'Fat' galaxy cluster discovered 7 billion light-years away
The hot gas in the galaxy cluster called "El Gordo" is shown in blue.
January 10th, 2012
12:31 PM ET

'Fat' galaxy cluster discovered 7 billion light-years away

The largest galaxy cluster ever seen in the distant universe has been spotted by an international team of scientists using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope, and the Atacama Cosmology Telescope in Chile.

Researchers have named this cluster "El Gordo," Spanish for "the fat one." It is located 7 billion light-years away from our planet.

Galaxy clusters are held together by gravity, and are the largest structures in the universe. Scientists are interested in using these clusters to study mysterious phenomena called dark matter and dark energy, which collectively make up about 95% of the universe. That's right all the material that we see and know so well is only 5% of the universe we inhabit.

Dark matter doesn't emit or absorb light; dark energy is thought to be responsible for the expansion of the universe. The formation of galaxy clusters like El Gordo depends on the amounts of dark matter and dark energy, so it may hold clues to these phenomena.

El Gordo is made up of two separate galaxy subclusters that are colliding at several million kilometers per hour, the European Southern Observatory said.

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soundoff (351 Responses)
  1. Vaynet Sohbet

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    August 29, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
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    April 8, 2012 at 5:24 am |
  3. Beefburger

    When interviewd "El Gordo" admitted to feeling inadequate about his body image and had considered suicide.

    DAMN YOU BULLIES!

    January 21, 2012 at 2:29 am |
  4. Kaosoftsoc

    I truley enjoy seeing the discussion between andrews, and Artanis, and after reading a fair amount of the discussion. I must say it is refreshing to see two intelligent people discuss their disagreements in a fairly educated, and repsectful way, even though there is a little mudslinging going on. At any rate I am not a college grad or anything, but I would like to think that the big bang theroy is fairly real. I mean how else would it have happened. Sure the whole devine theory comes to mind, cause at some point faith has to play a part as well. I mean when we create something from nothing we have faith that it will work, hence the faith part. However to say that it is one or the other is just not feasible in my mind. I think that it took a combination of both evolution, and faith.

    Thanks.

    January 11, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
  5. I = rubber, U = glue

    @ Andrew

    Keep it up man. I appreciate someone who can speak well on subjects. Although i can see that it is frustrating, and I am glad that you don't just give up and call them morons.

    One comment is that speaking so strongly of the Big Bang as the origin of the universe can sway many people from reading any further on your comments. There is still a lot of uncertainty on this and one must have a decent amount of background in physics to really understand the reasoning behind this theory. Therefore most ignorant people just say that it is too wild of a theory and insert God or whatever. Personally, I have a hard time with it, but the argument "What came before the Big Bang. Oh, you don't know? Well then you're theory is wrong." is one of the most frustrating ones.

    On the other hand, I don't understand people who argue against evolution. To me, it should not take much background to understand the foundation of evolution and to see how solid it is. I guess that is just willful ignorance. Claiming there is not enough proof, when there is more proof for evolution than any other theory.

    January 11, 2012 at 9:12 am |
  6. H. B.

    To read the responses here, it makes me wonder if there is any point, any value at ALL, for scientists to try to share their knowledge and discoveries with the general public.

    The public is too eager to avoid learning, but are fully capable of resenting – even hating – those who love to learn.

    I've read – and loved – the things written by Isaac Asimov, "The Great Explainer," who helped me understand scientific concepts, and the function of science, itself, more than I'd ever DREAMED I could. I'll revere him forever for that gift. There have grown up many magazines and other literature that are attempting to teach science, too, in a way that the lay reader can grasp. Most of them have betrayed that goal utterly by embracing anything with a "Gee-Whiz" attribute – and have descended into purveyors of "pseudo-science," which has no touchstones with the real thing.

    Helping the public to learn and accept nonrealities, myths, rumors, quackery, etc. has taken these media from worthy successors to Asimov's admirable efforts and turned them inside out to promote the unreal, solely because it is spectacular and people LOVE it. True or otherwise. It is the spectacular that sells copy.

    Science doesn't pander to the spectacular. Nor does it need to, since they keep finding things that are spectacular enough in their own right. Trouble is, making it possible for non-scientists to grasp gets harder all the time, as our populations become more ignorant-and-proud, and the knowledge acquired requires more intellectual effort to understand. Things like these photos from Hubble ARE spectacular in their own right. They don't NEED mummery or pseudo-science to grasp, either, but people keep insisting on applying those things to something forthright, real and genuinely awesome.

    It means most of humanity is not WORTHY of scientists' desire to share their knowledge.

    And it makes me sick that most people can be so shallow.

    January 10, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
    • Artanis

      My word someone who actually makes sense. I wholeheartedly agree. What has happened to those like Asimov? Sensationalism is not what science is about!

      January 10, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
      • Andrew

        Says the person who denies that the CMB is robust evidence for the big bang, or seems to believe that the CMB represents a 'background temperature of the universe' without seeming to show any understanding for how a blackbody curve comes about. Seriously, how does the universe have a 'background temperature' without having ever been at thermal equilibrium first? How do you generate a blackbody without thermal equilibrium? Since the big bang requires the universe had been at thermal equilibrium during recombination and decoupling, where, in your non-big bang model, do you generate a similar blackbody curve?

        Talk about Asimov all you like, but I've got a feeling you've never taken university level physics courses, and are just as equally unable to comment on the big bang as any laymen watching Gray's anatomy can comment on neurosurgery.

        January 10, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
      • Artanis

        Insulting my intelligence yet again Andrew? Yes, I do deny the Big Bang Theory. I happen to believe space is at equilibrium now, and several cosmologies can show a blackbody without recombination and decoupling. I grant, I am still in university, but yes, I have taken physics courses. I would kindly ask you save the mudslinging for politics and stick to the actual debate.

        January 10, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
      • Andrew

        No I am insulting your knowledge of physics, not your intelligence. There is a difference. You could, perhaps, be a world renowned biology PhD coming up with new innovative ways to rethink the way we do PCR, or a chemist who creates a polymer that revolutionizes the synthetic world. You could be quite intelligent, but you are blindingly ignorant about physics.

        For example "I believe space is at equilibrium" is a meaningless statment to someone moderatly well educated in physics. "Equilibrium" has no meaning, because you're not saying what is in equilibrium. For example, when photons and matter was in thermal equilibrium was a very different time from when W and Z bosons were in thermal equilibrium.

        To that end, really saying the universe is in thermal equilibrium is equally ignorant of what 'thermal equilibrium' even means. By very nature of there being very hot pockets of the universe (Stars, galaxies, clusters) or very cool pockets of the universe (In between filaments) the universe is clearly not in thermal equilibrium by ANY meaning so far as physicists use it. Further, there is, as I mentioned, no method of heat conduction, so it seems absurd to treat the universe as a blackbody because it clearly isn't a blackbody, it has a low optical depth.

        This stands to anyone who has studied radiative transfer in space, and should be intuitive enough to anyone with a statistical mechanics background. I'm saying you're ignorant of physics simply because if you have had those classes, you wouldn't be saying things that are so fundamentally wrong.

        You cannot have no method of heat conduction, you cannot have clearly major differences in temperature, and still treat the universe as a blackbody. You say 'there are other cosmologies' but you haven't cited a single model, or named a single cosmologist who has proposed such an idea. You aren't acting like someone who has taken a physics class, you're acting like a liberal arts student who has heard a couple concepts but hasn't actually done the work to understand the concepts.

        Again, not saying you're not smart, you could be, but physics is clearly not your strong suit, and if you intend to major in it, you might be much more wise to withhold comment on the big bang till you've taken a number of cosmology courses to properly argue the issue than simply say things that make no sense.

        I really can't make it any plainer than that. You are denying a theory while showing little understanding for the underlying physics. You have said 'there are other explanations' without offering a single citation, and considering I've spent the time to study the subject, and know what the current experiments and explanations are, it's a bit annoying to read "I believe the universe is in equilibrium" pretending that it somehow counters anything I said.

        Seriously, if you want to say the universe is in thermal equilibrium, you need to make it very clear why there are stars, and what the hell is functioning to conduct heat in the universe considering it's a vacuum. If you've taken statistical mechanics, you should understand why you can't treat the universe as a blackbody, and if you haven't, you can say "well... some cosmologies allow it" all you like but that isn't a citation, nor does that mesh with basic thermal physics!

        You can be the worlds best biologist, chemist, author, mechanical engineer, etc etc, but still a sh-tty physicist.

        January 11, 2012 at 12:34 am |
      • Artanis

        I grant you the distinction, and my lack of clarity. I thought it fairly obvious of what I was referring, but I clearly did not think the statement through. I was referring to the temperature of space, and I understand what I am saying, but you are just poking at me now.

        You know full well that I mean the background temperature of space has been shown to have a near consistent temperature of approximately 2.7K. And as I mentioned, there is a viable method of heat conduction, as I am not referring to the temperature of the vacuum but to that of interstellar dust as shown in the experiments conducted by Adams, Dunham, and McKellar. No, the universe is not a blackbody, and I am not treating it as such.

        You are ignoring the points I have made, and are instead trying to create an argument, whilst insulting me, about the language I have used in my points, which I thought you would understand but clearly you require a much more detailed and precise approach, rather than generalization. This is not the place for a debate, as I have said.

        I have cited cosmologists, and cosmologies, and you have ignored them as of yet. I grant you, I have yet to complete university, and I am not qualified to be arguing a one sided debate seeing as you have not looked at any content I have said, but only my choice of words. I never once said "I believe the universe is in equilibrium", don't misquote me to make yourself feel better.

        The universe is NOT a vacuum, and while it has a very low density whoever told you it was a true vacuum lied. Don't pick at it now and reference stellar bodies, I am talking about the density of interstellar space, and I have made this point before. Go back and read if you forgot.

        I am not treating the universe as a black body, and if you would read the papers I have cited, you would understand what I am attempting to show you. I have referenced several now, granted not a full and proper citation, but I have referenced them, and you have yet to provide a standard yourself for me to match if what I have done is insufficient. I can write up a bibliography if you want, but this is not the place for it, as I have said.

        What exactly have you even said? I remember you making ridiculous claims about the CMB, I made points to counter in a likely misguided attempt to show you that the Big Bang Theory isn't all powerful and it has problems, and then you insulting me while making no clear point to counter. Asking me to explain stars is not a point, seeing as the Big Bang Theory does not explain them and I have yet to chose a cosmology to defend.

        You want citations? I can point you to many. But as I have said, this is no place for a bibliography. I do not understand why those I have cited so far are inadmissible to you. You either require a great deal of precise wording, or this theory has been so indoctrinated into you that you cannot accept there are other MORE VIABLE cosmologies to base your worldview on. Go read the scientific works of Adams, Dunham, Williams, Hartnett, Humphreys, Gentry, Sarfati, McKellar and Carmeli, go read about Carmeli's Cosmological Relativity, Hartnett's white hole cosmology, even go read Arp's if you want. THERE ARE BETTER COSMOLOGIES OUT THERE. Read 'Dismantling the Big Bang' for its knockdown arguments against huge holes in Big Bang theory. Read 'Starlight, Time and the New Physics' for not only its presentation of *GASP* A VIABLE COSMOLOGY besides the Big Bang as well as its laughing off the scientific stage of the Big Bang Theory in light of Cosmological Relativity. Happy yet? I can cite more! Now read them, and stop arguing from nothing, and insulting me based on word choice. Insults do not win you debates, the evidence you present does, and you have yet cited precious little evidence. Yes, COBE and WMAP and Boomerang saw the CMB, I don't dispute that. What I dispute is that the CMB is caused by recombination and decoupling within the Big Bang Theory.

        I really don't know why I am arguing with you when you make no points, ignore mine, and insult me based upon my wording alone. If you are not going to even look at the research I'm citing and simply go on and on for paragraphs about how I'm 'bad at physics' because I thought my wording was obvious as to what I referred then why should I bother fighting someone as horribly blinded to changes in science as you. Science makes progress, old theories die out. We don't have an Earth centered solar system, everything is not made of water, air, fire, and earth, and spontaneous generation has long been killed off. Stop clinging to a theory no longer viable scientifically and realize there are better cosmologies to pursue research in.

        January 11, 2012 at 2:00 am |
      • Andrew

        You said interstellar dust was at equilibrium with its surroundings, that is not equivalent to 'there is a mechanism for heat conduction'. Diffuse interstellar dust does not lend itself very well to allowing objects to cool, when it comes in contact with a larger object, say, a star, it doesn't really go anywhere. I should point out I read and responded to this before I read and responded to your other statements.

        You actually never did cite a competing cosmology, unless you want to consider Humphrey as having provided one but that's almost as bad as citing Gentry. Almost.

        All I really need to say about the CMB to be in line with the vast majority of comologists in the world is fairly simple.
        Step 1)
        Einstein came up with General Relativity which has received support from observations of gravitational lensing to relativistic corrections to accurately explaining the precession of mercury's orbit etc etc.

        Step 2)
        Friedmann and Lemaitre independently solved Einstein's field equations to show that the universe is either expanding, contracting, or an unstable steady state.

        Step 3)
        Hubble shows the universe is expanding in 1929, leading reason to possibly support the Lemaitre's 'the universe is expanding and was at some point smaller' model, which came to be known as 'the big bang cosmological model'.

        Step 4)
        Fred Hoyle didn't much like Lemaitre's model and so tried to argue his steady state cosmology was a better explanation of the universe.

        Step 5)
        Various physicists, like Gamow, reasoned that if the universe was a lot smaller at some point, it must have been a lot hotter. If it was a lot hotter, there must have been a point where matter was fully ionized, and would cease to be ionized as the universe cools. The light released from when the universe went transparent would continue on forever because it is now too low energy to ionize matter. We should then see this signature.

        Step 6)
        Wilson and Penzias found a persistent microwave background singature on their antenna that existed in any season, in any condition, and could not be accounted for, eventually called the 'Cosmic Microwave Background', identified as the signature from the expectations of the CMB.

        Step 7)
        Physicists like Wilkinson (recognise the name? The W in WMAP named for him) predicted small scale anistrophies in the CMB and they even started looking as soon as 1967 ("Isotropy and hmogeneity of the Universe from measurements of the cosmic microwave background", my VPN isn't on as I mentioned so I can't actually find any earlier citations) expected by small scale density variations in the Recombination and Decoupling epoch which gave rise to the larger scale structure of the universe.

        Step 8)
        Lots of measurements made, shown CMB seems to be a blackbody, maybe anistrophies exist, blah blah blah. Mostly unimportant ground based measurements that showed little definitive but lots of little pieces of evidence making us expect to find some structure.

        Step 9)
        Confirmed anisotropies in the CMB and confirmed, to remarkable precision, the blackbody spectrum with the launch of the COBE satellite.

        Step 10)
        WMAP (my favourite) which gave incredibly tight agreement with the 6 parameter ΛCDM cosmological model, based on the friedmann-lemaitre-robertson-walker metric which, again, was first formulated wayyyyy back in the early 1920s when you had those scientists working on Einstein's field equations and doing some work with equations of state.

        That is (in a nutshell) the formation and history of why we believe the big bang happened, and what the evidence was for it. Scientists weren't initially warm to the idea, it's not like physicists wanted to believe the big bang over Hoyle, when it was first proposed Einstein himself HATED the idea. But that's what the evidence pointed to.

        So I invite you to give me another cosmological model. Is it based also on the FLRW metric? Cause that suggests a big bang cosmology. If not, then what actual physics is it based on? You can say 'well, the FLRW metric is an unproven assumption!' but then what is your proven assumption? What better supports the evidence, and what other predictions can be made?

        What you've given me is a bunch of creationists who make me feel like I'm a victim of a Gish Gallop, you have said the equivilent of 'well maybe it fails to explain it, or maybe the predictions aren't accurate enough, and these 'scientists' (see: Young Earth Creationists) have refuted the claims' without actually providing a coherent cosmology.

        Now, as you've said, you're still in university and it doesn't sound like you're beyond second year, but that should make you much more skeptical of people claiming 'the physics is all wrong' than siding with the creationists because if you're going to go up against the entire physics community, and you're not as well educated as, say, João Magueijo (Who I consider a crackpot, but a very well educated crackpot who presents his ideas eloquently), then you're in a VERY bad position to argue the big bang is wrong.

        You don't take the less academically supported position unless you are highly educated in the area, otherwise you are much more likely to be swayed by bad arguments. If you're highly educated, then you can make the arguments and observations yourself, but otherwise, it's again saying to a neurosurgeon how to do brain surgery after watching a TV show. It just doesn't work.

        January 11, 2012 at 3:44 am |
      • Artanis

        Yes, I did know the general history of the Big Bang Theory, and it certainly won out over the Steady State Theory. I did tell you that I had yet to choose an alternate cosmology to defend, but the majority are based upon the FLRW metric as far as I am aware. While it is an assumption, you must always start with an assumption and then find evidence to prove that assumption. I am still unaware of one better than the Big Bang Theory, but other FLRW cosmologies claimed to have solved problems that the Big Bang has, and this was my entire point from the beginning.

        The Big Bang is not an 'absolute' until it can go from the assumption of singularity to the present universe. There are many steps it seems to skip unless I missed some major discoveries, and if I have then please point me to such a one. While you are right, the creationists did write many of the papers I cited, and I probably should have checked their credentials, but the papers in question being in peer reviewed journals has always been good enough with everything else I've done.

        You give sound advice, I thank you. I did say I was not qualified for this, and my intent was not to topple the scientific community. I was merely attempting to show that the Big Bang is not the end all absolute that you claimed it was. I accept scientists word all the time in other areas. If they say there are better things than the Big Bang, there must be some scientific truth to it I think to myself. I don't question Newton or Pasteur or Wegener, not having done the observations for their theories myself. That doesn't apply here I realize, but as it was merely to show the Big Bang has problems that other cosmologies claim to solve, not present one as its replacement. I will question alternatives more vigorously in the future.

        January 11, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
      • Andrew

        As far as the FLRW metric goes, there's only a single solution of it that allows a non-big bang cosmology, and that was Hoyle's steady state with Einstein's cosmological constant (which we have now reincluded with a different sign) that allowed for continuous matter generation to compensate for the expanding universe.

        Now, the little issue with that is it is an unstable solution, unless you happen to strike the exact equilibrium, you would expect the system to evolve either "universe gets smaller" or "universe gets bigger". As the data showed as far back as Hubble, the 'steady state' was not the most necessarily valid of theories. It also wouldn't explain the existence of the CMB, which seems an odd feature in a non-big bang cosmology. Even if it can be explained away, it's necessary for the big bang, not necessary for any other theory. Then you include the 3 sigma neutrino background (Again I know 3 sigma isn't great but when you're talking about neutrinos that low energy, we're lucky to see even that)

        Again if you want to actually see how the metric can be built, that textbook I recommended is a great place to start.

        Anything in science can be invalidated, that includes the big bang, but it has stood up to some rather remarkable scrutiny, cause as I mentioned, for a good 30 years after it was first proposed, and even a good number of years after 1965, physicists were trying to show it to be false, but it explained data well.

        For example, I alluded to this earlier, there's the mass ratio of hydrogen to helium. There's a surprisingly lot of helium but lack of higher elements which seems difficult to explain if the universe didn't have a hot dense initial state. Right now the only way we see helium formed is in fusion in stars, but that also creates a large amount of higher elements too. The longer stars are around to fuse elements, the higher large elements you have. But we have a universe with a TON of helium, and very very little smaller elements.

        This is very consistent with the picture created with what you'd expect from a hot initial state, consider a universe (during nucleosynthesis) where the average energy density was high enough such that protons and neutrons were in equilibrium with each other, when everything was so hot these particles would be forming and annihilating constantly.

        Then, as the universe expands, it cools to where proton and neutron synthesis no longer occurs. Free neutrons actually happen to decay, so at this time a neutron would either have to form a stable nucleus, or decay into a proton and electron with a free neutrino. But at the time that the universe cooled for neutrons to no longer be able to form, it was still too hot for neutrons to form deuterium with protons, because that happens at a lower temperature than neutron formation. So as the universe expanded and cooled, you were having a drop of neutron number as free neutrons decayed. (Which explains why not all of the hydrogen was immediately converted into deuterium)

        (You then have an additional problem as photons no longer created electron-positron pairs, so as these annihilate and produce more photons, you still have it too hot for deuterium formation, meaning even more neutrons decayed into protons and electrons)

        Then finally, when the universe is about a couple minutes old, the temperature is finally low enough for deuterium to form when the fraction of neutrons has dropped considerably, to only about 12% the number of protons.

        Deuterium forms and with whatever free neutrons are left quickly forms helium 4 during the rapid cooling of the universe. But without any heavier stable mass 5 and 8 elements (Two helium atoms together isn't stable, nor are a helium atom and a proton or neutron), and with the temperature of the universe dropping so quickly that heavier elements than that don't have time or likelyhood to form, you get only helium, at about 24% mass ratio to hydrogen (or specifically double the mass of the neutrons, because the helium atom has 2 protons and 2 neutrons)

        Incidentally, these neuclear reactions form a rather easy to model plot, for a given mass ratio of helium to hydrogen you have an expected mass ratio of deuterium to hydrogen, as well as lithium to hydrogen, with almost no elements higher than beryllium.

        When we look at the actual mass ratios, they all match the predictions, you don't get a wildly unexpected amount of lithium for example. You can even look at really old galaxies billions of lightyears away and see the same things. That's a VERY hard thing for a non-big bang cosmology to explain.

        That's not to say it's 'absolute', but the data works so well for the big bang cosmological model, it is well explained from the standpoint of general relativity, and has had some very powerful evidence to confirm the theory.

        The biggest problem citing creationists is that they operate from a fundamentally unscientific standpoint. They have the conclusion first, and tailor the evidence to match it. People often accuse physicists of this but it seems strange, as though somehow physicists wanted to believe the big bang when clearly looking at the history of the theory it is plain to see that no, no they didn't. Physicists had to be beaten into accepting the theory by evidence, there is no reason they would have preferred to take it over Hoyle's theory, for example.

        But creationists operate differently, to them, the conclusion 'god did this 6,000 years ago' is already assumed first and foremost, so that any contradictory data simply isn't accepted. That's why the 'solution to the starlight problem' by "Heartnett" (Still not sure if it's actually him writing) was so very funny, because it is blatantly manipulating numbers to fit the idea he had without any care for an actual development of the physics. "I'll define this as a rate, because I can".

        There are problems with the big bang, rather major problems, but they all mostly apply to the scope within the Grand Unification Epoch, ESPECIALLY within the Planck epoch. You can talk to hundreds of cosmologists and they'll all say "yeah we don't really have any idea what was going on in the Planck epoch, string theorists like to say they do, but they really don't"

        The model itself though, "the universe was at a hot dense state at some point in the past" has stood the test of time with very little credible alternatives provided. You might be able to find a single paper or two, but as I said, you'd be arguing with at this point the full weight of the cosmological community, and that's a tall order for anyone to do unless they are very very well versed in the subject. They theory might be shown to be flawed, but it seems highly unlikely.

        January 11, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
    • Bilbo Boomerbottom

      I too am a big fan of Isaac Asimov,and I enjoyed your intelligent post.If you have not yet read any of Carl Sagan's works,I highly recommend him to you! You will find him dovetailing nicely with Asimov's science essays.

      January 19, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • Beefburger

      Let the technocracy reign! We mere plebians should bow in awe of your grand intellect!

      But you're still not gonna get laid GEEK.

      January 21, 2012 at 2:33 am |
      • Les

        Einstein was notorious for the large number of mistresses he had. Most women would rather be with a man that is intelligent than one who has dumb written across their foreheads and acts like a dog in rut..

        January 21, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
  7. EJS

    A galaxy was discovered that in all probability no longer exists or looks nothing like we currently observe. We will hopefully learn how the universe was created and what keeps everything together (e.g., dark matter). This will allow us to create more gadgets, more intense sci-fi movies/games; all the while, people can't find work, are living off of government assistance, can't afford to go to the doctors, and the governments of the world teeter on economic collapse. I'm finding it a challenge to get excited about the glue holding the galaxies together, when the glue holding our society together is no longer working.

    At least the astronomers and physicists are getting a good salary searching for the holy grail of science.

    Good luck searching, but don’t be surprised when your funding is cut off (about the same time our government can no longer get a loan to pay your salaries).

    January 10, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
    • Boatnmaniac

      "In a society that has abolished every kind of adventure the only adventure that remains is to abolish the society." – 1968 graffiti, author unknown

      “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” – Albert Einstein

      There is no doubt that these are difficult times for many people, for our country and for the world and the issues of today need to be addressed. But if in the process we cease to imagine and explore and dream we will have no goals and vision that will drive us toward success in the future. The world is big enough to accommodate both the doers and the dreamers and we need both to survive as a race. Don't underestimate the value of both.

      January 10, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
  8. Andrew

    I invite you to provide a coherent consistent epistemology that allows for 'knowledge' and yet would prevent science from 'knowing anything'. You'd be the first philosopher I've read who can successfully do so, and while you may somehow believe I'm a poor student of philosophy (mostly because I loath the subject as the discussions are absurd and consist of pure intellectual mast-rbation), I'm not without having read quite a number of different philosopher's opinions on epistemology.

    I fail to see you as anything other than a lame Pyrrhonian who can apply the skeptical hypothesis to anything. I understand the limits of my epistemology, but at least I have one.

    January 10, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  9. nomorespecialinterestBS

    As apposed to you knowing something???

    January 10, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  10. The R.O.T.P.

    guess what, telescope problems... hardy har har..

    January 10, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  11. clearfog

    Monad aka Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz is trolling.

    January 10, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  12. rsjacksonus

    A fat galaxy, eh? How bad is it when a galaxy is fat! I know America has gotten fatter but now a whole galaxy. Maybe there's a Jenny Craig galaxy out there but the fat galaxy is too fat to get to it.

    January 10, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  13. Andrew

    You could take the skeptical hypothesis and apply it to anything. Feel free to say "we know nothing", in fact we don't know that the only way to save the world is for you to run out into the street naked singing "we are the champions". It could be that magic is real, and that's the only way to save us all. Who knows? If we throw out induction, if we throw out basic a-sumptions of 'the universe is consistent', it's possible, right?

    You can say just about anything is possible and we don't truly 'know' anything. You can say 'we don't know we're not a brain in a vat'. I'm just waiting for an answer of 'why should we care?' Unless, of course, you really will go out singing naked to save planet earth. You willing to put your money where your mediocre skeptical epistemology is?

    January 10, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  14. Andrew

    Which you are telling us thanks to an invention created from a knowledge of classical mechanics and quantum mechanics, over a network (the world wide web) whose first real incarnate was started at CERN when they invented HTTP to collect data from LEP.

    Yep, what good has science ever done?

    January 10, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
    • Andrew

      No, you were simply saying science knows nothing because you stick to a strange and convoluted epistemology where 'knowledge' seems to have a somewhat arbitrary definition.

      If we a-sume that the universe is consistent and that it exists, then science knows some basic laws of the universe, such as Maxwell's equations, and the proof is the apparatus you are currently using. Now, if you wish to throw out all basic a-sumptions, then you're left with a somewhat absurd epistemology. "I don't believe the universe exists, nor do I believe the sun will rise tomorrow" are rather shi–y positions to take philosophically speaking. They could be true, but they yield no further discussion, so why bother talking about them? Who cares if we're all brains in a vat if you, by very design of the scenario, cannot show that to be true, and cannot effect change because of it?

      What good is saying 'science knows nothing' if you define the limit of knowledge such that NOTHING can be known?

      "Science cannot shoot pink invisible elephants in the a-s because pink invisible elephants have no a-ses", you're setting up a pointless tautology.

      January 10, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  15. God Jr.

    I refute all of you in the name of Carl Sagan!

    January 10, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
    • jay

      most if not all of that is gone.. were seeing a 7 billion year old picture..

      January 10, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
  16. Ray

    Read something other than your man-made fairy tales and religious imaginings.

    January 10, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • Mark

      Perhaps you might want to broaden your outlook. Haven't we determined mathematically that the universe is much more expansive than just these four dimensions that we are able to perceive? The spirit world could be as close as the width of a proton away and we would never know it. Moreover scripture–real scripture–is a record of direct revelation, and revelation continues to this day. But God is selective as to who will receive it, and we are not in a position to demand it. Not every religious person is unread.

      January 10, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • Andrew

      I already make the remarkably tall a-sumptions that the universe exists and is internally consistent. I further a-sume my senses are in some way sometimes accurate. These are unjustifiable. So do you have a reason why I should tack on the further 'there exist dimensions beyond the 4 we currently have' or 'god exists' ones?

      Better question... what the hell is your definition of a 'dimension' anyway? How does one mathematically model the 'spirit world'? The definition that physicists use for a dimension seems very different from yours. Would you suggest creating a 5-vector? What would it represent?

      January 10, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • jay

      Andrew.. "the universe exists and is internally consistent".. um no its not.. its not consitent, like at all.. sorry bub.. there are places where time doesnt exist or reverses or stands still. that we know.. and i wouldnt call that consistent

      January 10, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • Andrew

      ... There are places where time doesn't exist, stays still, reverses? What the hell are you talking about? That's like saying "there are places space doesn't exist, stays still, reverses". Time is a dimension, perpendicular to space but still a dimension. It doesn't make sense to say a dimension 'stays still' or 'reverses', and I can't think of any place that only a time dimension vanishes, though you could argue that inside the event horizon of a black hole you have a singularity.

      Seriously though, what the hell are you talking about? What does it mean for a dimension to 'stay still' or 'reverse'? I think you're mangling the concepts of simultaneity in relativity quite badly. You CAN say that "the future for one object is the past for another object travelling at a different relative velocity" but we can only know that because of special relativity which is a rather consistent theory explaining space-time (Omitting gravity, which is covered under GR)

      Our entire understanding of space and time comes from remarkably consistent rules. I think you're treating my use of the word 'consistent' to mean 'ubiquitous'. That's not what I said. Newton's laws are consistent, but only in the 'low-speed low mass' case, but that means the universe is in some way consistent, even if the laws don't apply ubiquitously.

      What "The universe is consistent" implies is induction, not universal laws that cannot break down, say, in the presence of a black hole, where GR and QM disagree quite strongly.

      January 10, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
  17. RLONG

    I'll just have to take your word for it. I can produce an almost replica of this "Fat Galaxy" with my photoshop elements that looks good on a computer screen. Can't you find something scary: space craft the size of the US, huge asteroid heading our way, a big ol', giant eyeball, or something??

    January 10, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
  18. Ray

    Why is it that whenever a decent article on science comes out the religious zealots get their panties in a bunch and fill up comments? The vast majority of thinkers in the world KNOW the Koran, Bible, etc.. are fairy tales written by men. It's ok to believe in Santa and/or the Tooth Fairy when you're 10, but to do so as an adult is just creepy and anti-intellectual.

    January 10, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • joe

      You go Ray...I'm surprised they haven't turned it in to an anti-American hate fest!

      January 10, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • rkarro

      Ray, I actually agree with you, but arguing with these people is pointless. They believe what they believe and generally aren't intelligent enough to want to question it. I mean that even if you think about it even if the bible was written by god men have had their greedy, selfish, and power-hungry paws on it for the last 2000+ years. There is no way it will say anything other than what the last power hungry monster who revised it wants it to say. Yet these people will not even admit that men may have changed what it originally said and arguing with them will not help. I would just smile at them, and be happy that you are not them.

      January 10, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
      • Artanis

        Actually, if nothing else the Tanakh is the original text as it was written, by God or not. The official process of copying the text is done painstakingly, character by character (not even simple words like 'the' are copied at once), over the course of an entire year for ONE copy. If you get a single letter wrong, the entire scroll is destroyed and you start over. Even if it was the last word in the book. Back to the beginning, start over. So I doubt any change to it has been made. Anything else, there is some room to question. While I'm not Jewish, God or not Tanakh is the original 5000 year old text.

        January 10, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
    • clearfog

      Leibniz's best known contribution to metaphysics is his theory of monads, as exposited in Monadologie. According to Leibniz, monads are elementary particles with blurred perception of each other, this theory can be viewed as early version of Many-Minds Quantum Mechanics. Monad is trolling. Don't feed the trolls.

      January 10, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
  19. mike

    I believe that everything that goes into a black hole shoots out the end and forms new galaxies.

    January 10, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
  20. clearfog

    I've been out of the loop for some time. Did they stop teaching science in school?

    January 10, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • Andrew

      Only in the United States.

      January 10, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
      • Artanis

        Did the United States ever really have one in the first place?

        January 10, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
  21. Smokey Mokey

    Holy mokey smokey dokey flokey bokeys.

    January 10, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
  22. Pickerel

    All I know is that really smart people never state anything as fact that they can't be a 100% sure of. They always add that this is what we think, but we might be wrong. It is a sure sign of stupidity when people talk about big bang, dark matter or worm holes as they were absolutes. The minute I hear somebody do that I lose interest. He is just another fool.

    January 10, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • There. Are. No. Gods

      Aren't you doing the exact same thing by identifying a person as a "fool" based on one principal of yours? To bad that your criteria for being a "smart person" only applies to others and not your self, which is who you should probably be more inclined to judge.

      January 10, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • Pickerel

      First step to knowledge is to acknowledge what you don't know. You can't find out the truth as long as you think you already have it.

      January 10, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
    • Andrew

      The big bang is fairly 'absolute', denying it is a lot like denying evolution or denying atoms. The theory first gained some traction in 1929 when Hubble's Law was first demonstrated, lending credence to the 'expanding universe' solution of Einstein's field equations. But to be fair, we weren't really sure it was real until 1965 when Wilson and Penzias discovered the CMB on their Bell Labs horn antenna. They first thought it was bird poop till they discovered how persistent the excess background was.

      But even then you could have argued 'well, maybe the background isn't really the CMB, after all we can't see any of the features of it'. However with the CMB found, it was possible for scientists like Peebles or Zeldovich to come up with models of expected anistrophies in the CMB, little fluctuations that would have come from slight density variations in the early universe. They created some models and predictions that were first tested in around 1990 when the COBE satellite was first launched to show the CMB followed a just about perfect blackbody curve with tiny microkelvin scale anistrophies consistent with theoretical predictions.

      Following the COBE, we recently had the WMAP, which confirmed to rather extreme precision a lot more detailed models, and we'll soon have the Planck satellite which is expected to do the same. Yes, it's POSSIBLE that the theory is flawed, but the data conforms to predictions so damn well that denying it is kinda silly. "It COULD be wrong" is a very poor reason to suggest it is wrong when the evidence is so strong.

      Any cosmologist is aware anything could be shown wrong, but they sure as hell don't expect it when the data is so powerful. It'd be like suddenly dropping an object and watching it rocket to space. It's possible, but we don't expect to observe it.

      January 10, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
      • Pickerel

        Thanks Andrew, but how does this prove the big bang? As far as I understand you are talking about microwave-like radiation between the stars. It could have reasons other than an expanding universe.....

        January 10, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
      • Andrew

        Ah, sorry, kinda forgot to actually mention that. The "Cosmic Microwave Background" is a specific prediction of the Big Bang Theory. The BBT states "The universe was smaller in the past", and if we go back far enough in time, the average energy density of the universe goes up. That means the universe was a lot lot lot hotter in the past. So hot in fact that it was opaque, where light and matter was interacting constantly, photons would be absorbed and reabsorbed before they got a chance to freely propagate, think of it as the entire universe looking like the sun. Can you look through the sun? No, because any light passing through the sun is quickly absorbed and remitted, it's not transparent like space.

        That happens at hot temperatures when matter and light are in equilibrium. Now, as the universe expands, it cools down, so there would become a point where it cools down to the point that the average photon doesn't have the energy to ionize an atom anymore. So the light can't be absorbed, and just propagates freely. This happens at the "recombination and decoupling" epoch, where neutral matter forms and the photons from the big bang freely go on and on forever and ever in every direction. Its shape corresponded to the temperature of the universe at the time, hence the importance of it being a 'blackbody'.

        Over the 13.7 billion years since, these photons have lost considerable energy from redshift and are now in the 'microwave' part of our spectrum. That's why it's called the "cosmic microwave background". Small density variations in the early universe would cause tiny tiny fluctuations in the CMB, which is what the COBE and the WMAP (and soon Planck) were looking for (and found, consistent with predictions). The COBE also showed the perfect blackbody shape, and the CMB is h-mogenous on a large scale. Features like these, isotropic (direction-less), h-mogeneaity (think milk, very well mixed, almost no real differences) on large scales are what you'd expect from the general expansion, and small scale fluctuations are what you expect from small scale density variations.

        Thus, the CMB really is our best evidence for the Big Bang, because it sets up numerous predictions and was conformed to remarkable accuracy. Now, we also have other evidence, like the mass ratio of hydrogen to helium in the universe, but explaining that requires a bit more of a technical approach (like explaining the rates that deuterium formed etc etc), but in general, the big bang is among the best supported theories we have right now.

        January 10, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
      • Artanis

        Actually there Andrew, there is plenty of scientific evidence against the first two, namely the Big Bang and Evolution (I love how you throw something real and testable with two metaphysical theories). But this isn't the place for a scientific/metaphysical debate like that. Though I have been tempted to point out that the CMB is the ONLY prediction that the Big Bang Theory made before that prediction was proven. Everything else that was discovered science then simply modified the theory to fit it, and thus behold the Big Bang Theory fits. I have no problem with that, it's just that there are gaping holes in the theory that other cosmologies fill very nicely. Especially when the only prediction it made that came true, the CMB, has been called into question by scientific studies in recent years, and there is now evidence to the fact that the CMB is not the edge of the universe red shifted, but simply the background temperature of space. The recombination and decoupling epoch at the edge of our sight across the universe has yet to be observed, and the date of that epoch keeps getting pushed back as we see farther and farther objects. There are better cosmologies out there besides the Big Bang, especially when the only prediction that it made before the discovery of said prediction has been called into serious question. Most popular, yes. Best supported? Hardly.

        January 10, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
      • Andrew

        Artanis have you ever actually studied the subject? Seriously, ever? You seem happy to talk about it but show little knowledge as to the physics being described.

        Why do I say this? Because of lines like "Especially when the only prediction it made that came true, the CMB, has been called into question by scientific studies in recent years, and there is now evidence to the fact that the CMB is not the edge of the universe red shifted, but simply the background temperature of space"

        The fact that the CMB follows a blackbody IS THE SAME AS SAYING IT IS THE BACKGROUND TEMPERATURE OF SPACE. That is part of the prediction, recombination and decoupling has that once the energy density falls below about 1MeV you have the release of the CMB. What causes all of space to have a single blackbody temperature at all? You can't say "well, it's what happens when space reaches thermal equlibrium" because that a) Clearly hasn't happened yet and b) would imply that space has a medium and that heat has a method of conduction in space. But it doesn't. It's empty space... heat doesn't conduct in a vacuum. So why do we expect space to have a blackbody in the first place?

        Answer, as it happens, is because of recombination and decoupling. If the entire universe once had a single blackbody spectrum where matter and light were interacting constantly, you'd expect that blackbody signature to still exist even after there's no method of heat conduction. You only get a blackbody at thermal equilibrium, so the next time you see a blackbody spectrum of the universe is when the universe undergoes heat death.

        Now, the anistrophies of the CMB are another prediction you seemingly glossed over, we didn't just predict the CMB would exist, we predicted small scale anistrophies, or did you not bother to notice I cited actual scientists, like Peebles and Zeldovich, who wrote papers on the subject before the COBE ever went up? You can say "scientific studies" all you like but I've read the damn cosmologist's papers, you seem reluctant to cite even an author, let alone a paper. I'm happy to cite WMAP, COBE, and Wilson and Penzias's original paper. I can, if you want, cite different specific papers from Sunyaev or Peebles, I know the work that these researchers put together. You, on the other hand, seem willing to make qualitative statements about "the CMB is just the background temperature of space" regardless of any real knowledge.

        (Oh, lets not forget, as it were, that the WMAP has also now seen a 3 sigma Cosmic Neutrino Background. We're still far away from 5 sigma support, but hey, 3 sigma is still pretty cool. Mind explaining why we'd see that without the big bang? What causes a neutrino background, because you can't say 'simply background temperature there', which if you recognized the heat conduction problem, still seems a weird thing to assume exists. But why should unjustified assumptions ever inhibit the ignorant?)

        So how's this, explain why the WMAP was able to differentiate between the surface of last scattering and the contributing factors brought about by reionization. It seems strange that if we couldn't tell that the CMB was the 'edge of the universe' that we could tell what is contributed by the reionization factor versus the surface of last scattering. In fact, I even had a professor, Mark Halpern, who was a researcher on that project. So if you want, I would be more than happy to email him to find out why whatever non-answer you provide would be stunningly wrong, because not only do I read the papers, I talk with the people who write the papers.

        Hell, the fact that you say "The recombination and decoupling epoch at the edge of our sight across the universe has yet to be observed, and the date of that epoch keeps getting pushed back as we see farther and farther objects" is absurd. You do not SEE the events, you do not see individual atoms absorb and reemit a photon, instead you see the surface of last scattering created by the event, WHICH WE DO OBSERVE. You could contest that, and you seem to say "scientific studies do", but I'd very much like you to cite those studies or even the experiments, let alone the actual journal citations.

        I get so damn annoyed when people who seem to show almost no knowledge of a subject, and people who cannot seem to cite a single relevant fact make bogus claims about a subject I genuinely enjoy. I like cosmology, but I do not like ignorant people spewing nonsense about a subject they seem to know nothing about. Put your money where your mouth is, if you want to make this a contest of citations, I'd be happy to engage because it means I get to read more journal articles, but somehow, I doubt you'll be able to provide me with anything.

        January 10, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
      • Artanis

        Andrew, there seems to be some misconceptions here. A few points.

        I have studied it, and I would kindly ask you refrain from insulting my intelligence. Did I once insult you? No need to feel overly defensive and resort to name calling. Yes, seriously, I have studied cosmology. Reluctant to cite authors? I did say this was not the place for such a debate, and thus did not feel necessary to point to sources. I would be equally happy to point you to "actual scientists" like Hartnett, Humphreys, Gentry, Sarfati, McKellar and Carmeli. The list goes on. We each might have missed several papers. It happens. I have personally talked with Humphreys and Sarfati, so I can make the same claim as you. I read papers and talk to authors. This proves what?

        Unjustified assumptions? Everything in cosmology stems from assumptions! How are you more justified than I? The assumptions are what we interpret the evidence with! You need an assumption to base a theory on, a mound of data doesn't say how the universe came to be. You make a hypothesis, and then point at evidence to prove it. You start at the beginning of the Scientific Method, not the middle.

        Yes while there was a prediction of variation within the CMB, the actual result was many magnitudes lower than predicted. Consistent with predictions you say? It's always nice to find the evidence and then make the prediction to match isn't it? As the entire Big Bang Theory has done, the evidence for it came first, and then the predictions. Spectral analysis BEFORE men like Gamow had already discovered a 2.3K-2.9K background temperature, so technically the one prediction I lent you could be rescinded. Every prediction made was not spot on, and the theory was modified to fit. I believe it was Aller who said that the Big Bang Theory could change to fit any evidence presented, so far as to say that if stars did not exist it would be easy to prove this is what we expect.

        The actual variation of the CMB was lower than was ACTUALLY predicted prior to COBE. So much so that COBE came up almost empty. ≤70 µK actually. Quite a drastic change from that predicted. Certainly much lower than what it required for the formation of galaxies. Good thing we launched WMAP, because COBE certainly wasn't designed to handle ≤70 µK well at all. But look! Variation was predicted, and found, and the theory morphed from the real predictions to the evidence and declared itself proven.

        Anisotropies? Quite. Is it close enough to say space has hit equilibrium? The CMB is pretty isotropic to me. You don't need the Big Bang to have unevenness. Quite the opposite really, considering that the CMB does not shadow properly, proving that the CMB cannot be from the Big Bang at all. If it has nothing to do with the Big Bang, than the COBE and WMAP fluctuations are irrelevant. Now after the analysis of Boomerang, we seem to have a preferred frame of reference, something inconsistent with all Big Bang cosmologies. Oh look! The Cosmological Principle fails. If not space itself, then matter distribution is bounded, the universe is finite, there is no cold dark matter and the Big Bang has yet another huge gaping hole in its theory.

        I don't happen to have the citations you request on hand, but the experiments happen to be the COBE, WMAP, and Boomerang. Same evidence, different results. You have a reionization factor, while I simply have minute variations in a nearly isotropic equilibrant temperature of space.

        Furthermore, space is NOT a perfect vacuum. Whoever told you so was grossly misinformed. There are a great deal of particles in space, known as interstellar dust. Terrible things for interstellar travel, but they make quite the nice heat transfer system. In fact, an analysis done over 1940-1941 of cyanide in interstellar dust concluded it was in thermal equilibrium with a temperature of about 2.3K, heated by black body radiation. What is this black body? I don't know, take your pick of cosmologies that do explain it, but it certainly wasn't recombination and decoupling with all the problems the Big Bang has as a reasonable cosmology.

        Granted, I am unfamiliar with a counter to the neutrino background as of writing. I could counter with my own questions though. Mind explaining stars, planets, galaxies, galactic clusters? The Big Bang Theory has no real scientific answer, only just-so stories that prove to have scientific holes in them as much as the hole they are trying to fill in the theory itself.

        I happen to get annoyed as well. I grant I am not an expert on the subject, it seems you are more versed in it than I. Perhaps you should talk about it with one of the authors I mentioned then. I am sorry that I happened to annoy you, I know I would hate to have this flipped towards me. If you really want citations I can go hunting. I didn't happen to see an actual cite in your comments, just authors, so I feel no need to actually hunt prior to posting, and respond with authors in kind. I recall some were in International Journal of Theoretical Physics, but I would have to check if you wanted lists of cites.

        January 10, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
      • Andrew

        You're actually serious about these authors? Well, considering I found them on creation wiki's, that's already a dangerous place to really consider their credentials even somewhat valid.

        But lets look only at their academic papers in the area.
        John Hartnett has a couple papers describing a spatially flat universe in the absence of dark matter. Considering that the curvature constant of the universe is to within any error 0 anyway (As per WMAP results), this hardly seems relevant.

        He also appears to have been the author of the Answers in Genesis "A new cosmology: solution to the starlight travel time problem", my absolute FAVORITE piece of absurd creationist stupidity. It's a single "article" with two "equations" each more absurd than the last. Equation 1 in the paper declares an arbitrary 'relative rate' (That he never defines where he pulled it from) written with partial derivatives (Because why stick to proper mathematical notation when partial derivatives look so much more fancy? Also he loses points for the lack of TeX formatting.)

        Then the second "equation" is the integration of his arbitrarily defined rate to come up with a number much older than the age of the universe. It's the weirdest looking integral I've ever seen, seriously it makes a mockery of what partial derivatives are supposed to represent. One would think that a guy who in another paper is able to properly write down the invariant interval would be able to do a better job writing out actual, well, math. I'm somewhat tempted to email the guy to see that if the answers in genesis "paper" attributed to him was actually written by, well, him, because from the looks of the math it's hard to believe how the same physicist could have written both.

        Then you go to Russell Humphrey (Are you honestly citing a pure list of creationists? I mean... really? Well if you're going to cite people who have never gotten an actual paper published on their absurd cosmology, then I'd refute it with Connor and Page's brilliant "Starlight and Time is the Big Bang" a 21 page refutation of the utter stupidity that is Humphry's geocentric confusing universe. We're at the center of the universe? Can you have a bigger ego? This list of 'scientists' is sounding pretty thin compared to leading cosmologists and nobel laureates like George Smoot (who apparently is kinda a d-ck.)

        Gentry... well... with his polonium halo BS how could anyone still be quoting this guy?

        Then you mention Sarfati who was a chess champion, doesn't have a single bit of physics background in his entire history! Let alone a single published paper on a relevant field.

        No idea who McKellar is, but probably another creationist, and Carmeli, well, he's probably the only person you mentioned who has an actual background in specifically cosmology but whose 2005 paper, coauthored with Hartnett, actually details specifically an expanding universe model as per the big bang! They simply state that they can't regress to the big bang cause redshift blows up to infinity, which any cosmologist knows already.

        These are your scientists? These are the people you're citing to try to argue against nobel laurets and famous minds among the world of physicists? These young earth creationists are well known to people who make a habit of arguing with creationists, but the physicists I mentioned are well known among, well, physicists who study the subject. Again, this sounds a lot like a guy watching gray's anatomy saying 'you're doing neurosurgery wrong!'

        The big bang's 'unjustified assumption' is pretty much 'that general relativity and Friedmann and Lemaitre's solution of Einstein's field equations were accurate', but that's justified simply by the evidence. Which you deny, but why should someone who believe's Gentry's polonium halos is a reasonable argument ever care about that?

        However, since you're actually arguing real numbers, the argument's got a bit more interesting. Mostly because to refute you I'd need to do more than read abstracts, and need to configure my VPN to gain access to the actual articles. I've been lazy, currently at home and haven't had to connect to a paper since the holidays, so I suppose I can do that tonight. At least for debating between the accuracy of pre-COBE predictions for fluctuations of the CMB, though pre-COBE I'd imagine it have been hard to think we needed to use more than linear perturbation theory to model the background.

        More interesting, and it leads into my second question, is why smaller scale fluctuations is more indicative of an alternative cosmology. What causes a h-mogeneous background with ridiculously small fluctuations if the universe wasn't at some point h-mogeneous itself, because again, there are clear radical differences in total density in the universe.

        Why on earth would we expect an isotropic CMB in lieu of a much more dense universe when everything was in thermal equilibrium?

        As for the boomerang experiment, I wasn't able to find a SINGLE journal article that says anything akin to the Boomerang experiment showed a 'preferred frame of reference'. The only citation I could find on that was another creationist site attributed to Heartnett in 2001 from 'creation ministries international'. For a guy who co-authored a paper detailing redshift up to the big bang in a physics journal in 2005, these 2001 and 2002 papers seem mighty strange. I wonder how much he was paid to write that Answers in Genesis article... it's the funniest thing I've ever seen.

        I never said space was a perfect vacuum, but it does have very very little potential for heat transfer, that's why whenever astronomers look at radiative transfer, they treat space as having no heat conduction, even on large timescales. You're saying "well, little bits of interstellar dust far-removed from everything is in thermal equilibrium with its surroundings" but that doesn't mean "large stars are in thermal equilibrium with their surroundings" because, as evidenced by the fact that our sun is a lot hotter than a few million kelvin, is not in thermal equilibrium with interstellar dust.

        Nor does interstellar dust provide a very good method of heat conduction for stellar objects. Black dwarfs aren't thought to exist because there hasn't been enough time for them to cool because their only real mechanism for cooling is radiative transfer, NOT having heat carried away by diffuse interstellar dust because intersteallar dust is, as the name suggests, diffuse. And interstellar, any interstellar dust close to a star tends to be trapped by the star's gravity, which makes it very very difficult to serve as a mechanism for heat conduction.

        You're just not thinking about it in very strong thermodynamic terms. There isn't enough dust moving around carrying heat away from objects for the universe to be in thermal equilibrium with itself, the fact we still have stars makes it very hard to explain the existence of a persistent blackbody spectrum. Hell, if you really thought 'hey wait, maybe the dust is giving off the blackbody', then wouldn't you expect LARGER fluctuations rather than tiny ones, because large galactic clusters would have hotter interstellar dust than smaller galactic clusters? Why would you only get one blackbody?

        Stars, planets, clusters I explain with small scale density purdibations in the early universe... a la Peebles, D-cke, Ostriker, you know, real scientists rather than young earth creationists masquerading as scientists. People who have actually been recognised among cosmologists for their contributions to, well, cosmology. I'd say the 3 sigma cosmic neutrino that WMAP found (and hopefully expanded by Planck) fits right in line with that argument.

        I majored in physics, and tended to really love cosmology. My favorite professor happened to be Halpern, who as I mentioned was on the WMAP, but overall, it's always been my astronomy professors who have captured my interest. So when people present young earth creationists as though their work stands to some of the most recognised and respected names in cosmology, yeah, you could understand why I get annoyed.

        And I didn't really cite specific papers mostly because the authors had multiple papers on each subject with multiple revisions, on often rather specific elements. I'd much rather say 'the WMAP results' when, say, the first year results were broken down into about fifteen different papers, all somehow relevant, but somewhat annoying to go through for each experiment to list exactly what feature is being cited from each paper. I mean, 'determination of cosmological parameters' is no less important than 'preliminary maps and basic results' for discussing the ΛCDM fit they were able to come up with. If I singled out some papers but you brought up complaints about 'well maybe they didn't properly remove the background caused by the galactic center', saying 'the WMAP results' implies including 'galactic signal contamination from sidelobe pickup' as well.

        These were massive projects, and even COBE had numerous papers published on their results and calibration methods. Frankly, you're more likely to look up an author and read a couple t-tles and abstracts of what they've provided, than you are to read fifty different papers on intricate aspects of cosmology, ESPECIALLY if you aren't actually majoring in cosmology... hell, even I didn't bother to read the paper on beam shape or whatever they did with the radiometer. (Though, if from what I remember Mark mentioning, as more failed, they actually got tighter results as there was less electronic noise as they went dead.) Now, if that still sounds like a lame excuse, then chop it up to me being a lazy individual who prefers others to do his work for him, I'm fine to take a hit to my ego.

        If you're really interested, I'd suggest you first start with Barbara Ryden's "Introduction to Cosmology" which would at least provide you with the basics of cosmology to where the papers are properly approachable, and Ryden's book doesn't even require that extreme math. No necessary knowledge of covariant and contravariant derivatives, and you can make it through without even knowing what a manifold is. Now, I suppose proper GR study requires that, but proper GR study requires a stronger grasp of the basics first.

        January 11, 2012 at 3:06 am |
      • Artanis

        THERE WE GO! This is what I want to see! An actual civilized argument. This still is no place for a debate, but at least you looked at the material and left the insults out.

        I suppose you are right there though, the first scientists I thought of on the subject were creationists. Huh. That shouldn't really have a bearing on what I was trying to show, but yes. Okay then. As far as I know Adams, Dunham, Williams, and McKellar were all atheists, McKellar being the scientist who determined CN in the interstellar medium had a temperature of 2.3K.

        Feel free to contact Dr. Hartnett if you wish. I might even myself. I always thought that equation looked a little strange.

        Yes... Gentry... well, people make mistakes all the time. I know that my textbook still has Haeckel's embryo drawing and that dark moth/light moth example still in it under evolution. I know it's a teaching aid and so on, but they could have just mentioned that.

        Creationist again... Sarfati is a physical chemist, but you are right again, he is neither a physicist nor a cosmologist. Hmm. Maybe I should look at credentials more and not just read the paper...

        As far as I know McKellar was an atheist. I cite him because he is where I got the idea that the interstellar medium can have a background temperature without the recombination phase of the Big Bang. Carmeli has written solo papers, unless I missed the coauthors. His 5D system of Cosmological Relativity did seem promising to solve problems that General Relativity had with gravity when I read it, and the physics as far as I know is cosmologically independent. Based upon this, I gave credit to the cosmology proposed by Hartnett than due because of the support of Carmeli.

        No, no, no.... I didn't believe in his polonium haloes, and no, I have nothing wrong with the equations as solved by Friedman and Lemaitre. The real issue I was talking about was that I was convinced the CMB had nothing to do with the Big Bang, as per my cited sources. Regardless of the validity of that statement, there still is the problem of getting from a universe filled with hydrogen and helium to one with stars, planets, and galaxies, because last I checked no one seemed to have an adequate explanation for that. The other cosmologies claimed to have solved that problem, at the same time claiming to refute the Big Bang. As I accept peer reviewed journals at face value most of the time – though perhaps I shouldn't, scientists make mistakes – I thus concluded that the Big Bang had nothing left for itself in the way of strong evidence.

        Thank you, real numbers are always better in my opinion. While yes, the variation of the CMB was predicted prior to COBE, the degree of variation that they expected was, I thought to be, a ridiculous order of magnitude greater than what was actually detected. I would be glad to debate solely about how the Big Bang never got a prediction right, only close at best, this still isn't the place for it.

        Hartnett again? I knew I heard that frame of reference argument somewhere. It was so long ago I guess I just attributed it to Boomerang itself... My mistake.

        No, you are right, the variation doesn't give credence to an alternate cosmology. Sorry for not being clear, again. What I was saying is that the magnitudes of difference between the prediction and the realty was such that I almost consider it a non-prediction. As the CMB was the only real strong evidence towards the Big Bang, with that gone and the myriad of additional problems, alternative cosmologies claimed to solve those seemed like the better scientific stand point.

        You are right, I would expect a great deal more variation if the dust was simply radiating the blackbody. I would expect something on the order of 2.3K to even 50K variation, something akin to that of the pre-COBE predictions themselves. I assumed that if pre-COBE to post-COBE changes to the Big Bang are admissible, then the variation of the dust could also have very small magnitudes.

        While my major is not physics, I do take physics courses, and I do enjoy cosmology a great deal. While I have not the training to be as well versed as you – I did say I was unqualified for this – I felt that I understood the material presented within the many papers I have read to an extent that I could show there are yet problems with the Big Bang that other cosmologies have solved. I did not realize the credentials of those papers I cited, I assumed being in peer reviewed journals was enough to qualify as a valid scientific viewpoint.

        While it does sound a tad lazy when you put it that way, I know I haven't read most of the COBE and WMAP papers myself. Yes, it is a little lazy, but with time constraints and all... But I didn't even bother to check if the papers I cited were credible! So I really have no excuse there.

        This is how debates should go. I should have been more clear in my wording from the beginning, and you shouldn't have responded solely with insults. I will certainly read Ryden's work. This is still not the place for this debate. I cede to you that I was misinformed, but if you wish to continue based upon the predictions or upon one of the other problems, such as star formation, I would be glad to.

        January 11, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
      • Andrew

        As I mentioned in my post above, creationists are always a very dangerous group to cite because they operate from a non-scientific standpoint. They assume their conclusion as their very first step.

        For example, if you were to look at the "Answers in Genesis" webpage, under their 'statment of faith' you have this gem.

        "Section 1: Priorities
        The scientific aspects of creation are important, but are secondary in importance to the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ as Sovereign, Creator, Redeemer, and Judge."

        It is directly stating that regardless of whatever the science says, they'll stick to their interpretation of their faith. As such, their conclusion is a given, they'll say whatever they can to make their case, regardless of how they butcher the science. It's not about someone being an "atheist" or not, it's about someone being a scientist or not. Physicists did not in ANY way assume the big bang theory was correct when it was first proposed... it took lots and lots of research before it ever became accepted like it is today. The creationist creed is "we know what we want to prove, so lets try to prove it by any means possible".

        Plus I'd really refrain from saying equation without quotes. It doesn't resemble anything any physicist would ever put in a paper. I first read that 'paper' a year ago and have never failed to think about it regarding creationist math.

        I'm not aware of many modern biology textbooks that use Haeckel's drawings even as a teaching aid, given by now we actually can take real pictures of embryos which teach the point much better. That said, biology is not my major (as should be evident) so I can't really comment on the quality of their textbooks. Gentry, however, is still not a person anyone should cite in a debate about cosmology. People make mistakes, but even his own research provided more plausible alternatives than 'these are polonium halos proving a young earth' that he seemed to somehow skip over in strange displays of cognitive dissonance.

        Seriously credentials are important. It's like reading a paper on neutrino oscillations in the Canadian Journal of Physics. It's a fine journal, but for things like optics, not high energy particle physics. If you ignore the credentials of the person it's very difficult to tell how much you should trust them, after all, why would you expect a chemist to be able to comment on cosmology as well as a person who has studied cosmology their whole career?

        As I mentioned Hartnett is weird, he has papers that are easy to find that support an actual big bang cosmology, but then you've got these creationist papers written in the language of nonsense that seem truly absurd. I have a very hard time understanding how the same person could write two very different things.

        I can't really say 'density variations caused stars, galaxies, and clusters' to form enough. That is the explanation, and is likely to receive lots more fine tuned data when Planck's results come in, if you look at the map they already have, they've mapped the universe to a rather stunning precision. It's beautiful.

        Also it occurred to me why the likely expected fluctuations would have been smaller than expected... because prior to COBE, inflation had been a sorta unaccepted out there idea with almost no reason to believe. Inflation however works wonders for smoothing out the universe and making fluctuations much smaller scale. Pleasantly enough, I remember attending a talk by Halpern a year before I had his class where he discussed the WMAP results providing evidence for inflation, and best of all, it's available for free online!
        (See "WMAP 5 year data: Lets Test Inflation" Available off the UBC circle archive)

        Don't know why it didn't dawn on me before, but inflation was a more or less irrelevant hypothesis, but by COBE, became kinda important, and at WMAP, was a vital thing to test... hopefully to be further confirmed by Planck. (Better still, there's also a reference in that powerpoint to the cosmic neutrino background complete with citation)

        The problems with saying 'the CMB is created by the blackbody emission of interstellar dust' is plentiful, aside from the whole 'there isn't a lot of dust, so why would we expect a giant background signal', there's the notion that with the big bang, it's easy to argue for it to be arbitrarily h-mogeneous. (See: Inflation) but without the big bang, h-mogeneaity seems a very odd thing to expect. Even if you say "well it didn't predict it", it sure does explain it well.

        No, you are right, the variation doesn't give credence to an alternate cosmology. Sorry for not being clear, again. What I was saying is that the magnitudes of difference between the prediction and the realty was such that I almost consider it a non-prediction. As the CMB was the only real strong evidence towards the Big Bang, with that gone and the myriad of additional problems, alternative cosmologies claimed to solve those seemed like the better scientific stand point.

        I suppose the reason I got so annoyed is I'm constantly bombarded with ideas of 'physicists don't have any idea what they're talking about, there's no evidence blah blah blah' and more often than not that's said by people a) not willing to learn the evidence (Which, thankfully, you don't seem to be) and b) don't even recognise that the contrary position they strike is far less supported in the first place.

        There's no cannon in physics, nothing that must be accepted as true and cannot be invalidated. But so far as the evidence dictates, the big bang theory is a very strong explanation for the data we see, with very few other cosmologies able to explain the data. From the CMB, to the hydrogen/mass ratio, to the fact that our best understandings for the age of the oldest clusters fits right in with WMAP results, it is a very difficult theory to challenge, and anyone not educated on the subject stands in a very dangerous place arguing it is false. Maybe some day it will be shown to be, but as of yet, prevailing wisdom is on the side of the current theory.

        January 11, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
  23. Stand For Truth

    6:1 [All] praise is [due] to Allah , who created the heavens and the earth and made the darkness and the light. Then those who disbelieve equate [others] with their Lord. -Translation of Qur'an

    January 10, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • Smokey Mokey

      Heat and light exist. cold and darkness do not, They are simply the lack thereof.

      January 10, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • clearfog

      OK. Now now make a verifiable prediction and construct an experiment to verify the theory.

      January 10, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • Ray

      Why don't you worship me? At least, I'm real!

      January 10, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
    • nomorespecialinterestBS

      For those of you who turn to the Bible or any other religious literature for moral guidance, and ethics I've got a few more suggestions for you;
      The Three little Pigs, thats a good one.
      Little Red Ridding Hood, although it has that X-rated part where the big bad wolf actually "eats" the grandmother (Which I didn't care for by the way)
      And last but not least... Humpty Dumpty. And all the king's horses and all the king's men, couldn't put humpty back together again. Thats because there is no humpty dumpty, and there is no god.

      (George Carlin)

      January 10, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  24. vx

    We are so sure about everything 15 billion light years away but we are not sure why one side of our moon is bumpy.

    January 10, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
    • clearfog

      We have a good idea. There was a collision between two proto moons early on.

      January 10, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
    • Gord

      I think it will turn out that they are absolutely wrong about those billions of light years. There is no way of measuring it. There are TOO MANY unknown variables that could falsify it.

      January 10, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
      • Aletheya

        Wrong, wrong and wrong. Strike three, yer out.

        January 10, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  25. dougaussie

    everything that is beyond our universe is dark matter, our universe is a bubble within that ocean of dark matter. Even if intelligent human like lifeforms existed on some distant galaxy, how would we EVER find out? I mean by the time a signal from earth.."hello, we exist" get's two feet outside our galaxy we'd all be dead and our planet probably a burned up rock.

    January 10, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
  26. 186272sec

    Again the cosmos reveals it's wonders. Finite or endless, from our prospective the universe is dynamic and always changing. That is the one true constant. Change.

    January 10, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • Uncle Owen

      And the Hubble constant. And Planck's constant. etc.

      January 10, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
      • Artanis

        The Hubble constant changes values all the time.

        January 10, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
  27. Uncle Owen

    That's either Polish or Klingon; I can never tell the difference.

    January 10, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • j0eschm0e

      gotta be klingon, choc weilki !!

      January 10, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  28. VAD

    So, almost everything around me I couldn't see because it's too far away. And even if I could see infinitely in all directions 95% of it would be imperceptible. And even if I could see it, it wouldn't react to me. And even if it could react to me, and I could see it, I would only be seeing it in the distant past and not it's present condition.

    I can live with that.

    January 10, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • Uncle Owen

      Who needs drugs when the universe is already that F'ed up, right?

      January 10, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
      • Dennis

        MEEE!

        January 10, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  29. Genoveva

    If we don't see all of it how do they know what we see is 5%? It never ceases to amaze me how they give us things as facts that nobody can know.

    January 10, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • Ricky

      It's called Math.

      January 10, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • Gord

      It's called B.S.

      January 10, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      They can tell the overall mass of the galaxy by how fast its spinning. And they can calculate how much of the mass we can see by the overall brightness of the galaxy (giving them type and number of stars). The amount we can see turns out to be about 5% it can be known and calculated

      January 10, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • Uncle Owen

      Long story really short (and massively over-simplified), is that astrophysicists can calculate how much light should be bent (lensed) around a massive object. Very distant, very large objects (like galaxy clusters) lens light far more than they should based on the calculated amount of regular matter contained within them. This extra gravity has to come from somewhere. Since scientists don't really know what it is, they call it "dark matter", the word "dark" referring as much to its elusive nature as to any physical property.

      January 10, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • jp

      Average based on particular sample? In the scheme of things, good enough for me.

      January 10, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • jimbo

      I love when people say "I don't understand it, so it can't be true." Next comes religion as a catch all to explain all those things that are hard to grasp, or are too lazy to actually research. I don't understand Eigenvalues, that doesn't mean I don't believe they exist or that someone knows what they mean.

      January 10, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
    • BD

      Do a little research into how dark energy was discovered, its actually relatively to understand how they arrived at 5% (which is a rough estimate).

      January 10, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
  30. Mightymo

    I find it incomprehensible that the universe simply continues on and on for billions of light years. My belief is that there is a border out there somewhere, a limit to our universe, as if our universe is actually the inside of a container, like an atom. That of course could mean that right now, the universe as we know it could easily be in the fingertip of a giant typing a comment to an article concerning the size of his universe.

    January 10, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • Bob

      Read the Koran...the universe is the size of a particle. It was torn apart, aka big bang.

      January 10, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
      • Andrew

        It must be so easy to write stuff like this and cite the koran when you're utterly uninterested and not required to provide evidence for your claim, huh? "Why show this to be true when I can just say something and support it with some religious text, who cares if it's nothing like how physicists describe the situation, it sounds right to my religion!"

        January 10, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • nowayjose

      But that giant is sitting in a… shall we say… universe? And that universe could be the fingertip of another giant, and so forth. So there is no way of escaping "on and on forever".

      January 10, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
  31. James

    Has anyone ever thought that General Relativtiy could be wrong?

    January 10, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • M.

      Yes, many people did. Experiments are constantly performed to test it more and more precisely. Currently, we know for sure that General Relativity is at least 99.99% correct; any better theory could improve our results by at most 0.01%

      January 10, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • palintwit

      Sarah Palin believes that General Relativity was a great American patriot who rode with Paul Revere to warn the British.

      January 10, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • Genoveva

      If general relativity turns out to be wrong, the change will be not 1%, but 100%. ALMOST EVERYTHING will be proven wrong.

      January 10, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
      • James D

        No, that isn't how it works, there is something called the Correspondence principle.

        January 10, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • Gord

      I think this dark matter thing that swallows everything is complete nonsense. There must be a force in the universe that makes the stars circle, just like when you let water out of a bath tub, or the air in a hurricane. NONE OF THESE need material in the center to create the circling around.

      January 10, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
      • Uncle Owen

        Um, you're talking about hydrodynamics and the Coriolis force, all easily explained by Newtonian physics. No need to invoke relativity to explain them. Also, there IS something in the middle of both hurricanes and tub drains (duh, air). I'd be pretty terrified of a hurricane with a complete vacuum in the middle.

        January 10, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
      • Gord

        But that air does NOT make the air circle around it, as they explain the dark matter. The air in the middle of the hurricane does not swallow anything. It just IS there. It does not attract anything, does not collapse in itself. No such nonsense.

        January 10, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
      • js

        Yes, there is. It's called The Force. And it is with you.

        January 10, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
      • Uncle Owen

        *facepalm* Hurricanes are massive weather systems based around intense low pressure, whose rotation is induced by the Coriolis force (the effect of the rotation of the Earth on air masses, or any moving physical object for that matter). For all intents and purposes, the low pressure system IS attracting air currents around a common center of low pressure (the eye). Do I have to be your meteorology tutor in addition to your physics tutor? Go get yourself some textbooks! Or at least wikipedia... sheesh...

        January 10, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
      • Gord

        If you would use your brain instead of your books, you would realize that hurricanes develop when winds coming from the opposite direction collide. No low pressure or such nonsense. Take a bathtub full of water and move one side to the right and the other to the left and you will have something like a hurricane in the middle.

        January 10, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
      • Uncle Owen

        Ugh, I've been trolled.

        January 10, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
      • Gord

        common sense hurts. and it is never as elegant as expensive books.

        January 10, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
      • Isaac

        You're super smart Gord

        January 10, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
      • EuphoriCrest

        Perhaps you're confusing dark matter with black holes?

        January 10, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
      • Les

        Black holes swallow "everything" up. They are a type of star. They emit x-rays from each pole

        Dark matter (and dark energy) doesn't swallow things. It exists in the space between things. So far as we can make of it, it isn't thought of as "harmful". We cannot take a sample because we have to see it to collect it.

        I see the discovery of a way to measure it as one of the most important discoveries that could be experienced my lifetime.

        January 10, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • j0eschm0e

      absolufely, there were other ideas until general reletivity came along and superceeded the others. something will come along and do the same eventually. I find it hard to believe that everything came from one big bang and created the entire universe full of stars that we all see at night. I believe, that "our" solar system may have gradually gained mass and the sun ignited (thus the big bang) because stars live and die as we do, but on a much lager scale of course. and then gravity from the sun coalessed the planets and they followed suit into the graviational orbits around the sun. Also as far as black holes, all they are is a dieing sun, the sun finally dies and what was once very large, collapses, but is not limitless and be a hole into nothingness, nor be a wormhole to somewhere else, good luck with that one.wormholes are fantasy. if they arent we wont know in our lifetime. what I think happens to a dead star / sun, is a left over charcoal, and eventually becomes a planet. some larger suns just explode and sends debree everywhere, thus asteroids and asteroid belts. what if jupiter was a dead sun, or one about to ignite? its pretty amazing to contemplte to say the least. someone some day will have a better theory, Im sure of it. all I can say is dont give up looking towards the stars, the human race depends on it.

      January 10, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
      • j0eschm0e

        contemplate*

        January 10, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  32. Artanis

    Actually the Theory of Cosmological Relativity, a special addition to General Relativity that is invoked when large distances are involved, completely explains nearly every "problem" we have with gravity. Dark Matter and Dark Energy, two things which we can neither explain nor detect, are entirely unnecessary to invoke under this theory, leaving the universe once again within the realm of understandability..

    January 10, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • palintwit

      You hit the nail right on the head that time there buddy-boy.

      January 10, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • Mike

      Except that it doesn't . . .

      January 10, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
      • Artanis

        What does it not?

        January 10, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • Uncle Owen

      Thank you. The invention of the terms "dark matter" and "dark energy" frustrate me to no end, especially when they are invoked by pop-science writers (like this one) to magically explain away discrepancies in existing models. Just last year, astronomers announced they had underestimated the number of red dwarfs in the universe... by TWO THIRDS. That means there are three times as many red dwarfs than previously thought. As red dwarfs are by far the most common type of star, this replaces a HUGE amount of regular matter that was previously explained away by "dark matter". Using those catch-all terms to account for something you haven't quite figured out yet is no different than invoking God.

      January 10, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
      • Artanis

        Astronomers have been invoking Dark Matter to explain away almost any problem for hundreds of years. Before we needed Dark Matter in our own solar system because Newtonian physics didn't account for the orbits of planets properly. Then we needed it for the rotation of galaxies, and then why there were galaxies at all. They really should just accept that the theory of the day can't explain everything and look for a solution, and stop spending all their time and money looking for something that isn't there.

        January 10, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
      • j0eschm0e

        World English Dictionary
        dark matter

        — n
        astronomy matter known to make up perhaps 90% of the mass of the universe, but not detectable by its absorption or emission of electromagnetic radiation

        Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
        2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
        Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
        Cite This Source
        American HeritageScience Dictionary
        dark matter
        Matter that emits little or no detectable radiation. Gravitational forces observed on many astronomical objects suggest the significant presence of such matter in the universe, accounting for approximately 23 percent of the total mass and energy of the universe. Its exact nature is not well understood, but it may be largely composed of varieties of subatomic particles that have not yet been discovered, as well as the mass of black holes and of stars too dim to observe. Also called missing mass .

        Our Living Language : What is the universe made of? We know that galaxies consist of planets, stars, and huge gas and dust clouds—all of these objects are observable by the radiation they give off, such as radio, infrared, optical, ultraviolet, x-ray, or gamma-ray radiation, and all can be observed using various kinds of telescopes. But there are reasons to suspect the existence of far more matter than this, matter that is not directly observable. Evidence for such dark matter comes from observations of certain gravitational effects. For example, astronomers have found that galaxies rotate much faster than they would be expected to rotate based solely on their observable mass—in fact, they should be flying apart. One explanation for this apparent anomaly is to assume that the galaxies have much more mass than we can see, and this invisible mass holds them together gravitationally. Various theories of the composition of this invisible dark matter have been proposed, from exotic yet-to-be discovered particles to planet-sized objects made of ordinary matter that are too small or far away to be detected by present-day instruments. But none of these theories are entirely satisfactory, and the fundamental question of what makes up most of the universe remains unanswered.
        Thus dark matter is anything out there that does not emit any energy at all that can be detected by present-day instruments. therefore, any body either large or small that cannot be detected is considered dark matter. it is not mythical, nor fantasy, it is tangable.

        January 10, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
      • j0eschm0e

        tangible* sorry my spelling is off today lol

        January 10, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
      • Artanis

        Except that Dark Matter is not there, because there is no room for it. Cosmological Relativity explains every one of those problems and a plethora of others. Dark Matter is a place holder until the real physics catches up, and it has. Dark Matter has left the solar system with General Relativity, and now the observable universe with Cosmological Relativity.

        January 10, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
  33. ethandy

    Oh...sorry. I thought this was the Chris Christie story. My bad.

    January 10, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • urmomlol

      Oh I get it cuz hes fat lol gud one!!!11!1

      January 10, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
  34. Zod

    Ah they finally discovered the origions of the loki and acient species who's generosity is unyeilding. The loki have roamed these type of galaxies for eons in search of a better power source. They've found tecolinium in the feit quadrent and are hoping they can produce a sustainable society.

    January 10, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
  35. gamoraw

    how big is the Universe? at least 7 billion light years of radius, assume we are at the center.

    January 10, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • m

      Is that the same assumption that said the world was flat? The same assumption that said the earth was the center of the universe, the sun revolved around us? We are on the outskirts of our own galaxy which is not at the center of the universe. If it is constantly expanding as most feel that it is, we will never be the center of anything except the small minds that most people have.

      January 10, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • Alpha/Omega

      The Universe is believed to be at least 156 billion light-years wide and is always expanding (to put in perspective, just 1 light-year is 5.9 trillion miles). It's age is approximately 13.7 billion years old. Compare this to our galaxy, which is around 100,000-120,000 light-years wide.

      January 10, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
      • intothemoonbeam

        I'm convinced we live in a multiverse and not just a single universe, I think science will eventually prove that there are billions of other universes out there

        January 10, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
      • Artanis

        Except that a multiverse would be impossible to prove with science, as everything detectable to science would fall within our own universe. Even if there was some 'edge' to our universe that we could pass and see something else there, it would technically STILL BE IN OUR UNIVERSE. A multiverse is metaphysically possible, but not scientifically provable.

        January 10, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • j0eschm0e

      we are in a sense at the center of as far as we can see. if we were at the edge of as far as we could see, we would most definitely be able to see that much further again, so on and so on. yes, the world is not flat, and we are not the center of the universe. Our sun is the center of our solar system, yet our solar system is on the edge of a galaxy. thankfully we are not closer to the center of said galaxy, or we would be toast.

      January 10, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
  36. Kevin Roberts

    This obesity epidemic is really far reaching and getting out of hand we even have fat galaxies now.

    January 10, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • davetharave

      Galaxies have been warned to avoid too much 7-up and video games.

      January 10, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
  37. Jack

    If these galaxies are colliding at 7 million kilometers per hour, why don't we see any actual collisions/explosions? Not only here, but in any space photos? With the unimaginably large number of galaxies. stars, planets, etc. you'd think it happened all the time. I ain't no young pup and have seen one such event – a comet hit Jupiter. That's it. What am I missing?

    January 10, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • davetharave

      There's so much space in between objects in these galaxy clusters that nothing ever actually collides.

      January 10, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • niranjan

      Common sense and eyes as powerful as hubble.

      January 10, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      There's a lot of empty space in space and in galaxies. Galaxies can 'collide' without any of their stars ever touching. They will although throw off each others gavity pretty bad.

      January 10, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • ethandy

      And there are pictures out there of spiral and bar galaxies actually in the process of colliding. Eventually, the Andromeda galaxy will be smashing into ours, the Milky Way. But it's a safe bet the earth will have been long gone before that happens. Our sun will supernova. Very messy.

      January 10, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
      • Howie

        Our sun will never become a supernova, it is much too small. At the end of its life it will cool and expand, becoming a Red Giant. The earth will be swallowed in this expansion.

        January 10, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
      • Not Quite

        Actually our sun lacks the mass to supernova. It will turn to a red giant then a white dwarf.

        January 10, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
      • Alpha/Omega

        @Howie, our Sun will eventually go supernova. It will keep expanding (will eventually become a Red Giant), and when it reaches critical mass, it will shrink a little before going supernova. This should create a black hole in the center of our solar system. No one on Earth will ever see this though because as the Sun expands, it will obviously destroy all of the closest planets.

        January 10, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
      • Jack

        That's what I'm saying though – where is the video, or even a still of a star going supernova for example? That has to be a pretty substantial photographic opportunity don't you think? Is it that there just aren't enough stars reaching the end of their lives at this time? Sure seems like with as many as there are, we'd see some.

        January 10, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
      • Lamental Jester

        The Sun will not supernova and turn into a black hole when it dies, our particular star isn't dense enough

        January 10, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • FYI

      What you are missing is that most of space is just a loose amalgamation of gas spread out over massive areas. As such entire galaxies can collide and nothing touch. This doesn't mean the gravity of the two colliding structures won't influence each other changing the position of stars and such, but you won't see stars smashing into each other and other such phenomenon on a regular basis. The sheer space involved when combined with the speed each object is moving at means the probability of a collision is practically nil, and the collisions happen over millions of years. For example, the Sun takes about 250 million years to complete a single rotation around the galactic center at a speed of around 155 miles/sec (250 km/sec).

      January 10, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
      • Jack

        That does make sense. Learn something every day!

        January 10, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • Leaf on the Wind

      Jack, what you're missing is the fact that it's a big universe, and even if two galaxies collide, we would a) have to be looking in that specific direction and b) looking at the right time to view the even, depending upon how far away it is and how long ago it happened. The Hubble telescope has actually caught at least one such event (colliding galaxies), maybe more.

      January 10, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • RRWExpat

      If the collision is visible at a distance of 7 billion light years it means that it started 7 billion years ago so, in essence, it might very well be finished and we have yet to see the evidence of it because the light and various rays being emitted by the collision have not reached us yet. Just like the light from a star tens of millions of light years from earth is visible to us now but in reality the star may have exploded when the dinosaurs were roaming the earth and no longer exists.

      January 10, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • Boatnmaniac

      Jack, Google "colliding galaxy pictures"...there's quite a few good ones on the Internet. And if you Google "supernova pictures" you'll see some great pics of supernovas, too.

      January 10, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  38. John

    I get a kick out of these "Universe" stories. Something happened six billion years ago and we're just now seeing it. Anyway, we can all rest assured we won't be traveling to the Fat Galaxy anytime soon and returning to tell about it.
    Still, it's nice to imagine, for only a second or two, that there just might be a place in the Universe without Republicans or Christian nut cases.

    January 10, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • Nick

      Really? Really? I can't even read a flippin' science article without political BS clouding it up? Take a note from the BBC, CNN. Close down the comments section.

      January 10, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
      • somedude

        I would assume that there is a battle between the forces of good and the republicans even 7 billion light years away.

        January 10, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
      • zephellin

        With intolerable comments like yours; yes, they should shut the "comments" section down.

        January 10, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • Tripp Knightly

      ... or Occupiers or liberals who think government must use its unbridled inefficiency to attack every social malady on this lonely planet.

      January 10, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • jay

      Really, You had to go there???...... Sounds desperate.

      January 10, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • lroy

      Just think. With the most powerful telescope if we can see that far away in the sky, people probably could actually see the most Eastern part of Europe...if you were high enough and there was no obstructions blocking your view.
      Black holes=talk about getting away from it all.

      January 10, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
  39. Laisee-Faire in Lake City

    Wake me when the report is updated to say we've established Star Fleet and their looking for enlisted recruits.

    January 10, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
  40. jpizza

    http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2006/aug/HQ_06297_CHANDRA_Dark_Matter.html

    January 10, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
  41. American Conservative Idiot

    How could any of this be true? We all know the universe is only 5,000 years old. The world she is a flat like a pancake!

    January 10, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • palintwit

      Sarah Palin believes that early man rode dinosaurs to church every Sunday. Sarah Palin believes that early man parked their dinosaurs inside the Roman Coliseum while they were in church.

      January 10, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
      • Maty Maty

        I love a man with a big bone and a T-Rex parked in the cave!

        January 10, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
      • intothemoonbeam

        You are giving Palin too much credit, she thinks the Dinosaurs are a hoax just like global warming and overpopulation.

        January 10, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
      • not again

        her skull is full of nutrinos, because they are nutritious

        January 10, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
      • thinksome

        Church wasn't on Sunday in that neighborhood silly!

        January 10, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • ReasonAndLogic

      LMAO!

      January 10, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • Proud

      Seriously, why can't they find an image of the giant turtle on which the earth sits?

      January 10, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  42. Dark Matter and Stress

    Dark Matter theory is just like Dr telling you because of stress or viral you have this problem. They cannot explain what is wrong with you and blame it on Stress/Viral etc. Same thing with science instead of saying they do not know they would say dark matter.

    January 10, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • Shadynuk

      The brutal truth come out.

      January 10, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • bill744

      Dark matter is one possible explanation of why galaxies don't spin apart. The observable mass of galaxies is far less than what would be needed to keep them from spinning apart at their actual rates of velocity. It is either a force other than gravity or it is something that has mass. If the 2nd, we call things that have mass, "matter." One way to refer to something we cannot see is to call it "dark." There are a good number of possible particles or "stuff" that could be the dark matter, such as WIMPs (weakly interacting massive particles). Most of these have properties that can be tested. Testing is underway. It will take some time, but with their efforts to understand, to propose, to test, to rule-out, to examine, will bring us to an understanding of this "stuff."

      January 10, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
  43. Gregory

    So we're actually seeing this before the creation of the earth.....wow. 300,000 km a secoad and after a billion years it arrives. Brain....exploding......

    January 10, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • Phil

      The light you see from the sun (right now) took at the most 170,000 years to make it's way to the surface where it traveled 1 astronomical unit before reaching earth.

      January 10, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
      • Gregory

        That doesn't make any sense to me. 170,000 years to make it to the surface? Really.

        January 10, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
      • adam

        Light from the sun takes about 8 minutes to reach the Earth.

        January 10, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
      • Mac

        There are a couple of numbers to know and two simple division problems involved in figuring out ”how long does it take sunlight to reach the Earth”. The first number to know is the speed of light in a vacuum, which is 300,000 km/s. Next, you need to know the average distance from the Sun to the Earth, which is 150 million km. Divide the distance by the speed of light and you have 500 seconds for light to arrive on Earth. Finally, divide 500 seconds by 60 to get the number of minutes and you have 8 minutes and 20 seconds.
        In other words Phil is a little off.

        January 10, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
      • Andrew

        I takes several million years for the light to get from the center of the Sun to the surface of the Sun (because of the enormous number of collisions it undergoes in the journey). It then takes 8 minutes 20 seconds to get to the Earth.

        January 10, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
      • Matt

        In fact, Phil is not wrong. Light generated deep within the sun bounces around for an enormously long time before it ever makes it to the surface and escapes. Some light reaches space sooner than other light. It all depends on how it reflects inside the sun.

        January 10, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
      • jpizza

        phil is right, the nuclear reactions are taking place at the core of the sun/star, and the density of our sun/star is 1.408×103 kg/m3 (on average). It takes the light produced at the center a long time (im not going to do the math) to reach the surface of the sun, then it takes 8+ minutes to reach our atmosphere

        January 10, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
      • Jb

        Phil i hope your wife is in charge of the checkbook

        January 10, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • DarkVader

      What "we're" seeing now occurred before the earth was formed.

      January 10, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
      • Gregory

        Formed, created, why do you care? Who's even correct? It's a wonderous universe; I never tire of looking or thinking.

        January 10, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
  44. Badonkadonk!

    If they're going to call it fat might as well just call it The American. Same thing.

    January 10, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • yayumadefunny

      Ba-zing!

      January 10, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • Phil

      We're about number 9 on the list of countries with overweight people. We are not fat...sorry.

      January 10, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
      • Shadynuk

        They're all fat until you get to about number 27.

        January 10, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
      • Cory McAwesomepants

        You're actually number 3. Numbers 1 and 2 are small island countries around the equator that rely on shipping vessels that bring only high fat foots loaded with preservatives.

        That's like saying you're only the third dumbest country when 1 and 2 have no choice but to use lead piping in their water distribution systems.

        January 10, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • nepawoods

      Without American ingenuity to open your eyes to it, you wouldn't know it existed.

      January 10, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
      • ElKai0

        Exactly. Who invented everything? Us

        January 10, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
      • Nick

        The Scots, actually.

        January 10, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
      • Cory McAwesomepants

        The telescope was invented by a German in the early 1600's. The x-ray telescope was invented by an Italian in 1963.
        Rockets have been around since the 1300's and came from China.

        Taking credit for other's creations as your own ingenuity? You're definitely an American.

        January 10, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
      • Matt Toma

        You must be another product of America's top ranked education system.

        January 10, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
      • I'm The Best!

        I'm from America but I'm not agreeing that we invented everything, but we did have many useful inventions come from our space program.

        January 10, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
  45. Proud

    I read this article.

    January 10, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
  46. Dr. Newark

    If you're interested in a better explanation look at Plasma Cosmology. A galaxy is an electrical structure. It is not held together by gravity. Gravity is a weak force at this scale. The galaxy would fly apart due to rotation. It is held together by an electric force. No need for all this made up Dark matter/energy. Newtonian physics really needs to be looked at as the old way of thinking. Plasma Cosmology is a much better explaination.

    January 10, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • Shadynuk

      I had a bunch of plasma cosmology once but it went bad because I forgot to put it in the fridge.

      January 10, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
      • Phil

        So, it deionized and condensed?

        January 10, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • Spock

      Unfortuantely it does not explain many astronomical observations.

      January 10, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • THE SITHHHHHHHHHHHH

      DARK MATTER... HAHAHAHAHA, IT IS I THE GREAT SITH AND I HAVE COME TO BRING EVERYONE OVER TO THE DARK SIDE!!!!!!!!!!! ALL HAIL DARK MATTER AND ALL MY POWERS!!!!!!!!!!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

      January 10, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
      • ARH

        Search your heart: did this really add to the discussion?

        January 10, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • Leif

      You are talking about M.O.N.D, which has yet to be proven, and it is a theory based on ad hoc assumptions.

      January 10, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • DarkVader

      Wow! Totally stupid.

      January 10, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
      • Dr. Newark

        Its too bad there are so many closed minds out there. These are all theories. Some better than others. My mistake for assuming there might be intelligent discussion on a cnn comment section. "The greatest obsticle to new discovery is not ignorance but the illusion of knowledge" (A paraphrase of a quote. not mine) cheers.

        January 10, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • ARH

      Plasma cosmology has few adherents and not a lot of work is being done in it. For instance, it offers no explanation for things such as cosmic background radiation or many results predicted by General Relativity. It is, in other words, a fringe concept that some people like to cling to but without a robust theoretical basis or experimental track record. Dark matter, though not fully understood, is a better explanation in that it "fits" within known theories that accurately predict the observed universe.

      January 10, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
      • Dr. Newark

        A fringe concept. Have you heard of scientists such as Hannes Alfven or Kristian Birkeland. You said yourself that dark matter better fits in with current theory. If current theory is correct why are the experts so suprised by results that keep coming in as "Totally unexpected". Just work the math so the idea fits in?!? Make up whatever works with current theory. That is poor science. Plasma cosmology can be tested on earth and scaled to any size. Remember your history. The fella that said the earth revolves around the sun was not treated well either. Inspite of being correct.

        January 10, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
      • Rick

        Yes, fringe. The work that Alfven and Birkeland did originally had noting to do with plasma cosmology. The "plasma cosmologies" have hijacked the magnetohydrodynamics of Alfven without regard for other forces. For some reason, the "plasma cosmologist" don't realize that mainstream scientist take plasma, Birkeland currents and other such things, along with gravity, into account when working on theory and observations. At least we do here at my lab. There are many more observations that plasma cosmology can't explain than they can explain. It's always funny to see those plasma people try to validate their ideas about cosmology.

        January 10, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • CaptainDorkOfTheWeeniePatrol

      It's called "dark matter" and "dark energy" for now because we know it's there by the way it effects the universe and the objects in it, but we can't detect it directly.

      Electrical fields are easily identifiable and measurable, especially more so than gravity, so they are not "dark."

      January 10, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
  47. Billy Joe

    I do not have any use for this information. Does the "fat galaxy" know how to fix our economy? Has anyone asked it?

    January 10, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • Pokey

      Try pulling your nose out of your wallet for 5 minutes and marvel at the wonders of the universe for a little while. Might make you a happier person.

      January 10, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • dshinobi

      Yet you clicked on the story, read it and took the time to post a comment.

      January 10, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
      • Billy Joe

        Ease up. just joking. Actually as an only child I spent many nights talking to Orion. Sad I know.

        January 10, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • Juxtapoz

      You're asking the wrong question, so you're probably a Republican. The question you should ask yourself is how much all this squabbling over the economy matters in the grand scheme of things. You see anybody spending millions to study what tax rates were in the Roman Empire? See anybody still caring what economists of 1930s Germany were whining about? People still care about Aristotle, Newton, and Einstein. Nobody cares about what some loser had in his wallet during those times.

      People have been studying the same celestial bodies and mechanics of the universe since before Christ was born, and they're STILL learning more. Nobody but you cares about the paper in your wallet(I promise you Congress doesn't). So grow up and learn about something that REALLY matters.

      January 10, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
      • Billy Joe

        First of all don't ever call me a republican again. Second of all....your mom.

        January 10, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
  48. Charlie Rocket

    Please lighten up.

    January 10, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
  49. Joe

    Turn your head to the right and it kinda looks like Mickey Mouse, or Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer.

    January 10, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • John C.

      Man I miss dropping acid. How's it going for you these days?

      January 10, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
  50. HippoBirdieTwoEwe

    One of these days I am going to proove that there is a giant mirror out in space somewhere that is reflecting all this star light and screwing up all the scientists calculations.

    January 10, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
  51. Stentor

    Was it a Klingon?

    January 10, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
  52. Phil

    You're pronouncing it wrong. It's not "your anus" - it's "yer enus".

    January 10, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
  53. Shadynuk

    I think some of these posts are excellent – very funny – a lot better than those two stiffs (Leno and Letterman). Also, JonathanL's comments on the BIg Bang would be interesting to read 100 years from now (if only we could). History shows how wrong scientists often are and how quickly they will switch theories to match observations.

    January 10, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • Caveman

      There is a reason why the answers to the equations keep coming out to "infinity", and that "renormalization" numbers have to keep getting plugged in for the best and the brightest to make sense of infinity. Try taking a tiny pebble, and throwing it randomely into the air in your backyard, and then try to spot it from where you're at... that's us... the universe is too big (and too small) for the human mind to comprehend, and.. infinity is an answer, just not an acceptable one.

      January 10, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • Mathias Bestevenn

      " how quickly they will switch theories to match observations"

      If you are unwilling to do so, you are not performing science. Try religion.

      January 10, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
      • out back counting stars

        Spot on. Science = (in a brief, not-exhaustive nutshell) making observations, doing some research, asking questions, developing causal hypotheses, making predictions, developing and performing tests, evaluating the results within the context of the predictions and hypothesis. From a body of results and hypotheses emerges theory. As new questions are asked, new tests are performed, more data are produced, then new hypotheses and theories develop.

        Religion = God did it. (boring)

        January 10, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
      • Gregory

        I'm not religious at all, but what a bigoted and simple way to think you have. I have met brilliant religious people...who weren't eve "boring". Grow up.

        January 10, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
      • Forest Wade

        Nicely put!

        January 11, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • CaptainDorkOfTheWeeniePatrol

      "History shows how wrong scientists often are and how quickly they will switch theories to match observations."

      And a bear always faces to the front.

      What's your point?

      January 10, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
  54. Astronut

    Just in case you're actually being serious, the "comet" is only the nearest and most prominent galaxy in the picture. It's not the focus, everything else around it is.

    January 10, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
  55. Fritz

    I try not to think about these things too much. I'm afraid my brain might explode with a 'big bang'.

    January 10, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • Bob Semour

      What if, many billions of years ago, someone commenting on a message board had his head explode, thus creating our big bang and subsequent universe? Way trippy, d00d...

      January 10, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
  56. palintwit

    The famous Sarah Palin Galactic Observatory / Bait Shop is now accepting applications for physicists. Starting pay is 8.75 an hour with a .35 cent increase after 90 days.

    January 10, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • Phil

      you betcha!

      January 10, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
  57. Madtown

    I thought this they already discovered this and named it Mississippi?

    January 10, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
  58. gix

    get in my belly!

    January 10, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
  59. Mark9988

    At first I thought this was about an Oprah book club reunion, but now I see its an astronomy story.

    January 10, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
  60. Bermille

    And you know this because of the PhD in astrophysics in your pocket.

    January 10, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
  61. Jerry

    Why do scientists describe this galaxy in the present tense? What we're seeing is the galaxy as it was 7 billion years ago. It might not even be there any more.

    January 10, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • How is this NEWS?

      No it’s not a galaxy; it’s just Gov. Chris Christie (the next USlessA VP) waddling out for his 3am snack… a Side of Beef, a Bushel of Baked Stuffed Potatoes, and a Diet Pepsi.

      January 10, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
      • jersvette

        Love the Diet Pepsi!

        January 10, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
      • jim

        in the news Chris Cristy found 7 billion light years away after his lates snake of 20 bean burritos and counting.

        January 10, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • Rim

      Because it's hard enough to explain to people just how far away a light year is let alone 7 billion light years. Explaining to someone that we're seeing something that isn't there anymore might hurt peoples heads.

      January 10, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      They do it because there is no way to tell what it is like right now. To us, how it is right now, is actually 7 billion years in the future. How it was 7 billion years ago is right now because events can't travel faster than the speed of light.

      January 10, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
  62. juan valdez

    And it stunk!

    January 10, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
  63. JonathanL

    Dark Matter, the bulk of our universe, yet undetected except possibly in the far reaches of the universe, or perhaps our imagination, "You're traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind; a journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination—next stop, the Twilight Zone!" Personally I believe dark matter was an imaginary phantom invented to fill a big hole in the big bang theory. First there is a bang (the biggest one ever they say yet there was no dynamite, not explosive, or fuse, detonator etc.. nothing at all), then they say the universe is expanding because of course it all exploded suddenly out of nothing and explosions generally move outward. But despite gravity, the universe appears to be expanding (i.e. exploding) even faster every day, instead of slowing. But until discoveries and evidence are produced that reveal that the red shift we observe in starlight is due more to distance traveled than to velocity and direction, we will believe in the big bang. Entertaining sure, but where are we going to find all this dark matter, the Twilight zone?

    January 10, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • JJC

      Your understanding of the big bang is lacking. The name "big bang" was meant to be derogatory. It was not an explosion. It did not "move outward because that is what explosions generally do". While I applaud your reading of a science article, you should probably read a book by a scientist on the subject of the beginning of our universe before speculating.

      January 10, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
      • JohnJ

        Agreed. Baffles me where some people get there information, that or it is there lack of persuance to actually learn complication.

        January 10, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
      • STLBroker

        You missed his point completely. He was explaining how scientific explanations of how the universe began change frequently. Initially, scientist DID think that just like an explosion that the expansion of the universe was slowing. It has only been in recent years that they have figured out that it is accelerating. You rip him for describing the "Big Bang" as an explosion which is exactly what scientist thought happened. The entire universe compacted into a tiny sphere suddenly and violently expands. Sounds sort of like an explosion to me. Lighten up and realize that you aren't as smart as you think you are. Your precious scientific journals will have a new explanation tomorrow and everything you think you know now will be BS and then somebody who has read the latest paper on the subject will tell you how dumb you are on a CNN message board.

        January 10, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • JohnJ

      I think you need to research the big bang theory better and get a better understanding of it. Clearly does not state an explosion of just absolutely nothing, there is infact a great explanation... Typical, people trying to give long paragraph explanations for something they don't have a clue about.

      January 10, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
      • sam

        Pompous snot.

        January 10, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • BBoy705

      Jonathan, may I suggest Stephan Hawking's "The Grand Design"? It explains it all in quite good detail.

      January 10, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • Aiglos

      Not to be too pedantic, but your statement borders on moronic, and here is why: the "bang" was not a "bang" at all. We use the term because in English - a language invented some 14 billion years AFTER the initial expansion of the universe - is grossly ineffective in talking about things, cosmological events at least, that happened in a past so DISTANT we can't even truly comprehend it.

      The bang was an expansion, not an explosion. There didn't need to be any of combustible, incendiary, or otherwise flammable matter consumed - MAINLY BECAUSE MATTER DID NOT EXIST - at least as we know and understand it - PRIOR to the "Big Bang." There was no noise, there was no explosion, there was only an outward expansion of all the material that makes up our universe which, for reasons currently unknown, existed in an infinitessimally dense point.

      Why did it happen?

      No one is certain...

      But we're 99.999999999999999999999999999% (more than that, really) certain that at some point roughly 14 billion years ago there was a singularity - an immeasurably hot and dense "state" - wherein the universe, because of something REALLY scientists call cosmic inflation, the universe simply began to expand.

      There was no BANG. There was expansion, because that's what happens where there is heat. Eventually, in basic, the universe's "matter' - it's particle makeup - aligned itself in such a way that at the molecular level, atoms began to separate and move apart, then gravity was born as mass and density gave rise to particulate matter that was larger and or smaller. Then IT essentially took over as the most fundamental force of the universe.

      That's grossly simplified, but I can assure that EVER physicist who can add 2+2 knows this to be true.

      January 10, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
      • Adam

        to help the poor man out, per Webster Online (granted, second def, but still...) :
        explosion - a large-scale, rapid, or spectacular expansion or bursting out or forth.

        While his ideas may seem simple, they are not that far off from many physicists' POV. A bit much to say that we are 'certain' of these theories. Better to say that current evidence supports.

        ...that way it seems less like you are trying to give a 'look how smart I am' statement.

        The gentleman's general point was about the oddity of dark matter and energy–a point that nearly all physicists would actually acknowledge. Especially the ones that do not believe dark matter/energy exist, of which there are many.

        January 10, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • Aiglos

      ...and you're going to find dark matter ALL AROUND YOU. Eventually, we will come to understand (or a lot of theoretical physicists believe) that dark matter permeates ALL OF KNOWN SPACE-TIME. It's not isolated and hiding - we know it's there because we can see it's "push" against normal matter in space/time actually - or at least infer it. The CMB is widely regarded as substantial proof that dark matter is real. Essentially everything we know about the universe and its hierarchies substantiates its existence.

      January 10, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
      • MattinDC

        Nice explanation of DM.....best one so far...."Go to the head of the class fine sir!" ~as my Grandmother would say.

        January 10, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • Tha Chikin

      Jonathan – Dark matter is a term they use to "balance the equation" so to speak. Afterall... astronomy IS math!

      See, they can't explain it... they don't know exactly what it is because it cannot be seen with telescopes, but, it does exist. If it has a gravitational pull... like dark matter does, you can't dismiss it's existence because it cannot be seen. That would be like me closing my eyes and saying the world doesn't exist because I can't see it.

      January 10, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
      • Kev

        I am not a scientist. I am an accountant. So yeah, just ignore me. But, this dark matter/energy sounds like what we, in accounting, call a "plug number". I am not buying that scientists understand it. They´re just plugging a arithmetic hole they clearly don´t understand. From a forensics prespective, the very fact that they have needed to develop a plug to make the model (of physics) work is (at a minimum) a red flag that the model doesn´t really work all that well. So yeah...I know there are some complex equations and whatnot, but I also know a plug number when I see one. The scientists are just selling something, like everybody I guess.

        January 10, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
      • Jb

        nasa has to pay the bills somehow kev, lol

        January 10, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • jpizza

      JonathanL, google is amazing

      http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2006/aug/HQ_06297_CHANDRA_Dark_Matter.html

      January 10, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • Leaf on the Wind

      JonathanL, since you seem genuinely interested, allow me to recommend "A Brief History of Time" by Stephen Hawking. He writes about a lot of this in plain, layman's terms. He may send you down the rabbit hole now and then, but it really is an interesting read.

      January 10, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • God

      I farted and said, "Excuse me." Dang! When are you people going to give it a rest?!

      January 10, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
  64. Kishore

    I would have preferred the words "galaxy filament" or even a "super-cluster complex" as opposed to calling it a fat cluster.

    January 10, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
  65. How is this NEWS?

    'FAT' galaxy cluster discovered... No, it’s just Chris Christie waddling out for his 3am snack… a Side of Beef, a Bushel of Baked Stuffed Potatoes, and a Diet Pepsi.

    January 10, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
  66. parvo

    It's just big-boned! :(

    January 10, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
  67. MattinDC

    HA! NO! That's called the Sandusky Maneuver!

    January 10, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
  68. EJS

    Who cares – not me. With the way our economy is going, we won't have the money to explore the Potomac River.

    January 10, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • buckybadger

      Per the usual you simply don't get it. Where do you think most of the inventions over the past several decades that drive the economy have come from? The search for knowledge and understanding should always be a goal for the human race.

      January 10, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
      • john

        oh, I think 9 figure discovery projects need to be put on the back burner for a couple of years..

        January 10, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • john

      Do those galaxies have any money we can borrow?

      January 10, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • muhrvis

      I know times are hard and many of us are struggling to make ends meet. But that's the way it has ALWAYS been. The universe is still a beautiful and amazing phenomenon. I feel bad you can't see any inspiration or feel any curiosity about the very thing that gave birth to you. The people that are making vast riches on our backs don't WANT us to think about anything else except making more money for them.

      January 10, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • Leaf on the Wind

      EJS, we are thinking creatures, and that ability allows us to look beyond mere survival and question our very existence. Try to look beyond the issues that involve only your survival and ability to maintain a standard of living, and allow yourself to imagine the infinite. (If this sounds like a polite way of saying "pull your head out of your azz and have a look at the bigger picture" - well, it is. With all due respect.)

      January 10, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
  69. Andrew Friet

    If this galaxy cluster is so "fat" then maybe Michelle Obama could feed it steak and arugula and get it into an exercise program to slim it down

    January 10, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
  70. j mann

    I am in awe.

    January 10, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
  71. kodiak7

    If Dark Matter/Energy make up 95% of the universe and we can't detect it, maybe current models are wrong and there is no Dark Matter/Energy at all.

    January 10, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • palintwit

      Hmmm... could be... could be...

      January 10, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
    • WhatWhatWhat?

      Doi, doi, doi, duh, duh, doi, doi...I'm so smart, duh, doi, doi, doi...

      January 10, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
      • Tonus Maximus

        @WhatWhatWhat?: Wow, here's a good example of societies citizens on the lowest part of the totem pole, I'm glad to see people using what brain they have left to say & do stupid things.

        January 10, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • clearfog

      We can and do detect dark matter, through its gravity. However, it does not react to electromagnetic (electroweak) radiation, hence it is known as dark matter.

      January 10, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • WhatWhatWhat?

      No, we "infer" it's presence due to the fact that telescopic observations in all wavelengths cannot account for what's holding the galaxies and galaxy clusters in place. Since we can't "detect" anything, it's only an inference, albeit a very strong one.

      January 10, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
      • palintwit

        Hmmmm... you could very well be correct... ( rubbing chin with right hand )

        January 10, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
  72. Ron

    I'm more interested in dark matter than a distant part of the universe. Unless we can achieve faster than light travel or communication... what's the point?

    PS- people making fun of Americans are hilarious. History proves the people with the most power are always hated.

    January 10, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • muhrvis

      The point is that "distant" parts of the universe are actually a look into the past - into the origins of where and what WE came from. The speculations about "dark matter" and "dark energy" are partly an artifact of the lack of observations or ability to detect what scientists think MIGHT be there.. More hard scientific observation needs to be done to determine the structure of the universe.

      January 10, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • Scott

      Also, by looking at the past events of these other stars, we can gain insight into the future of our own. It will expand and kill us someday (admittedly a few billion years from now) so we shoud try to understand it and prevent it.

      January 10, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
  73. Vince

    Well send Christie back to NJ...he's been spending too much time away from the state!

    January 10, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
  74. palintwit

    Astronomers at the famous Sarah Palin Galactic Observatory / Bait Shop have been aware of this galaxy for some time. They have been able to determine that it was once inhabited by an ancient race of giant teabaggers, as evidenced by the giant trailer parks and giant nascar tracks they left behind.

    January 10, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • dirtyjon

      I'm going to take a gander and say that the astronomers at this Sarah Palin observatory have a better education and done more with their lives than you.

      January 10, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • sam

      LOL

      January 10, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
  75. AEinstein

    Headline should be "Fat galaxy cluster discovered . . . " not "Fat galaxy discovered . . . "

    Rather than dark matter and dark energy, could supermassive black holes emitting gravity waves explain the "mysterious phenomena" referenced in the article?

    January 10, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • D. Darko

      Perhaps you should address that in your next peer review paper, Mr. Einstein.

      January 10, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
      • Paul

        supermassive blackholes are dark matter.

        January 10, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
      • Frank

        The problem with that is that Dark matter is what scientists are hypothesizing isthe reason that it seams the expansion of the universe is getting faster and not slower as is what one would expect from a universe ruled by gravity.

        the original hypothesis is that expansion from the big bang should eventually slow down come to a screeching halt and then reverse as gravity takes hold and brings everything back together.

        If current theories are correct or to be believed and expansion is actually speeding up, then there must be something driving the expansion and voiding out gravity (or the big bang theory is flawed and what we hear from the big bang is something else)

        Either way, scientists are looking to improve our knowledge of the universe and this is a question that they will probably never get an answer to...

        January 10, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
      • I'm The Best!

        @ frank
        Dark energy is what they think is speeding it up, not dark matter. Dark matter is more gravity and what holds galaxies together.

        January 10, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • elandau

      Yes I have just fixed the headline, thanks!

      Elizabeth Landau, CNN

      January 10, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
  76. JohnnyDH

    The one thing I don't like when they post these articles is that they leave some important information out. I want to know when I will be able to visit this galaxy.

    January 10, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • Data the Android

      At our present speed of warp 7, we'll be there in exactly 4 days, 12 hours, 13 minutes and 3 seconds, Captain.

      January 10, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
      • JohnnyDH

        Well, I still have 9 more vacation days to use. Can we stop at Kepler 22b on the way back then?

        January 10, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • n2video

      People with a clever plan
      Can assume the role of the mighty
      And hijack the starship
      Carry seven thousand people past the sun
      And our babes will wander naked
      Through the cities of the Universe.

      Jefferson Starship

      January 10, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
      • MattinDC

        "There's a Light from afar....LIKE some Distant star...doesn't matter who you are....."
        Jefferson Starships song "Jane"

        January 10, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
  77. kissyface

    reading the comments here only goes to show how pointless space exporation is.

    January 10, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • Hopeless is as hopeless does

      Back to your trailer park and bag of Cheetos. Grow at least half an imagination and it'll all be quite clear.

      January 10, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
      • JohnJ

        LMFAO! Greatest comment to be read yet on this artical

        January 10, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
      • kissyface

        you pick my comment over uranis comments and such , get the money you paid for your g.e.d back.

        January 10, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
      • kissyface

        drink some romulan ale and get back to your star trek convention.

        January 10, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
      • sam

        +1

        January 10, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • WhatWhatWhat?

      Yeah, "those comments" and "space exploration" have so much in common, we should all just take our own lives and call it a day. Go ahead, you first.

      January 10, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • Les

      Teflon, miniature circuitry, ceramics technology, advanced ball bearing technology, modern food preservation, solar panel innovation, rocketry advancement, medical technology are all the result of space technology, as well as advances in optical technology, plastics and seed storage, are all made possible because of space technology. To dismiss space exploration as "unnecessary" is at best ill informed. To dismiss it as a waste is ignorance brought to a new level.

      January 10, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • sam

      @kissy – romulan ale? Is that what they call forty ouncers in your trailer park?

      January 10, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • Mohammed

      Only someone whos been to a star trek convention would know what romulan ale is.

      January 10, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
  78. Grumpster

    Gas up the Vista Cruiser and let's get rolling.

    January 10, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
  79. crabman

    far far away

    January 10, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
  80. SPYingEyes

    Galaxy Filaments – A string of galaxy clusters, are actually the largest known cosmic structures in the universe.

    January 10, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
  81. RMRYZARC

    LOL @ Spock... so true... and so sad for us. Haha

    January 10, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
  82. Wicked Fairy

    The OWS were wrong. Its not the 1% fat cats vs. the 99% sheeple, its the 95% fat DM/DE vs. the 5% Visible Mater.

    January 10, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • Grumpster

      Really....is that the best you can do? Do you have to expound on your wingnut theories even here? Get a life, please.

      January 10, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
      • Lokari

        Grumpster does not understand tongue-in-cheek.

        January 10, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
      • SassyCakes

        Total over-reaction. The name fits.

        January 10, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
      • not again

        He's called Grumpster for a reason

        January 10, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • Bootcho

      7 billion light years away! 186,000 miles per second for 7 billion years, with the potential of hundreds if not thousands of earth like panets. Let's start heading there now, and we will arrive never. Sad. So much out there, and we will never see it. What a sight it would be to see! Makes the human race problems seem so.........silly

      January 10, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
      • Luke Duke

        You my friend are a smart man. We would never make it, but to just appreciate the true wonders of this universe and to understand the vast distance between everything is amazing. Most people can't comprehend the distance of a lighyear, let alone 7 billion. Now don't jump on this comment people, you understand I hope. Most don't even realize the distance to our own star. Now Bootch, I wish earthlings were more like you. Just from your comment, and not ripping on anyone else tells me you have a universal understanding of the human race and where we stand in this universe.

        January 10, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
  83. Shirley Caesar

    Oooooh Lawd.... I ain't ready! Touch my mind!

    January 10, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
  84. SciGuy

    Distant universe? There's only one, that's why it's uni.

    January 10, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • J.C.

      The headline writer must live in a biverse (duoverse?).

      January 10, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • Jack Be Humble

      Headline Shortened Saving Space: add the words "part of the" between Distant and Universe.

      January 10, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • Leo

      Actually, if the theory of a multiverse holds true then we are just one of billions of universes. I just watched a fascinating show on discovery channel about it. No way to prove it of course but still pretty interesting.

      January 10, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
  85. Truthwillsetyoufree

    What do you mean by distant universe? Doesn't make sense... can we see across dimensions now? Everything we see is in ONE universe... Explain...

    January 10, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • TheThinker

      hahaha... good catch!

      January 10, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • J

      Distant as in the far off part of our universe.

      If you say "in the distant future" you aren't talking about a parallel future on a parallel timeline. You're talking about the same timeline, only in the far off future.

      January 10, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • John-117

      Ya, I noticed that too. I think they meant it is in a distant part of our universe. They didn't word the best way.

      January 10, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • gevers3

      I think they mean in a distant location of THE (one) universe. At least that's how I read it.

      January 10, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      It's in our universe, just far away. Like I can say the distant land of California. I live on the east coast so California is pretty distant, but its still the same land mass.

      January 10, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
      • Nah

        Except their phrasing specifically denoted the existence of "another" universe by calling it "another universe".

        They didn't say "in the distant universe" or "in distant universe", they singled out a separate universe all together.

        January 10, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
      • I'm The Best!

        "seen in the distant universe". Pretty sure they didn't say anything about 'another' universe.

        January 10, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
      • Nah

        best: ""seen in the distant universe". Pretty sure they didn't say anything about 'another' universe."

        The original headline said "another universe".

        January 10, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • elandau

      Hi, I was still referring to our universe but the distant part of it; as in, not close to Earth.

      Thanks for reading!
      Elizabeth Landau, CNN

      January 10, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
      • Fan of Science

        I am just very stoked that you are actually reading these comments and responding. That is about the coolest thing from a journalist I have seen in AGES. Keep up the science articles, as more people will begin to take notice and want to learn. I wish I had this exposure when I was a kid.

        January 10, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
      • I'm The Best!

        I agree with 'fan' here, keep up the good work!

        January 10, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • dirtyjon

      "the distant universe" like, "the distant future". "the" is the key part to that, you tool.

      January 10, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
  86. MarshallM

    7 billion light-years away? Now THAT'S a trip worth planning!

    January 10, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • gamoraw

      well said sir/madam, well said.

      January 10, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
  87. Robert42

    What's really chilling to me is we are only now seeing what happened to that galaxy cluster 7 Billion years ago. We have no idea what it's like right now. That goes for everything we see in the Universe that's not relatively local. What also gets me thinking is that if there ever was a destructive force that travels faster than the speed of light, we would literally never see it coming because the results of it's handiwork would always be traveling slower than the event itself.

    January 10, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • J

      What really scares me are peanut allergies.

      And rattlesnakes.

      The thought of space peanuts and space rattlesnakes....

      January 10, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
      • Cedar Rapids

        space rattlesnakes flicking space peanuts at you.......now you try sleeping at night.

        January 10, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
      • Spock

        What scares me are marsupials.

        January 10, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • buckles

      Spot on. Our universe could be like a grain of sand amongst trillions of other grains of sand (universes)....and "the big one" will be the impact of someone/something stepping on that sandy spot for the first time. Instant universal catastrophe. That was my theory at age 14 (in'74). My pastor didn't appreciate, nor understand the hypothesis.

      January 10, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
  88. wed110197

    That's where I put my wallet, thanks guys.

    January 10, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
  89. Jon

    "The largest galaxy cluster ever seen in the distant universe" Wow! They've discovered another universe! It can't be ours; we're in it; so it's not distant.

    January 10, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • ocjackel

      I think you might be the only person who doesn't think this galaxy is distant. I live in California. New Zealand is pretty darn distant to me, even though we are on the same planet.

      January 10, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • joe schmoe

      You sir, are a idiot.

      January 10, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
      • J.C.

        an

        January 10, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
      • John-117

        says the guy who uses terms like "idiot" to make himself looker smarter. Its easier to insult people then say anything intelligent.

        January 10, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • Barb

      It's like saying "I can see that star, way off in the distances". Only they can see another galaxy, way off in the distance.

      January 10, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
  90. Dave

    Intelligent life already found this planet but want nothing to do with us!

    January 10, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • Spock

      The surest sign that there is intelligent alien life is that it has NOT made contact with us.

      January 10, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
  91. daddyishere

    Fat galaxy?????? It must be American.

    January 10, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • J

      Let's hope it's American. Maybe then it will have some intelligent life.

      January 10, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
      • YoureADoofus

        Great sarcastic comment! (You are being sarcastic, right?)

        January 10, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
      • JBHedgehog

        Yeah...Americans with intelligence. Just like a moon made out of cheese and conservatives with a heart.

        January 10, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
      • J

        A funnier response would have been:

        But if it is American – that means scientists can say, without a doubt, that the Fat Galaxy holds no intelligent life.

        January 10, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
      • JohnnyDH

        You guys don't give the US enough credit. Make a list of the top 100 most innovative things ever created or done and then see how many were done by Americans. I'd bet it is more than average.

        January 10, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
      • J

        @JohnnyDH, You're of course correct, but most of that kind of humor is geared toward the Americans they see on Reality TV.

        America and entrepreneurialism and scientific ingenuity go hand in hand.

        January 10, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
      • Greg

        America and intelligence dont go hand in hand. America does what it does because it has $ not intelligence. Alot of our scientists are from China, India, Germany, etc. There is no American race. Our intelligence is borrowed from other countries. We just have the $ to utilize it.

        January 10, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
      • CaptainDorkOfTheWeeniePatrol

        Appreciate that some of the greatest innovations that are "Made in America" actually were made by immigrants. The people who worked on the theories of relativity and quantum mechanics in the early years were in America where they could survive and thrive.

        While "born on American soil" type individuals have made some mighty fine contributions, the greater accolades go to those who came to us from elsewhere.

        January 10, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • YoureADoofus

      ....or a sumo wrestler

      January 10, 2012 at 1:08 pm |

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