the current map of the universe. Still, it gave us an idea what would happen if two galaxies with Supermassives at their center collided, so astronomers were then able to seek it out and observe it. The Milky Way is one of these galaxies.

    Wormhole may make what seems like simplistic conclusions, but that’s mostly because the group of people that understand the work at its pure level wouldn’t make a big enough audience. The whole point of the show is to simplify modern c0smology which has exploded. And to your original point, could eventually all blow up and take us back to the drawing board.

    But I’m an Economist by education, this is beyond me mostly. I never even took Multivariable Calculus or Differential Equations, let alone Quantum Theory. I’m still like most of us that don’t really understand Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity. And I am probably not wholly correct on my simplification of her work either.

    1. The conclusion that was not qualified was simply that the Big Bang is fact, rather than admitting upfront that it is still a theory. As a result, any extrapolation of information from that theory is opinion, couched in scientific terms though it be.

      The episode you reference does sound as though it would be interesting to yet another one who does not really understand Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity. I may just have to see what I can learn from it.

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