Earth not center of the universe, surrounded by 'dark energy': cosmologists report

Dec 19, 2008

Earth's location in the Universe is utterly unremarkable, despite recent theories that propose toppling a foundation of modern cosmology, according to a team of University of British Columbia researchers.

Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus's 1543 book, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, moved Earth from being the centre of the Universe to just another planet orbiting the Sun. Since then, astronomers have extended the idea and formed the Copernican Principle, which says that our place in the Universe as a whole is completely ordinary. Although the Copernican Principle has become a pillar of modern cosmology, finding conclusive evidence that our neighbourhood of the Universe really isn't special has proven difficult.

In 1998, studies of distant explosions called "type Ia supernovae" indicated that the expansion of the Universe is accelerating, an observation attributed to the repulsive force of a mysterious "dark energy." However, some scientists put forward an alternate theory: They proposed that the Earth was near the centre of a giant "bubble," or "void," mostly empty of matter, and strongly violating the Copernican Principle. If this were the case, gravity would create the illusion of acceleration, mimicking the effect of dark energy on the supernova observations.

Now some advanced analysis and modeling performed by UBC post-doctoral fellows Jim Zibin and Adam Moss and Astronomy Prof. Douglas Scott is showing that this alternate "void theory" just doesn't add up. Their findings are published today in the journal Physical Review Letters.

The researchers used data from the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe satellite, which includes members from UBC on its international team, as well as data from various ground-based instruments and surveys.

"We tested void models against the latest data, including subtle features in the cosmic microwave background radiation – the afterglow of the Big Bang – and ripples in the large-scale distribution of matter," says Zibin. "We found that void models do a very poor job of explaining the combination of these data."

The team's calculations instead solidify the conventional view that an enigmatic dark energy fills the cosmos and is responsible for the acceleration of the Universe. "Recent advances in data collection have brought us to the era of precision cosmology," says Zibin. "Void models are terrible at explaining the new data, but the standard dark energy model works very well.

"Since we can only observe the Universe from Earth, it's really hard to determine if we're in a 'special place,'" says Zibin. "But we've now learned that our location is much more ordinary than the strange dark energy that fills the Universe."

The journal paper is available online at link.aps.org/abstract/PRL/v101/e251303 .

Source: University of British Columbia

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Noumenon
4.8 / 5 (48) Dec 19, 2008
"...the standard dark energy model works very well"

Ya, so long as one doesn't ask what dark energy is.
vlam67
1.9 / 5 (7) Dec 19, 2008
Yawn. there is no reasons at all why Earth has to be the centre of things, unless you are favorite children of God...God bless his Homo Stupidus for steadfastness!
seanpu
4.3 / 5 (6) Dec 19, 2008
equally u can ask what gravity is and nobody knows, except for the effects they see.
frajo
1 / 5 (2) Dec 19, 2008
The inverse anthropological principle:
"As earth is just an ordinary place in the universe, it must not be in one of the existing voids."

The horror vacui principle:
"As we can't admit to not have any explanation for certain observations, we construct some magic words like 'dark matter' and 'dark energy' and don't care that there's no physical theory which postulates such entities."

It's the same principle which made homo sapiens construct heavenly beings when overwhelmed by sun, moon, lightning, and thunder.

I know that I don't know a lot of things. But some people apparently don't know even this.

brant
3 / 5 (2) Dec 19, 2008
I'm telling you, the emperor has no clothes.....
Dr_Nuts
1 / 5 (2) Dec 19, 2008
the funny thing is, i "knew" of dark energy (or dark matter as some my want to call it considering that matter is in fact pure energy) for about a decade now. so remind me again how this is new?
theophys
4 / 5 (4) Dec 19, 2008
"As we can't admit to not have any explanation for certain observations, we construct some magic words like 'dark matter' and 'dark energy' and don't care that there's no physical theory which postulates such entities."

Using gravity as an example, there was no physical theory that predicted gravity when Newton came around. Should we dicount it? I mean, it was just a magical word for an unexplained observation that Newton made. For that matter, what about you? There are no physical theories that postulate your existence, frajo is just a magical screen name for an annoying entity that we are observing. The point is, if you can't actualy disprove dark matter using the scientific method or at least present an alternate theory that does a better job explaining known observastions, stop whining.
Noumenon
4.8 / 5 (46) Dec 19, 2008
Ya, well if they can wrap some equations around it like newton did , we'll let it slide. There are no equations describing how dark energy interacts with matter,... there is a quantified hole in current theories which is not the same thing.
MGraser
5 / 5 (1) Dec 19, 2008
It sounds to me like this IS a pivotal question, whether they've really proven anything or not. What's at stake is not whether we are the "center", but that if it were the case "gravity would create the illusion of acceleration, mimicking the effect of dark energy on the supernova observations." I'm sure that more than one scientific assessment is based on an accelerating universe.
tkjtkj
3 / 5 (2) Dec 19, 2008
I'd have admired the authors had they not merely displayed their conclusions but , yes.. actually displayed some morsels upon which their conclusions are based!
"Vapor science" ?? Fortunately, investigators are not merely allowed to postulate: they must also convince!

Alexa
1 / 5 (2) Dec 19, 2008
By the following report the Earth position is exclusive, being located at the center of giant void of dark matter.

http://www.newsci...ull=true&print=true

I suppose, both news are interpreting peer-reviewed scientific articles..;-)
theophys
5 / 5 (4) Dec 19, 2008
Ya, well if they can wrap some equations around it like newton did , we'll let it slide. There are no equations describing how dark energy interacts with matter,... there is a quantified hole in current theories which is not the same thing.

True, but this is only because we don't have any dark matter to fiddle around with in a lab. Remember that we only started writing equations for how matter interacts with itself after multitudes of expiriments showed us what was happening conceptualy. When there is enough observed data to form a distinct pattern, there will be equations. For now, all we have is guesses as to what it should do according to our current equations and observations.
By the following report the Earth position is exclusive, being located at the center of giant void of dark matter.

http://www.newsci...ull=true&print=true

I suppose, both news are interpreting peer-reviewed scientific articles..;-)

Not going to lie, it's little more than well thought out quackery.
johanfprins
1 / 5 (2) Dec 20, 2008
True, but this is only because we don't have any dark matter to fiddle around with in a lab.


O yes, I do have dark matter in my laboratoty: Since, in this case it is formed by the entanglwement of many electrons, it is s single macro-wave with charge.

One should also be able to entangle "particles" of opposite charges to form a single macro-wave. Such a single macro-wave was probably responsible for inflation after the "Big Bang"; or should we rather call it the "Big silent Whoosh"? Sound did not yet exist at the instant of creation!
johanfprins
1 / 5 (2) Dec 20, 2008
Oh by the way; according to the principle of relativity every bit of matter finds itself at the centre of the Universe. There is no preferred reference frame to define the centre of the Universe. Therefore each observer, where-ever he/she is within the Universe and whatever the speed they seem to be moving when observed by another observer, will observe the Universe as if he/she is at the centre of the Universe. Thus if one just sits very still and go into a trance your whole body will be at the centre of the Universe.
magpies
1 / 5 (2) Dec 20, 2008
Could some form of electrictiy have something to do with dark energy or dark matter?
light_echo123
5 / 5 (2) Dec 20, 2008
Since we can only guess at the size (and shape if any) of the universe, we cannot say if we are at the center of it.
WolfAtTheDoor
5 / 5 (3) Dec 21, 2008
The terms 'dark matter' and 'dark energy' bother me as they give an unfair mystique to this dark matter and dark energy. There's nothing mystical about it, it's simply matter and energy we don't know how to detect.

And also, it always cracks me up see people who are so certain about their opinions on dark energy when the truth is nobody knows what the hell it is or what it means. We have no idea if Einstein was just plain wrong, half wrong, or if he was right.

My guess? I wouldn't bet against Einstein.

Rather, I would think back to the big bang. What force acted on the universe to cause this big bang? And is this force still acting on the universe?
Edward3
not rated yet Dec 21, 2008
Big Fairy,
Link from here to the Forum seems to be gone - you can access the forum on www.physforum.com.
regards
E3
theophys
5 / 5 (2) Dec 21, 2008
The terms 'dark matter' and 'dark energy' bother me as they give an unfair mystique to this dark matter and dark energy. There's nothing mystical about it, it's simply matter and energy we don't know how to detect.

I agree completely. After making the observations, the scientists said, "Hey, we can't really see it, so it isn't giving of any light. It's dark stuff. Let's just call it dark matter, that will be easy and cause no confusion whatsoever." Now we have morons running around talking about the dark side of the force and what not. Kudos to lazy nomenclature.
vidyunmaya
1 / 5 (3) Dec 22, 2008
SUB: Heart and Center of Universe
The Universe is projected at 10 log scale Light years in my books and Reserch Papers-STSCI-Symposium -May 5-8-Baltimore,2003-{Astrophysical Laboratoy}. Further Space Data confirms -see my books.
One needs to search beyond the presentday concepts on
Dark matter and Cosmology Definition is outlined by author
COSMIC YOGA VISION SERIES-II:
Heart of the Universe-Nov 2006 -Book By Vidyardhi Nanduri
Copy Rights TXU 1-364-245 -
The Science in Philosophy- Pridhvi Viswam Asya Dharineem Cosmos yoga vision series-II-
cover upto 10^5 Light Years %u2014 Centre of the Universe [Vidyardhi Nanduri]

Alexa
1 / 5 (3) Jan 05, 2009
This is how it should be working by AWT... As usually, the relevance of void concept is depending on observational perspective.

http://aetherwave...oid.html