Kepler's forgotten ideas about symmetry help explain spiral galaxies without the need for dark matter

Kepler’s forgotten ideas about symmetry help explain spiral galaxies without the need for dark matter – new research
M81 spiral galaxy. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ESA/Harvard-Smithsonian CfA

The 17th-century astronomer Johannes Kepler was the first to muse about the structure of snowflakes. Why are they so symmetrical? How does one side know how long the opposite side has grown? Kepler thought it was all down to what we would now call a "morphogenic field" – that things want to have the form they have. Science has since discounted this idea. But the question of why snowflakes and similar structures are so symmetrical is nevertheless not entirely understood.

Modern science shows just how fundamental the question is: look at all the spiral out there. They can be half a million light years across, but they still preserve their symmetry. How? In our new study, published in Scientific Reports, we present an explanation.

We have shown that information and ""—a measure of the disorder of a system—are linked together ("info-entropy") in a way exactly analogous to electric and magnetic fields ("electromagnetism"). Electric currents produce magnetic fields, while changing magnetic fields produce electric currents. Information and entropy influence each other in the same way.

Entropy is a fundamental concept in physics. For example, because entropy can never decrease (disorder always increases) you can turn an egg into scrambled eggs but not the other way around. If you move information around you must also increase entropy—a phone call has an entropy cost.

We showed that entropy and information can be treated as a field and that they are related to geometry. Think of the two strands of the DNA double helix winding around each other. Light waves have the same structure, where the two strands are the electric and magnetic fields. We showed mathematically that the relationship between information and entropy can be visualised using just the same geometry.

Kepler’s forgotten ideas about symmetry help explain spiral galaxies without the need for dark matter – new research
Real snowflake. Credit: Karen Schanely: https://www.clickinmoms.com/blog/take-macro-snowflakes-pictures/; public domain

We wanted to see if our theory could predict things in the real world, and decided to try and calculate how much energy you'd need to convert one form of DNA to another. DNA is after all a spiral and a form of information.

This was actually done in extraordinarily precise measurements some 16 years ago. The researchers pulled a DNA molecule straight (DNA likes to curl up), and twisted it 4,800 turns while holding the ends with optical tweezers. The DNA flipped from one form to another, as in the picture above. The researchers could then calculate the energy difference between the two forms.

But our theory could calculate this energy difference, too. We knew the entropy of each of the two versions of this DNA molecule, and the energy is simply the product of entropy and temperature. Our result was spot on—the theory seemed to hold up.

Kepler’s forgotten ideas about symmetry help explain spiral galaxies without the need for dark matter – new research
Light wave with electric (E) and magnetic (B) fields. Author provided

From tiny to enormous

Spiral galaxies are double spirals just as DNA is a double helix—mathematically speaking they have similar geometries.

Our theory shows directly why the two arms of the spiral galaxies are symmetrical—it's because info-entropy fields give rise to forces (like other fields). The stars in the galaxy are simply choreographed by an entropic force to line up into a pair of such spirals to maximise entropy.

But we wanted to get some real numbers, too. We therefore decided to try to calculate the mass of our galaxy from our theory. We know how heavy the Milky Way appears to be from how fast the stars move near the galactic edge—it is about 1.3 trillion sun masses.

Kepler’s forgotten ideas about symmetry help explain spiral galaxies without the need for dark matter – new research
Two forms of DNA. Credit: Parker & Jeynes, Fig.1 of Scientific Reports 9|10779 (2019); Modified from Fig. 5 of Allemand et al. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 95, 14152–14157 (1998), CC BY

Strangely, this is actually much more than the mass of all the visible stars in the galaxy. To be able to explain this discrepancy and account for why stars move so much faster than expected, astronomers came up with the idea of "dark matter"—unseen mass lurking in the galaxy, increasing its gravitational pull on the stars.

We needed to know the entropy of the galaxy for our calculations. Luckily, the mathematical physicist Roger Penrose showed that this entropy is dominated by the entropy of its central super-massive black hole.

We know the mass of this black hole (4.3m sun masses). And amazingly, when you know the mass of a black hole, there is an equation, discovered by the late physicist Stephen Hawking, that calculates its entropy. Hawking also discovered how to calculate the "temperature" at its surface, or "event horizon".

If you can assign a "temperature" to the black hole event horizon—which has no stuff in it to have temperature—why not also assign a temperature to a galaxy? We argue in our paper that this is reasonable (using what's known as the "holographic principle"). So we used our info-entropy equations to calculate the galaxy's holographic temperature.

Kepler’s forgotten ideas about symmetry help explain spiral galaxies without the need for dark matter – new research
A spiral galaxy with an overlaid double-armed logarithmic spiral. Credit: Parker & Jeynes, Fig.2 of Scientific Reports 9|10779 (2019), CC BY-SA

Then it gets easy. We know that the galactic energy is given by the product of its entropy and temperature. And when we know the energy we can find out the mass thanks to Einstein's famous equation: E=mc2.

This time the result was not exactly spot on, but it was reasonably close given our highly simplified model of the galaxy. The info-entropic geometry of a galaxy not only explains how entropic forces create the beautifully symmetric shape and keep it, but also accounts for all the mass that appears to be evident in it.

This means that we don't actually need dark matter after all. According to our model, the galactic entropy gives rise to such a large quantity of additional energy that it modifies the observed dynamics of the galaxy—making stars at the edge move faster than expected. This is exactly what dark matter was meant to explain. The energy isn't directly observable as mass, but its presence is certainly supported by the astronomical observations—explaining why dark matter searches have so far found nothing.

There is a lot of research supporting the idea of dark matter though. Our theory suggests an alternative explanation of the observations, and needs no new physics. Of course, more detailed work is needed to verify that the true complexity of the observations can also be modelled successfully.

We think that the "morphogenic field" Kepler was seeking really does exist, and is actually the effect of the intertwining of information and entropy. After four long centuries, it seems Kepler has finally been vindicated.


Explore further

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Journal information: Scientific Reports

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Aug 08, 2019
The deviation from standard Keplerian/Newtonian orbital dynamics is only   o n e   indicator of DM. There is also strong and weak gravitational lensing anomalies among half a dozen other proxies that would not be involved in this claimed entropy effect, but would in fact suggest actual stronger gravity itself.


Aug 08, 2019
The idea of "Dark Matter" to me was all baloney dreamed up to describe something they didn't understand fully yet so they slapped that label on "whatever it is". It was dreamed up to cover over a mathematical construct missing from their calculations. Now that the math error has been found and corrected, dark matter disappears as a requirement. Stuff like this makes the average layman scientist lose confidence and trust in our professionals. Seems like most science discoveries go through this "life process" to become a discovery or a mis-guided concept.

Aug 08, 2019
The on-going discovery of much formerly 'missing mass' as vast gas & dust clouds, plus hunts for the predicted million or so currently-quiescent 'mid-sized black holes' suggests the galactic survey of DM vs non-DM remains woefully incomplete, with scary-wide error-bars...

This information / entropy hypothesis is pretty, almost beautiful.
What data would falsify it soonest ?

Aug 08, 2019
The on-going discovery of much formerly 'missing mass' as vast gas & dust clouds, plus hunts for the predicted million or so currently-quiescent 'mid-sized black holes' suggests the galactic survey of DM vs non-DM remains woefully incomplete, with scary-wide error-bars...


Unfortunately, the 'missing mass' is baryonic mass that was expected to be there, but hadn't previously been detected. It says nothing about the DM content.

This information / entropy hypothesis is pretty, almost beautiful.
What data would falsify it soonest ?


Haven't read the paper, but I'd have thought gravitational lensing from invisible matter, as in the Bullet Cluster observations, would leave it struggling.

Aug 08, 2019
@Circles, thanks.

Initially I'm highly skeptical but we'll see.

Aug 08, 2019
Haven't read the paper, but I'd have thought gravitational lensing from invisible matter, as in the Bullet Cluster observations, would leave it struggling.
Not to mention galaxy cluster dynamics and the fact that in the Bullet Cluster, this "entropic energy" would have to be left behind the actual galaxy clusters. Now, how does that work?

I remain highly skeptical.

Aug 08, 2019
Recently two papers have been published. The first one deals with the measurement of the speed of rotation of galaxies and, in our view, closes the issue of the existence of dark matter. The second one argues that the expansion of the universe is not accelerating. However, this fact does not answer the question as to what in general is the cause of the universe's expansion and does not address the widespread opinion that 70% of the universe consists of dark energy.
https://www.acade...k_Energy

Aug 08, 2019
What you see with spiral galaxy symmetry is spin-2 helicity, all gravity is quantum gravity and has spin-2 helicity and radiated stationary-type wave properties. When the field is coherent and strong enough, the spin-2 property and wave aspect appear as concentric static gravity ripples arising from ultra-slowly-counter-rotating field vectors with a spatial wavelength matching galactic scale. A number of things can collapse the ripple, often enough it is a central bar disrupting the ripple at opposite ends. The spirals in the last picture here do not agree with the galaxy arms because the arms are not being viewed as two halves of a collapsed ring. Oh, if anyone here doesn't like this they can stuff it up their singularity in advance.

Aug 08, 2019
NGC 4440 has nice spin-2 helicity, nothing logarithmic in it at all. The arms each have the shape of half an elliptical arc and both arms appear little-changed from the original ring they formed together, the arm-to-bar coupling is clear. A ring can support orbits in either direction and matter tends to twist helically as it orbits the ring, the helical twisted flow can have the effect that the far ends of the arms take off in straight-line trajectories. The symmetry in radiated coherence is a form of counter-entropic organization. Gravity has definite counter-entropic aspects, and not all are related in this way to spin-2 helicity.

Aug 08, 2019
The bar-generated ring collapse in NGC 4411 is spirally-evolved compared to NGC 4440, the bar is shortening in the process of winding up together the two ring halves. The ring before collapse is similar to a doubly-banked gravitational raceway encouraging spiral patterns of mass density flowing (and sometime counter-flowing) around the ring. Hoag's object has a perfect example of the gravitational static-ripple-inspired helical density pattern. Nicely enough in many cases, namely when massive/high-energy interlopers don't muck the galactic picture up too much, the valley-like gravity-effect landscape of the ring-ripple raceway phenomenon creates a ring of galactic dark matter effects, both the peripheral lensing and the flattened rotation curves in galactic profiles.

Aug 09, 2019
Oy. I don't understand how this got published in Nature Scientific Reports in peer review! Considering they reify entropy as "real", and propose ad hoc that galaxies with supermassive black holes are spiral, right handed (in relation to what), and logarithmic spiral at that and that left handed DNA carries no genetic information. (The strained left handed Z form is IIRC researched as natural occurring transcription regulation regions.)

And of course, the usual irrelevant dark matter 'replacement' that does not predict all other dark matter observations, from the cosmic background radiation over galaxy filaments, clusters and on down. That alone suffice to reject it.

Aug 09, 2019
The idea of "Dark Matter" to me was all baloney


To you, but not to cosmologists.

This information / entropy hypothesis is pretty, almost beautiful.
What data would falsify it soonest ?


It is ugly IMHO, and I showed in my first comment that it looks self-rejected. I refute it thus: "Ellipticals". (And the left handed DNA carrying no information is also a humdinger.)

Aug 09, 2019
I was a bit surprised to see it in even a lower-level journal like NSR myself, @torbjorn. But it seemed to me that perhaps it got reviewed by some folks who were not actually in the field it purports to address in its abstract and introduction.

Aug 09, 2019
another pay-to-publish?

& for the claims for what Kepler observed, deduced, speculated?

did the researchers of this project base their opinions of what Kepler "meant"
by reading his original journals?

or based this research on transcripts & translations from later publications?

Aug 13, 2019
I enjoyed reading this. I can't tell if its right but at least a solid attempt to try and disprove dark matter.

Aug 17, 2019
Entropy always increases in isolated systems, but can decrease in closed and open systems. If that was not true, life could not exist since life requires an open system to obtain the energy necessary to sustain it by reducing entropy.

Sep 04, 2019
https://theconver...h-121017

The original article is still getting comments. Nobody seems to like it. Nobody is supposing all gravity is spin-2 gravitons, so nobody is going to suppose static gravity has ripple effects almost resembling cheesy-looking dilated-hole features that artists are starting to embrace in their goofy dark matter art for GR fanatics.

https://www.scien...k-matter

One has to go through a paywall for a better picture of the basic dark matter spin-2 wave-cycle.

https://physicswo...elusive/

Today I noticed the authors use Zwicky's term "morphogenic."

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