Cosmic accounting reveals missing light crisis

Jul 08, 2014
Computer simulations of intergalactic hydrogen in a "dimly lit" universe (left) and a "brightly lit" universe (right) that has five times more of the energetic photons that destroy neutral hydrogen atoms. Hubble Space Telescope observations of hydrogen absorption match the picture on the right, but using only the known astronomical sources of ultraviolet light produces the much thicker structures on the left, and a severe mismatch with the observations. Credit: Ben Oppenheimer and Juna Kollmeier

Something is amiss in the Universe. There appears to be an enormous deficit of ultraviolet light in the cosmic budget.

The vast reaches of empty space between galaxies are bridged by tendrils of hydrogen and helium, which can be used as a precise " meter." In a recent study published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, a team of scientists finds that the light from known populations of galaxies and quasars is not nearly enough to explain observations of intergalactic hydrogen. The difference is a stunning 400 percent.

"It's as if you're in a big, brightly-lit room, but you look around and see only a few 40-watt lightbulbs," noted Carnegie's Juna Kollmeier, lead author of the study. "Where is all that light coming from? It's missing from our census."

Strangely, this mismatch only appears in the nearby, relatively well-studied cosmos. When telescopes focus on galaxies billions of light years away (and therefore are viewing the universe billions of years in its past), everything seems to add up. The fact that this accounting works in the early universe but falls apart locally has scientists puzzled.

The light in question consists of highly energetic ultraviolet photons that are able to convert electrically neutral hydrogen atoms into electrically charged ions. The two known sources for such ionizing photons are quasars—powered by hot gas falling onto over a million times the mass of the sun—and the hottest young stars.

Observations indicate that the ionizing photons from young stars are almost always absorbed by gas in their host galaxy, so they never escape to affect intergalactic hydrogen. But the number of known quasars is far lower than needed to produce the required light.

"Either our accounting of the light from galaxies and quasars is very far off, or there's some other major source of ionizing photons that we've never recognized," Kollmeier said. "We are calling this missing light the photon underproduction crisis. But it's the astronomers who are in crisis—somehow or other, the universe is getting along just fine."

The mismatch emerged from comparing supercomputer simulations of intergalactic gas to the most recent analysis of observations from Hubble Space Telescope's Cosmic Origins Spectrograph. "The simulations fit the data beautifully in the , and they fit the local data beautifully if we're allowed to assume that this extra light is really there," explained Ben Oppenheimer a co-author from the University of Colorado. "It's possible the simulations do not reflect reality, which by itself would be a surprise, because intergalactic hydrogen is the component of the Universe that we think we understand the best."

"The most exciting possibility is that the missing photons are coming from some exotic new source, not galaxies or quasars at all," said Neal Katz a co-author from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

For example, the mysterious dark matter, which holds together but has never been seen directly, could itself decay and ultimately be responsible for this extra light.

"You know it's a crisis when you start seriously talking about decaying dark matter!" Katz remarked.

"The great thing about a 400% discrepancy is that you know something is really wrong," commented co-author David Weinberg of The Ohio State University. "We still don't know for sure what it is, but at least one thing we thought we knew about the present day isn't true."

Whether the explanation is exotic or not, astronomers will be working hard to shed light on the mystery.

Explore further: Small, but plentiful: How the faintest galaxies illuminated the early universe

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douglaskostyk
4.4 / 5 (16) Jul 08, 2014
great!... Now we have Dark Light.
supamark23
5 / 5 (7) Jul 08, 2014
Wasn't there a story just yesterday that went into why massive galaxies are not as good at ionizing H and He as small galaxies due to the dust and such...? Maybe these guys should talk.
alfsen
4.7 / 5 (13) Jul 08, 2014
@douglaskostyk - My thought exactly. First they discover that there isn't enough mass in the Milky Way to account for the speed of stars in the outer spiral arms - hence "dark matter." Then they learn that the expansion of the universe is accelerating rather than slowing as would be expected due to the force of gravity - hence "dark energy." Now scientists discover that there isn't enough ultraviolet light out there to account for the observed ionization of intergalactic hydrogen - "dark light" is now needed.

It seems like the more scientists learn, the more they learn they don't know. Fascinating time to live.
Whydening Gyre
5 / 5 (4) Jul 08, 2014
"Either our accounting of the light from galaxies and quasars is very far off, or there's some other major source of ionizing photons that we've never recognized,"

Just a gut reaction, but I'm inclined to support the first part of that statement...
antialias_physorg
4.5 / 5 (22) Jul 08, 2014
It seems like the more scientists learn, the more they learn they don't know.

That's sort of the point of being a scientist. You're looking for the unexplained things - for the things that do not fit the current theories in order augment or supercede them.

Some people here think that being a scientist is about 'protecting' current theories. They could not be more wrong.
What these people don't get is that when scientists start looking for alternate explanations they don't immediately throw everything away that, in many other areas, works very well.

If your car doesn't go as fast as you want it to you don't start over by reinventing wheels.
Elmo_McGillicutty
1.8 / 5 (11) Jul 08, 2014
It makes perfect sense if you use common sense science. All that extra light came from decaying gravity.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.7 / 5 (9) Jul 08, 2014

If your car doesn't go as fast as you want it to you don't start over by reinventing wheels
WHY NOT??

"The Michelin Active Wheel is a standard wheel that houses a pair of electric motors. One of the motors drives and brakes the wheel while the other acts as an active suspension system to improve comfort, handling and stability. The system is powered by battery or fuel cell-powered electric vehicles and the technology is such that a vehicle equipped with it will no longer need a gearbox, clutch, drive shaft, universal joint or anti-roll bar"
http://www.roadan...ed-36312
otero
Jul 08, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
otero
Jul 08, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
animah
3.7 / 5 (9) Jul 08, 2014
600% times


600 percent times??

So is that like 3,600 times lol?
otero
Jul 08, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Dr_toad
Jul 09, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Benni
1.5 / 5 (8) Jul 09, 2014
great!... Now we have Dark Light.


How can "light" be dark? Light is the visible portion of the electro-magnetic spectrum, anything above or below the frequency range of the visible part of the EM spectrum is not visible to the naked eye. Ultra-violet wave-lengths are partially visible to the naked eye as is infrared, which is why those frequencies are sometimes associated with "light".

All "light" is electro-magnetism, but not all electro-magnetism is "light".
Uncle Ira
2.1 / 5 (7) Jul 09, 2014
All "light" is electro-magnetism, but not all electro-magnetism is "light".


You got the different equation to back that up Skippy? Maybe this is what you been trying to tell us about the different equations huh? So you are saying that light equations is different from the microwave equations which is also different from the xray equations? Skippy even someone as unscience smart as me knows that is not true, they use the same equations. Unless you in a semi circular universe I suppose you are going to say, right?
maitriandkaruna
1 / 5 (14) Jul 09, 2014
Silly Science... How can there be a light crisis. "It" is all the magnetic light of the ONE (which religion calls God --- the one still light of Love ). The electric part of it (gravity and radiation -- or apparent motion) are all due to the view, or "perceptive ability " of the observer). We (science) is getting there, but still a ways to go. Science should be attempting to prove Walter Russell's cosmogony wrong. I believe his work has many of the answers we are looking for (including fixing our concept of gravity).

He is a genius whose time is yet to come, but will come once we finally wake up into it. I have my own thoughts on basic physics, derived from WR and others who have come before me that I'd also like to challenge science to prove me wrong. Expect at some point, someone will be up to the challenge... My current belief system (opinion) anyway. Ask that ye not judge, lest ye be judged.
maitriandkaruna
1 / 5 (14) Jul 09, 2014
Hey Uncle Ira (my Dad had an Uncle Ira), not semi circular, spiral. Walter Russell and I believe all (perceived) motion and particles travel a spiral path. Think otero has a point about Tesla, he "understood" alot about the simplicity of reality, and how to manipulate its properties. Not familiar with others spoken of here. As far as dark light, the duality of everything including dark and light has to start somewhere. The apparent "light" (energy, matter) is not dark, but rather the space (of equal volume) it emanates from by virtue of its emptiness (ie. black hole) is perceived as dark. The rest is reflectivity, effectively smoke and mirrors, a movie on a massive screen, the ultimate video game. What a creation we live in, and oh the true reality of it all.
Uncle Ira
3.5 / 5 (8) Jul 09, 2014
Hey Uncle Ira (my Dad had an Uncle Ira), not semi circular, spiral.


You bragging? Or are you complaining Skippy?

Walter Russell and I believe all (perceived) motion and particles travel a spiral path.


Condolences on that Cher, but I'm not the one who can help you on that one.

Think otero has a point


If you think Socratic-Skippy has a point you got a bigger problem than anybody here can help you with.

Not familiar with others spoken of here.


Non, course not. That is what everybody say. Never understand why everybody get the irresistible urge to say that, you got any guesses on that one?

As far as,,,,


Yeah, I see how you would think Socratic-Skippy has a point on something.

The rest is


Is more mumbo jumbo just like the first mumbo jumbo.

What a creation we live in, and oh the true reality of it all.


You earn the silly looking pointy cap on your first day, congratulations Cher.
maitriandkaruna
1 / 5 (8) Jul 09, 2014
Just relating, haven't met to many Ira's in my life. You are of course entitled to your opinion also. Not time for awards to be handed out, time will tell ALL (or should I say the story of ONE). Not sure where Cher came from, but I find no objection. I like you only desire to get my beliefs out there. Whose (inspired) thoughts ultimately end up looking like mumbo jumbo remains to be seen
maitriandkaruna
1 / 5 (5) Jul 11, 2014
I don't understand what the issue is, with the computer simulation. Looks like exactly the same picture, just dimly lit is closer to the source, while brightly lit is further away (seems counter- intuitive). Might someone help to further enlighten me, please...
Kieseyhow
2.2 / 5 (5) Jul 12, 2014
@douglaskostyk - My thought exactly. First they discover that there isn't enough mass in the Milky Way to account for the speed of stars in the outer spiral arms - hence "dark matter." Then they learn that the expansion of the universe is accelerating rather than slowing as would be expected due to the force of gravity - hence "dark energy." Now scientists discover that there isn't enough ultraviolet light out there to account for the observed ionization of intergalactic hydrogen - "dark light" is now needed.

It seems like the more scientists learn, the more they learn they don't know. Fascinating time to live.


An excellent observation in conclusion. Only fools presume to call themselves an expert, as every piece of new knowledge only leads to ten new questions. People must understand that almost everything that is accepted as fact, is really only a theory, undergoing constant evolution of understanding. The same goes for other topics like history and biology.
Kieseyhow
1 / 5 (3) Jul 12, 2014

WHY NOT??

"The Michelin Active Wheel is a standard wheel that houses a pair of electric motors. One of the motors drives and brakes the wheel while the other acts as an active suspension system to improve comfort, handling and stability. The system is powered by battery or fuel cell-powered electric vehicles and the technology is such that a vehicle equipped with it will no longer need a gearbox, clutch, drive shaft, universal joint or anti-roll bar"
http://www.roadan...ed-36312


I think this is really based upon (stolen from?) from the Protean Drive
http://www.protea...ric.com/
DoieaS
2.8 / 5 (9) Jul 12, 2014
The on-line copy of the posts censored from here you can read (and comment) here.
David Brown
1 / 5 (2) Jul 13, 2014
"There appears to be an enormous deficit of ultraviolet light in the cosmic budget."

http://vixra.org/abs/1407.0088 "MOND and the Photon Underproduction Crisis"

C0NJECTURE: Milgrom is the Kepler of contemporary cosmology.
Dr_toad
Jul 13, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
DoieaS
1 / 5 (2) Jul 13, 2014
C0NJECTURE: Milgrom is the Kepler of contemporary cosmology
He would be a Kepler, if he would predict it, not postdict. After battle everyone is a general. In addition, I'm missing logical connection in his article of MOND theory to lack of UV radiation.
DoieaS
2.3 / 5 (3) Jul 13, 2014
The lack of shortwavelength radiation is prediction of tired light model instead (the light gets scattered the more, the shorter wavelength it has). The same model predicts the excess of radiowaves instead. Before six years the US astronomers announced surprising results from a high-altitude balloon experiment called ARCADE-2, which had made careful measurements of the sky at radio wavelengths. The background radio emission, which is the component smoothly distributed across the whole sky, was six times brighter than anyone was expecting. Now we observed forty times lower intensity of UV sources. Should we be really surprised with it?
theon
1 / 5 (3) Jul 14, 2014
Ever considered that not the UV light is missing, but the model is wrong? Ever considered LCDM wrong? If you don't, you get stuck all the time, like this time. "Unobserved sources of UV", it is cheaper to abandon LCDM than to pump UV light everywhere in the cosmos.
Tuxford
1 / 5 (3) Jul 16, 2014
If there is more intergalactic hydrogen in the nearby universe than the early universe, then this condition runs counter to the galactic condensation model of the Huge Bang Fantasy held so dearly by the merger maniacs who are simply unable to reinvent the wheel.

In LaViolette's SubQuantum Kinectics, intergalactic space produces more hydrogen very slowly, unlike more quickly in the depths of the supermassive galactic core stars, over time, yielding more intergalactic hydrogen therein in more recent times than in earlier times. New gas particles simply condense into existence through coincidental alignments of the underlying etheric components into a critical diffusion condition, spawning a new self-sustaining reaction we label a subatomic particle. In deep space, this condition is rare, whereas inside the cores it is greatly accelerated.

So once again, another puzzling observation fits the SQK model. How many times does it take to turn a monkeys head??