Is the cosmic microwave background from the Big Bang?

#1
Ethan has a thread on the detection of gravitational waves by examinations of the structure of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) - which surely begs the question of whether the CMB might be the XMB (where X is as yet unknown).

To be fair, Ethan linked to one highly skeptical piece by Robert Sheldon about this new discovery (maybe) that puts a lot of things into perspective.

I have always balked at the concept that the CMB is powerful evidence for the Big Bang (BB) because:

1) It isn't at all clear to me what you would expect if the BB was false. Space is cold and there is dust out there, so presumably it would have a temperature with associated black body radiation.

2) It was first claimed that the CMB was amazingly uniform, and so must come from BB. However, measuring the CMB from our location in the galaxy, it is necessary to subtract out the 'local' (i.e. galactic!) component from the signal. In reality, the measurements are made from orbit, so there are various even more 'local' sources of radiation to be accounted for:

http://redshift.vif.com/JournalFiles/Pre2001/V02NO3PDF/V02N3ASS.PDF
(thanks to LoneShaman for this link)

3) Even if the above subtraction can be done to the accuracy claimed, the hunt was then on for fluctuations in the CMB! This seems even less plausible - I mean after the data processing involved in step 2, there simply have to be some fluctuations arising out of errors of various sorts!

The BICEP2 discovery is absolutely based on the idea that the CMB is a remnant of the BB, and not from another source - so Ethan, how solid do you think that assumption is?

David
 
#2
David,

Thanks for starting the discussion here ;-)

Apparently my post from lunchtime got ate by the forum. Will try and repost it later
 
#3
Okay, trying this again (good thing I saved it!)

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Ethan has a thread on the detection of gravitational waves by examinations of the structure of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) - which surely begs the question of whether the CMB might be the XMB (where X is as yet unknown).


To be fair, Ethan linked to one highly skeptical piece by Robert Sheldon about this new discovery (maybe) that puts a lot of things into perspective.

David, thanks for starting this here. A few quick points before I head back to hell … errrr, I mean work.


If you dug into Strassler's links on this you would find just as highly skeptical remarks as the Sheldon piece. There are a lot of folks in the “mainstream” skeptical of this result still. Keep in mind, most of these don't contest that the CMB is a result of the Big Bang, but rather on the whether the signal pulled out of the CMB by BICEP is the real thing.


I have always balked at the concept that the CMB is powerful evidence for the Big Bang (BB) because:


1)It isn't at all clear to me what you would expect if the BB was false. Space is cold and there is dust out there, so presumably it would have a temperature with associated black body radiation.

First, I keep getting the feeling there is an impression out there that General Relativity says there HAS to have been a Big Bang. This isn't the case.


There is a fairly standard plot seen in GR that is based on what we think the metric of spacetime is for our Universe. Based on possible energy content of the Universe, it shows the Universe with or without a Big Bang, closed or open or flat, currently accelerating or currently decelerating and whether it would accelerate or deaccelerate forever. The energy contents are determined from observation.


Anyhow, each scenario above could make the Universe look different.


If we have the metric wrong (and there are [reasonable] assumptions going into the metric), we could be looking at an entirely different plot and potential histories/futures of the Universe. Some metrics have NO Big Bang, regardless of energy content, although I believe most of these don't look very realistic for our Universe (some are for "toy" Universes even)


So keep in mind, most objections might be more pertinent towards observation, rather than theory. The same (GR) equation that makes your GPS device work, is essentially the same one being used for these cosmological investigations. It's hard to throw one out and not the other.


2)It was first claimed that the CMB was amazingly uniform, and so must come from BB. However, measuring the CMB from our location in the galaxy, it is necessary to subtract out the 'local' (i.e. galactic!) component from the signal. In reality, the measurements are made from orbit, so there are various even more 'local' sources of radiation to be accounted for:

COBE was from orbit and most people are of the opinion the accuracy of COBE was crap, especially comparatively speaking.


WMAP and Planck were NOT in orbit. They were both positioned at a Lagrange Point (L2), which minimizes local effects from the Earth, etc.


Also, also not all the foreground is uniform over the sky, similar to how when we look out into the night sky we see the stars (and even dust) very thick along the Milky Way with the naked eye - i.e. there's more crap obstructing vision along the plane of the galaxy than there is off it. If you look closely at the different frequency plots of the WMAP/Planck plots you can actually see the CMB coming through on areas with less foreground before subtraction, IIRC.


3)Even if the above subtraction can be done to the accuracy claimed, the hunt was then on for fluctuations in the CMB! This seems even less plausible - I mean after the data processing involved in step 2, there simply have to be some fluctuations arising out of errors of various sorts!

To be honest, none of us on this forum are qualified to discuss the intricacies of how the CMD data is reduced. This is the probably the area that is most prone to falling into an unending and ultimately meaningless link-posting battle. At the same time, dismissing it based on ignorance or suspicion doesn't seem very reasonable, either.


The BICEP2 discovery is absolutely based on the idea that the CMB is a remnant of the BB, and not from another source - so Ethan, how solid do you think that assumption is?

I think it's pretty solid, but with pretty serious caveats. The Big Bang has trouble on it's own (Horizon Problem, Relic Problem, Homogeneity and Isotropy Problem, Flatness Problem, etc.) Inflation solves these problems. So, if this “discovery” pans out, Big Bang is looking good. If it doesn't pan out, not so much.


However, Inflation is probably even more of a mess. Many who were proponents of it, have even abandoned it in recent years, which would make the discovery even more surprising [especially to them!]. Strassler pointed out this out on the link I posted:

And (IF… IF…) the confirmation of cosmic inflation would mean that those who pointed it out and its advantages, and developed the idea — people like Starobinsky, Guth, Steinhardt, Linde — ought to be able to celebrate (though not all will do so, because they abandoned the idea…)
Despite all that, there appear to be good reasons for assuming the Universe heads into a "Big Bang"-like condition into the past, even if many details still need to be worked out.

Well, looks like I'm late for work, hehe
 
#4
A few things I have issues with.

The CMB was predicted far more accurately by Guillaume, Eddington, Regener, Nernst, Herzberg, Finlay-Freundlich and Max Born, based on a universe without expansion, and prior to the discovery of the CMB.

The assumption that all redshifts correlate to distance appears false. High redshift quasars associated or in front of apparently local low redshift galaxies are too many to be considered just anomalies. They are falsifications!

The very blatant suppresion and vilification of Halton Arps work.

Hubble later revised his opinion favouring tired light scenarios rather than expansion.

The extrapolation from local orbital mechanics to galaxies fail miserably. Hence the need for invented matter that can not be seen!

The large scale structures and highly evolved galaxies far too old for cosmolgical assumptions.

The many, many concepts that seem only to exist in the imagination, such as singularities, event horizon, dark matter, dark energy, dark flow, neutron stars with invented strange matter or neutronium violating well established rules of nuclear physics. Pulsars that spin faster than dentist drills! The thermo nuclear star concept in general, dirty snowballs, the ort cloud, accretion theory, frozen in magnetic fields, seed magnetic fields, magnetic reconnection and redshift = distance of course, to name a few.

The assumption that gravity is the only real creative force, when the filamentary structures and vast permeating magnetic fields clearly point to electro magnetic effects. Billions and billions of times stronger than gravity. And space is filled with charged particles and magnetic fields! Hell, you can see it.

The clear hyping of very questionable data filtertered to suit. WMAP, gravity probe b etc..

The dogma that is apparent, and attacking of alternatives.

There a very good reasons to question the gravity only big bang cosmology that was in fact created when the milky way was thought to be all of the universe. Did the universe have a beggining? Who knows. Both alternatives seem like a paradox. Obviously the Big Bang gives more weight to my views of a designed universe. But I honestly think the evidence is weak and in fact has been contradicted time and time again.

Why should we assume we can even answer these questions in any real scientific way? There is an arrogance that disturbs me in assuming so.
 
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#5
The very ingrained idea that the discovery of the CMB was the clinching proof of the Big Bang is a blatant misrepresentation of history.

Gamow (BBT) estimated 5K in 1948. In the 1950s he raised that estimate to 10K, and by 1961 he was predicting 50K.
Robert Dick (BBT) who's radiometer was later instrumental in the discovery, predicted 20 K in 1946. Later he revised the predictions to 45 K.

Cobe measures 2.7 k and the big bang claims victory.

Yet...

Astronomer Andrew McKellar based on the study of narrow absorption line features in the spectra of stars wrote in 1941: "It can be calculated that the ‘rotational temperature’ of interstellar space is 2 K." He also later announced a temperature of 2.3K from radiative excitation of certain molecules. In1954, Finlay-Freundlich predicted 1.9K to 6K on the basis of "tired light" assumptions. Tigran Shmaonov estimated 3K in 1955. In 1896, Charles Edouard Guillaume predicted a temperature of 5.6K from heating by starlight. Arthur Eddington refined the calculations in 1926 and predicted 3K. Eric Regener predicted 2.8 in 1933.

Predictions based on the big bang were actually the most inaccurate.

It does not have to be a remnant, it was expected under completely different assumptions. Would it be 0 if there were no big bang? I don't think so. We find large voids as well, cold spots. What do cosmologists say? Look the fingerprint of another universe! Seriously, common, you now something is terribly wrong when it comes to that!
 
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#6
Hey LS,

Too many points to address right now, but I'll try a few and will try to get to more later this weekend.

The assumption that all redshifts correlate to distance appears false. High redshift quasars associated or in front of apparently local low redshift galaxies.
The Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SSDS) makes this objection less plausible these days.

Using data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey the positions of 200,000 quasars were correlated with the positions of 13 million galaxies. In Arp's model, galaxies and quasars are physically associated with each other and, hence, one would expect that correlating the two populations would look a great deal like correlating the galaxies with themselves. On the other hand, [Big Bang Theory] tells us that the quasars are much more distant than the galaxies in this sample, so the cross-correlation due to actual gravitational clustering should be nearly zero. Instead, we should see an induced cross-correlation due to the gravitational lensing of the quasars by the foreground galaxies. This signal is much smaller than the one expected from Arp's model and it changes sign depending on the quasar population. When the SDSS researchers made the measurement, the results matched the expectation from [Big Bang Theory] to a high statistical significance

The very apparent dogma that is apparent, and attacking of alternatives.

The very blatant suppresion and vilification of Halton Arps work.

The CMB was predicted far more accurately by Guillaume, Eddington, Regener, Nernst, Herzberg, Finlay-Freundlich and Max Born, based on a universe without expansion, and prior to the discovery of the CMB.
There is definitely a stubborn resistance to some ideas, you're right about that. Last I checked PSI gets a little resistance now and then. I even once heard some folks think Hemp Oil is a form of chemotherapy!

It's been a while since I looked into Arp, but here is the general picture I came away with. Back in the day when the Big Bang was a new theory, Arp expressed some very important concerns about BB Theory that were shared by most scientists at the time, because they were damn good points that needed to be addressed. However, over time evidence eventually alleviated these concerns (like the above mentioned SSDS, to name one), but folks like Arp remained steadfast, regardless.

It's not really fair to say NO alternatives are studied either. Some have had intense study, such as Gravitational Scalar Field Theories, theories with extra spatial dimensions, theories that include higher order terms in the regular Einstein-Hilbert action, and theories that include the Christoffel connections as fields in and of themselves, to name a few. Granted some are modifications to General Relativity, to greater or lesser degrees, in that they still include things like a metric, connection coefficients, etc.

Problem is most either run into inconsistencies or lack superior explanatory power when compared to GR.

I suspect the same is the problem with the Electric Universe (EU), although admittedly I find the idea very compelling, at least aesthetically. However, I've found it somewhat difficult to get many technical details on it, though I could be looking in the wrong places.

And, how can EU deny the validity of Special Relativity? Maxwell's Equations naturally have Lorentz Invariance (i.e. compatibility with Special Relativity) built in (before we even knew what the heck Lorentz Invariance is!). General Relativity is a natural extension of SR that reduces to it and Newtonian mechanics in the weak-field limit and as the Riemann Tensor vanishes.

On your last point, the CMB temperature predictions were made off a dynamical model of the Universe that, as I understand it, also suffers inconsistencies and lack of superior explanatory power when compared to GR, just as the other alternatives I mentioned earlier. That's great if it made a good prediction (temperature of the CMB), but all the alternative theories I mentioned make great predictions somewhere. With the multiple competing hypotheses (or theories), the bulk of scientists currently think GR wins out, for good reason.

In addition, as Roger Penrose explains, the “tilting of light cones” is unique to General Relativity and experimentally confirmed. There is just no way to get this out of an electromagnetic framework (or any of the other three forces) Although not quite as serious, effects like “frame dragging” aren't very natural to EnM, either. The same equations that predict these experimentally confirmed effects are the same ones leading to the Big Bang, Black Holes, etc.

Hubble later revised his opinion favouring tired light scenarios.
I wasn't familiar with this, I'll try and look into it and get back to you.

The large scale structures and highly evolved galaxies far too old for cosmolgical assumptions.
This is an out-dated issue based on COBE observations under a flat matter dominated universe. The observation that the expansion of the Universe is accelerating solves this problem, as well as more accurate observations on stellar luminosity starting with the Hipparchus satellite.

The many, many concepts that seem only to exist in the imagination, such as singularities, event horizon, dark matter, dark energy, dark flow, nuetron stars with invented strange matter or neutronium violating well established rules of nuclear physics. Pulsars that spin faster than dentist drills! Thermo nuclear star concept in general, dirty snowballs, the ort cloud, accretion theory, frozen in magnetic fields, seed magnetic fields, and redshift = distance of course, to name a few.
Too many to address here right now. Keep in mind that nobody in GR actually thinks GR is applicable at the level of singularities, meaning they probably really are imaginary. Some of the others aren't that strange. Pulsar spin can be shown from straight forward calculations. Likewise with thermonuclear reactions.

Dirty snowballs? We're still talking about physics, right? ;-)

Dark Matter, Dark Energy are indeed a bit nebulous territory at this stage. Keep in mind, though, the recent “discovery” solves the Dark Energy mystery if it pans out.

The assumption that gravity is the only real creative force, when the filamentary structures and vast permeating magnetic fields clearly point to electro magnetic effects. Billions and billions of times stronger than gravity. And space is filled with charged particles and magnetic fields! Hell, you can see it.
Seeing two things that are similar doesn't really mean a whole lot. Somebody put images up on the Human Conscious Project on FB not too long ago of neurons and something totally unrelated (the filamentary structure of the Universe, I think ) Yeah, they look real frick'n similar, but that doesn't have to mean anything.

The important thing is that when you run simulations under the physic of General Relativity it predicts the filamentary structure seen in the Universe. Yes, it does look like gravity! Unlike inflation, GR isn't full of adjustable parameters and dials to tweak and make it match things. In fact, it is an extremely concise, elegant theory with ZERO free parameters, which naturally encompassed the already existing classical constants of nature at the time, namely c and G.

In addition, nobody thinks that gravity is the only creative force. It is a very tightly orchestrated interplay of ALL the forces that makes the Big bang theory predict the Universe we see today. They are ALL extremely vital in the theory. In addition, there is fairly general consensus the forces were united in the early moments of the Universe, part of which comes from examination of the running coupling constants with respect to energy scale.

There a very good reasons to question the gravity only big bang cosmology that was in fact created when the milky way was thought to be all of the universe. Did the universe have a beggining? Who knows. Both alternatives seem like a paradox. Obviously the Big Bang gives more weight to my views of a designed universe. But I honestly think the evidence is weak and in fact has been contradicted time and time again.

Why should we assume we can even answer these questions in any real scientific way? There is an arrogance that disturbs me in assuming so.
Yeah, that's the one perhaps bummer thing if the inflation discovery does pan out. All the problems under the Big Bang disappear under one other assumption – the Universe is finely tuned. The only reason the problems are problems is because scientists don't like things that look finely tuned. But you know what, maybe things are! Anyhow, Inflation would get rid of the need for all that fine tuning (in regards to BB anyhow, other apparent fine tuning would still remain)

I agree there is an arrogance in modern science. But, age-old wisdoms of the world have been telling us that all knowledge is accessible to us and this is consistent theme coming back from NDE'rs (even if they can't seem to retain the knowledge when back in the brain). If we are truly One with the Universe behind the veil how could all knowledge ultimately not be accessible? After all, that IS the deepest meaning of what it means to be at One.
 
#7
Using data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey the positions of 200,000 quasars were correlated with the positions of 13 million galaxies. In Arp's model, galaxies and quasars are physically associated with each other and, hence, one would expect that correlating the two populations would look a great deal like correlating the galaxies with themselves.
It does in fact reveal anomalies. Some examples show clearly quasars connected to galxies of much lower redshift. A statistical studies showing the overall effect does not make those comparitively few examples vanish. Does that mean all quasars are at the furthest regions of the observable universe? If so I have to disagree.

It is also known that light is reshifted when passing through plasma. The SSDS indicates a fractal structure larger than BB would like.

There is definitely a stubborn resistance to some ideas, you're right about that. Last I checked PSI gets a little resistance now and then. I even once heard some folks think Hemp Oil is a form of chemotherapy!
Haha, yes I am interested in what I think is cult like quality in academia. Question everything is something I agree with.

It's been a while since I looked into Arp, but here is the general picture I came away with. Back in the day when the Big Bang was a new theory, Arp expressed some very important concerns about BB Theory that were shared by most scientists at the time, because they were damn good points that needed to be addressed. However, over time evidence eventually alleviated these concerns (like the above mentioned SSDS, to name one), but folks like Arp remained steadfast, regardless.
The reaction to Arp is what I find interesting and revealing he was ostricised, denied telescope time and forced to continue elsewhere. As above I don' t think the evidence has eliminated other factors with red shift contributing to doppler red shift.

It's not really fair to say NO alternatives are studied either. Some have had intense study, such as Gravitational Scalar Field Theories, theories with extra spatial dimensions, theories that include higher order terms in the regular Einstein-Hilbert action, and theories that include the Christoffel connections as fields in and of themselves, to name a few. Granted some are modifications to General Relativity.
Problem is most either run into inconsistencies or lack superior explanatory power when compared to GR.
Still the assumption is gravity centric. Only electric currents create magnetic fields as far as I am aware. I am not as overly critical of GR, I realise my limitations and can't be confident commenting on it. Although it is like all models a point of view, correct from some angles but perhaps not all. I have heard a good case for GR forbidding black holes, Einstein did not buy them, but his theories are used to imagine them. How's that work?

I suspect the same is the problem with the Electric Universe (EU), although admittedly I find the idea very compelling, at least aesthetically. However, I've found it somewhat difficult to get many technical details on it, though I could be looking in the wrong places.
EU is an extension of plasma cosmology. It is in it's infancy even though it has it's roots in over a hundred years. Like other models it won't explain everything. But the simple idea that electro magnetism is far more influential in space seems a no brainer. If it can explain observable phenomena with well known experimental laboratory effects without the need for invented forces, it deserves a look. In fact I would say that recent findings at the galactic centre go a long way in supporting Alfviens homo polar galaxy model.

And, how can EU deny the validity of Special Relativity? Maxwell's Equations naturally have Lorentz Invariance (i.e. compatibility with Special Relativity) built in (before we even knew what the heck Lorentz Invariance is!). General Relativity is a natural extension of SR that reduces to it and Newtonian mechanics in the weak-field limit and as the Riemann Tensor vanishes.
I do think most of the followers of EU are overly critical, however question are good. As I said I can't comment on GR. But i have read some interesting alternatives as well. I know this is considered blasphemy! Stephen Crothers regularly speaks comments with EU. He knows GR like the back of his hand, I am not sure all aspects are denied. At least not by me. That would be another thread on it's own.

On your last point, the CMB temperature predictions were made off a dynamical model of the Universe that, as I understand it, also suffers inconsistencies and lack of superior explanatory power when compared to GR, just as the other alternatives I mentioned earlier. That's great if it made a good prediction (temperature of the CMB), but all the alternative theories I mentioned make great predictions somewhere. With the multiple competing hypotheses (or theories), the bulk of scientists currently think GR wins out, for good reason.
The models don't have to be right in every way to have a point. I am not aware that GR made predictions for the CMB, I think you are making a false dichotomy there. The fact is the CMB was predicted more accurately without the need for the big bang with much less speculative assumptions. The ingrained myth is false. It is a prime example of what I think is a certain culture within.

In addition, as Roger Penrose explains, the “tilting of light cones” is unique to General Relativity and experimentally confirmed. There is just no way to get this out of an electromagnetic framework (or any of the other three forces) Although not quite as serious, effects like “frame dragging” aren't very natural to EnM, either. The same equations that predict these experimentally confirmed effects are the same ones leading to the Big Bang, Black Holes, etc.
I am not refuting GR, and I am not sure the big bang theory is vital to the experimental validity of GR. An electromagnetic framework should not replace or exclude gravity. I am also skeptical of the experimental evidence for frame dragging. But perhaps we should focus.

This is an out-dated issue based on COBE observations under a flat matter dominated universe. The observation that the expansion of the Universe is accelerating solves this problem, as well as more accurate observations on stellar luminosity starting with the Hipparchus satellite.
Sorry I just don't buy that. It is a self confirming theory. And what I see as just patches made to fit. Astronomers still continue to be surprised as always.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140310213910.htm

Too many to address here right now. Keep in mind that nobody in GR actually thinks GR is applicable at the level of singularities, meaning they probably really are imaginary. Some of the others aren't that strange. Pulsar spin can be shown from straight forward calculations. Likewise with thermonuclear reactions.
You should check ou Stephen Crothers, he claims GR refutes black holes. Pulsars can be explained in other ways. Straight forward calculations cannot account for some perturbations observed. Calculations also cannot account for the many inconsistancy that defy the thermo nuclear model of stars, actually it does not explain much at all. But yes we should focus.

Dirty snowballs? We're still talking about physics, right? ;-)
Comet theory.

Seeing two things that are similar doesn't really mean a whole lot. Somebody put images up on the Human Conscious Project on FB not too long ago of neurons and something totally unrelated (the filamentary structure of the Universe, I think ) Yeah, they look real frick'n similar, but that doesn't have to mean anything.
That is a serious misrepresentation. It in the years I have had my eye on it, I have seen many confirmations. Membranes, cells and fillaments are a natural consequence of plasma it is also fractal in size and time. That is what the majority of the observable universe is. That is a no brainer. Not just the superclusters but in nebulae and supervnova, gravity does not make those structures, and thermal gas physics is misapplied to plasma.

The important thing is that when you run simulations under the physic of General Relativity it predicts the filamentary structure seen in the Universe. Yes, it does look like gravity!
Only with imagined matter and energy. Having multiple knobs and even invented ones to get whatever answer you need is one of my key issues with cosmology.
In addition, nobody thinks that gravity is the only creative force. It is a very tightly orchestrated interplay of ALL the forces that makes the Big bang theory predict the Universe we see today. They are ALL extremely vital in the theory. In addition, there is fairly general consensus the forces were united in the early moments of the Universe, part of which comes from examination of the running coupling constants with respect to energy scale.
Gravity centric is a better term. With all the complexity of the subjects, simply put magnetic fields and charged particles dominate space over unimaginable distances. Mainstream theory over looks the fact that electric currents must be creating those magnetic fields. Cosmology constantly speaks of magnetic fields but never of the currents that must create them. There is a little bit of acknowledgement but it can explain so very much more. It makes no assumptions on the origin of the universe though and only seeks to explain what is observed within well known laws

Whew! We need to focus, the universe is a big place. This could be a good thread.
 
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#8
Wow - I feel rather as though I have lit the blue touch paper and can almost stand back! I'm really glad Haltern Arp has come up, because his vindictive treatment says a lot - whether he was right or wrong! Sadly he died recently.

I'll let you two go at it a bit, so I will just comment on one or two points:

COBE was from orbit and most people are of the opinion the accuracy of COBE was crap, especially comparatively speaking.
It is important to remember that this 'crap' data was hailed as a fantastic success at the time, and people all over the world gazed at that inscrutable map! The NEED to assert success clearly outstripped any sense of modest caution even back then. One of LoneShaman's links is to a paper that attributes part of the problems with COBE to a rush to get the satellite into space to produce positive news about NASA in the wake of the Challenger disaster!

To be honest, none of us on this forum are qualified to discuss the intricacies of how the CMD data is reduced.
This is obviously true, but the problem is that only a very small number of people could really claim this expertise - probably even most theorists simply take the veracity of this process for granted. However, here is a paper that does discuss this process:

http://iopscience.iop.org/1538-4357/500/2/L83/fulltext/985109.text.html

It is pretty dense, but nevertheless it seems clear that the foreground signals are removed by filtration - not by subtracting data using information from elsewhere. Point sources, dust, and radiation from free electrons are identified in the data and removed. I suppose the process is not utterly unlike the process used to clean up old vinyl records or blurred images (audio clicks would be analogous to point sources). The crucial difference is that success in that context consisted in finding a signal (such as music!) in the output. COBE claimed success for finding no signal - the extreme uniformity of the background. If the BB hypothesis had predicted some structure to the data, which had been found, it would be more believable, but filtering must inevitably smooth the data.

Later experiments were claimed to be successful because they found fluctuations in that smooth background. It is as though someone filtered some early music and interpreted some residual crackling sound as real - perhaps coming from some breakfast cereal!

I'm glad you pointed out that the later satellites were situated at L2 - which I had not realised. This should clearly help - though I thought it was expected that dust and 'crap' might accumulate at exactly those locations!

I think it's pretty solid, but with pretty serious caveats. The Big Bang has trouble on it's own (Horizon Problem, Relic Problem, Homogeneity and Isotropy Problem, Flatness Problem, etc.) Inflation solves these problems. So, if this “discovery” pans out, Big Bang is looking good. If it doesn't pan out, not so much.
The problem is, it is an awfully shaky house of cards - and all the bits seem to get used to prop up other bits. As I understand it, inflation also has some pretty serious problems.

Suppose, as you suggest, the BB doesn't pan out - how then would you explain the CMB? My suspicion is that the CMB could be explained in a whole variety of ways - which would mean that it never really was strong evidence for the BB. What would you expect the microwave background to look like in the absence of a BB?

David
 
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#9
I should not have dropped all those bombshells. I think it best to focus on the CMB. I also think the redshift issue could be looked at. Everything collapses there, the whole house of cards.

M.B Bell, of Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics in Canada, sums it up, Because the belief that the redshift of quasars is cosmological has become so entrenched, and the consequences now of it being wrong are so enormous, astronomers are very reluctant to consider other possibilities. However, there is increasing evidence that some galaxies may form around compact, seed objects ejected with a large intrinsic redshift component from the nuclei of mature active galaxies."

A good review of the controversey.
http://www.hiltonratcliffe.com/papers0001.htm

The Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) and the Centre for Astrophysics (CfA) survey, as two examples of modern works, have given us 3 dimensional interpretations of pie slices of the universe that rest, or fall, with redshift distance. All these mentioned surveys produced peculiar patterns when arranged spatially according to redshift, and even more obvious anomalies where resolution permitted detection of material connections between bright objects.


I just can't see how it can be explained away.





The arrow points to a high-redshift quasar in front of a low-redshift galaxy NGC 7319. The quasar’s redshift dictates that it should be 95 times further from the earth than the galaxy. One big banger claimed that there must be a hole in the galaxy in just the right place for the background quasar to shine through! A jet of matter can be seen extending from the centre of the galaxy towards the quasar.
 
#10
More on the sloan digital survey. It did not conform to or support the BB.

After analyzing data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSK), cosmologist Shaun Thomas and colleagues from the University College of London, have concluded that the universe is "clumpier" than scientists have thought, leading to speculation that new theories need to be made to explain why the matter that makes up the universe isn’t as smooth as models have suggested they should be. The results of their research, published on Physical Review Letters, show that there is either faulty evidence in their discovery, or that established laws of gravity do not apply to such a large scale as the entire universe.
http://phys.org/news/2011-06-universe-clumpier-thought.html
 
#11
I should not have dropped all those bombshells. I think it best to focus on the CMB. I also think the redshift issue could be looked at. Everything collapses there, the whole house of cards.
Well, it's all related, so it's hard to concentrate in one area and get a full, accurate picture of what's really going on. Looking at pictures and guessing what they look like, without delving into the data, isn't really going to help, either. To me, it sure looks like the "stream of matter" is between the two low-redshift objects and the quasars could just as easily be completely unassociated in the background. It's hard to know just by guessing what it looks like and then assuming an association, or lack therof. With stuff like this we need to consider the data and the physics, so let's do that a little, anyhow.

SSDS - is ready to release a catalogue of over 200,000 quasars in Dec this year. That's still not a completed work. Since there are galaxies all over the sky, it's really not surprising that at least some galaxies and quasars would be close enough to APPEAR to be "associated". However, what the SSDS data did, as I already mentioned above, was show that there is no actual correlation/association between the galaxies and quasars. In other words, it is most likely it really only is "appearance".

In addition to this, there of a bunch of other effects which further strengthen the standard BBT claims.

Sunyaev-Zel'dovich Effect - a red-shift independent effect due to inverse Compton scattering with foreground plasma that distorts the CMB in a specific way. This effect is strongest when looking towards distant galaxy clusters, which indicates the photons had to pass through the cluster during transit which is evidence that the CMB is not a local phenomenon. This is also partly why it doesn't make sense the CMB is due to plasma. It's the plasma in distant galaxy clusters that shows the CMB is not local.

Integrated Sachs-Wolfe Effect - another effect due to gravitational redshift which again supports the CMB not being local.

Gravitational Lensing - a unique type of lensing where the deflection angle actually decreases with a decreasing impact parameter, which is the opposite of what one would expect from more traditional scattering events. This unique type of lensing has been detected where a quasar with a large redshift is lensed by foreground galaxies with smaller redshifts. This also lends support not only for GR, but also for the idea that the quasars are more distant than the galaxies, as indicated by their larger red shifts.

Unique signatures in the CMB - You also have to keep in mind there other signatures found in the CMB that really only make sense if it is a relic of the BB. The B-modes mentioned in the latest "inflation discovery" is an example. The only known way within our current understanding of physics to create these involves a Spin-2 field with Thompson scattering.

Doppler Shifts - I noticed above the red shifts were being referred to as Doppler Shifts. Strictly speaking, they are Cosmological redshifts, which are not caused from relative velocities like Doppler Shifts, bur rather from the expansion of spacetime itself (even in absence of any relative velocity!). (This could be argued as another support of expansion and distant redshifts, when we get recession speeds greater than, c, when [incorrectly!] interpreted as a relative velocity (or Doppler Shift), yet it DOES jive up with predicted z's based on expansion and the metric being used for spacetime [The Friedman-Robertson-Walker metric] and concomitant observed energy content.) I wrote a blog article on this common misconception:

http://exploreabitmore.blogspot.com/2013/03/cosmological-redshifts-and-fun-with.html

Anyhow, this list is far from exhaustive. It's just what I can come up with off the top of my head and absolute minimal fact-checking (in the time that I have, which isn't much). There's so much more to the CMB.

So, I mean unless we have a real solid understanding of all the concepts involved and how to get them out of the CMB data, the discussion can only go so far before turning into a meaningless link-battle. If we want to truly be critical of the BB view and really know if the "house of cards is going to fall" the whole gamut of current scientific understanding related to the BB needs to be considered.

I'd highly recommend being as critical of these alternative theories as you are the BB. I think you'll find everybody is full of crap to varying degrees. The majority opinion is that the BB contains the least BS when compared to the evidence. From what I have seen and studied, I tend to agree

More on the sloan digital survey. It did not conform to or support the BB.
After analyzing data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSK), cosmologist Shaun Thomas and colleagues from the University College of London, have concluded that the universe is "clumpier" than scientists have thought, leading to speculation that new theories need to be made to explain why the matter that makes up the universe isn't as smooth as models have suggested they should be. The results of their research, published on Physical Review Letters, show that there is either faulty evidence in their discovery, or that established laws of gravity do not apply to such a large scale as the entire universe.
http://phys.org/news/2011-06-universe-clumpier-thought.html
Well, again, let's be as critical of opposing arguments as we are of the arguments for the Big Bang.

First, if you look at the original paper for these results, you will see that it may be entirely due to systematics of the study, i.e. the results are not conclusive, even though the media hyped it up into something else. To be fair, this particular article linked did use the term "suggests", which really is all this study on its own does.

http://arxiv.org/abs/1012.2272

Second, this study would not necessarily invalidate the BBT, or the associated CMB observations, while overall the SSDS results do indeed support BBT (and even the dreaded LCMD dark matter models). Rather, this study questions how accurate General Relativity is on vast cosmological scales and even there it is reporting a small discrepancy based on an indirect way of testing GR.

SSDS Study: http://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/?0504510

Our measurements of cosmic magnification probe scales ranging from 60 kpc/h to 10 Mpc/h and are in good agreement with theoretical predictions based on the WMAP concordance cosmology
Third, to be fair, I do believe results like these have been given a lot of attention and consideration. It's been a while since I looked into this and never researched it heavily, but I believe one of the main motivations for the alternative theories and modifications to GR, which I mentioned above in an earlier post, was due to suspicions that GR may not be fully accurate at the largest cosmological scales. (You're link above is not the only study that hints at this, IIRC). However, there is no solid proof to show this conclusively yet and no alternatives developed perform nearly as well as GR across the board.

So, it's not really fair to say that results like these aren't being considered. Regardless, the majority does not feel this comes close to warrant throwing GR and most of cosmology out the window.
 
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#12
What would you expect the microwave background to look like in the absence of a BB?
David
You can see the above post to LS where I talk about specific effects seen in the CMB that would not be seen if it was local.

Also, like I already said, what the Universe looks like also depends on the energy content and metric for spacetime. It can be anything from a white hot sky to a black nothingness. Even with what the BBT currently claims, the CMB will not be around forever, so what you see also depends on the time you are inquiring about.
 
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#13
It does in fact reveal anomalies. Some examples show clearly quasars connected to galxies of much lower redshift. A statistical studies showing the overall effect does not make those comparitively few examples vanish. Does that mean all quasars are at the furthest regions of the observable universe? If so I have to disagree.
If you disagree then you are in agreement with the majority. Quasars are considered an earlier, , “galaxy type” that evolved out, thus there is some expected overlap between more modern-day galaxies and quasars (and maybe pics with them together!) However, as I mentioned above there is considerable evidence that the majority of quasars are very distant. SSDS backs this up.


It is also known that light is reshifted when passing through plasma. The SSDS indicates a fractal structure larger than BB would like.

This is related to the article I mentioned and these results are “suggestive” only at this stage, and may be due to systematics of the study.


Even if true, it doesn't necessarily invalidate the BB, although it could cause GR some grief.


Still the assumption is gravity centric. Only electric currents create magnetic fields as far as I am aware. I am not as overly critical of GR, I realise my limitations and can't be confident commenting on it. Although it is like all models a point of view, correct from some angles but perhaps not all. I have heard a good case for GR forbidding black holes, Einstein did not buy them, but his theories are used to imagine them. How's that work?

Einstein changed his mind several times on aspects of his theory. He also didn't like QM. So, I'm not sure it really means much what he thought of them.


In addition, Black Holes were thought of well before GR straight from Newtonian Mechanics. It's a simple calculation. You don't need GR to get the feeling Black Holes are unavoidable


I am not refuting GR, and I am not sure the big bang theory is vital to the experimental validity of GR.

GR is not the only piece, but it is important. Trust me, you are refuting GR more than you know! This is why I emphasize we shouldn't dimiss theories without a solid understanding of what it is we're dismissing.


I haven't dismissed the EU yet, because I still have to see more technical details on it

That is a serious misrepresentation. It in the years I have had my eye on it, I have seen many confirmations. Membranes, cells and fillaments are a natural consequence of plasma it is also fractal in size and time. That is what the majority of the observable universe is. That is a no brainer. Not just the superclusters but in nebulae and supervnova, gravity does not make those structures, and thermal gas physics is misapplied to plasma.
It really isn't a misrepresentation. If you believe it is, then you shouldn't have posted that article on the "Clumpier than Expected Universe". Because what that is saying is GR is really frigging close, but they detected a slight discrepancy (they think!). The physics of GR simulates that clumpiness to something like within around 1% of what that study thinks it should be , IIRC.

Once again, saying it is EU instead, amounts to refuting GR.


Only with imagined matter and energy. Having multiple knobs and even invented ones to get whatever answer you need is one of my key issues with cosmology.
GR has no knobs. It has zero free parameters. This particularly amounts to have a problem with is the accuracy of observations of the energy content of the Universe and the associated cosmological constants, NOT theory.


Sorry for the terse replies, really running out of time now! ;-)
 
#14
Hi Ethan, have not much time to ATM. I will try to get to some of the other points later that I have issues with but for now I would like to just address just one, the image I posted above and your response. I believe it is one of the best examples of interacting discordant redshifts.

SSDS - is ready to release a catalogue of over 200,000 quasars in Dec this year. That's still not a completed work. Since there are galaxies all over the sky, it's really not surprising that at least some galaxies and quasars would be close enough to APPEAR to be "associated". However, what the SSDS data did, as I already mentioned above, was show that there is no actual correlation/association between the galaxies and quasars. In other words, it is most likely it really only is "appearance".
Being an appearance and just flukes and optical coincidences of alignments has been pretty much the standard response in dealing with these anomalies which should not exist in BBT. I find this excuse quite feeble, when it is used over and over again it becomes even more strained. Chance alignment is not a very convincing explanation. Especially when there is quite obviously a connection there.

Going by the redshift = distance it would indicate that the bridge would be over 450 million light years in length!

The redshift of the spectrum of NGC 7603 as listed in NED is 0.029524 z which would place it at a distance of over 500 million light-years from Earth using a so-called Hubble Constant value of 55 (km/s)/Mpc. However the redshift of NGC 7603B as listed in NED is 0.055742 z which would supposedly place it at almost twice that distance at over 950 million light years from Earth. It is unequivocal that the redshifts of these two visibly connected objects do not indicate distance unless one wants to entertain the notion that the bridge of connecting matter is over 450 million light-years in length.
You say it is just an appearance, yet If you check the SSDS website you can see they confirm that it is indeed called an interacting pair.

NGC 7603 and PGC 07041, an interacting pair. Notice the "bridge" of stars and gas between the two galaxies. The bigger object, NGC 7603, is a well-known Seyfert galaxy. Seyfert galaxies have small, bright, active cores.
http://cas.sdss.org/dr3/en/tools/places/page5.asp

So I don't see how this can be explained, the chance alignment thing just seems to be a way of ignoring what is potentially yet another fatal blow to conventional assumptions.

This is a big point that you seem to have just brushed off. Do you really just pass this off as an illusion? An illusion with a 450 million light year plasma bridge?

Using the assumption that red shift = distance as SDSS does and then saying SDSS confirms that assumption by assuming it, makes no sense to me. Then to explain the brightness black holes, another hyperthetical is invoked to explain what can't be explained. What a mess!

Just to add, I agree that alternatives should get the same critical look but what I see in cosmology is just epicycles of speculative theories piled up in response to contradictory data. I also see an over eagerness to fit data into preconceived notions even if it is jamming a square peg into a round hole. The point is that there are other interpretations whether they are correct is another matter. Look how Arp was treated, disgusting. Velikovsky got it even worse.

As mentioned above so much is invested in the assumptions, especially redshift few dare or are willing to even entertain the idea that we may be very, very wrong in the interpretations. Yet Hubble himself doubted the interpretation in the end.

I am also not convinced by arguments that state a case for a majority opinion.
 
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#15
Hi Ethan, have not much time to ATM. I will try to get to some of the other points later that I have issues with but for now I would like to just address just one, the image I posted above and your response. I believe it is one of the best examples of interacting discordant redshifts.

You say it is just an appearance, yet If you check the SSDS website you can see they confirm that it is indeed called an interacting pair.



http://cas.sdss.org/dr3/en/tools/places/page5.asp

So I don't see how this can be explained, the chance alignment thing just seems to be a way of ignoring what is potentially yet another fatal blow to conventional assumptions.

This is a big point that you seem to have just brushed off. Do you really just pass this off as an illusion? An illusion with a 450 million light year plasma bridge?
Hey LS,

The interacting pair is the two lower red-shift objects in the image. I was referring to the larger red-shift objects when I was talking about chance misalignment.

I don't think 450 million light years is a record breaker as far as active galaxies go, whether or not there even is an interacting pair. Active Galaxies put out tremendous power.

Oh wait: I read that as a thousand, let me check, that does sound funny.
 
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#16
Yes it does sound funny. It places the companion galaxy over twice as far from Earth as NGC 7603!

Although it is possible the smaller objects are chance alignments, I don't think they are. The other image I posted quite clearly shows the quasars in front of the lower redshift galaxy as well.

There are other viable causes for reshift. Intrinsic plasma redshift has been experimentally confirmed. I don't know if it is the cause, it is not the only alternative.
 
#17
Yeah I calculated something slightly different from the redshifts, but that is really high. I thought the longest jet observed was close to 1 million light years, but even that is huge. Anyhow, I was familiar with anomalous redshifts, but sounds like you gave me the grand daddy of anomalous redshifts, so I'm surprised I hadn't heard of it before.

Anyhow, a quick search turned up a lot of interesting discussion, but I can't get myself to read it right now. Headache and clogged sinuses from a nasty cold. I'll check it out though soon, thanks!

Whatever the explanation, it still isn't as simple as throwing out all the above mentioned evidence and effects I mentioned, which far outweigh the anomalous redshifts. It usually never is simple with stuff like this, but rather requires an explanation more subtle that neither side of the argument saw coming. It's far from the only area that needs answers.
 
#18
By the way, for a hoot, check out this page. Classic physicsforums.com material.

"Have you heard of NGC 7603", "Yeah , it is rubbish." Thread closed. lol

(To be fair, they appear to have discussion on it in other threads. I'll read these at some point too.)
 
#19
It has been known since 1966. The reason you have not heard of it is because it was suppressed. Even suffered some image manipulation in the early days to hide the bridge! Cosmologists generally don't like to discuss things that threaten a life time investment as well as funding invested in the projects that would be falsified. Too much to lose.

Also if you look closely at the smaller objects it is indeed aparent that they are embedded in the filament.

But most importantly this detailed view shows that regardless of the extreme distances attributed to Objects 2 and 3 because of their redshifts they are indeed embedded in the filament of matter connecting NGC 7603 and Object 1 (NGC 7603B). In fact, this detailed view shows a bulge of material extending from the right side of NGC 7603B into the connecting filament and ending at the left edge of Object 2. There is also clearly a stream of material extending out from the bottom of NGC 7603 into the filament and ending at the right edge of Object 3.
http://www.discordancyreport.com/tag/sloan-digital-sky-survey/
 
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#20
Whatever the explanation, it still isn't as simple as throwing out all the above mentioned evidence and effects I mentioned, which far outweigh the anomalous redshifts. It usually never is simple with stuff like this, but rather requires an explanation more subtle that neither side of the argument saw coming. It's far from the only area that needs answers.
M.B Bell, of Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics in Canada, sums it up, Because the belief that the redshift of quasars is cosmological has become so entrenched, and the consequences now of it being wrong are so enormous, astronomers are very reluctant to consider other possibilities. However, there is increasing evidence that some galaxies may form around compact, seed objects ejected with a large intrinsic redshift component from the nuclei of mature active galaxies.
 
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