Saturday, August 1, 2009

5) Dark Matter: The Big Bang

Once we begin considering the possibility that galactic gravity wells could somehow be independent of the matter within them, a few more questions immediately surface.
  1. Could gravity wells predate the matter within them?
  2. Why does matter seem to always live in these gravity wells rather than more evenly cover the emptiness of intergalactic space?
  3. Why do they rotate?
  4. And of course, what causes them?
Surprisingly, none of these questions are difficult to answer within the context of our current line of reasoning. There are in fact, agreeable, and what seem to be quite plausible answers to all of them. Note that I will not get to all of these questions within this particular post, but will eventually address each of them within this Dark Matter series.

In terms of the Big Bang, all the matter in the Universe is nothing more than a debris field. On first glance, this debris appears to be remarkably evenly distributed. But on closer inspection we find that although the galaxies that constitute the observable Universe are somewhat evenly distributed, matter on the whole is not. Matter seems to coalesce into galaxies, it does not evenly blanket the emptiness of space.

This seems odd. Without enough matter to account for the gravity within galaxies, why would matter coalesce at all? If all matter did indeed originate from the Big Bang, then it seems that the Universe should appear to be more splotchy that it is; that we should expect to see vast intergalactic regions of space filled with matter (probably hydrogen), interrupted by the presence of an occasional galaxy, which will have swept the immediately-surrounding area clear of debris during its own formation. But we don't; intergalactic space appears to be quite clean.

Perhaps we should take a step back.

If we accept the notion that all matter in the Universe could have begun as a single theoretical point, a singularity (as Big Bang theory suggests), and that everything we see today, at one time existed in this condensed, ethereal state, then we have demonstrated a tremendous ability to accept the extraordinary.

I call hypotheses and theories such as this, Cold Water Theories; meaning, on first exposure to them they are somewhat shocking, but after a while we adjust to them and begin to feel as though they are far less extraordinary than they actually are. This is like diving into a pool of cool water. At first, the experience is quite shocking, but in a matter of only a few minutes we adjust to the temperature and feel quite comfortable.

The notion that all of the matter in the Universe originated from a singularity is an extraordinary concept, to say the very least. It is a Cold Water Theory. It is probably the best explanation so far for how the Universe could have evolved to its current state, especially in light of its phenomenal rate of expansion. And, there certainly are more than a few observations that appear to substantiate the notion of a Big Bang. Things such as the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMB), the CMB Dipole Anisotropy, the blackbody Spectral Energy Distribution (SED), and so on (I will eventually address each of these and a few others). The question is, is there any value in refuting such a firmly entrenched theory? And if so, what motivation could there be for doing so?

Indeed, there is only one. If Big Bang theory were correct, then I would be perfectly willing to accept it. But the Big Bang is not some random theory, chosen as an arbitrary target from a field of candidate theories to attack; any more than any reasonable person would attack the theories of Gravitation or the Germ Theory of Disease. The problem is that the Big Bang explains some things quite well, but completely misses on many other things - too many things to ignore.

My assertion is that there may be a better explanation; one that raises fewer exceptions than the Big Bang. The Big Bang was a good start, and although it does answer certain questions quite well, there are too many others that it cannot, which cannot be ignored.

Could there be another explanation that plausibly answers these same questions, but also moves us further down the road towards answering some of the questions that Big Bang theory cannot?

I believe there is.